Cross country teams sweep MIAA Jamboree
The Calvin College men’s cross country team came into the season unsure if they would be able to control the MIAA like they have in years past.
This year’s returners were left to carry the team through the MIAA after four All-Americans graduated last spring. With help from some talented freshmen, the Knights have met the high expectations.
At the MIAA meet this past Saturday at Adrian, Calvin scored 38 points to Hope’s 55 to take first place. The Knights put 10 runners in the top 17 of the race, showing the strength of Calvin’s pack.
With his first place finish with a time of 26:06, Zac Nowicki led the Knights for the second meet in a row. He beat second place finisher, Paul Lewis of Albion, by six seconds.
“It’s exciting to see Zac win as a freshman,” Coach Al Hoekstra said of Nowicki’s win. “In 28 years of coaching, I’ve never seen a Calvin freshman win an MIAA meet.” Following Nowicki was junior Jacob Kuyvenhoven, who took fifth with his time of 26:37. Freshman Nate VanHaitsma, senior Sam Kerk, junior Josh Ferguson and sophomores Jeff Meitler and Andre Otte rounded out the top seven.
“We have reloaded rather than needing to rebuild this year,” said Hoekstra. “We are starting to figure out how to run together and to trust each other which bodes well for the end of the season.”
Not to be outdone, the women dominated their meet as well by scoring a slim 19 points, 21 ahead of second place Hope. The women’s lead pack strung it out early and finished strong, placing five in the top six of the race.
This was very impressive considering that both teams brought back very similar squads from last fall when Hope took Calvin to the wire at the MIAA Championship meet.
“I was very happy with our pack controlling the race early and never letting a good Hope team back into it,” said Hoekstra. “There have been some issues with sickness and injury, but we stepped it up through the adversity and never looked back.”
Calvin was lead by senior Nicole Michmerhuizen who won in a time of 22:13, 47 seconds ahead of second place. When asked about Michmerhuizen’s performance, Hoekstra said, “She had a breakout today. She’s coming off of a calf injury from this summer and everything came together today. This is the Nicole of old — she’s back to being one of the top runners in the country.”
Behind Michmerhuizen, the Knights took places three through six with seniors Alyssa Oram and Rebekah Folkema and juniors Sarah Danner and Kimby Penning. Juniors Paige McGahan and Kate Ardinger were the sixth and seventh finishers for Calvin.
This weekend the two teams will be competing against some of the best teams from Division III at the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Ind. on Oct. 4.