2011 Calvin Women’s Cross Country Outlook
Saturday, August 20, 2011
With a powerful one-two punch up front, a solid nucleus of returning veterans and a strong incoming freshmen class, the Calvin women’s cross country team will look to improve upon a 2010 season that included MIAA and Great Lakes Regional crowns as well as a ninth place finish at the NCAA III Championships.
Calvin returns 17 letterwinners from last year’s team including five that received either first or second team All-MIAA recognition.
Senior Jodi Hoekstra (Homer Glen, IL/Chicago Christian HS) and junior Alyssa Penning (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) were both named to the All-MIAA first team last year. Together, they formed a dynamic one-two punch up front last fall as Hoekstra was first and Penning second at the 2010 MIAA Cross Country Championships. Hoekststra later took fourth and Penning ninth at the Great Lakes Regional meet at Hope College to earn spot on the Great Lakes All-Region team. They both nearly claimed All-America status the following week, just missing top-35 finishes as Hoekstra was 43rd and Penning 45th at the NCAA III Cross Country Championships.
A two-time first team All-MIAA honoree in cross country, Hoekstra was named the 2010 MIAA Cross Country MVP. During the 2011 outdoor track and field season, she captured an MIAA title in the 3,000 meter steeplechase and later qualified for the NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the 5,000 meter run, placing 21st.
Penning missed most of the 2011 outdoor track and field season studying overseas but returned in time to qualify for the NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships in improbable fashion, recording a national qualifying time in the 3,000 meter steeplechase just days after returning from Europe. She later finished 14th in the event at the national meet.
Penning and Hoekstra are part of five returning individuals that ran for Calvin both at the 2010 Great Lakes Regional and NCAA III Cross Country Championships. The other three individuals include seniors Samanatha Westveer (Kentwood/East Kentwood HS), Kaitlin Diemer (Caledonia/South Christian HS) and freshman Alyssa Oram (Cheboygan/Home Schooled). Westveer, Diemer and Oram were all members of the 2010 All-MIAA second team and also of the 2010 Great Lakes All-Region squad.
Westveer was 11th at the MIAA Cross Country Championships and 24th at the Great Lakes Regional meet. During the spring, she was the MIAA champion in the 10,000 meters and recorded an NCAA III provisional qualifying time in the event.
Diemer was 17th at the MIAA Cross Country Championships and 22nd at the Great Lakes Regional meet last fall. During the spring, she claimed the MIAA title in the 1,500 meter run.
Oram had a big freshman campaign in cross country, recording a clutch finish at the 2010 MIAA Cross Country Championships by finishing 15th individually while also serving as Calvin’s all-important fifth runner. Her finish allowed Calvin to nip rival Hope by two points for the league title in the closest finish in MIAA Women’s Cross Country Championships history. It also allowed Calvin to capture its sixth consecutive MIAA title including its league-leading 22nd overall. At the Great Lakes Regional meet, she was 34th individually. During the spring, she was fourth in the 3,000 meter steeplechase at the MIAA Track and Field Championships.
Other returning letterwinners include seniors Sarah Fennema (Brookfield, WI/Milwaukee Lutheran HS), Eva Kort (Colorado Springs, CO/Doherty HS) and Kristin VanKampen (Elmhurst, IL/Timothy Christian HS); juniors Kaylea Brase (Lino Lakes, MN/Centennial HS), Christine Hartley (Pewaukee, WI/Lake Country Lutheran HS), Hannah Kregel (Iowa City, IA/Iowa City HS) and sophomores Margeaux Cater (Yellow Jacket, CO/Montezuma-Cortez HS), Olivia Cordes (Three Rivers/Home Schooled), Rebekah Folkema (Renfrew, ON/Home Schooled), Nicole Michmerhuizen (Holland/Holland Christian HS) and Devin VanDoornik (Zeeland/Zeeland East HS).
Kort was 20th and Hartley 24th at the 2010 MIAA Cross Country Championships while Kort also recorded a second place finish in the 10,000 meters at the 2011 MIAA Track and field Championships. Michmerhuizen also came on strong during the track and field season, breaking 39 minutes in the 10,000 meters at the MIAA Championships while finishing in fourth place. She also came back less than 24 hours later to finish sixth in the 5,000 meters at the conference meet.
Calvin also brings in a talented freshmen class with a number of individuals expected to provide depth and support in the Knight lineup.
Calvin will again open its season by hosting its own Knight Invitational at the Gainey Athletics Complex. The 2011 Knight Invitational is scheduled to be held on September 17. Calvin will open its conference season on September 24, competing at the MIAA Jamboree hosted by Trine University with the MIAA Championships slated to be held on October 29 at Alma College. Calvin will be one of two MIAA teams that competed at the 2010 NCAA III Cross Country Championships as Hope earned a bid to the national meet and earned a top-25 national ranking.
Other non-conference meets for Calvin include the prestigious Notre Dame Invitational on September 30, the Michigan Intercollegiates on October 7 with Hillsdale College serving as host and the Wisconsin-Oshkosh Brooks Invitational on October 15. The invitational at Wisconsin-Oshkosh will hopefully give Calvin a sneak preview of the NCAA III Championships as the course will also be the site of the national meet on November 19. In order to qualify for the national meet, Calvin will need to finish in the top-two team spots at the Great Lakes Regional Championships, slated for November 12 at Oberlin College, just south of Cleveland, Ohio.