The varsity men’s and women’s cross country teams placed third in a stacked field which boasted some of the nation’s best NCAA Division III competition on Friday.
The varsity teams spent the day running across the beautiful course at the Notre Dame Invitational while the JV squad ran at the Loyola Lakefront Invitational.
On the men’s side, seniors Dan Kerr and Matt Vander Roest led the way, placing fourth and sixth respectively. Both runners got out hard and held on to their positions, each running under the vaunted 25 minute barrier.
The team, ranked sixth in the nation, was rounded out by junior Greg Whittle in 25:13, senior Job Christiansen in 25:22 and junior Sam Kerk in 25:27. Calvin was edged by the team ranked first in the nation, North Central College, and NCAA Division II unranked University of Texas at Arlington.
“We just need all the pieces to come together; it’s the last 10 percent that needs work,” said Vander Roest. The team was in first place with about one kilometer to go in the eight-kilometer race.
“That’s a loaded question, I gotta go to Wendy’s right now,” responded head coach Brian Diemer when asked about how the race went.
“We just didn’t finish the race the way we wanted to,” he continued, more seriously. “We fought off a couple of surges from North Central but over the last 1,000 meters, we really hit the wall. On the good side, we are making progress. To be able to take North Central into the fifth mile of the race shows that we are getting somewhere.”
On the women’s side, junior Nicole Michmerhuizen had a fantastic race, placing fifth overall in a blistering 17:49.
“I was excited about my race and I am looking forward to building off of it the rest of the season,” she said after the race.
“Our pack was extremely strong, running together through most of the race, and finishing within nine places of each other,” coach Diemer said about the race.
Senior Alyssa Penning, junior Alyssa Oram and freshman Mackenzie Diemer finished together taking 29th through 31st place, all around 18:20. The team placed third behind two Division I teams, Texas Christian University and Notre Dame.
On Saturday, the Knights competed at the Loyola Lakefront Invitational. The men’s team placed 14th and the women’s 20th out of 47 teams.
Senior Kevin Peterson headed the charge finishing 66th place in a time of 26:20.
“I was impressed with Kevin Peterson taking it out and just going for his best that he could. He developed a very strong race in a crazy field with a lot of turns and a lot of bodies. [Junior] Phillip Spitzer had a very strong race, one of his better CC performances,” coach Diemer said after the race.
Sophomore Kate Ardinger was Calvin’s first finisher on the women’s side in 76th place and 18:49 for the five kilometer.
“It was a good day for a race. It wasn’t windy in the windy city,” said Ardinger. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without Jodi [Hoekstra].” Hoekstra has been assistant coaching this year.