Calvin Cross Country Teams Capture MIAA Titles
Saturday, October 30, 2010
The Calvin menís and womenís cross country teams wrapped up MIAA titles on Saturday as both teams took first place at the MIAA Championships at Calvinís Gainey Athletic Complex. On the menís side, fourth-ranked Calvin cruised to a first place score of 19 points, placing five runners in the top seven. On the womenís side, eighth-ranked Calvin won a thriller, edging 14th-ranked Hope 31-33. The margin is believed to be the closest at a championship meet in MIAA womenís cross country history. The Calvin men have now won 24 consecutive MIAA titles - the second-longest active championship streak in MIAA athletics history. Calvin women have now won six consecutive MIAA titles including 22 in the last 23 years. With the pair of MIAA titles, Calvin men’s and women’s cross country coach Brian Diemer boosted his championships total as a cross country coach to 29, moving him into third place on the all-time MIAA list for winningest MIAA coaches. Diemer trails only Hope swimming and diving coach John Patnott (31) and former Kalamazoo men’s tennis coach George Acker (35).
Both teams return to action in two weeks when they run at the Great Lakes Regional meet hosted by Hope at the West Ottawa Golf Club in Holland.
The MIAA Women’s Cross Country Championships provided high drama early Saturday afternoon as Calvin pulled out a two-point victory over rival Hope in a head-to-head showdown of nationally and regionally-ranked teams. Calvin took the top three spots in Saturday’s race and had just enough in its back end, receiving an 11th and 14th place finish from its fourth and fifth runners to record a first place team score of 31 points. A powerful Hope pack nearly overtook eighth-ranked Calvin as the 14th-ranked Flying Dutch took spots 4, 5, 8, 9 and 10 to fall just short with 33 points.
Calvin got off to a rocket start as the Knights held a commanding lead through the first mile but Hope began to reel the Knights back in as its pack surged as a group into the top 10 with Hope’s Sharon Hecker challenging for the lead at the mid-way point of the 6K race. Calvin sophomore Alyssa Penning (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) then made a surge of her own to run alongside teammate Jodi Hoekstra (Homer Glen, IL/Chicago Christian HS) as the duo would run one-two the remainder of the race.
With just under a mile left in the race, Calvin senior Gretchen Braymer (Erie, PA/Collegiate Academy) made a strong surge, moving up from fifth to third and she continued to widen the gap on her pursuers the rest of the way. The question for Calvin was whether the Knights would have enough to hold on. The answer turned out to be yes as senior Samantha Westveer (Kentwood/East Kentwood HS) held on for 11th place with a time of 22:57 while freshman Alyssa Oram (Cheboygan, MI) came up with a clutch performance, finishing 15th in a time of 23:08. It marked the first time this year that Oram has served as Calvin’s fifth runner this fall and could not have come at a better time.
Rounding out Calvins’ top seven were junior Kaitlin Diemer (Caledonia, MI/South Christian HS) in 16th (23:12) and senior Alison Tuuk (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) in 17th (23:18).
Saturday marked the third time that Calvin and Hope have gone head-to-head this fall with the Knights winning all three meetings. Saturday’s race was the closest of the three meetings and as mentioned, marked the tightest finish at a championship final in MIAA women’s cross country history.
For her efforts, Jodi Hoekstra was named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Runner. Hoekstra is the 15th individual in Calvin women’s cross country history to earn MIAA MVP honors. Hoekstra also landed a spot on the All-MIAA first team for the second straight year as did Braymer. Joining Hoekstra and Braymer on the All-MIAA first team from Calvin was Penning who earned All-MIAA first team accolades for the first time. Named to the All-MIAA second team from Calvin were Diemer, Oram and Tuuk.
CALVIN’S MIAA WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY MVPS
Laura Vroon, 1983
Deb Vandersteen, 1989
Renea Bluekamp, 1993
Amy Kuipers, 1994 & 1995
Betsy Haverkamp, 1996
Lisa Timmer, 1997 & 1998
Amy Mizzone, 1999
Sarah Gritter, 2000
Erinn Boot, 2001
Jessie Lair, 2002 & 2003
Lydia Singer, 2005
Camille Medema, 2006
Christina Overbeck, 2007
Jessica Koster, 2009
Jodi Hoekstra, 2010
Calvin took five of the top seven and eight of the top 11 spots in racing away to its 24th consecutive MIAA title including its league-leading 37th MIAA title overall. Albion, ranked 21st nationally, took second with 61 points, finishing nine points ahead of third place Hope.
Junior Nick Kramer (Dyer, IN/Illiana Christian HS) led from start-to-finish in placing first with a time of 25:03 as he captured his second straight MIAA individual title.
Junior Dan Kerr (Petoskey, MI/Petoskey HS) had one of the top performances of his Calvin career, placing second in a time of 25:07 while senior Ben VanWyk (Sussex, NJ/High Point HS) was third in 25:16. Next for Calvin was senior Alex Wrobel (Arden Hills, MN/Mounds View HS) in sixth (25:40) and sophomore Matt VanderRoest (Ann Arbor, MI/Ann Arbor Huron HS) in seventh (25:41).
Rounding out Calvin’s top group were senior Jake Christiansen (New Ipswich, NH/New Ipswich HS) in eighth (25:47), junior Rhett Morici (St. Charles, IL/St. Charles North HS) in 10th (25:49) and sophomore Job Christiansen (New Ipswich, NH/New Ipswich HS) in 11th (25:57).
For his efforts, Kramer was named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Runner for the second straight year. Kramer is one of 20 individuals in Calvin men’s cross country history to receive MIAA MVP honors. Kramer was also named to the All-MIAA first team for the third straight year. He was joined on the All-MIAA first team by VanWyk, Kerr, Wrobel, VanderRoest and Jake Christiansen with Wrobel and VanderRoest receiving the honor for the second straight year.
Named to the All-MIAA second team from Calvin were Job Christiansen, Morici, sophomore Greg Whittle (Galesburg, IL/Galesburg HS) and sophomore David Vande Bunte (Byron Center, MI/Byron Center HS).
CALVIN’S MIAA MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY MVPS
Doug Diekema, 1978 & 1979
John Brink, 1982
Adam Suarez, 1987, 1988 and 1989
John Lumkes, 1990
Thad Karnehn, 1991
Derk Walkotten, 1992
Ray Van Arragon, 1992, 1993 & 1994
Geoff Van Dragt, 1995 & 1998
David Riemersma, 1996
Kent Frens, 1997
Joel Klooster, 1999
Dan Hoekstra, 2000
Justin Pfruender, 2001
Hendrik Kok, 2002
David Haagsma, 2003 & 2004
Kris Koster, 2003
Tim Finnegan, 2005 & 2006
Tad Hulst, 2007
Jed Christiansen, 2008
Nick Kramer, 2009 & 2010