Men’s Cross Country Team Captures Knight Invite Title - Kramer Takes Individual Crown
Saturday, September 18, 2010
By sports information student assistant Derek Neice
The rain held off just long enough in Grand Rapids Saturday for the men and women of Calvin’s cross country teams to compete in the annual Knight Invitational held on Calvin’s campus. After the women ran their way to an outright victory in the first race, the men followed suit in the season’s debut race as the Knights placed five runners in the top ten, winning with a score of 31 points.
Calvin junior Nick Kramer won the 8K race in a time of 25:14.5, a solid fourteen seconds ahead of the second-place runner. Calvin’s other four top-ten finishers were 5th place senior Ben Van Wyk (25:40.8), 6th place junior Dan Kerr (25:44.5), 9th place junior Alex Wrobel (25:52.4), and 10th place sophomore Rhett Morici (26:06.9). The other two top-seven finishers for Calvin were 22nd place sophomore David Vande Bunte (26:28.7) and 23rd place sophomore Job Christianson (26:31.2).
Those top five finishers for the Knights tallied 31 overall points for first place. Aquinas College came in second place with 71 points, and Ohio Wesleyn barely beat out Ohio Northern for third overall as they totaled 110 points to Northern’s 113.
“This is our first competitive race of the season so we just wanted to get one in the books and see how we could do against some competition and the guys came through,” Calvin cross coach Brian Diemer said after the race. “We held our positions pretty well in our packs and we fed off each other.”
“These guys give their heart,” he continued. “The sky is the limit for where they’re going to go this year.”
The race began with the usual quick burst as runners looked to establish packs early on and set a pace. Calvin runners all began out of the top five but immediately began their climb into the top spots. Midway through the race Kramer still trailed the lead runner, but he continued the slow game of catch-up instead of burning all his energy in gaining that ground back all at once. Once into the lead, Kramer turned it on as his teammates followed, and the junior finished well ahead of the rest of the pack.
Calvin assistant coach Al Hoekstra stated that the race was a strong start despite the Knights competing at a time when they are still feeling the effects of heavy pre-season training.
“Our guys are running tired right now,” said Hoekstra. “Across the board, the guys on this team have put in more pre-season miles than they have ever done so in their lives. Because of that, they’re running tired and yet they still had an outstanding performance today. The exciting thing is that this group will get better, particularly as the guys start to freshen up later in the year when we decrease their mileage.”
One individual who stood out on Saturday despite a heavy summer diet of training mileage was Kramer.
“Nick [Kramer] showed today that patience comes through,” Diemer said of the Invite winner. “He was able to work through and be steady and as soon as he started catching up it was all over.”
“Everybody was fighting for every place and every second that they could get,” Diemer said of the rest of the team. “There was incredible heart all the way through.”
“When we have something to work with like that, when guys give that much of themselves, it’s really a team that’s going to go places so we’re very excited about the season,” he continued. “This is our first competitive race, it really sets the tone and we’re off to a great start and really happy.”
The Knights will look to continue Saturday’s efficient performance next weekend at the MIAA Jamboree, hosted by Olivet College.