SHELBYVILLE, Ind. - The Calvin women's cross country placed fifth at a highly-competitive Great Lakes Regional meet with a team score of 141 points.
The Knights finished just 27 points out of first place and only 20 points out of second place. The top two teams at the regional meet gain automatic berths to the NCAA III Championships.
On Sunday afternoon however, Calvin received an at-large berth to the NCAA III Championships next Saturday in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Calvin will be making its 29th appearance at the NCAA III Championships which ranks second all-time in Division III women's cross country history. The Knights will also be making their 14th straight trip to the national meet.
Baldwin-Wallace surprised the field by winning the meet with a team score of 114 points. Allegheny was second with 121 points with Oberlin third (124 points) and Hope fourth (138 points).
Calvin senior Katie Diekema (Kenmore, Wash./Ingelmoor HS) took fourth place individually on the 6K course with a time of 21:41.
Junior Michelle Koetje (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) was Calvin's second finisher, placing 20th with a time of 22:33. Freshman Sadie Heeringa (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) was 37th (23:03) and senior Breanna Kooiman (Tinley Park, Il./Chicago Christian HS) 39th (23:06).
Senior Maria Kuiper (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) was 41st (23:10), senior Catherine Croft (Grand Rapids, Mich./Coopersville HS) 67th (23:34) and junior Emma Schroer (Wheaton, Il./Wheaton Warrenville South HS) 73rd (23:46).
"I thought we had our best performance of the year," said Calvin head cross country coach Brian Diemer. "We would have liked to have finished higher in the team standings but the competition was just that tough and the margin of error was razor-thin. Katie Diekema ran like one of the top runners in the country today and Michelle Koetje was also terrific. What was most encouraging however was the way the rest of our pack stepped up. Many of them were running in their first regional meet and they ran together and they ran with heart. We are extremely excited to be running as a team for another week."
By finishing in the top 35, Diekema and Koetje both earn Great Lakes All-Region honors.
Claire Lamb of Otterbein was the individual winner, taking first place in a time of 20:58.