Calvin Men 8th/Calvin Women 9th at NCAA III Cross Country Championships
Saturday, November 20, 2010
NCAA III CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
(hosted by Wartburg College)
WAVERLY, IA - The Calvin men’s and women’s cross country teams claimed a pair of top 10 national finishes at the NCAA III Cross Country Championships on Saturday with the Calvin men finishing eighth with a team score of 277 points while the Calvin women finished ninth with 354 points.
Junior Nick Kramer (Dyer, IN/Illiana Christian HS) led the Calvin men with a 16th place (24:41) individual finish to claim the first All-America berth of his Calvin cross country career.
Calvin was unable to place any other runners in the top 50 as the Knights had hopes of a top four team finish. Sophomore Matt VanderRoest (Ann Arbor/Ann Arbor Huron HS) was Calvin’s second finisher, placing 59th in a time of 25:12 while junior Dan Kerr was 72nd (25:18), senior Ben VanWyk (Sussex, NJ/High Point HS) 77th (25:20), sophomore Rhett Morici (St. Charles, IL) 135th (25:40), senior Alex Wrobel (Arden Hills, MN/Mounds View HS) 158th (25:50) and senior Jake Christiansen 178th (25:56).
“We were hoping for a little higher finish but a top 10 national finish is never anything to be ashamed about,” said Calvin head men’s and women’s cross country coach Brian Diemer. “I thought Nick Kramer ran a brilliant race and the rest of our guys were solid. The field of runners at a meet like this is outstanding and in order to stand on the podium (top four), it takes an outstanding performance.”
Hope junior Nathan Love was 61st in a time of 25:12. The Albion men’s team placed 31st with a team score of 849 points.
On the women’s side, Calvin just missed a pair of All-America (top 35) berths as junior Jodi Hoekstra (Homer Glen, IL) was 43rd (21:56) and sophomore Alyssa Penning (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) 45th (21:56). Senior Gretchen Braymer (Alymer, PA/Collegiate Academy) also had a strong race, finishing 61st in a time of 22:06. Rounding out Calvin’s finishers were freshman Alyssa Oram (Cheboygan, MI) in 174th (22:57), senior Samantha Westveer (East Kentwood HS) in 186th (23:03), senior Alison Tuuk (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) in 213th (23:12) and junior Kaitlin Diemer (Caledonia/South Christian HS) in 234th (23:27).
“Jodi Hoekstra and Alyssa Penning ran excellent races,” said Diemer. “With about 1200 meters, Jodi was in All-America position and Alyssa wasn’t far behind. They just couldn’t quite find that extra gear to move into the top 35 but they learned a lot from this race and will be the better for it next year.”
Diemer also had words of appreciation for his two seniors - Gretchen Braymer and Alison Tuuk - who ran in their final cross country races as Calvin Knights. Senior Samantha Westveer is expected back next fall as she has an year of eligibility still remaining. “Gretchen and Alison have been huge parts of our program over the last four years and their leadership was key this year. We had a relatively youthful team this year and they helped fill the leadership void. We would not have won a conference or regional title this year without them.”
Middlebury won the women’s team title with 185 points, edging Washington University (MO) by eight points for the title. Wendy Pavlus of St. Lawrence won the women’s title with a time of 20:49, 11 seconds ahead of runner-up Jennifer Gossels of Williams College.
On the men’s side, Haverford (PA) dethroned defending champion North Central, finishing with 87 points, 17 points ahead of North Central. Anders Hulleberg led Haverford to the title by also winning the individual crown with a time of 24:22, one second ahead of Ben Sathre of St. Thomas (MN).