EAST LANSING, Mich. - The 12th-ranked Calvin men's cross country team had a stellar performance at the Michigan State Spartan Invitational Friday.
Competing in a field of Division I and Division II teams, Calvin finished in fourth place with a team score of 117 points.
Host Michigan State won the 8K race with a team score of 55 points followed by the University of Michigan with 58 points and Division II Grand Valley State third with 73 points. Grand Valley State entered the race ranked second in Division II while Michigan State was ranked 24th and Michigan 29th in Division I. Calvin finished ahead of Division I Youngstown State that posted a fifth place score of 132 points. The Knights also finished ahead of Wisconsin-Stout, ranked 20th in Division III, by a 73-point margin.
Sophomore Jonathan Ellis (Baltimore, Md./Towson HS) had a huge race for the Knights, finishing 14th in a time of 25:37. Ellis was the top Division III finisher in the race.
Junior Tyler Johnson (Springfield, Il./Pleasant Plains HS) was Calvin's next finisher, placing 17th in a time of 25:39. Sophomore Justin Varineau (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) was Calvin's third finisher, placing 21st in 25:46. Senior Jamison Koeman (Whitinsville, Mass./Whitinsville Christian HS) was next up for Calvin, finishing 34th in a time of 26:12. Junior Addison Smith (Seoul, South Korea/Seoul Foreign School) rounded out Calvin's top five, placing 47th in 26:26 as only 49 seconds separated Calvin's top five.
Junior Caleb Ferguson (Naperville, Il./Neuqua Valley HS) was the sixth man for the Knights, placing 63rd in 26:49. Junior Jacob Pettinga (Saugatuck, Mich./Saugatuck HS) was Calvin's seventh man, finishing 68th in 26:59.
Rounding out Calvin's finishers were sophomore Micah Meindertsma (Caledonia, Mich./Caledonia HS) in 90th (27:33), senior Jack Randall (Hopkington, Mass./Whitinsville Christian HS) in 117th (28:13), junior Jason Klaasen (Jenison, Mich./Unity Christian HS) in 131st (28:29) and sophomore Fredrick McWain (Grand Rapids, Mich./Catholic Central HS) in 160th (29:11).
"We had a great team performance," said Calvin head cross country coach Brian Diemer. "Jonathan Ellis had a break-out performance and I thought several other individuals ran very well. Jamison Koeman ran a very smart race and help solidify our pack and Addison Smith made a big jump today. He learned some things from last week and took them to heart with his race this morning. We ran against a very competitive field and our guys didn't back down. I am very encouraged by this race and the progress we are making. We took another step forward today. This was also a very profesionally-run invitational by Michigan State and I thank them for putting on a great event. It was a great day for the sport of cross country."
Calvin will now break until September 28 when it competes at the prestigious Notre Dame Joe Piane Invitational.