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2008 Calvin Men’s Cross Country Preview

Friday, August 22, 2008

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The Calvin men’s cross country team will seek to keep a pair of notable streaks alive. Heading into the 2008 campaign, the Knights have captured 21 consecutive MIAA titles. The streak is the second longest active championship streak in MIAA history. The Knights have also garnered 10 consecutive top four national finishes beginning with a national runner-up berth in 1998 and later including national titles in 2000, 2003, 2004 & 2006. Last year, Calvin entered the NCAA III Cross Country Championships ranked number-one but finished fourth at the national meet.

Calvin’s 2008 team will be a veteran squad with nine seniors dotting the roster including three with All-America credentials. The most notable veteran is senior Jed Christiansen (Greenville, PA/Greenville HS) who heads into the 2008 season as a three-time NCAA III Cross Country All-American, having finished 34th in 2005, fifth in 2006 and 33rd in 2007. Christiansen will be bidding to join a group of four-time NCAA III All-Americans that currently includes just 13 individuals. Christiansen was the Division III Great Lakes Regional Male Runner of the Year. Christiansen also had a stellar outdoor track and field campaign, capturing an MIAA title in the 5,000 meters and then landing an All-America berth with a fifth place in the 10,000 meters at the 2008 NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Senior Erik VanKampen (Elmhurst, IL/Timothy Christian HS) heads into his final collegiate campaign as a two-time NCAA III Cross Country All-American, finishing 17th at the 2006 NCAA III Championships and 35th in 2007. VanKampen is a two-time All-MIAA selection and a two-time Great Lakes All-Region choice. He was also a provisional qualifier for the 2008 NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the 10,000 meter run. Senior Nate DeHaan (Byron Center/South Christian HS) is another two-time first team All-MIAA selection and a two-time Great Lakes All-Regional pick. DeHaan was an NCAA III Cross Country All-American in 2006, finishing 31st at the national meet. DeHaan was also a national qualifier for the 2008 NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the 3,000 meter steeplechase.

Also returning from Calvin’s top seven from a year ago are seniors Dan VandenAkker (Grand Rapids, South Christian HS) and Tim Langenberg (Grand Ledge/Grand Ledge HS). In addition, senior Andrew Stutzman (Kutztown, PA/Kutztown HS) returns after serving as Calvin’s alternate at the 2007 national meet.  VandenAkker and Stutzman were both first team All-MIAA selections in 2007 in cross country while VandenAkker and Langenberg were also Great Lakes All-Region choices. In addition, VandenAkker was a provisional qualifier for the 2008 NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the 3,000 meter steeplechase.

Also filling out the senior class are Brian Odegaard (Stillwater, MN/Stillwater Area HS), Matt Logan (Fort Wayne, IN/Concordia Lutheran HS) and Sawyer Koops (Dolores, CO/Lexington Christian HS).

Other key veterans include juniors George Visser (Winfield, IL/West Chicago HS), Kyle Mast (Holland/Holland Christian HS), Aaron Goodman (Milwaukee, WI/Milwaukee Lutheran HS) and Dave Jaeger (Winfield, IL/St. Francis HS). Visser was ninth at the 2007 MIAA Cross Country Championships while Goodman was 11th.  During the 2008 outdoor track and field season, Visser was a provisional qualifier for the national meet in the 3,000 meter steeplechase.

Notables in the sophomore class include Jake Christiansen (New Ipswich, NH/Mascnenic Regional HS), Dakota Rees (Kittery Pointe, ME/Robert Traip Academy) and Alex Wrobel (Arden Hill, MN/Mound View HS). Other returning runners include juniors Josh Orndorff (Huron, OH/Huron HS) and Ben VanWyk (Elk Rapids/Elk Rapids HS) and sophomores Jake Baker (Grand Rapids/South Christian HS), Nick Schuck (Niles/Niles HS) and Dave VanderLaan (Normal, IL/Normal Community HS).

Calvin will again open its season by hosting its own Calvin Invitational on September 20. The Knights will also compete at invitationals hosted by Notre Dame (October 3) and Wisconsin-Oshkosh (October 18) while also competing at the Michigan Intercollegiates October 10 with Oakland University serving as host. The MIAA jamboree is slated to be held on September 26 at Saint Mary’s College with the MIAA Championships scheduled to be held at Kalamazoo College on November 1. The NCAA III Great Lakes Regional will be hosted by Otterbein College (OH) on November 15 with the NCAA III Championships scheduled to be held November 22 at Hanover College (IN). Calvin will be bidding to make its 16th consecutive trip to the NCAA III Championships.

CALVIN MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY NATIONAL FINISHES SINCE 1998

1998 (2nd place)
1999 (4th place)
2000 (1st place)
2001 (2nd place)
2002 (2nd place)
2003 (1st place)
2004 (1st place)
2005 (2nd place)
2006 (1st place)
2007 (4th place)

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