Dordt College News

Cross Country Preps For National Meet

November 14, 2011

Meet Time…The NAIA Cross Country National Championships will be held Saturday,  November 19 at Vancouver, Washington.  The race will be run at the Fort of Vancouver.  Directions to the site can be found here.  Admission for the event is free.

The 8,000 meter men’s race will be run at 10:30 a.m. and the women’s 5,000 meter race will be run at 11:45 a.m.  Times are Pacific.

There will be a post-meet awards ceremony held at Hudson’s Bay High School at 1206 E Reserve Street; Vancouver, Washington.

The Cascade Collegiate Conference and Concordia University (Oregon) serve as the hosts for the event.  Official website.

Video...Coach Greg Van Dyke talks about the challenges for the team and preparations for the event here.

Participants… 32 women’s teams along with 32 men’s teams will be competing in the event along individuals who have qualified via their finish at the conference meet.  The Great Plains Athletic Conference sends the top-five individuals in both the women’s and men’s races who are not members of national qualifying teams.

The Defender men earned their first team berth since 1980 at the meet with their second place finish to NCAA Division III member Nebraska Wesleyan.  Because of Wesleyan’s NCAA affiliation the next team finisher takes the automatic berth in the field.

The Dordt women will send Renee Buikema (Freshman; Brookfield, Wisconsin) and Michelle Steiger (Senior; Lynden, Washington) to compete in the race individually.  Steiger is making her third straight appearance in the NAIA National Meet.  Interestingly, Steiger’s father Pete, was a member of the last men’s qualifying team from Dordt College in 1980.

History… Steiger was the lone NAIA National Meet qualifier for the Defenders last season and ran an 18:23 for 21st place and NAIA All-American status.  She also qualified as a sophomore and ran a 19:20 on the same course in Vancouver.

The 2010 women’s race was won by Justyna Moody from Shorter College with a 17:42 finish.

Cal-State San Marcos won the team race with 88 points and Biola placed second with 127.
The 2010 men’s race was won by Kennydy Kithuka from Wayland Baptist as he ran away from the field with a 24:02 time which was 39 seconds faster than the second place finisher. 

Southern Oregon won the race with 105 points and Wayland Baptist was second with 124.

How’d They Qualify… The Dordt College men's cross country team is going back to the NAIA National Championship Meet after a 31 year absence with a second place finish at the Great Plains Athletic Conference Championship meet on Saturday, November 5 in Lincoln, Nebraska run at Pioneers Park.  The Defenders beat Concordia by 11 points for second place behind NCAA Division III member Nebraska Wesleyan to take the automatic berth to the National Meet.
Dordt's top finisher was Ryan Tholen with a ninth place time of 26:44 and his teammates weren't far behind.  Nathan Jackson was 12th in 26:50 with Tim Bierma and Jeremy Van Woerden finishing right next to each other in 19th and 20th place with times of 27:10 and 27:11.  Dordt's fifth runner was Eric Tudor who clocked a 27:24 for 26th place.  Steve Olson and Trent Kischer were the final Dordt runners to factor into scoring, pushing other places down with a 32nd and 33rd finish respectively in 27:46 and 27:52.Dordt's first and fifth runners were separated by just 40 seconds.

The Dordt College Defender women's cross country team placed fourth and qualified two runners to advance to the NAIA National Meet.

Dordt's first two runners were Renee Buikema and Michelle Steiger with times of 19:04 and 19:06 for seventh and ninth place respectively. Both will run at the national meet as the top-five runners on teams that don't advance to Nationals earn individual berths. Abby De Vries ran 17th in a time of 19:40 while Merissa Harkema was 25th in 19:57. Katie Bonnema was Dordt's final counter for points with a 20:24 for 38th place overall. Hannah Orlow and Lauren Opp were 48th and 49th respectively and pushed other point winners down with times of 20:46 and 20:49.

This is the first trip to the nationals for the men's team since a 1980 berth.

The Roster…The Dordt men have declared seven runners for the race and have one alternate.
Ryan Tholen (Junior; Tracy, Minnesota)
Nathan Jackson (Freshman, Tracy, California)
Tim Bierma (Sophomore; Sioux Center, Iowa)
Jeremy Van Woerden (Sophomore; Abbotsford, British Columbia)
Eric Tudor (Senior; Charles City, Iowa)
Steve Olson (Junior; Delavan, Wisconsin)
Trent Kischer (Freshman; Albert City, Iowa)
Derek Opp (Sophomore; Charles City, Iowa) alternate

Wild Week…Dordt College coach Greg Van Dyke had an eventful week November 5-10.  Saturday, November 5 marked the men’s team qualifying for the NAIA Championships.  Tuesday, November 8 Van Dyke and his wife Lorylin, an assistant track and field coach at Dordt, welcomed a daughter, Poppy Jo into the world and Thursday Greg was named the GPAC Men’s Coach of the Year.

Media Access: Download Word Version | High Resolution Image: 1