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Running: 'a celebration of God's gifts'
By Abe Huyser-Honig
Keith Van Goor - click photo to enlarge image
Keith Van Goor

The 4x400 meter relay has a special aura about it. As the last event of a meet, a lot rides on the performance of this team-within-a-team, and perhaps because of this the members of the "four-by-four" become a particularly close-knit group.

"I like being on the relays a whole lot more [than individual events]; there's always this sense of camaraderie," says track team captain and 4x400 member Keith Van Goor, who also runs the open 400 meters and 200 meters. He's been a cornerstone of the relay for the last four years, contributing to three All-American finishes and a school record (3:09.85). "When you all equally need each other to run well, we all run to our potential. If you compare our relay splits to our open times, it's pretty evident."

Although this year's 4x400 team was dogged by the lack of a definite fourth member, Van Goor says the leadership position he found himself in with former teammates Phil Sikkenga and Eric Hansen graduated helped his performance. Although his times did not improve dramatically, he says the added responsibility helped him run well with much more consistency.

For Van Goor, of Midland Park, N.J., "running is a celebration of the gift God has given you." It's also given him a chance to celebrate others: "going out with guys on the track team and feeling like we were more than athletes together, that we were actually bonding and becoming friends."

One of Van Goor's favorite memories is of the MIAA finals at Alma his freshman year. "I finished [the 400 open] about the same distance behind Jay Lumkes as ever, so I was disappointed about not running faster," he recalls. Moments later when it was announced that Lumkes had set a new MIAA record and Van Goor had run an amazing personal best of 48.6. Throwing coach Norm Zylstra was so excited that he grabbed Van Goor and kissed him on the head.

A three-time member of the All-MIAA track and field team, VanGoor also added an individual All-America berth to his mantle this spring as he placed seventh in the 200 meters at the NCAA III Championships in St. Paul, Minn. VanGoor's All-America finish played a key part in Calvin achieving a national runner-up team finish with 41 points.

Off the track Van Goor, a music education major, has been a member of Calvin's Capella Choir, Campus Choir and Meistersingers and the choir at Mayflower Congregational Church. His sophomore year he was also an RA, a job he says was "ten times more time-consuming than I thought it would be."

Although he's used up his four years of athletic eligibility, Van Goor has a year left at Calvin to finish classes and student teaching.

Men's Track & Field

Verizon Academic All-Americans
Joel Klooster, Dan Hoekstra, David Ritsema

NCAA Finals
Best-ever finish


MIAA Track & Field

 

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