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Dan Kerr Claims All-America Honors in 10,000 Meters at NCAA III Outdoor T & F Championships

Friday, May 25, 2012

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CLAREMONT, CA - It was a great opening day for the Calvin men’s and women’s track and field teams at the NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships held at Claremont-Mudd Scripps College.

The Calvin men claimed one All-America berth and qualified two individuals for Saturday’s finals. On the women’s side, Calvin also qualified one individual for the final day of competition at the NCAA III Championships.

Highlighting the day for Calvin was the performance of senior Dan Kerr. The Petoskey High School graduate claimed All-America honors in the 10,000 meters with a fifth place time of 30:43.69. It marks the second All-America berth of Kerr’s Calvin running career as he was also an NCAA III cross country All-American for Calvin this fall. Kerr is the 11th individual in Calvin men’s track and field history to claim All-America honors in the 10,000 meters. It also marks the 17th time that Calvin had claimed an All-America berth in the men’s 10,000 meters with six individuals claiming All-America honors on more than one occasion.

Kerr ran out with the lead pack through the first five laps and then settled back into a pack of four runners that trailed the top two runners. Kerr maintained his position inside the top five throughout the race and finished with a strong kick.

“I knew Dan would have a great race because he had a smile on his face beforehand,” said Calvin co-distance coach Al Hoekstra. “I told him all the pressure was off because he had qualified for this race a month ago and now was his time to enjoy the moment. When Dan is relaxed and takes the pressure off, he runs great and he ran great tonight.”

“I am so proud of Dan Kerr,” said Calvin men’s co-distance coach Brian Diemer. “He is such a great story. He has come so far as a runner and as a person at Calvin College. He ran a wonderful race tonight and I think he still has more left in the tank this weekend.”

Kerr is scheduled to compete in the men’s 5,000 meters on Saturday.

In the women’s 10,000 meters, sophomore Nicole Michmerhuizen (Holland/Holland Christian HS) competed in her first national meet in track and field and finished 20th with a time of 39:11.02. Michmerhuizen is scheduled to run in the women’s 5,000 meter finals on Saturday. Senior Kaitlin Diemer (Caledonia/South Christian HS) also competed in the prelims of the women’s 1,500 meters but did not advance to the Saturday finals as she tripped early in the race but still managed to recover to finish in a time of 4:48.09.

Meanwhile, Calvin junior Greg Whittle (Galesburg, IL/Galesburg HS) qualified for the men’s 1,500 meter finals on Saturday, placing fourth in his heat with a time of 3:55.21. Whittle will be bidding for his second straight All-America berth in the event as he was fourth in the race in 2011.

The men’s and women’s steeplechase also proved to be strong events for Calvin on Thursday night as junior Alyssa Penning (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) and senior Nick Kramer (Dyer, IN/Illiana Christian HS) won their respective prelim heats to advance to Saturday’s championship finals.

Penning won her heat of the women’s steeplechase prelims with a season-best time of 10:46.78. She will be running in the steeplechase finals - scheduled for Saturday - for the second straight year.

On the men’s side, Kramer won his prelim heat of the steeplechase Thursday night with a time of 9:07.62. Kramer’s time is the top time out of Thursday’s prelims. Kramer will be running in the steeplechase finals for the third straight year and will be bidding to become just the second three-time All-American in the steeplechase in Calvin men’s track and field history on Saturday. Kramer took fourth in the event at the 2010 national meet and third in the race a year ago. Kramer is also scheduled to run in the 5,000 meter finals on Saturday.

Scheduled to compete for Calvin on Friday is junior Carissa Verkaik (Holland/Holland Christian HS) in the women’s high jump.

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