Men’s and women’s track win jamboree

Photo courtesy

Photo courtesy

Half of the MIAA track and field conference title is determined by the victor of the Jamboree track and field day. Calvin brought home the men’s and women’s titles, giving them the upper hand for the MIAA championships in May.

The women’s champions for Calvin included junior Julie Busscher in the 100m and 200m dash in 12.84 and 26.21. She joined with freshman Maria Steblay, sophomore Becca Vanderbyl and junior Stephanie Bennett to win the 4x100m relay in 50.41.

“There was a lot of team chemistry and smooth handoffs, as well as a strong desire to beat Hope,” Bennett said after the race. “We were seeded third and we wanted to show them that we could do it.”

“I just felt like everyone was super excited to run it, regardless of the weather, and we had the momentum even though it was snowing,” said Vanderbyl. “That was probably my favorite race I have ever run.”

Junior Nicole Michmerhuizen also won the 5k and 10k in 17:27 and 38:18, easily leaving the competition in her wake. The steeplechase champion was senior Alyssa Penning in 11:06 and junior Lauren Madden won the Javelin throwing 36m.

Coach Rick Otte had this to say: “Throughout all of the events people competed well and didn’t worry about the weather, and that showed in the scoring. We got ahead early, and nobody could catch up to us in the scoring or on the track. The team really benefitted from girls running multiple events which really added to the team concept.”

The men had seven individual champions. Senior Dave VandeBunte won the 10k in 32:04, senior Dan Kerr won the 5k in 15:02 and junior Sam Kerk took the 1500 in 4:00.64 for the distance events. Junior Calvin Kuyers ran an inspiring 400m hurdles in 55.51, barely catching an athlete from Hope in the last meter of the race. Freshman Jon Cok jumped 1.92m for the win, junior Gerrit VanKlaveren won the triple with a 13.32m jump and senior Aaron Meckes put the shot 15.09.

“On the paper, we don’t win the meet. Thankfully we don’t compete on paper. Where we struggled, other people made up for it,” said Coach Otte. “I loved Jon Cok’s high jump win and [sophomore] Josh Ferguson taking second in the 1500 was big. He could have settled for fifth but he ended up inching people out for those extra points.”

“It was great to take step one on our way to the conference championship.” Calvin will compete next week at the GVSU Al Owen’s classic.