ANDERSON, IN – Second-ranked Calvin captured a Great Lakes Regional title on Saturday with a first place score of 36 points. The win advances the Knights to the NCAA Disivion III Championship in Terre Haute, Ind. The Great Lakes Regional title is the 17th consecutive regional crown for Calvin. Calvin will be making its 28th appearance at the national meet, which ranks third on the all-time NCAA DIII list.
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Calvin claimed five of the top 13 spots led by senior Dan Kerr, who took second in a time of 24:27. The race also marked the return of senior Nick Kramer from injury and he did not disappoint, finishing fourth in a time of 24:49. Senior Job Christiansen continued his stellar campaign, placing sixth (25:13) while senior David Vande Bunte was 11th (25:26), senior Matt VanderRoest 13th (25:29), senior Greg Whittle 26th (25:56) and junior Sam Kerk 34th (26:06).
All seven Calvin finishers earned Great Lakes All-Region honors by finishing in the top 35.
“We had a very encouraging men’s race,” Calvin head coach Brian Diemer said. “Nick Kramer and Matt VanderRoest were our wild cards going in and they were terrific. The challenge now is to keep those guys going for one more week and I’m confident we can do that. Our team is very excited and looking forward to the challenge of racing for a championship.”
Meanwhile, the fifth-ranked Calvin women’s team took third with 103 points. Hope took first place with 91 points and Oberlin took second with 95 points. The top two teams receive automatic spots to the NCAA III Championships while the next three teams are eligible for at-large consideration. The Calvin women’s team will now have to wait until Sunday to see if it receives an at-large bid.
The women featured a strong one-two punch up front with junior Nicole Michmerhuizen taking fifth (21:49) and senior Alyssa Penning taking ninth (21:59). Sophomore Kate Ardinger then took 18th for the Knights (22:16), but the remainder of Calvin’s pack was splintered up — sophomore Kimby Penning was 36th (22:54), freshman Mackenzie Diemer 39th (23:01), junior Alyssa Oram 42nd (23:07) and sophomore Lizzy Vannette 63rd (23:38).
“We had a little separation with our second group,” Diemer said. “The key for our runners is to stay in contact with a teammate and we got broken up a bit with that strategy. We are still hopeful that our team will receive an at-large selection for next week and if that happens, we will use the lessons learned today next Saturday.”