Calvin Captures Fifth Straight MIAA Outdoor Men's Track and Field Title

Calvin Captures Fifth Straight MIAA Outdoor Men's Track and Field Title

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -  The Calvin men's track and field team claimed its 23rd MIAA title in the last 24 years in dominating fashion on Friday at the MIAA Track and Field Championships at Calvin's Zuidema Field.

Calvin posted a first place score of 266 points, finishing 105 points ahead of second place Hope.

The MIAA title is Calvin's 29th in the last 31 years including its league-leading 42nd overall. The Knights have won the last five MIAA titles outright.

Sophomore Brendan VanHouten (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) put together a historic two days of competition at the MIAA Championships. After winning the shot put Thursday evening, he proceeded to win the discus and hammer throw on Friday, tossing the discus 141-4 and the hammer 172-6. VanHouten is just the second individual in MIAA track and field history to win all three events at the conference finals and the first since Joseph Maddock of Albion achieved the feat in 1902.

"What is so impressive about Brendan's achievement is how long the two days are as a thrower," said Calvin head track and field coach Bret Otte. "He started the trek early yesterday afternoon and was back at it again early this morning and then again this afternoon. We did not expect him to win all three events but he's a special kind of kid. He's a quiet individual but he is a very competitive person."

VanHouten's 30 points were part of a banner meet for Calvin in the throwing events. Van Houten led a 1-6-8 Calvin finish in the discus as freshman Jordan Jorritsma (Holland, Mich./Holland Christian HS) took sixth (124-1) and senior Erick Holder (Marian, Ind./Eastbrook HS) eighth (118-4).  On Thursday, Calvin went 1-3 in the shot put and 2-4 in the javelin.

Junior Ethan Valentine (Mason, Oh./William Mason HS) also had a big afternoon on Friday, winning the 400 meters with a season-best time of 47.46. His time currently ranks third on the NCAA III performance list. Valentine also placed fourth in the 200 meters (22.03) and ran the anchor leg on Calvin's first place 4x400 meter relay team that clocked in with a time of 3:20.11. He was joined on the relay by sophomore Luke Peterson (Holland, Mich./Holland Christian HS), sophomore James Jeninga (Brookfield, Wisc./Milwaukee Lutheran HS) and junior Noah Buteyn (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS).

Buteyn added a fourth place finish in the 400 meters (49.57) and an eighth place finish in the 200 meters (23.02).

Jeninga nearly pulled off an upset win in the 800 meters, taking second with a time of 1:54.60. Senior Jonathan Schaap (Mahomet, Il./Mahomet-Seymour HS) was fourth (1:56.55) and Peterson sixth (1:58.42).

Calvin had two freshmen win individual events on Friday as Caleb Ferguson (Naperville, Il./Neuqua Valley HS) won the 3,000 meter steeplechase (9:18.49) while Sam Veenstra (North Haledon, NJ/Eastern Christian HS) won the 400 meter hurdles (56.59). Ferguson's winning time currently places him 16th on the NCAA III performance list. He led a 1-2-3 Calvin finish in the steeplechase with senior Zac Nowicki (Comstock Park, Mich./Calvin Christian HS) second (9:18.71) and freshman Addison Smith (Seoul, South Korea/Seoul Foreign School) third (9:20.71). Veenstra led a 1-3-5 Calvin charge in the 400 hurdles as junior Chase Rohrer (Ludington, Mich./Ludington HS) was third (57.53) and sophomore Alex Williams (Mequon, Il./Homestead HS) fifth (59.27).

Rohrer placed fourth in the 110 high hurdles (15.51) with Williams seventh (15.92).

Calvin's 4x100 meter relay team of Rohrer, sophomore Lee Barents (Redlands, Ca./Arrowhead Christian HS), junior Jeremiah Stout (Escondido, Ca./Escondido Calvin Christian HS) and freshman Christopher Visser (Fremont, Mich./Western Michigan Christian HS) took fifth in 45.43.

Barents added a seventh place in the 100 meter dash (11.38). In the triple jump, Barents was third (43-5 3/4) while senior Jeiel Burrell (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) was eighth (41-7 3/4).

Freshman Nathan Van Wyhe (Frankfort, Il./Lincoln-Way East HS) was fifth in the high jump (6-1 1/2).

Calvin took four of the top five spots in the 1500 meters with junior Mark DeJong (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) taking second (3:57.76), senior Jordan Kramer (Pewaukee, Wisc./Lake Country Lutheran HS) taking third (3:58.62), freshman Tyler Johnson (Springfield, Il./Pleasant Plains HS) taking fourth (4:01.44) and senior Nathan Van Haitsma (Olympia, Wash./Olympia HS) placing fifth (4:01.50).  

Calvin's final individual event champion was sophomore Jamison Koeman (Whitinsville, Mass./Whitinsville Christian HS) who won the 5,000 meter run with a time of 15:26.95. Johnson completed a difficult daily double, placing second in a time of 15:32.92.

"You never know what any year can bring but our men's team was very committed," said Otte. "Our seniors led extremely well as they have all year and that has helped spark some of our younger athletes to push forward. This has been a very enjoyable team to coach. It is very balanced with strong leadership."

"Anytime you can come up on top of the teams in this league it quite the accomplishment. There are some very impressive athletes in our league - particularly in the sprinting events.