WINNECONNE, Wisc. - The ninth-ranked Calvin men's cross country team put together a banner performance on Saturday at the UW-Oshkosh Town Sports Pre-National Invitational, placing third in a field of 50 teams with a score of 127 points.
The Knights were one of several nationally-ranked teams in the 8K race.
Top-ranked North Central took first place with 41 points followed by sixth-ranked Washington University of St. Louis with 97 points. Calvin finished 17 points ahead of fifth-ranked Haverford (4th place) and over 150 points ahead of third-ranked Pomona-Pitzer (fifth place, 277 points). Calvin also finished well ahead of 11th-ranked Wartburg (8th place, 314 points), 14th-ranked MIT (10th place, 368 points), 15th-ranked Chicago (eighth place, 314 points), 19th-ranked Rhodes (12th place, 381 points) and 20th-ranked Carleton (11th place, 372 points).
Junior Tyler Johnson (Springfield, Il./Pleasant Plains HS) led the Calvin pack with a 15th place time of 25:31 as only 28 seconds separated Calvin's first and fifth runner.
Sophomore Justin Varineau (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) was 20th in 25:38 with sophomore Jonathan Ellis (Baltimore, Md./Towson HS) right behind in 22nd (25:39). Junior Addison Smith (Seoul, South Korea/Seoul Foreign School) had his finest race of the season, placing 29th (25:48). Junior Caleb Ferguson (Naperville, Il./Neuqua Valley HS) was Calvin's all-important fifth man, placing 41st in 25:58.
"Our guys are really pulling things together," said Calvin head cross country coach Brian Diemer. "They ran extremely well on a slow and muddy course. Tyler Johnson ran incredibly strong and focused and Addison Smith had one of the best races of his career. At the halfway point our team was in the lead. We fell off just a bit but I am incredible pleased. Our guys are out there running for each other. They are set up nicely for the rest of the season. They have a chance to achieve their dreams and goals."
In the men's open (8K) race, junior Fredrick McCwain (Grand Rapids, Mich./Catholic Central HS) was 73rd (27:47), sophomore Micah Meindertsma (Caledonia, Mich./Caledonia HS) 74th (27:47) and senior Jack Randall (Hopkington, Mass./Whitinsville Christian HS) 107th (28:14).
Calvin returns to action on October 29 when it competes at the MIAA Championships in Kalamazoo.