Calvin Women's Cross Country Captures D3 Great Lakes Regional Title
Provided by Calvin
By Jeffery Febus
KENTWOOD, Mich. - The fifth-ranked Calvin women’s cross country team left nothing to chance on Saturday, capturing the Great Lakes Regional title on its home course with a team score of 54 points.
By finishing first, the Knights receive an automatic trip to the NCAA III Championships next Saturday at Hanover College (Ind.).
A year ago, Calvin finished third at the regional meet and was forced to wait 24 hours to find out it had receive an at-large bid to the national meet.
On Saturday, Calvin nabbed one of two automatic berths to the national meet by placing four runners in the top 14 and five in the top 25. Oberlin College, ranked 11th nationally, nabbed the other automatic national spot by placing second with 104 points, one point ahead of third place Hope which entered the meet ranked 18th nationally.
The Knights were led by the one-two punch up front of freshman Cassie Vince (Amherst, OH/Amherst HS) and senior Nicole Michmerhuizen (Holland/Holland Christian HS) as Vince captured the regional title with a time of 21:27 while Michmerhuizen was fourth in a time of 21:44. Vince captured the regional title by a 14 second margin, finishing well ahead of Emma Lehmann of Oberlin who took second. Lehmann was one of three Oberlin runners to place in the top 11. Hope’s top finish was Meredith Busman who placed 15th in a time of 22:17.
Vince is the first Great Lakes Regional champion from Calvin since Jessie Lair accomplished the feat in 2003. She is the sixth individual from Calvin to do so overall, joining Lair, Amy Mizzone (1998, 1999), Betsy Haverkamp (1996), Renea Bluekamp (1993) and Laura Vroon (1983).
Rounding out Calvin’s top five were junior Kimby Penning (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) in 12th (22:11), senior Alyssa Oram (Chebogyan/Home Schooled) in 14th (22:14) and senior Rebekah Folkema (Renfrew, ON/Renfrew Collegiate Institute) in 27th (22:39).
By finishing in the top-35, Vince, Michmerhuizen, Penning, Oram and Folkema all receive Great Lakes All-Region honors.
Calvin junior Sarah Danner (Watkins Glen, NY/Charles Dickerson HS) just missed all-region honors, finishing 40th in a time of 22:56 while junior Kate Ardinger (Elmhurst, IL/Timothy Christian HS) was close behind in 44th (23:04).
“We had a really outstanding performance,” said Calvin head cross country coach Brian Diemer. “This team has battled through injuries and illness and still found a way to compete at a high level. Cassie Vince was terrific and I thought Nicole Michmerhuizen ran her best race of the season. Kimby Penning was outstanding again as was Alyssa Oram and Rebekah Folkema. Sarah Danner and Kate Ardinger also gave our team solid depth.”
According to Diemer, the Knights are are also excited about making their 24th appearance at the NCAA III Championships which ranks third all-time in NCAA III women’s cross ocuntry history. “We are excited to be going back to nationals,” said Diemer. “This team continues to improve and we are looking forward to seeing what we can do next Saturday.”