Calvin Men's Track and Field Team Claims Fourth Straight MIAA Title

Calvin Men's Track and Field Team Claims Fourth Straight MIAA Title

Provided by Calvin

OLIVET, Mich. - The Calvin men's track and field team claimed its 22nd MIAA title in the last 23 years in grand style on Friday at the MIAA Track and Field Championships at Olivet College.

Calvin posted a first place score of 232.5 points, finishing 72.5 points ahead of second place Hope.

The MIAA title is Calvin's 28th in the last 30 years including its league-leading 41st overall.

Calvin took first place in four events but flashed stellar depth throughout the day to pull away for the win.

Sophomore Ethan Valentine (Mason, Oh./William Mason HS) had a historic day for the Knights, winning the 400 meters in a school and MIAA record time of 47.32. The time places Valentine second on the current NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field performance list. It shattered the previous Calvin record of 47.46 set by legendary Calvin track and field athlete Phil Sikkenga in 2001. It also surpasses the MIAA record of 47.97 set by Tyler Bourdo of Trine in 2013.

Valentine's day was far from over however after winning the 400 meters in record fashion. He continued on to place second in the 200 meters in a time of 22.31.

Less than an hour later, he put together an anchor leg in the 4x400 meter relay that will echo through the ages of Calvin track and field. With a lineup featuring three sophomores and one freshman, Calvin's 4x400 meter relay entered the race seeded fourth. Sophomore Marcus James (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) opened the relay with a strong start that left the Knights fighting for third. Freshman James Jeninga (Brookfield, Wisc./Milwaukee Lutheran HS) kept the relay running right behind Adrian's third place squad and sophomore Noah Buteyn (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) took the handoff from Jeninga and quickly moved into third. Heading into the final leg, Calvin remained in third behind teams from Trine and Hope. Buteyn finished his leg with a handoff to Valentine who began nearly 20 meters behind the relay teams from Trine and Hope. Chewing up the track, Valentine dug into the deficit and caught the team from Trine at the final turn. With the crowd screaming, Valentine caught the Hope anchor leg with 25 meters to go. Running step-by-step, the two rivals jostled for the win. With a final lean at the line, Valentined nipped the Hope anchor leg for the win, as the Knight relay clocked in with a time of 3:18.33, eight-hundreths of a second ahead of Hope's team.

Valentine's final split came in at at a blazing 46.70 seconds.

"It was an absolute amazing race, certainly a race that no-one will forget who watched it in person," said Calvin head track and field coach Bret Otte. "That race was emblamatic of the fight and spirit that our team had over the two days of competition. Our guys just raised each other up time and time again. I am just tremendously proud of my team."

Calvin sealed the team championship in the 5,000 meter run as the Knights took the top four spots led by junior Zach Nowicki (Comstock Park/Calvin Christian HS) who won the race with a time of 15:00.90. Sophomore Andrew Philipose (Mount Prospect, Il./John Hersey HS) was second (15:17.86), senior Ethan Anderson (Stillwater, MN/Stillwater Area HS) third (15:38.32) and freshman Jamison Koeman (Whitinsville, Mass./Whitinsville Christian HS) fourth (15:41.51).

In the 1500 meters, senior Jeff Meitler (New Berlin, Wisc./Milwaukee Lutheran HS) took home a win in a time of 3:59.18. Junior Nathan VanHaitsma (Olympia, Wash./Olympia HS) was third (4:03.80) and senior Matt Oram (Toledo, Oh./Toledo Christian HS) fourth (4:04.68).

Calvin went 2-4-6 in the steeplechase with senior Bret Habura (Washingtonville, NY/Washingtonville HS) taking second in 9:39.24, senior Andre Otte (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) placing fourth (9:39.91) and sophomore Matthew Boelens (Bolton, Mass./Nashoba Regional HS) sixth (9:47.63).

In the 110 high hurdles, Calvin had three individuals scoring led by sophomore Chase Rohrer (Ludington/Ludington HS) who placed fourth (16.09), sophomore Jeremiah Stout (Escondido, Ca./Escondido Calvin Christian HS) placing sixth (16.20) and freshman Alex Williams (Mequon, Wisc./Homestead HS) placing eighth (16.42).

Rohrer achieved a career-best time of 55.25 in the 400 meter hurdles that was good for second place. Senior Joel Ooms (DeMotte, Ind./Illiana Christian HS) was third in a career-best time of 56.34.

James added a sixth place time of 50.57 in the 400 meters. Jeninga placed second in the 800 meters (1:57.12) while sophomore Hendrik VerMeulen (Bright's Grove, Ont./St. Patrick's Secondary School) was seventh (1:59.04).

In the field events, junior Jeiel Burrell (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) was third in the high jump (6-2 3/4) and freshman Lee Barents (Redlands, Ca./Arrowhead Christian Academy) third in the triple jump (43-8 1/2).

Calvin scored twice in the discus with freshman Brendan VanHouten (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) placing third (140-6) and senior Eric Jipping (Canton/Plymouth Christian HS) taking eighth (126-9).

Senior David Dadzie (Accra, Ghana/Ghana International School) was second in the hammer throw (157-8) while VanHouten was eighth (130-10).