Calvin Men’s Cross Country Takes 11th/Women Place 13th at NCAA III Championships
Provided by Calvin
WINNECONE, WISC. - The Calvin men’s and women’s cross country teams competed at the NCAA III Championships on Saturday at the Lake Breeze Golf Club with the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh serving as host. On the men’s side, Calvin took 11th in the 8K race with a team score of 352 points. On the women’s side, Calvin finished 13th in the 6K race with a team score of 399 points. Calvin produced three All-Americans on Saturday with senior Jodi Hoekstra (Homer Glen, IL/Chicago Christian HS) finishing 14th individually in the women’s race while senior Dan Kerr (Petoskey/Petoskey HS) was 21st and junior Matt VanderRoest (Ann Arbor/Ann Arbor Huron HS) 22nd in the men’s race.
Fourth-ranked Calvin came up short in its bid for a top-four team finish on Saturday as the Knights recorded a team score of 352 points. North Central (IL) captured the national title on Saturday with a team score of 110 points. Calvin did produce a pair of All-Americans as senior Dan Kerr was 21st in a time of 24:37 while junior Matt VanderRoest was 22nd in a time of 24:38.
Kerr and VanderRoest moved up together as the race progressed and finished almost side-by-side at the finish line.
Just over midway through the race, Calvin sat in strong position for a high team finish but the final half-mile proved to be the team’s undoing as the rest of Calvin’s pack slipped back, unable to close with a strong final burst.
Rounding out Calvin’s finishers were junior Greg Whittle (Galesburg, IL/Galesburg HS) in 112th place (25:22), junior David VandeBunte (Byron Center/Byron Center HS) in 136th place (25:31), senior Rhett Morici (St. Charles, IL/St. Charles North HS) in 180th (25:46), junior Job Christiansen (New Ipswich, NH/Mascenic Regional HS) in 190th (25:54) and senior Alex Wrobel (Arden Hills, MN/Mounds View HS) in 191st (25:54).
“I first want to congratulate Dan Kerr and Matt VanderRoest,” said Calvin head cross country Brian Diemer. “Dan has come so far during his Calvin career and for him to run the way he did today was amazing. Matt VanderRoest just battled today and fought his way up through the pack. He was tremendous.”
As for the team finish, Diemer commented: “Through three miles, we were in great position. We had a nice pack behind our front-runners and we were in contention for a high team finish. We just couldn’t sustain the pace and our guys lost sight of each other. We had higher hopes obviously but we’ll use this as a learning experience.”
Closing out his Calvin career on Saturday was Wrobel. Kerr and Morici are both expected back next fall as they have another year of cross country eligibility.
Claiming the men’s individual title on Saturday was Ben Sathre of St. Thomas with a time of 23:44.
WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
Senior Jodi Hoekstra had perhaps the finest race of her collegiate cross country career on Saturday in gaining All-America honors with a 14th place individual finish on Saturday with a time of 21:24. Hoekstra maintained contact with the lead pack throughout the race and gained five places in the final 400 meters of the race. Her finish is the best individual effort by a Calvin women’s cross country runner at the national meet since Christina Overbeck finished sixth at the 2006 national meet.
Ranked sixth nationally entering the race, Calvin placed three runners in the top 100 but could not pack in enough runners for a higher team spot as Washington University (Mo.) captured its first-ever national title in women’s cross country, finishing with a team score of 70 points.
Rounding out Calvin’s finishers were senior Kaitlin Diemer (Caledonia/South Christian HS) in 63rd (22:03), junior Alyssa Penning (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) in 99th (22:17), freshman Sarah Danner (Watkins Glen, NY/Charles Dickerson HS) in 188th (22:57), senior Eva Kort (Colorado Springs, CO/Thomas Doherty HS) in 193rd (22:59), sophomore Alyssa Oram (Cheboygan/Home Schooled) in 234th (23:26) and sophomore Nicole Michmerhuizen (Holland/Holland Christian HS) in 266th (24:19).
“It was a tough race and we struggled to run together,” said Calvin head cross country coach Brian Diemer. “In a national race, if you get strung out, it can make things very difficult and I think we found that out a bit today. I do want to congratulate Jodi Hoekstra though for a wonderful performance. To finish in the top 15 of the nation is an incredible accomplishment.”
Hoekstra closed out her Calvin cross country career on Saturday along with Kaitlin Diemer and Eva Kort.
Claiming the women’s individual national title on Saturday was Chiara Del Piccolo of Williams with a time of 20:52.