Mike Barrett, LSSULakers.com
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — Less than three weeks remain before the Lake Superior State Cross Country teams commence their 2019 season. Each member of the men's and women's teams will look to improve upon his or her times from previous seasons in hopes of setting personal records and raising his or her respective team in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) standings.
For Kendal Delpiere of the men's team, who saw significant improvement in his sophomore campaign, these goals will take center stage.
A junior from Pigeon, Michigan, Delpiere was drawn to Lake Superior State primarily for what it offered for him academically, as opposed to the opportunity to run cross country and track.
"I came to Lake State because it is a small school and because of the hands on learning that Lake State offers with a lot of the engineering courses," he said.
Becoming an engineer was something that enticed Delpiere from an early age. Delpiere is a mechanical engineering major and is considering adding on a math minor to his studies. The vast number of opportunities that a mechanical engineering degree provided was what sold him on that specific discipline.
"I enjoy all of the small class sizes in the major and all of the professors I've had," Delpiere said. "I also like that a lot of the classes are hands on, so we will learn something and then actually apply in the lab."
Mechanical engineering is the most popular engineering offering at Lake State. The degree has three different concentrations a potential graduate may choose from en route to his or her degree: robotics and automation, vehicle systems, and a general concentration which has some elements of the first two, plus material from other engineering subjects.
"Currently, I'm doing the general concentration for mechanical engineering," said Delpiere. "I am doing the general concentration because it is a good mix between both robotics and automotive."
Following graduation, he hopes to work in an engineering job in manufacturing.
Both of his parents attended Ferris State University. His father Brian was on the track and field team as a hurdler.
Like most who run cross country and track, Delpiere is a distance runner for track, running the 3K and 5K during indoor track season, and the 5K and 10K once outdoor season commences.
While many college athletes discover his or her sport at an early age, Delpiere did not begin running track until reaching high school. Cross country came even later.
"I ran track since 9th grade in high school," he explained, "but I didn't start distance until 11th grade when I joined my high school's cross country team."
Despite running track first, Delpiere has expressed a greater preference for cross country, citing how events take place on a course, rather than a track, which helps each meet feel a bit different.
During his freshman year, Delpiere set a personal record (PR) during the GLIAC Cross Country Championships completing the 8,000 meter course in 28:24. He improved further on that mark the following season at the GLIAC's with a time of 27:05.
"I wouldn't have been able to get my new PR's without the help of my teammates pushing each other in our practices and without the help of Head Coach Rob Gallinger being there during the races telling me what to do and pushing me through the race."
In addition, he competed in the NCAA Tournament each of his first two years. Last year saw him complete the 10K event with a time of 34:51, shaving 33 seconds off of his freshman year time.
"Kendal has shown that the cliche about hard work beating talent when talent doesn't work rings true; the jump in time he made last year was incredible and I can't wait to see more of it this year," said Lakers head coach Rob Gallinger. "The attitude he brings to each practice and competition is that of someone that wants to get better and he'll continue to show that improvement while challenging his teammates to match his work ethic. He's got a big year ahead of him!"
While Delpiere has seen several courses in his collegiate career, one that stands out to him is the Warrior Classic in New Boston, Mich., hosted by Wayne State.
"The reason I liked the Wayne State meet was because it was on a fast course," he said, "and there was a hill that I was able to pass people on going up and down especially late in the race."
Both the men's and women's teams will see their first competition of the season on Saturday, September 7th at the Northwood Cross Country Invitational in Midland, Mich.
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