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Cross country places second at Michigan Intercollegiates

Job Christenson took sixth place on Friday. Photo by Jess Koster
Job Christenson took sixth place on Friday. Photo by Jess Koster

It was a blustery day on Calvin’s Gainey cross country course Friday afternoon at the Michigan Intercollegiate Invitational.  Both the men and women placed second in their respective races against the college teams in Michigan.

On the men’s side, senior Job Christianson took sixth place and was the first Calvin finisher in 24:58.9. Coming in right behind him in seventh was senior David Vande Bunte in 25:00.4. In 14th place was senior Rhett Morici, finishing in 25:22.5. Sophomore Steven Haagsma had another breakout race finishing 22nd and running a personal best of 25:32.8, while junior Sam Kerk came in 24th with a time of 25:36.4. Josh Ferguson finished in 31st at 25:47.5 and junior Philip Spitzer in 33rd at 25:54.7 to round out the top seven.

In the absence of four of Calvin’s top runners, Spitzer, Haagsma and Vande Bunte all put in superior efforts, each of them crossing the line about 30 seconds faster than in the Knight invite on the same course a month earlier.

They set the tone for the rest of the Knights, as over half of the team set personal records highlighted by the performances of freshman Seth Borchardt and senior Alex VanHaitsma. Both runners finished over 45 seconds faster than their times at the Knight invite.

The men were second among 21 complete teams racing. Division II powerhouse Grand Valley State took first.

“Both of the races are set up races for next week [UW-Oshkosh],” said head coach Brian Diemer. We tried to run a little bit more conservative and stick with our packs a little bit longer. We wanted to move in the middle of the race, and our guys did that very well. We gave specific duties to the packs, and for the most part, we accomplished a lot of what we set out to do. David Vande Bunte came through huge.”

The women were also without their top two runners, but they put in a solid performance as well.  Leading the charge was sophomore Kimby Penning, who earned a 10th place finish in 18:03.9. Just behind her in 11th was sophomore Lizzy Vannette who finished in 18:04.6. Freshman McKenzie Diemer was next across the line in 14th place with a time of 18:07.5.

Senior Christine Hartley finished 19th with a time of 18:13.9 while junior Alyssa Oram finished 20th in 18:16.5. Finishing in 24th and Calvin’s sixth spot was senior Kaylea Brase in 18:40.5. Sophomore Sarah Danner had a 31st place finish in 18:49.7, completing the Knights’ top seven.

The women’s team placed second among the 19 complete teams competing. Grand Valley State took first.
“The women performed very well,” said Diemer. “Kimby Penning ran a fantastic race and Lizzy Vannette really showed up in a big way today. A huge improvement and a huge personal record [for Lizzy]. She showed that she could run with our main chase pack as we progress through the season.”

Next weekend the varsity teams will head out to the UW-Oshkosh Invitational to take on some of the top Division III competition in preparation for the nationals meet in November.

About the Author

Jeff Meitler

Jeff Meitler is a Chimes guest writer for the 2012-13 school year.

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