The Ferris cross-country (XC) team hosted the 44th Annual Ray Helsing Bulldog Invitational Saturday, Sept. 8.
Both men and women’s XC showed up for the home fans and had remarkable performances. The Ferris men’s XC team finished the 8k race holding the top eight finishing spots and finished first in team placement, with Ferris senior Damien Halverson placing first individually with a time of 27:33:9.
The women’s XC team also placed first overall for their 5k race with the help of the five Bulldogs that placed in the top 10. Ferris junior Kathryn Etelamaki finished first individually in the race with a time of 18:57:5.
With the Bulldog Invitational being the first event of the year, it was important for the Bulldogs to have such an impressive start.
“[The teams] went up against a very tough Northern Michigan team ,who is usually nationally ranked, and very high in the regional rankings,” Ferris XC head coach Jared Kelsh said.
The Bulldogs’ GLIAC foes Northern Michigan University are usually very successful, making it even more meaningful that the Ferris women’s XC team placed higher than the Wildcats. Back in 2009, the Ferris Athletic Department honored former Ferris XC coach Ray Helsing who coached from 1968-82. Helsing brought great success for the Ferris XC team back in the day, winning four GLIAC titles to
coaching the 1980 XC team to a fourth place finish at the Division II Championship. Helsing also led his team to a remarkable 77-17 dual meet mark. Dating back to 1974, the Ray Helsing Bulldog Invitational has now been running for a consecutive 44 years. The Ferris men’s
team has won 10 times and the women’s team has won 17 times. The Bulldog Invitational gives the cross-country teams a slight advantage since they are racing at home.
“It always feels nice to race here. We always have the basketball team and the volleyball team that come and I’m kind of familiar with the
course,” said Etelamaki. The Bulldogs next meet is the Greater Louisville Classic taking place Saturday, Sept. 29 in Louisville, Kentucky.