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Calvin Women’s Cross Country Claims Eighth MIAA Title in Nine Years

Saturday, November 02, 2013

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WEST OLIVE - In a matchup of nationally-ranked teams, the Calvin women’s cross country team captured its eighth MIAA title in the last nine years with a first place score of 21 points. Ranked fifth nationally entering the meet, Calvin finished 15 points ahead of 22nd ranked Hope which hosted the meet at the West Ottawa Golf Course.

Calvin was able to pack five runners inside the top eight to hold off the Flying Dutch led by freshman Cassie Vince (Amherst, OH/Amherst HS) who ran stride-for-stride with Hope senior Sheri McCormack through the first four kilometers of the 6K race. Vince broke free with just under two kilometers remaining and pulled away for an 11-second victory finishing in a first place time of 21:36 while McCormack was second in 21:47.

Calvin senior Nicole Michmerhuizen (Holland/Holland Christian HS) took third in 22:13 followed by junior Kimby Penning (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) in fourth (22:18), senior Alyssa Oram (Cheboygan/Home Schooled) in fifth (22:31) and senior Rebekah Folkema (Renfrew, ON/Renfrew Collegiate Institute) in eighth (22:44).

Folkema’s fifth place finish proved to be pivotal as she passed five runners including two from Hope in the final 100 meters to finish eighth.

The MIAA title is the 23rd overall in Calvin women’s cross country history and the seventh under current head coach Brian Diemer. The final MIAA crown is based on the combined team finishes at a September MIAA Jamboree (one-third) and the MIAA Championships (two-thirds). Calvin took first place at both races.

“Winning an MIAA championship never gets old,” said Diemer. “We knew that Hope would give us a run for our money and they did. Cassie Vince ran a very smart race and had the perfect sense to know when to kick for home. We also did a strong job of pack running. I thought Kimby Penning had one of the best races of her career today and Rebekah Folkema kind of sealed the win with her push at the end for eighth place but she could not have done it without some of her teammates behind her. Paige McGahan who finished 15th played a huge role in pushing some of her teammates on - including Rebekah - so that they could finish strong.”

Diemer also praised the Hope squad. “Hope is very talented and ran well today,” he said. “We will see each other again in two weeks at regionals and perhaps the week after that at nationals. We knew coming into the year that the two teams would push each other to be at their best. It’s a healthy rivalry. We respect Hope and Hope respects us. If we can push each other to be better, that’s a very good thing.”

After the race, the all-conference awards were announced. The all-conference spots are determined by a cumulative point system earned by individual finishes at both the MIAA Jamboree and MIAA Championships.

Calvin landed five runners on the All-MIAA first team and four runners on the All-MIAA second team. Named to the first team from Calvin were Michmerhuizen, Oram, Penning, Folkema and Vince.

Named to the second team from Calvin were junior Sarah Danner (Watkins Glen, NY/Charles Dickerson HS), McGahan (Brighton/Brighton HS), freshman Lauren Brink (Dyer, IN/Illiana Christian HS) and junior Kate Ardinger (Elmhurst, IL/Timothy Christian HS).

Calvin is scheduled to host the NCAA III Cross Country Regional championships on November 16 at the Gainey Athletic Complex.

Al Hoekstra Audio Interview

Brian Diemer Audio Interview

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