In addition, three men's runners were named to the 2000 GLIAC Men's Cross Country All-Academic Team. Junior Steve Picucci posted a 3.62 GPA in automotive equipment management, junior Jared Kramer finished the semester with a 3.69 GPA in accountancy/computer information systems and junior Nick Weidmayer earned a 3.13 GPA in automotive equipment management.
In their second season since the reinstatement of men's cross country at Ferris State, the Bulldog men placed ninth at the GLIAC Championships and finished 18th at the Great Lakes Regional meet.
In an announcement made by Ferris State University Men's and Women's Track and Cross Country Coach Jeff Kavalunas, high school standout Joe Swendrowski has signed a national letter of intent to compete for the Bulldogs.
Swendrowski, a senior at Rockford (Mich.) High School, was the No. 2 runner for the Rams cross country team this past fall. As a team, Rockford was ranked third in the nation. He will compete in both cross country and track at Ferris State.
"Joe will have an immediate impact on our program," Kavalunas said. "He should be able to step into our league and be one of the top runners from the start."
A two-time all-conference performer, Swendrowski was an all-state honoree this fall. He helped lead the Rams to a state championship this season after three-straight runner-up finishes under head coach Mark Nessner.
"Rockford is one of the top programs in the country," Kavalunas said. "Joe will step right in for us. He understands what it takes to compete in big meets and be successful."
Besides being a standout in cross country, Swendrowski has also been a steady performer in wrestling and track. He needs 24 wins to record his 100th victory on the mat and could finish his high school career with 12 varsity letters.
"Joe has good experience and comes from a very good athletic program," Kavalunas said. "He has a great work ethic and will be able to come in and develop at the college level in our program."
In addition to winning a state title this season, the Rams were also OK-Red Conference champs the past four years. Rockford has won three-straight regional championships with Swendrowski on the squad. The top runner for the Rams is a returning high school national champion.
"Being able to get the number two runner from the third-best team in the nation is great for our program," Kavalunas said.
Swendrowski was an all-conference pick as a sophomore and a senior and was voted Most Improved Runner for the Rams during his high school career. He is the son of Henry and Kathy Swendrowski of Rockford and will graduate in May from Rockford High School.
Junior Steve Picucci led the Bulldogs as he finished 22nd overall with a time of 27:38.71. He has led Ferris State in all seven meets this season. Besides Picucci, four other Bulldog runners also ran the 8K course at the Michigan Tech Trails. Freshman Joe Every finished 48th overall with a time of 28:36.92. The other three Ferris State runners all finished within four spots of each another. Junior Josh Wittenbach was 64th at 29:29.31, junior Jared Kramer was 67th at 30:10.08 and junior Ken Zimmerman was 68th with a time of 30:19.31.
Junior Steve Picucci led Ferris State as he finished 102nd with a time of 27:11. Junior Josh Wittenbach was 240th with a time of 28:24. The other three Bulldog runners who scored all posted times under 30 minutes. Jared Kramer, a junior, was 274th, freshman Joe Every was 305th and junior Ken Zimmerman was 325th.
Junior Steve Picucci led Ferris as he finished 23rd with a time of 27:59.22. Freshman Joe Every also placed in the top 40 as he finished 40th with a time of 28:45.91. The other four Bulldog runners competing in the 8,000-meter race all placed between 53rd and 60th. Josh Wittenbach was 53rd (29:48.28), Ken Zimmerman was 55th (29:59.18), Nick Weidmayer was 56th (30:09.15) and Jared Kramer was 60th (30:31.96). All four runners are juniors.
The Bulldogs were led by junior Steve Picucci, who finished fifth in the 8,000-meter race with a time of 27:19. His average time per mile was 5:29. It was his second-straight top five finish for the Bulldogs. As a team, Ferris State had an average time of 29:04.2. This is the first season as a full squad since men's cross country was reinstated at Ferris.