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Calvin Sports News
  Calvin women repeat as national champs
By Jeff Febus
 

The Calvin women's cross country team could not have picked a better time to run its best race of the season.

In a dominating performance, Calvin claimed its second consecutive national championship with a first place total of 85 points at the NCAA III Championships in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Calvin's point total was 39 points better than its national championship score of a year ago and was 34 points better than second place Middlebury of Vermont. With this national championship, Calvin becomes the third team in MIAA history to repeat as a national champion. Kalamazoo accomplished the feat in men's tennis in 1986 and 1987 and in 1992 and 1993.

Ranked number one in the country heading into the race, the Knights were paced by three All-America performances as senior Amy Mizzone (Wayne, N.J.) was sixth with a time of 17:11; senior Lisa Timmer (Ann Arbor, Mich.) 12th in 17:20 and senior Liz Kuipers (Sarnia, Ont.) 29th in 17:37. The top 35 finishers at nationals are All-Americans. Mizzone's All-America performance was the second of her career and her sixth-place finish was the fourth-best in MIAA and the third-best in Calvin women's cross country history. Timmer earned All-America accolades in cross country for the third time in her career with her performance while Kuipers received All-America citations for the first time in her career. The Calvin has now posted 19 All-America performances in the history of its women's cross country program.

The Calvin women placed five of its runners in the top-50 as senior Sarah Gritter (Wauwatosa, Wis.) was 49th in 17:48 and sophomore Erinn Boot (Kalamazoo, Mich.) 50th in 17:49. Junior Rashel Bayes (Sparta, Mich.) was Calvin's sixth runner with a time of 18:18 while sophomore Lindsay Carrier (Grand Rapids) rounded out Calvin's finishers as she was seventh in 18:38.

"Our team ran beyond my expectations today. They had a phenomenal performance," said Calvin women's cross country coach Nancy Meyer who was named National Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year. "I can't say enough about the leadership of our seniors. They had been there before and knew what they needed to do to prepare for a national race and I think that experience paid off."

Another key to Calvin's performance all year was its spiritual emphasis said Kuipers. "Our spiritual focus was such a huge part of our season," she said. "We focused completely on God and having him as the captain of our team. He led us to victory and we give all the glory to him."

For Timmer, closing out her collegiate cross country career with a national championship was a dream come true after struggling through mononucleosis during the track and field season last spring. "It's been a long hard journey but it's also a dream come true," said Timmer. "This season has been amazing not only for myself but for the entire team. To go out this way as seniors is incredible."

A fifth-year senior, Mizzone has also struggled through injuries during her collegiate career including a stress fracture during her junior season that caused her to miss the entire 1997 cross country season. Her injury would turn out to be a blessing in disguise. "It was so disappointing to sit out the season with a stress fracture," said Mizzone. "When I think back on it now I am so thankful because I got to come back this year and be a part of this team."

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