Nicole Michmerhuizen Captures National Title in Women’s 10,000 Meters at NCAA III Championships
Thursday, May 23, 2013
(Photos by Mark Dannenhauer)
LA CROSSE, WISC. - The Calvin men’s and women’s track and field teams produced a dynamic first day of competition at the NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Thursday.
Junior Nicole Michmerhuizen (Holland/Holland Christian HS) highlighted the day by winning the national title in the 10,000 meters. Calvin also produced a pair of All-America performances in the men’s 10,000 meters as seniors Dan Kerr (Petoskey, Mich.) and Matt Vander Roest (Ann Arbor/Ann Arbor Huron HS) were third and eighth respectively. In addition, senior Greg Whittle advanced to the the finals in the men’s 1,500 meters while senior Alyssa Penning (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) did the same in the women’s 3,000 meter steeplechase.
The title by Michmerhuizen was the 12th individual national title in outdoor track and field by a Calvin women’s track and field athlete. Michmerhuizen is the first to do so in the 10,000 meters however and she did so with vigor Thursday evening as she led from start-to-finish.
With the early lead, Michmerhuizen ran at the lead pack of a trio of runners for nearly two-thirds of the race but then put the hammer down with just under six laps to go, allowing her to widen the gap on the field.
Michmerhuizen finished in a time of 35:45.08, more than six seconds ahead of her nearest competitor.
“The game plan from my coaches was to be patient and then make a move at about the 1,200 meter mark,” said Michmerhuizen. “I felt good but I also felt nervous throughout the race, particularly because of what had happened at the indoor national meet.”
Michmerhuizen was the national runner-up in the women’s 5,000 meters at the NCAA III Indoor Track and Field Championships this past March. In that race Michmerhuizen led until the final 60 meters when she was caught from behind by Christy Cazzola of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and was nipped for the national title by a half-second.
“I feel very blessed to have won (the national title),” said Michmerhuizen. “I have had such great support from my coaches, teammates, family and friends. I could not have done this without them.”
According to Calvin distance coach Brian Diemer, Michmerhuizen’s race was the culmination of hard work. “Nicole has worked extremely hard for this moment,” said Diemer. “A year ago she was 20th in this race and tonight she’s a national champion. Her race was a battle of wills and when it came right down to it, she just wanted it more than anyone else.”
Al Hoekstra - Calvin’s co-distance coach in track and field - stated that Michmerhuizen overcame obstacles to win the title. “Nicole came in as the top seed and she was fighting a cold that has been with her for a week,” said Hoekstra. “In a sense, the deck was stacked against her, particularly at a national meet where little things become magnified but she refused to let those things get in her way. We are so proud of Nicole and the way she competed this evening.”
Of note, Michmerhuizen’s national title came on the same track that Calvin standout Betsy Haverkamp captured the women’s 3,000 meter (open) national title in 1997. The 3,000 meters has since been replaced by the women’s 3,000 meter steeplechase.
On the men’s side, Kerr recorded the top finish of his distance running career with a third place time of 29:58.90 in the men’s 10K, improving upon his fifth place finish in the event a year ago. Vander Roest meanwhile grabbed an All-America berth as well by placing eighth in a time of 30:09.49, marking the fifth time that Calvin has had two All-Americans in the men’s 10,000 meters in the same year. It also marked the 18th and 19th All-America performances in the men’s 10,000 meters by Calvin.
“I am so proud of Dan and Matt tonight,” said Diemer. “Dan has been an inspiration to coach and Matt ran a very gutsy race and got himself up on the All-America podium.”
Hoekstra was also thrilled. “I think Dan Kerr came up with the best race of his distance career and he has had several amazing races for us,” said Hoekstra. “He conserved his energy perfectly and had an amazing finish to move into third place. Matt Vander Roest was also clutch tonight. He’s battled some injuries this year but he wanted to be an All-American real bad and I salute him for his effort tonight.”
After the 10,000 meter competition, Penning was able to place 11th in the prelims of the women’s steeplechase with a time of 10:46.67. She will run in Saturday’s finals. She was fifth a year ago for an All-America berth. Junior Alyssa Oram (Cheboygan/Home Schooled) also competed in the women’s steeplechase prelims but did not advance, finishing 20th in a time of 11:13.15.
In the men’s steeplechase prelims, sophomore Steven Haagsma (Grandville/Calvin Christian HS) competed but did not advance, finishing 18th in a time of 9:36.34.
Earlier in the day, Whittle advanced to the finals in the 1,500 meters for the third straight year, clocking in with the third-best time of the prelims (3:51.50). Junior Sam Kerk (Hartland, WI/Lake Country Lutheran HS) also competed in the 1,500 meter prelims but did not advance, finishing 15th in 3:54.66.
No Calvin athletes are scheduled to compete on Friday. In addition to Penning (steeplechase) and Whittle (1,500 meters), Kerk and Vander Roest will run in the men’s 5,000 meters and Michmerhuizen in the women’s 5,000 meters on Saturday.
CALVIN WOMEN’S OUTDOOR TRACK AND FIELD NATIONAL CHAMPIONS IN INDIVIDUAL EVENTS
1993 - Angie Feinauer - Long Jump
1996 - Holly Breuker - 400 meter hurdles
1997 - Betsy Haverkamp - 3,000 meters
1999 - Megan Pierce - 400 meters
2000 - Megan Pierce - 400 meters
2001 - Lindsay Mulder - Long Jump
2003 - Annie Vander Laan - Heptathlon
2006 - Christine Hendricks - Heptathlon
2008 - Sarah Wittingen - 400 meter hurdles
2010 - Rachel Boerner - 400 meters
2010 - Rachel Boerner - 400 meter hurdles
2013 - Nicole Michmerhuizen - 10,000 meters