WEST OLIVE, Mich. - The 17th-ranked Calvin women's cross country team claimed its fourth Great Lakes Regional title in the past five years Saturday morning, posting a first place team score of 90 points.
Saturday's Great Lakes Regional meet was hosted by Hope at the West Ottawa Golf Club.
Two weeks after taking second at the MIAA Championships behind Hope, Calvin regrouped to win the regional crown on Saturday by a 30-point margin. Allegheny (Pa.) was second with 120 points followed by Hope in third with 128.
Calvin and Allegheny gain automatic bids to next week's NCAA III Championships in Louisville, Kentucky.
The Knights placed four runners in the top 20 and six in the top 37 to earn the regional crown on Saturday.
Senior Lauren Strohbehn (Stillwater, Mn./St. Croix Preparatory HS) and freshman Johanna Admiraal (Cincinnati, Oh./Towson HS) ran side-by-side for nearly the entire race with Strohbehn finishing 10th (22:01.3) and Admiraal placing 11th (22:01.4).
Senior McKenzie Diemer (Caledonia, Mich./South Christian HS) and sophomore Katie Diekema (Kenmore, Wash./Ingelmoor HS) formed Calvin's next pack with Diemer 16th (22:15.2) and Diekema 18th (22:16.8).
Freshman Kristen Lundberg (Albuquerque, N.M.) served as Calvin's all-important fifth runner, placing 35th in a time of 22:55. Lundberg received strong support from junior Marissa McGahan (Brighton, Mich./Brighton HS) as McGahan was 37th (23:00.5). Junior Marissa Hielkema (Lynden, Wash./Lynden Christian HS) rounded out Calvin's finishers by placing 74th in a time of 23:45.7.
By finishing in the top 35 on Saturday, Strohbehn, Admiraal, Diemer, Diekema and Lundberg all received Great Lakes All-Region recognition from the United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association.
Hope senior Erin Hermann won Saturday's 6K race with a time of 21:10.9.
"I am so proud of this team," said Calvin head cross country coach Brian Diemer. "This team has suffered through injuries and other setbacks this year. Two weeks ago we were pretty down after our finish at our conference meet but to the credit of our young women, they built each other up, regrouped and believed in one another. They had great team spirit today and it made a huge difference. They didn't put pressure on themselves as a team. They went out and just had fun and had a tremendous team performance."
The Calvin women's cross country team will be making its 27th appearance at the NCAA III Championships next Saturday.