2013 Calvin Women’s Cross Country Preview
Thursday, August 29, 2013
The Calvin women’s cross country team will head into the 2013 season with a sense of optimism as the Knights bring back a large group of returning letterwinners and a stellar incoming class of first-year runners.
The 2012 version of the Knights captured their seventh MIAA title in the last eight years and later qualified for the NCAA III Championships, finishing 18th as a team.
Head coach Brian Diemer thinks this year’s Calvin squad - ranked 11th in the Division III preseason Top 25 poll - has the capability of doing even more than last year’s team.
“We have high hopes and dreams for this year’s team,” said Diemer. “Remaining healthy is always a key component but I really like the way our team has come together. We have a strong group of veterans, some underclassmen who took big steps last spring and a very promising incoming freshmen class.”
The senior class is led by Nicole Michmerhuizen (Holland/Holland Christian HS) who is coming off a sensational junior running campaign. During the fall, she was the MIAA’s Most Valuable Runner after taking first place at both the MIAA Jamboree and MIAA Championships. She later placed fourth at the Great Lakes Regional meet and then finished 220th at the NCAA III Championships. Michmerhuizen then caught fire during both the indoor and outdoor track and field season, taking second in the 5,000 meters at the NCAA III Indoor Track and Field Championships and capturing the national title in the 10,000 meters at the NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships. She was also later named a Capital One Academic All-American for the second straight year.
Joining Michmerhuizen in the senior class are Alyssa Oram (Cheboygan/Home Schooled) Natalie Patterson (Richland/Gull Lake HS) and Margeaux Carter (Yellow Jackets, CO/Montezuma-Cortez). Oram was a first team All-MIAA selection in 2012 as well as a member of the Great Lakes All-Region team after finishing 12th at the Great Lakes Regional meet. She later finished 153rd at the NCAA III Championships.
Carter and Patterson meanwhile provide depth and experience.
The junior class includes a pair of 2012 All-MIAA selections in Kimby Penning (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) and Kate Ardinger (Elmhurst, IL/Timothy Christian HS). A first team All-MIAA choice last fall, Penning was seventh at the MIAA Championships and later represented Calvin at both the regional and national meets as she finished 36th at the regional meet and 149th at the NCAA III Championships. Ardinger was a member of the 2012 All-MIAA second team last year after placing sixth at the MIAA Championships. She later earned a spot on the Great Lakes All-Region team, finishing 18th at the regional meet and then placed 100th at the NCAA III Championships.
Other members of the junior class include Sarah Danner (Watkins Glen, NY/Charles Dickerson HS), Rachel Folkema (Renfrew, ON/Renfrew Collegiate Institute), Rebeka Folkema (Renfrew, ON/Renfrew Collegiate Institute), Paige McGahan (Brighton/Brighton HS), Lisa Schultz (Caledonia/Caledonia HS), Leah Busse (Kent City/Kent City HS) and Lizzy Vannette (Visalia, CA/Central Valley Christian HS).
“We have a strong junior class,” said Diemer. “Our juniors give us depth and we will relay on them heavily this fall.”
The sophomore class is led by McKenzie Diemer (Caledonia/South Christian HS) who was a member of the All-MIAA first team in 2012 after placing 10th at the MIAA Championships. She later represented Calvin at both the Great Lakes Regional and NCAA III Championships. Anneri VerMeuelen (Bright’s Grove, ON/St. Christopher Secondary) also represents the sophomore class and is coming off of a strong freshman track campaign.
The incoming freshmen class includes 10 student-athletes. “It’s a freshmen class with a lot of potential,” said Brian Diemer. “There are some runners with the potential to help us right away which is exciting.”
Calvin will officially open its season on September 14 when it hosts the Knight Invitational at the Gainey Athletic Complex. The MIAA Jamboree is scheduled for September 28 at Adrian. Hope will host the MIAA Championships on November 2.
Calvin will host the Great Lakes Regional meet on November 16 as the Knights will attempt to qualify for the NCAA III Championships the following Saturday at Hanover College (Hanover, IN).
Calvin will enter the season ranked 11th nationally and second in the Great Lakes Region. Rival Hope is ranked 26th nationally and fourth in the Great Lakes Region. A year ago, Hope finished ahead of Calvin at both the regional and national meets.
“Hope will have a very strong team and I think the competition will be good for both teams,” said Brian Diemer. “I don’t think either team will lose sight of each other throughout the year and I think that will push both teams to be better and that’s a good thing in my opinion.”
Diemer is also excited about hosting the Great Lakes Regional meet. “We love competing on our home course and I expect a large home crowd on the day of the regional meet,” said Diemer. “I think the competition will be be strong but we’re hoping that our fans will be the wind beneath our wings.”