Calvin Track and Field Teams Wrap Up MIAA Titles at 119th MIAA Field Day
Friday, May 07, 2010
ALMA—The Calvin men’s and women’s track and field teams overcame raw, wet and windy weather conditions to extend their championship streaks Friday afternoon at the 119th MIAA Field Day. The two-day event was hosted by Alma College.
In the women’s competition, Calvin finished with a first place total of 282.5 points, 76 points ahead of Hope to wrap up their 21st consecutive MIAA title. The Calvin women’s championship streak is the longest active streak in MIAA women’s athletics history. Calvin has also now won a league-leading 25 MIAA titles in women’s track and field.
In the men’s competition, Calvin finished with a first place total of 254 points, 39 points ahead of Hope. The finish allowed the Knights to wrap up their 16th consecutive league title including their league-leading 35th overall.
Both titles were the first under first-year Calvin head men’s and women’s track and field coach Bret Otte.
“I have to credit our athletes for never giving up, despite the weather conditions,” said Otte. “We had some things that went better than what we had hoped and some things that did not go as well as we would have hoped but the consistent thing was that neither of our teams ever gave up. They continued to keep the pressure on throughout the meet and I think that proved crucial in the final outcome. When a team builds on collective energy, it makes a huge difference.”
Otte also praised his coaching staff. “We’ve got the best group of assistant coaches in the country,” said Otte. “We have incredible expertise throughout our staff and any one of them could lead this team if they had to. I am truly blessed to have the type of support that I have with our track and field program, particularly in my first year as the head coach.”
The Calvin women’s team claimed seven individual titles and one relay crown on Friday. The Calvin women got the running portion of the meet off with a bang, sweeping the top four spots in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, with senior Elizabeth Smit (Kirkland, WA) winning the event for the second straight year, posting a time of 11:06.56. She was followed by senior Nicole Farr (Wheaton, IL) in second place (11:09.61), senior Gretchen Braymer (Erie, PA) in third place (11:13.20) and freshman Alyssa Penning (Grand Rapids Christian HS) in fourth place (11:16.20).
In the shot put, junior Sarah Reasoner (Cambridge, MN) repeated as champion, winning with a throw of 40-4 1/4 taken during an driving morning rainstorm.
In addition, junior Kim Wigboldy (Chandler, AZ) picked up the second MIAA javelin title of her career, winning with a toss of 118-2 to go with a second place finish in the long jump the night before.
Other Calvin event winners included junior Rachel Boerner (Bergenfield, NJ) in the 400 meters (57.99), sophomore Jordan Gabrielse (Unity Christian HS) in the 400 meter hurdles (1:05.29), sophomore Jodi Hoekstra (Homer Glen, IL) in the 1500 meters (4:42.17) and sophomore Kaitlin Diemer (South Christian HS) in the 800 meters (2:18.61). Of note, Tuuk also ran in the 800 and 1500 during the afternoon, placing fourth in the 1500 and second in the 800 to wrap up a grueling day of competition.
Diemer’s win also provided excitement as she roared out to a 15-meter lead on the opening lap and then held on strong over the final 100 meters to win the race by a full second.
Diemer also led off Calvin’s winning 4x400 meter relay team (4:06.30) that also included sophomore Rebecca Hiemstra (Dusseldorf, Germany), junior Alison Tuuk (Grand Rapids Christian HS) and Gabrielse.
On the men’s side, Calvin had five event champions on Saturday and one relay title. Like the women’s competition, Calvin also got off to a strong start in the running events in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, taking four of the top five spots including a first place time of 9:09.42 by sophomore Nick Kramer (Dyer, IN/Illiana Christian HS). Kramer’s time was a strong NCAA III provisional qualifying time and should book his ticket for the upcoming NCAA III Track and Field Championships. Kramer was one of three Calvin runners to post provisional qualifying times in the steeplechase as junior Ben VanWyk (Sussex, NJ) was second (9:20.03) and senior George Visser (Winfield, IL) fourth (9:23.70). Senior Aaron Goodman (Milwaukee, WI) just missed a provisional qualifying time, placing fifth in 9:28.38.
In the 110 high hurdles, senior Kelby McClelland (Mercer, PA) captured his third MIAA title in the event including his first since 2007, clocking in with a time of 15.14. McClelland was followed by teammate Caleb Rottman (Fargo, ND) who was second in 15.37. Rottman also took second in the high jump (6-6 3/4).
Other event winners for Calvin on Friday include junior Jake Christiansen (New Ipswich, NH) in the 5,000 meters (15:19.31), sophomore Carson Sterchi (Crystal Lake, IL) in the 800 meters (1:54.69) and junior Alex Wrobel (Arden Hills, MN) in the 1500 meters (3:58.06). Sterchi and Wrobel both won their races by outleaning a competitor at the tape. The 1500 meter title was the first for Wrobel and joined his 800 meter title won in 2008 at the same track - Alma’s Balhle Field. Christiansen’s win in the 5,000 meters sealed first place for Calvin and marked the first individual MIAA title of his career. Christiansen ran in a pack of three near the lead before breaking away with a lap-and-a-half to go.
Sterchi also came up with a clutch performance in the 4x400 meter relay as his third leg performance allowed Calvin to move into second place and when the lead team dropped a baton, allowed anchor leg Zack VanderLaan (Lansing, MI) to roar past into first place. VanderLaan then hung tough down the stretch, holding off a bid from Trine’s anchor man in the final 10 meters to allow Calvin’s 4x400 meter relay team to win a time of 3:22.52. Joining Sterchi on the relay team were sophomore Thad Winkle (South Christian HS) and Wrobel. Wrobel also placed third in the 800 meters to complete a long and tiring afternoon.
Other notable efforts included senior Joel Klingenberg (Hamilton, ON) placing second in the discus (142-11), freshman Kyle Jasperse (Escondido, CA) placing second in the triple jump (43-1), senior Jonathon DeRuiter (Bellingham, WA) placing third in the triple jump (42-11 1/2) and VanderLaan placing second in the 400 meters (49.51). In addition, senior Brad Stroner (Lake Odessa Lakewood HS) also added eighth place finishes in the 100 meters and 200 meters.
At the conclusion of the meet, Otte had words of praise for his senior class. “Our seniors on both our men’s and women’s teams have been awesome this year,” said Otte. “We have received exceptional senior leadership all year long.” Otte singled out McClelland and Stroner in particular. A former MIAA Most Valuable Runner, McClelland returned to Calvin this year after taking two years off from school. Stroner did not run last spring but returned as a fifth-year senior this spring. “The fact that both of those guys chose to come back was huge for our men’s team,” said Otte. “They were integral in helping our team win an MIAA title this spring.”
MIAA FIELD DAY MEN’S FINAL TEAM SCORES
MIAA FIELD DAY WOMEN’S TEAM TEAM SCORES