Calvin Men's Cross Country Captures MIAA Jamboree at Kalamazoo
Provided by Calvin
KALAMAZOO - The 23rd-ranked Calvin men's cross country team pulled away for a convincing first place win at the MIAA Jamboree on Saturday morning in Kalamazoo, posting a first place team score of 29 points.
Calvin placed five runners in the top 11 including four in the top seven to seal the win.
Calvin sophomore Zac Nowicki (Comstock Park/Calvin Christian HS) was the race winner as he led from start-to-finish. Nowicki was challenged in the final 1000 meters by Adrian's Thomas Windle but used a strong kick down the final stretch to win by a 10-second margin with Nowicki clocking in at 25:35 and Windle at 25:45.
Freshman Andrew Rylaarsdam (Grandville/Calvin Christian HS) was Calvin's number-two finisher, placing fourth in a time of 26:20.
Junior Ethan Anderson (Stillwater, MN/Stillwater Area HS) was sixth in 26:26 and senior Steven Haagsma (Grandville/Calvin Christian HS) was seventh in 26:28. Junior Bret Habura (Washingtonville, NY/Washingtonville HS) was 11th in 26:35, junior Andre Otte (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) 13th (26:38) and junior Jonathan Gingrich (Powell, OH/Olentangy Liberty HS) was 14th (26:43) to round out Calvin's top seven.
"I thought Zac Nowicki took another step forward and ran a great race," said Calvin head cross country coach Brian Diemer. "This was not an easy course. It had two big hills and it made Zac and the rest of our guys dig deep. Zac was really pushed by Thomas Windle near the end and he responded very well. It's a good confidence booster for Zac and a race that he will learn from."
Diemer was also pleased with the break-out performance by Rylaarsdam. "Andrew ran a very strong race," said Diemer. "He has really come on and continues to impress. He has a lot of poentential and he showed that today."
According to Diemer, Saturday's race provided learning moments for the entire team. "This was a tough race and our pack got broken up some and at times, we had difficulty finding each other and we need to improve on that," said Diemer. "That's part of the learning process and I think our team will learn from today's race. The bottom line is that we took first place at our first conference race which was our immediate goal for today."
Calvin will now prepare to compete at the prestigious Notre Dame Invitational next Friday which will include several nationally-ranked teams from around the Midwest.
MIAA JAMBOREE MEN'S TEAM SCORES