Hope College - Women Posts Fifth Top-10 Finish at NCAA Championships

Hope College - Women Posts Fifth Top-10 Finish at NCAA Championships

Provided by Hope

The Hope College women's cross country team matched its third-highest finish at the NCAA Division III Championships with a 10th-place effort on Saturday in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association champion Flying Dutch scored 376 points for the fifth Top-10 finish at nationals in team history.

Hope finished fourth at nationals in 1993, ninth in 2013 and 1987 and 10th in 2012.

"It's just an amazing experience to have it all come together today after the work everyone has put in this year," senior Jessica Gaines of Sterling Heights, Michigan (Utica Academy) said.

Hope coach Mark Northuis was thrilled the Flying Dutch exceeded their place of 21st in the latest United States Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association rankings.

"To come in like that is phenomenal. The ladies really raced," Northuis said. "The pack made a huge difference this year. We were determined to not get behind like we did last year. That's what we've been focusing on this year."

Senior Erin Herrmann of Wheaton, Illinois (Warrenville South HS) led Hope by clocking a fourth-place time of 20 minutes, 51.1 seconds on the 6K course at Sawyer State Park. The field had 280 runners.

Herrmann matched Marcia Vandersall's 1992 fourth-place finish for the best finish at nationals by a Flying Dutch runner.

Senior Emily Joosse of Chillicothe, Ohio (Zane Trace) was Hope's next best runner in 134th at 22:10.7.

Sophomore Avery Lowe of North Muskegon, Michigan (North Muskegon) placed 137th at 22:11.9.

Gaines finished 146th at 22:16.4.

Freshman Kelly Peregrine of Traverse City, Michigan (Central) rounded out Hope's scoring in 149th at 22:17.6.

Others placing for the Flying Dutch were junior Alissa Frazee of Watervliet, Michigan (Homeschool) in 166th at 22:22.7 and freshman Emily Hamilton in 201st at 22:36.6.

"Running as a pack, finding our teammates and sticking together is one of our goals every meet," Gaines said. "It's something we do really well sometimes. We definitely did it today. Just having the team around us definitely helped me. I think it helped everyone else, too."

Herrmann was a freshman on the 2013 team that finished ninth at nationals. To add a second Top 10 finish is absolutely incredible, she said.

"It's so exciting we did it," Herrmann said. "We knew that we had it within us. We knew we were better than the national ranking. To be able to prove that we were able to do it is amazing. It's truly an honor to be part of that history at Hope."