Cross country finishes first and third at invitational
The men’s and women’s cross country teams got their first true test of the season this past weekend at their home invitational. Twenty-seven teams arrived early Saturday morning on a day that offered a refreshing break from the midweek heat.
The women kicked off the morning by placing first, putting four runners in the top 10 overall and seven in the top 20. The individual title went to freshman Cassie Vince, who has been the top finisher for the Knights in both of their races so far this year.
Vince pulled away from the rest of the field with a time of 17:40.2, 13 seconds in front of the second place finisher. Senior Nicole Michmerhuizen ran 18:08.2, taking a solid fifth place. Seniors Alyssa Oram and Rebekah Folkema and juniors Kimby Penning, Sara Danner and Lizzie Vanette rounded out the top seven.
“I’m really excited about the prospects that we have this year. An experienced front runner in Nicole, a very talented freshman in Cassie and a chase pack that is extremely mature and desires to work together to finish off races and the season,” said coach Brian Diemer after the race. “This team is on a journey and is going great places.”
The men came into Saturday’s race with a lot of questions needing to be answered. Losing six of last year’s top seven and bringing in many talented freshmen, it was uncertain how the young team would handle this first challenge. Despite the uncertainty, they took a good first step, finishing third behind St. Francis (Ill.) and Aquinas.
Freshman Zac Nowicki lead the way with his seventh place finish in a time of 25:15.3. Following him was a pack made up of juniors Josh Ferguson and Jacob Kuyvenhoven, seniors Phil Spitzer and Sam Kerk and freshmen Jonathan Schaap and Nate Vanhaitsma, all separated by a mere 12 seconds.
When asked how he thought the team performed, Diemer said, “They showed a lot of promise, a lot of excitement. You have to be patient with a young team with so much energy. We have come together, but a lot of work still needs to be done to blend this team. Development is going to be key.”
The next big date for the Knights is Sept. 28 when Adrian will host the MIAA Jamboree. Both sides are looking strong early and will be favorites to win the conference. When asked about looking forward to the rest of the season, Diemer said, “It’s going to be a fun year.”