Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Teams Come Up Big at Oshkosh Invite
Sunday, October 17, 2010
WINNECONNE, WI - In a field of nationally-ranked teams, the Calvin men’s and women’s cross country teams came up big Saturday morning at the Wisconsin-Oshkosh Brooks Invitational.
On the men’s side, eighth-ranked Calvin surprised the field by placing second with a team score of 78 points, just 29 points behind top-ranked North Central while also finishing ahead of second-ranked Washington University (MO), seventh-ranked UW-Stevens Point, ninth-ranked NYU and 10th-ranked UW-Whitewater. NYU took third with 138 points with Washington University fourth (146 points) and UW-Stevens Point fifth (150 points).
Calvin placed three runners in the top seven led by junior Nick Kramer (Dyer, IN/Illiana Christian HS) who was fourth (24:43), senior Ben Van Wyk (Sussex, NJ/High Point HS) who was sixth (24:46) and senior Alex Wrobel (Arden Hills, MN/Mounds View HS) who was seventh (24:47).
Sophomore Dan Kerr (Petoskey/Petoskey HS) was next for the Knights, placing 27th (25:11) while sophomore Rhett Morici (St. Charles, IL/St. Charles North HS) was 40th (25:23). Rounding out Calvin’s top seven were senior Jake Christiansen (New Ipswich, NH/New Ipswich HS) in 56th (25:33) and sophomore Job Christiansen (New Ipswich, NH/New Ipswich HS) in 59th (25:37). Sophomore Matt VanderRoest (Ann Arbor, MI/Ann Arbor Huron HS) also took an important step forward, placing 80th in a time of 25:46.
“Our men had a tremendous race,” said Calvin head cross country coach Brian Diemer. “Because of the loaded field, this meet was very much like a pre-national race. It had a national caliber field and our guys were up to the challenge. They ran with great heart and they worked together. Today’s race was a big test for our men and they passed with flying colors. Their performance today was an important stepping-stone for the remainder of the year.”
Calvin assistant coach Al Hoekstra agreed. “This might have been the most important race our men have run since they won the national title in 2006,” said Hoekstra. “Our team this year may not have the kind of talent that some of our past teams have had but this team has great heart and a will to maximize every ounce of potential that it has. I am so proud of every one of our guys today. They were unbelievable. It was just exciting to watch.”
On the women’s side, Division II Minnesota-Duluth took first place with 89 points with 15th-ranked Chicago and seventh-ranked Wisconsin-Oshkosh tying for second place with 116 points. 10th-ranked Calvin finished in fourth place, just one point out of second as the Knights garnered 117 points. Hope, ranked 13th nationally, was fifth with 142 points while fourth-ranked Washington University (MO) was sixth with 165 points.
Junior Jodi Hoekstra (Homer Glen, IL/Chicago Christian HS) had Calvin’s top finish, placing eighth individually with a time of 21:59 followed by senior Gretchen Braymer (Erie, PA/Collegiate Academy) in 12th (22:12), freshman Alyssa Penning (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) in 28th (22:39), junior Kaitlin Diemer (Caledonia/South Christian HS) in 31st (22:41), senior Samantha Westveer (Kentwood/East Kentwood HS) in 38th (22:50), senior Alison Tuuk (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) in 58th (23:05) and freshman Alyssa Oram (Cheboygan, MI) in 61st (23:07).
“I thought we had a very solid performance in a very challenging field of competitors,” said Diemer. “We made a big move as a team over the last 800 meters or so and that really propelled us.”
According to Hoekstra, the key to Calvin’s push at the end was Kaitlin Diemer. “Over the last kilometer of the race, Kaitlin was probably the fastest runner on the course,” said Hoekstra. “She was passing runners left and right which was huge because she was holding down the back end of our pack. When she made that push, it pushed the entire team forward. The fact that today’s race was a 6K race was very important for our team. We are a strength-based team and our strength came up big down the stretch. It was a very good day for Calvin cross country.”
Both Calvin cross country teams return to action on October 30, hosting the MIAA Championships at the Gainey Athletic Complex.