Cross country teams advance to nationals
The women’s cross country team felt the need to take back the Great Lakes Regional title after giving it up to Hope last year. They did exactly that on Saturday at their home course scoring 54 points, 50 ahead of second place Oberlin and 51 ahead of third place Hope.
Freshman Cassie Vince, who led the team by winning the individual title said, “We needed to get the regional back. This sets us up well for nationals next week.”
The women have been favored to win the regional all season long, and they showed that they were the best team on the course Saturday. Vince’s victory was backed up by senior Nicole Michmerhuizen’s 4th place finish. Kimby Penning, Alyssa Oram and Rebekah Folkema finished 12th, 14th, and 27th to round out the top five. Sara Danner and Kate Ardinger were the final two finishers for Calvin.
Coach Brian Diemer expressed his pride in the team after the race. “Oram showed how mentally tough she is by running well after hardly running all week due to injuring her foot, and it was huge for Nicole to get into a groove today. Cassie ran a wise, well-executed race. She took it when she knew that she had the advantage.”
Vince made a move a little over halfway into the race that sealed her win. “I came out of the woods right in front of all of our fans and they gave me a lot of energy and confidence to make my move,” said Vince.
Ranked fifth in the nation, the Knights move on to the national meet on Nov. 23 in Hanover, Ind. They are looking for a top four finish, which would put them on the podium.
“Moving forward there are a few things to work on,” said Diemer, “but things are looking good.”
The men’s team finished second, 19 points behind Wabash. The top five for Calvin were Josh Ferguson, Zac Nowicki, Phillip Spitzer, Jeff Meitler and Sam Kerk, who all finished in the top 20 and within six seconds of each other. Sixth and seventh for the Knights were Steven Haagsma, who along with the top five received all-region honors, and Nate VanHaitsma.
The team was looking for their 18th straight regional title, but was beat by a good Wabash team who went into the meet tied with Calvin for first in the region.
“We got beat by a tough Wabash team. Hats off to them — they went out strong and we didn’t cover their pack soon enough to get back onto it,” said Diemer.
The men also qualified for the national meet and hope to finish in the top 10.
“The key is going to be making a move in the middle and sticking together,” said Ferguson. “It’s all a matter of us being willing to take a risk in the middle of the race and go for something great.”