Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Teams Take Second at MIAA Jamboree
Saturday, April 14, 2012
ALBION - The Calvin men’s and women’s track and field teams face an uphill climb in a quest to continue MIAA Championship streaks. Both teams took second place behind rival Hope at the MIAA Jamboree Saturday at Albion College. In the men’s meet, Hope took first place with 898 points to Calvin’s 784. On the women’s side, Hope edged Calvin with 910.5 points with the Knights tallying 897.5 points.
The MIAA Jamboree is worth one-half of the final MIAA crown. The remaining half consists of the results of the MIAA Field Day. Calvin will host the MIAA Field Day May 3 and 4. Heading into this season, the Calvin men’s track and field team has captured at least a share of 18 consecutive MIAA titles. On the women’s side, Calvin has captured at least a share of 22 consecutive MIAA titles. The women’s streak is the longest active championship streak in MIAA women’s athletics history.
Heading down the final stretch of Saturday’s MIAA Jamboree, the Calvin women’s team held a 22-point lead but Hope overcame the Knights with strong performances in the field events. In the pole vault, Hope picked up 2.5 points to edge closer and then sealed the win by outscoring Calvin 52-37 in the javelin and 34-13 in the discus. Combined, the Hope women outscored Calvin 144-90 in the four throwing events (shot put, discus, javelin and hammer throw).
The Calvin women’s team was not without several sterling individual performances however.
Senior Jodi Hoekstra (Homer Glen, IL/Chicago Christian HS) was a double-winner, winning the 1,500 meters (4:33.62) and 5,000 meters (17:48.87). Her time in the 1500 meters was a career-best and is also the top time in the country this spring in NCAA III women’s track and field.
In the 10,000 meters, sophomore Nicole Michmerhuizen (Holland/Holland Christian HS) took first place with a career-best time of 36:21.37. Her time is the second-fastest time in NCAA III women’s track and field this year.
In the 3,000 meter steeplechase, junior Alyssa Penning (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) took first place with a season-best time of 10:59.44. That time in the third-best in the country this spring.
In the women’s triple jump, sophomore Hilary Banning (Whitinsville, MA/Whitinsville Christian HS) took first place with a huge career-best mark of 36-9 1/2. Her jump is the second-best triple jump in NCAA III women’s (outdoor) track and field this year.
The Verkaik sisters also combined for wins as freshman Breanna Verkaik (Holland/Holland Christian HS) won the 800 meters with a season-best time of 2:17.48 while junior Carissa Verkaik (Holland/Holland Christian HS) won the high jump with a jump of 5-4 1/4.
Sophomore sprinters Julie Busscher (Hudsonville/Unity Christian HS) and Stephanie Bennett (Rockford, IL/Christian Life Center) also had strong afternoons with Busscher taking second in the 100 meters (12.87) and 200 meters (26.29) while Bennett was third in the 100 meters (13.04) and 200 meters (26.35).
Calvin also won both relays as its 4x100 meter relay team of Busscher, Bennett, senior Lindsay VanderBrug (Elmhurst, IL/Timothy Christian HS) and freshman Amy Sybesma (Ceritos, CA/Valley Christian HS) clocked a season-best time of 49.88 while its 4x400 meter relay team of Busscher, Bennett, junior Kaylea Brase (Lino Lakes, MN/Centennial HS) and sophomore Olivia Butler (Grant/Grant HS) came in with a season-best time of 3:59.94.
On the men’s side, Calvin had strong performances from its distance runners.
In the men’s 10,000 meters, junior Job Christiansen (New Ipswich, NH/Mascenic Regional HS) took first place with a season-best time of 31:33.14. Senior Nick Kramer (Dyer, IN/Illiana Christian HS) led a 1-2-3 Calvin sweep in the 5,000 meters as Kramer was first (14:39.64), senior Dan Kerr (Petoskey/Petoskey HS) second (14:45.45) and sophomore Sam Kerk (Hartland, WI/Lake County Lutheran HS) third (14:39.64).
Junior Matt VanderRoest also won the 3,000 meter steeplechase with a time of 9:14.20 that ranks as the top time in the country in the event this spring. In the 1,500 meters, junior Greg Whittle (Galesburg, IL/Galesburg HS) took first place with a season-best time of 3:55.01 while Kerk was third in a season-best time of 3:56.62.
In the field events, sophomore Matt Christians (Grand Rapids/South Christian HS) took first place with a career-best jump of 6-8 3/4 that places him second on the NCAA III performance list.
Junior Aaron Meckes (Bay City/Saginaw Valley Lutheran HS) also won the shot put (51-7) and discus (159-8). His throw in the discus was a season-best and places him second on the NCAA III list. In addition, sophomore Evert Geerlings (Kentwood/East Kentwood HS) took first place in the pole vault with a vault of 14-0 while senior Justin Kremers (West Chicago, IL/Wheaton Academy) won the javelin with a thorw of 165-5.
Both Calvin teams return to action next Saturday at a meet hosted by Grand Valley State.