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Calvin Cross Country Teams Wrap Up MIAA Titles

Saturday, November 01, 2008

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Results and championships web site

THREE RIVERS—The Calvin men’s and women’s cross country teams kept up their championship runs on Saturday as both teams wrapped up league titles at the MIAA Championships held at the Pineview Golf Club.

The fifth-ranked Calvin men’s cross country team took first place with 18 points while the top-ranked Calvin women’s cross country team took first place with 23 points. The Calvin men’s cross country team has now won at least a share of the MIAA title 22 consecutive years which ranks as the second-longest active championship streak in MIAA history, ranking only behind the incredible 70-year championship run currently held by the Kalamazoo College men’s tennis team.

The Calvin women’s cross country title was its fourth straight including its 20th in the last 21 years.

“Anytime you can win an MIAA title it’s a great accomplishment,” said Calvin men’s and women’s cross country coach Brian Diemer. “It is not always easy to win a league title and to finish on top again is something that will cherish.”

In the men’s race, Calvin took the top four spots including seven of the top 10 led by senior Jed Christiansen (Greenville, PA/Greenville HS) who churned to a first place time of 24:39. He was followed by senior teammates Erik VanKampen (Elmhurst, IL/Timothy Christian HS) and Nate DeHaan (Byron Center/South Christian HS) in second (24:54) and third place (25:11) respectively. Senior Dan VandenAkker (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) was close behind in fourth place (25:18) with junior George Visser (Winfield, IL/West Chicago HS) in eighth (25:20), senior Tim Langenberg (Grand Ledge/Grand Ledge HS) in ninth (25:23) and freshman Nick Kramer (Dyer, IN/Illiana Christian S) in 10th (25:28) to round out Calvin’s top-seven.

Rob Bailey and Seth Weener of Hope also cracked the top 10 with Bailey fifth (25:18) and Weener sixth (25:19) while Tim Murray of Trine was seventh (25:20).

In the women’s race, Kalamazoo’s Allison Iott ran away with first place with a time of 21:38. Calvin senior Calah Schlabach (St. Michaels, AZ/St. Michaels HS) was second (22:10) followed by senior Lauren Bergstrom (Rochester, MN/Century HS) in third (22:12). Also cracking the top 10 for the Calvin women were junior Jessica Koster (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) in fifth (22:24), junior Elizabeth Smit (Kirkland, WA/Bellevue Christian HS) in sixth (22:26), senior Jesi Hale (Gallup, NM/Rehoboth HS) in seventh (22:44), senior Kelly Edwards (Grand Blanc/Grand Blanc HS) in eighth (22:47) and junior Mary Tolsma (Hawthorne, NJ/Eastern Christian HS) in ninth (22:49).

“There’s no question we were stretched in both races and we learned some lessons,” said Diemer. “In the women’s race, my hat is off to Allison Iott. She ran an incredible race and is the real deal. We tried to go out with her and in doing so, we got taken out of what we had hoped to do. In the men’s race, we were stretched out and didn’t really have a chance to run as a pack. On the positive side, Tim Langenberg had a huge jump forward today and that’s a big plus for our team and George Visser ran another very strong race. We’ll regroup, reorganize and come back in two weeks at the (Great Lakes) regionals and give it our best shot.

Diemer also had words of praise and encouragement for his entire program. “Individually, sure, there were a few folks on our team that had hoped to run better today but as a whole, there were many many positives by both teams. I thought our entire cross country program had a strong performance today and that energy will be something positive that we will build on over the next two weeks. We’ll be ready to go at the regional meet and we’re looking forward to the opportunity.”

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