Cross country to compete at nationals


Photo Courtesy Calvin SID

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams will be competing at NCAA DIII Nationals this weekend at Wilmington College in Mason, Ohio.

The women earned an automatic qualifier by placing first in the Great Lakes Regional Championships with 61 points. Sophomores Cassie Vince and Lauren Strohbehn and senior Sarah Danner all finished in the top 10 while three others finished in the top 35 to earn All-Region honors.

Both programs have a history of competing in the NCAA DIII Championship-25 times for the women and 30 times for the men.

“I think this speaks well of our coaching staff and the dedication and determination of student-athletes at Calvin,” said senior Kimby Penning. Penning is one of four seniors that will be racing at the championship.

“We have had four years of running almost every day together — getting to know each other, seeing each other grow, struggle and improve, and being there to support one another,” she continued. “We have learned how to race with one another rather than against, and our team is better because of it.”

On the men’s side, the team managed to scrape by with an at-large bid after finishing fourth at the Regional Championship.

“It was a pretty stressful 24 hours between the finish of the race and when the nationals fields were announced,” said senior Steven Haagsma. “When we found out we were in it was a huge relief. We’re definitely not taking this opportunity for granted.”

Now that both teams are in, the two teams are looking forward to making the most of their opportunities. The national race will be held at the same location as the regional race, which holds an advantage for the teams.

According to Haagsma, the course has many tricky turns.

“It is always nice to be familiar with a course,” Haagsma said, adding, “It also helps when mentally preparing for the race to be able to visualize the actual course we’ll be racing on.”

Senior Josh Ferguson echoed his teammate’s sentiments, “We are at a place where we have been forced to look ourselves in the mirror and decide what it is that we really want to be about.” he said. “I think that we can take an important step at the most important meet of the year if we really commit to each other.”

Both members of the men’s team praised the women’s team for their teamwork. Ferguson said:

“Having the women’s team along is great because they are a great example to the men’s team on what it looks like to race and work as a team.”

All three seniors expressed excitement to give their all at one last meet.