Calvin Cross Country Teams Capture Great Lakes Regional Titles - Earn Berths to National Meet
Provided by Calvin
OBERLIN, OH - The Calvin men’s and women’s cross country teams are headed back to the NCAA III Championships. Both teams captured Great Lakes Regional titles on Saturday with the ninth-ranked Calvin women’s team taking first place with 69 points while the fourth-ranked Calvin men’s team cruised to a first place win of 38 points. Saturday’s regional competition was hosted by Oberlin College. As regional champions, both Calvin teams receive automatic berths to next week’s NCAA III Championships in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The Calvin women will be making their 22nd appearance at the NCAA III Championships which ranks third on the all-time NCAA III women’s cross country list for team appearances. The Calvin men will be making their 27th appearance at the national meet which also ranks third on the all-time NCAA III men’s cross country list.
(team photos courtesy of Oberlin College)
Two weeks after a disappointing second place performance at the MIAA Championships, Calvin rebounded in strong fashion as the Knights captured their fifth straight including their 15th in the last 19 years. Calvin recorded a team score of 69 points to finish ahead of three nationally-ranked teams as 17th-ranked Ohio Northern was second (96 points), 13th-ranked Hope third (99 points) and 18th-ranked Oberlin fourth (103 points).
Senior Jodi Hoekstra (Homer Glen, IL/Chicago Christian HS) made a strong bid for the regional individual title before finishing second in a time of 21:33, just six seconds behind Allison Steinbrunner of Ohio Northern. Calvin placed four runners in the top 12 as junior Alyssa Penning (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) was eighth (21:58), senior Kaitlin Diemer (Caledonia/South Christian HS) 10th (22:02) and sophomore Alyssa Oram (Cheboygan, Mich./Home Schooled) 12th (22:12) with just 14 seconds separating Calvin’s second, third and fourth finishers.
Sophomore Nicole Michermhuizen (Holland/Holland Christian HS) was Calvin’s fifth finisher, placing 38th in a time of 22:43. Freshman Sarah Danner (Watkins Glen, NY/Charles Dickerson HS) was 49th (22:55) and senior Eva Kort (Colorado Springs, CO/Thomas Doherty HS) 72nd (23:22) to round out Calvin’s finishers.
“We had a terrific performance,” said Calvin head cross country Brian Diemer. “I am extremely proud of the way our runners stepped up, shook off some adversity from a few weeks ago and supported one another. Our pack up front was very impressive today and Jodi Hoekstra ran a fabulous race. We are excited about the national meet next week and hope to continue to build on this positive momentum.”
By finishing in the top 35, Hoekstra, Penning, Diemer and Oram were all named to the Great Lakes All-Region team.
Calvin captured its 16th consecutive Great Lakes Regional title including its 18th in the last 19 years with a convincing performance Saturday afternoon, taking five of the top 12 spots including six of the top 20. Calvin finished 62 points ahead of Wabash which placed second as a team with 100 points with Manchester third (197 points) and Ohio Wesleyan fourth (201 points).
Senior Dan Kerr (Petoskey/Petoskey HS) continued his strong campaign by finishing third in a time of 24:47 while junior Matt VanderRoest (Ann Arbor/Ann Arbor Huron HS) was close behind in fifth with a time of 24:52. Kevin McCarthy of Wabash was the regional champion with a blazing time of 24:31 while Makorobo Salukombo of Denison was second (24:44).
Junior Greg Whittle (Galesburg, IL/Galesburg HS) also had a strong race for the Knights, placing eighth (25:03) while junior David VandeBunte (Byron Center/Byron Center HS) was 10th (25:09) and senior Rhett Morici (St. Charles, IL/St. Charles North HS) 12th (25:21).
Senior Alex Wrobel (Arden Hills, MN/Moundsview HS) also had arguably his top race of the year, placing 20th in a time of 25:42 while junior Job Christiansen (New Ipswich, NH/Mascenic Regional HS) was 33rd (26:02).
“I was really encouraged by the performance of our guys today,” said Diemer. “Over the last few weeks, they have performed a high and consistent level and that was evident again today. Dan Kerr and Matt VanderRoest formed a great one-two punch up front for us and David VandeBunte, Greg Whittle and Rhett Morici also had big-time races. It was also great to see Alex Wrobel and Job Christiansen run as well as they did today. Both of those guys have battled injuries this fall and have perservered. When you have the back of your pack pushing the guys up front, it makes your team that much stronger. “
By finishing in the top 35, all seven Calvin finishers earn spots on the Great Lakes All-Region team.