Men’s Cross Country Captures 25th Straight MIAA Title / Women’s Cross Country Places 2nd
Saturday, October 29, 2011
ALMA - The Calvin men’s cross country team continued its MIAA title run on Saturday while the Calvin women’s team had its title streak snapped. At the MIAA Championships on Saturday at Alma College, the Calvin men took first place with 18 points to capture their 25th consecutive MIAA title. On the women’s side, Calvin was edged for the league title by rival Hope as the Flying Dutch finished in first place with 43 points, three points ahead of Calvin. The Hope win snaps Calvin’s MIAA Championship streak of six years.
Calvin rolled to its 25th consecutive MIAA title behind a powerful performance by front-man Dan Kerr. The senior from Petoskey fought off a challenge from Hope’s Nathan Love midway through the race to win in a time of 24:52.
Calvin took four of the top five spots and six of the top eight to gain the win. Junior Matt VanderRoest (Ann Arbor/Ann Arbor Huron HS) followed Kerr in second place with a time of 24:58 while junior Greg
Whittle (Galesburg, IL/Galesburg HS) was third (25:08) and senior Rhett Morici (St. Charles, IL) fifth (25:25). Junior David VandeBunte (Byron Center/Byron Center HS) and senior Alex Wrobel (Arden Hills, MN) also had strong days with VandeBunte finishing seventh (25:29) and Wrobel eighth (25:35).
Junior Job Christiansen (New Ipswich, NH) added a 10th place finish (25:38) while sophomore Sam Kerk (Hartland, WI) was 13th (25:50).
“We had an excellent race today,” said Calvin head coach Brian Diemer. “Dan Kerr was courageous and fought off a serious challenge during the race and then his teammates filled the gaps nicely. We are definitely headed in the right direction as we enter the month of November.”
At the conclusion of the race, Kerr was named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Runner, marking the 25th straight year that a Calvin men’s runner has received the award. He was also named to the All-MIAA first team for a third straight year as was VanderRoest. Also named to the All-MIAA first team from Calvin were Whittle, VandeBunte, Morici and Christiansen while Kerk and junior Kevin Peterson (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) were named to the All-MIAA second team.
A well-executed race allowed Hope to surprise Calvin and capture its first MIAA title since 2004. Calvin senior Jodi Hoekstra (Homer Glen, IL/Chicago Christian HS) took first place individually with a time of 21:42 but the Knights were able to place only three runners in the top 10 and only four in the top 14. Meanwhile, Hope placed six runners in the top 13 to turn the tables on the Knights, one year after Calvin had edged the Flying Dutch by two points for the 2010 MIAA title.
Junior Alyssa Penning (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) was Calvin’s second finisher, placing fifth in a time of 22:19 while senior Kaitlin Diemer (Caledonia/South Christian HS) was 10th in 22:29.
Sophomore Alyssa Oram (Cheboygan) was 14th (22:37) with senior Eva Kort (Colorado Springs, CO) 16th (22:44). Rounding out Calvin’s top seven were sophomore Nicole Michmerhuizen (Holland Christian HS) in 20th (23:01) and senior Samantha Westveer (East Kentwood HS) in 21st (23:01).
“My hat is off to Hope,” said Calvin head coach Brian Diemer. “They ran a well-executed race. We did not. We had some good things in our race but as a team, it was not our best race of the season. I also want to credit Jodi Hoekstra for another outstanding race. She has been near the top of her game throughout the year and ran another fantastic race. Our goal now is to regroup and get ready for the regional meet in two weeks.”
Hoekstra was named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Runner for the second year in a row. She joins Amy Kuipers, Lisa Timmer and Jessie Lair as one of four runners in Calvin women’s cross country history to receive MIAA Most Valuable Runner honors twice.
Hoekstra was also named to the All-MIAA first team for the third straight year and was joined on the All-MIAA first team from Calvin by Penning and Diemer with Penning receiving the honor for a second straight year. Oram was named to the All-MIAA second team.