Calvin Men’s Track and Field Team Takes First Place at Michigan/Indiana Invitational
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Story Mark DeHaan/Photo by Sandy Palmatter
Calvin hosted the Michigan/Indiana Track and Field Invitational inside the Huizenga Tennis and Track Center Saturday on the Sturrus Track. The Knights faced off against mostly MIAA schools and one NAIA school.
The Calvin men were able to start out the meet with a victory in the shot-put as junior Aaron Meckes threw a career best 54’0”. The throw places Meckes in the top ten throwers in DIII in the nation. Looking forward, Meckes says that consistency will be big for him in order to improve his throws.
“Consistency, definitely. I had a few throws today that were good in the circle, but didn’t quite get the release right, or had a good release but didn’t quite put it together in the circle. Just putting it all into one throw.” Meckes also hopes to see some other national competitors in optional meets in the future.
“Going down to Chicago and seeing some of the guys that will be a nationals in two weeks would be really good for me, and push me to throw a little farther.” Meckes also took fourth place in the weight throw, throwing a distance of 43’4.5”.
The Knights took first place in the high jump as sophomore Matt Christians took the event with a height of two meters even.
In the pole vault, the Knights took second behind sophomore Evert Geerlings. Geerlings jumped to a height of 14’2”, but could not clear 14’8”. Geerlings has a chance at nationals during outdoor competition, and cites the continuous training as a reason why he has that chance.
“Everyday we practice we come in to get better, and there is never a day off here. Our confidence in ourselves is what’s going to get us over the top, not just me but everyone on the whole team in general.”
In the first track event of the afternoon, Calvin finished 1-2-3-4 in the 5000 meter run, led by senior Rhett Morici who ran a 15:31.33. Morici was followed in by junior Alex Van Haitsma, who ran a 15:36.47. Senior Jake Christiansen came in next with a 15:41.76 while sophomore Phillip Spitzer ran a 15:47.96.
The Knights most thrilling win of the afternoon came in the distance medley relay. Freshman Steven Haagsma started off the run with a strong showing at the 1200 meter distance, running it for the first time in his career and putting Calvin into first at the end of his run. Calvin fell behind to third place during the 400 and 800 meter sections before sophomore Josh Ferguson stepped in to start the mile portion of the relay. With 400 meters to go, Ferguson found himself still in third and behind by 40 meters to the teams of Hope and Adrian. Over the next 200 meters, Ferguson reeled in Hope’s runner to move into second for the last lap. Still 20 meters behind, Ferguson noticed Adrian’s miler fading and took advantage to grab the lead with 100 meters to go. Over the final 100 meters, Ferguson distanced himself from the pack, earning Calvin the win by at least 10 meters.
“I could see they were fading,” said Ferguson. “I knew I had enough left (with 400 meters left) so I had to go for it. (My team) set me up really well. They all ran really good races to put our whole team in a good position at the end.”
In the mile run, Calvin junior Greg Whittle continued his strong season with a national qualifying run. Whittle jumped out to a large lead over the first lap, and wouldn’t look back. Whittle cruised through his eight laps, finishing in a time of 4:11.06, good for eleventh on the national qualifying list.
“The coaches told me to go from the gun,” said Whittle. “I probably went out a little too fast, but the fans were awesome – lined all around the track – it worked really well.”
In a separate heat, junior Matt Vander Roest ran a 4:21.54 and senior Dan Kerr came in at 4:26.65 to earn second and third in the mile run overall.
In the final individual event of the day, Calvin took a 1-3 finish in the 3000 meter led by senior Nick Kramer, who finished with a time of 8:26.80. Sophomore Sam Kerk was just beat out for second place by two-tenths of a second, finishing in 8:45.13.
In the end, Calvin took the meet by amassing an overall score of 135 points. Hope finished in second with 125 points, followed by Aquinas in third with 115.
The Knights continue their indoor season next week Friday night in Chicago at the North Central College Last Chance Qualifier.