Calvin Cross Country Teams Host Knight Invite - Women First/Men Second
Saturday, September 19, 2009
(written by Calvin Sports Information Student Assistant Derek Neice)
Calvin’s cross country teams took part in the first race of the 2009 season Saturday as they ran in the Knight Invitational at the Gainey Athletic Complex, a course located on the college’s east campus.
The Knights, an annual national contender in cross country, looked to continue their consistent success in this first race. The women took first in the meet with a score of 28 points, and the men finished second with 83 points behind Allegheny College which tallied 48 points.
The women, ranked second nationally, were the first to run the course, a 6K trek. At the gun, the Knights stayed more in the middle of the pack on the opening stretch, waiting to start passing fellow competitors. By the first turn where spectators could see who was leading, Calvin had four runners in the lead pack. By the second turn, five of the top ten runners were wearing Calvin’s gold uniforms.
These five Knights held their ground through the third and fourth turns and then put on the burners for the final stretch, taking the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 8th, and 9th finishing times for the race with just 45 seconds separating Calvin’s first and seventh finishers.
Senior Jessica Koster (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) led the Calvin finishers with a second place time of 17:55 followed by senior Elizabeth Smit (Kirkland, WA/Bellevue Christian HS) in third (18:07) and senior Jesi Hale (Rehoboth, NM/Gallup HS) in sixth (18:16). Rounding out Calvin’s top seven were senior Gretchen Braymer (Erie, PA/Collegiate Academy) in eighth (18:22), senior Lauren Bergstrom (Rochester, MN/Century HS) in ninth (18:22), sophomore Rebecca Hiemstra (Dusseldorf, Germany/International School of Dusseldorf) in 13th (18:35) and junior Alison Tuuk (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) in 16th (18:40).
Coach Brian Diemer, who heads both the men and women’s squads, liked the way the women performed in their first race of the season.
“We obviously have a good deal of talent and depth. We didn’t necessarily run in packs today that well, there were some gaps that we’ll have to work on, but that’s why you run some meets to prepare for that. But if we can keep everyone healthy, we should have a very good year, and there’s a lot of excitement on the women’s side because of that.”
Soon after the women finished their race, the men lined up to begin their 8K run.
The Knights had three runners in the top five by the third turn, a position they would not keep. By the end Calvin would only place one runner in the top ten with a seventh place finish, and three in the top fifteen.
Sophomore Nick Kramer (Dyer, IN/Illiana Christian HS) led Calvin’s finishers with a seventh place time of 25:15 followed by junior Jake Christiansen (New Ipswich, NH/New Ipswich HS) in 13th place (25:31). Senior Ben Van Wyk (Sussex, NJ/High Point HS) was Calvin’s third man, placing 14th with a time of 25:33 with senior Aaron Goodman (Milwaukee, WI/Milwaukee Lutheran HS) 22nd (25:54).
Rounding out Calvin’s top seven were freshman Matt Vander Roest (Ann Arbor/Ann Arbor Huron HS) in 27th (26:03), junior Alex Wrobel (Arden Hills, MN/Mounds View HS) in 33rd (26:14) and senior Kyle Mast (Zeeland/Holland Christian HS) in 34th (26:19).
Despite a second place finish overall, Coach Diemer believes there is much that can be improved upon for the men, but with work, the guys on this squad have the desire to make big changes.
“We have a lot of gaps and inconsistency that will take some time to work through. We do have some talent, we have a lot of hard working guys who have desire, but we found out today that we are young and inexperienced and that we need to keep learning from these kinds of situations. There were a few gems inside the heap and that’s what you dwell on, you get excited about those and then you just keep on working and developing more of those gems.”
The Knights next race is the MIAA Jamboree, which takes place next weekend. The Knights should be ready to go on both sides.
“On the men’s side, we’ll group it up a lot tighter so we can see each other more. We will be working on holding things together better, and we’ll just continue to improve and to learn from our races. I’m excited for next week, it’ll be a good week.”
The individual winner from the women’s side was senior Elaine Simpson of Case Western Reserve University with a time of 17:50, and on the men’s side, Zach Ripley of Cornerstone with a time of 24:56.