Posted: Sep 10, 2017
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Junior Katie Diekema captured the Knight Invite individual championship Saturday morning in leading the eighth-ranked Calvin women's cross country team to a fourth place team finish in a field of nationally-ranked teams Saturday morning at the Gainey Athletic Complex.
Diekema (Kenmore, Wash./Ingelmoor HS) took first place with a time of 17:46 to finish eight seconds ahead of Melissa Winchester of Aquinas.
Senior Hope Gaffner (Hudsonville, Mich./Unity Christian HS) took 14th in a time of 18:37. Senior Catherine Croft (Grand Rapids, Mich./Coopersville HS) was 26th (19:02), sophomore Sarah Ball (Lynden, Wash./Lynden Christian HS) 32nd (19:08), sophomore Michelle Koetje (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) 41st (19:24), sophomore Emma Schroer (Wheaton, Il./Wheaton Warrenville-South HS) 44th (19:20) and senior Marissa McGahan 45th (19:31) on the 5K course.
Grand Valley State took first place in the team standings with 63 points. Aquinas was second with 68 points followed by Madonna in third with 90 and Calvin fourth with 104.
Calvin cross country coach Brian Diemer commented on Diekema's impressive race. "She is really gaining confidence and coming into her own," said Diemer. "She is starting to believe that she can run at the top of the field and be prepared to run away from the field if the opportunity is there. Today she sensed that opportunity was there, grabbed it and had an awesome race."
Diemer also commented on the progression of the team as a whole. "We made a lot of progress today even though there some things we didn't do as well as we wanted to do," said Diemer. "Our women are learning to trust each other and finding out where they need to push forward to run together in packs. I feel this will be a very good year and we will continue to get better."
Calvin will now break for two weeks and returns to action on September 23 when it competes at the MIAA Jamboree hosted by Hope College.