Calvin Women's Cross Country Places 31st at NCAA III Cross Country Championships

Calvin Women's Cross Country Places 31st at NCAA III Cross Country Championships
ELSAH, Il. - The Calvin women's cross country team placed 31st at the NCAA III Cross Country Championships on Saturday, posting a team score of 672 points.

Ranked 20th nationally heading into Saturday's competition, the Knights were a surprise entrant into the national meet as they claimed an automatic bid to the NCAA III Championships with a second place finish at last week's Great Lakes Regional meet, claiming the second place and automatic qualifying spot by four points. 

Beset by injury for most the year, the Knights still ran bravely on Saturday.

Junior Katie Diekema (Kenmore, Wash./Ingelmoor HS) was Calvin's top individual finisher on the 6K course , placing 125th in a time of 22:24.

Sophomore Michelle Koetje (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) was Calvin's second finisher, placing 157th (22:38). 

Senior Katie McLain (Kalamazoo, Mich./Kalamazoo Christian HS) was 194th (22:54), junior Catherine Croft (Grand Rapids, Mich./Coopersville HS) 218th (23:05) and sophomore Sarah Ball (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) 235th (23:16).

Rounding out Calvin's finishers were senior Marissa McGahan (Brighton, Mich./Brighton HS) in 242nd (23:24) and senior Hope Gaffner (Hudsonville, Mich./Unity Christian HS) in 247th (23:29).

"It was a tough race and we knew it would be that way," said Calvin head cross country coach Brian Diemer. "The hills might have gotten to us a little bit but I'm proud of this team. I'm proud that they were willing to fight to get back to nationals and run with the best teams in the nation."

Khia Kurtenbach from the University of Chicago won Saturday's individual race with a time of 20:39. 

Johns Hopkins won the team title with a team score of 96 points. 

The Knights were making their 28th appearance at the NCAA III Cross Country Championships which is tied for second on the all-time NCAA III women's cross country list.