Calvin Women’s Cross Country Team Captures Calvin Knight Invite Title
Saturday, September 18, 2010
The Calvin women’s cross country team took an important step forward in its season debut Saturday morning at the Calvin Knight Invitational. Ranked 15th in the most recent Division III National poll, Calvin took six of the top 13 spots to take first place with a team score of 39 points, 30 points ahead of 14th-ranked Ohio Northern.
Calvin entered the competition ranked third in the Great Lakes Region while Ohio Northern was ranked second. The Hope women’s cross country team is the top ranked team in the Great Lakes Region.
Strong pack running fueled Calvin’s first place performance as the back pack of Calvin’s top six finished within four seconds of each other. Junior Jodi Hoekstra (Homer Glen, IL/Chicago Christian HS) was Calvin’s top finisher with a fourth place time of 18:26 with senior Gretchen Braymer (Erie, PA/Collegiate Academy) fifth (18:33) and sophomore Alyssa Penning (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) seventh. Calvin then featured a pack of three led by senior Alison Tuuk (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) who was 10th (18:59), senior Samantha Westveer (Kentwood/East Kentwood HS) who was 11th (19:01) and junior Kaitlin Diemer (Caledonia/South Christian HS) who was 12th (19:01).
Calvin’s seventh runner was sophomore Christine Hartley (Pewaukee, WI/Lake Country Lutheran HS) who finished 17th in a time of 19:12. Alison Steinbrunner of Ohio Northern took first place honors individually with a time of 17:50 but the Polar Bears were able to put just four runners in the top 20 as the Knights pulled away in the 5K race.
“Today’s race was crucial,” said Calvin head cross country coach Brian Diemer. “We showed that we have a team that can run together and feed off the energy of one another. If we would have been splintered up as individuals, we would not have won today’s race and would have struggled to put things together for the coming weeks. This team showed that it can run together. It makes things so much easier when you can do things together rather than as individuals.”
Also finishing in the top 25 from Calvin were senior Andrea Beukema (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) in 20th (19:15) and freshman Alyssa Oram (Cheboygan/Home Schooled) in 24th (19:21).
“Today’s race was very encouraging,” said Calvin assistant cross country coach Al Hoekstra. “This team believes in itself and it it has excellent team chemistry. The young women on this team are working together and working hard. As a coach, you can’t ask for anything more than that.”
Calvin returns to action next Saturday when it competes at an MIAA jamboree hosted by Olivet. The jamboree is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. and will be worth one-third of the final MIAA title with the MIAA Championships (Oct. 30 at Calvin) making up the remaining two-thirds of the crown.