EAST LANSING, Mich. - The 19th-ranked Calvin women's cross country team placed eighth at the Michigan State Spartan Invitational on Friday with a team score of 222 points. The Knights were the top finishing Division III team in a field filled with Division I and Division II institutions.
Senior Katie Diekema (Kenmore, Wash./Ingelmoor HS) was 13th individually on the 6K course in a time of 22:06 to lead the Calvin contingent. Diekema was the top Division III finisher in the race.
Junior Michelle Koetje (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) had a superb race as well, finishing 31st in a time of 22:53 as she worked with Diekema to form a solid one-two punch up front.
Junior Emma Schroer (Wheaton, Il./Wheaton Warrenville South HS) was Calvin's third finisher, placing 73rd in 24:07.
Senior Catherine Croft (Grand Rapids, Mich./Coopersville HS) was Calvin's fourth individual to cross the finish line, placing 96th in 24:27. Junior Sarah Ball (Lynden, Wash./Lynden Christian HS) was the all-important fifth finisher for Calvin, placing 99th in 24:30.
Rounding out Calvin's finishers were sophomore Taylor Ten Pas (Lynden, Wash./Lynden Christian HS) in 117th (24:54), freshman Sadie Heeringa (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) in 138th (25:16) and junior Leah Bishop (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) in 151st (25:29).
"We an excellent team performance," said Calvin head cross country coach Brian Diemer. "Katie Diekema ran another outstanding race and Michelle Koetje also had a wonderful performance. We continue to work on developing the rest of our pack but Emma Schroer was very solid and Catherine Croft and Sarah Ball also had strong races. Maria Kuiper and Hattie Greydanus also made big steps forward and are helping to solidify our lineup. I like where this team is headed. This was another positive step. This was a very professionally-run invitational by Michigan State and I thank their program for making this a first-class event. It was a great day for collegiate cross country."
Ranked 15th nationally in Division I, host Michigan State won Friday's team competition with 22 points. Grand Valley State, ranked second in Division II, finished second with 50 points.
Calvin will now break until September 28 when it competes at the prestigious Notre Dame Joe Piane Invitational.