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Women’s Cross Country Team Takes First Place at MIAA Jamboree With Score of 21 Points

Saturday, September 25, 2010

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(photo taken by Albion sports information director Bobby Lee)

OLIVET - Score round one for the Knights of Calvin College. In a showdown of nationally-ranked teams, Calvin captured first place at an MIAA jamboree hosted by Olivet College at the Olivet Golf Course with a team score of 21 points.

Ranked 13th nationally, Calvin finished 13 points ahead of 10th-ranked Hope by placing five runners in the top seven spots. Junior Jodi Hoekstra (Homer Glen, IL/Chicago Christian HS) led the way for the Knights with a first place time of 22:25 on the 6K course with senior Gretchen Braymer (Erie, PA/Collegiate Academy) finishing second in 22:41. Hope took the next two spots but Calvin took the next three as junior Kaitlin Diemer (Caledonia/South Christian HS) was fifth (23:07), sophomore Alyssa Penning (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) sixth (23:09) and senior Samantha Westveer (Kentwood/East Kentwood HS) seventh (23:10). Rounding out Calvin’s top seven were senior Alison Tuuk (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) in 14th (23:39) and freshman Alyssa Oram (Cheboygan, MI) in 17th (23:42).

Calvin came up with a key surge in the final 1,000 meters of the race as Diemer moved past three Hope runners while Braymer also moved up from fourth and into second place.

“I think the fact that this was the first 6K race of the year was definitely in our favor today,” said Calvin head cross country coach Brian Diemer. “Our team has done a lot of strength training and our runners really dug down deep over that final extra 1,000 meters. I thought Jodi Hoekstra’s race was key. She stretched out the competition, forcing them to chase and when they did that, it gave Gretchen Braymer a chance to catch two runners ahead of her at the end which she did.”

Calvin assistant coach Al Hoekstra was also pleased. “We beat the top-ranked team in our region today and that was our goal,” said Hoekstra. “Our top five in particular ran very well. I thought Alyssa Penning really came up big today. She’s battled sickness all week but she hung tough and ran a very courageous race.”

Although the initial mission was accomplished on Saturday, the Knights can still get better according to Diemer. “This team has a chance to get even better,” said Diemer. “We have much room for improvement which is exciting as a coach. It was a very good day for Calvin.”

Calvin has now finished ahead of teams ranked ahead of the Knights in back-to-back weeks. A week ago at the Calvin Knight Invitational , Calvin finished 30 points ahead of Ohio Northern which came into the meet ranked 14th while Calvin was ranked 15th.

The MIAA jamboree is worth one-third of the final MIAA title with the remaining two-thirds coming at the MIAA Championships. Calvin will host the MIAA Championships on October 30 at the Gainey Athletic Complex.

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