Dordt College News

Dordt To Run At National Meet November 17

November 15, 2012

Meet Time…The NAIA National Championship Cross Country Meet will be held Saturday, November 17 at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Vancouver, Washington.  The women’s race starts at 10:30 AM (Pacific) and the men’s race will get underway at 11:45. 

Please Join Us!!!Dordt College is hosting a reception at the West Parlor of the Marshall House located on the grounds of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site for food, fun and fellowship.  If attending RSVP to Wes Fopma at 712-722-6028 or  The reception will happen at about 1:00 PM (Pacific) following the men’s race.  The reception site map is here

Making The Trip…Information from the NAIA for the event is available here.

Participants… The Dordt College women’s cross country team qualified for the national meet with the school’s first ever cross country GPAC Championship.  The Defender men will send Ryan Tholen and Nathan Jackson who both qualified for the meet with top-10 finishes at the GPAC Championships.

The women’s field features 22 conference/independent/unaffiliated group champions, one group runner-up and seven at-large selections.  Concordia (Oregon) is the host for the event and receives and berth as well.  An additional 109 runners will be competing by virtue of their finish at their local qualifying event.

The men’s field features conference/independent/unaffiliated group champions and one group runner-up and nine at-large selections.  Additionally, 105 runners will compete after qualifying through their local events.

Familiar Faces…When the Defender women look for familiar faces at the championship race they won’t find many, if any in the field.  Dordt is the lone GPAC member team to make the field.  The men’s race features Concordia (Nebraska), the GPAC Champion, and Morningside made it in as an at-large berth.

Honors Come In….Greg Van Dyke was named the Great Plains Athletic Conference women’s coach of the year in voting done at the conclusion of the GPAC Championships on Saturday, November 3.  Additionally, six Defender women and two men earned all-GPAC honors with finishes in the top-15 at the conference meet.  For Van Dyke the honor is the second in as many years as he also won the award for men’s coaching last year.

The Dordt runners earning all-GPAC honors were:
Lauren Opp (Sophomore; Garner, Iowa)
Merissa Harkema (Senior; Hudsonville, Michigan)
Kayla Byl (Freshman; Sioux Center, Iowa)
Abby De Vries (Sophomore; Maurice, Iowa)
Renee Buikema (Sophomore; Brookfield, Wisconsin)
Katie Bonnema (Junior; Ireton, Iowa)
Ryan Tholen (Senior; Tracy, Minnesota)
Nathan Jackson (Sophomore; Tracy, California)

Last Year… The Dordt College Defender women's cross country team sent two runners to the NAIA National Championship Meet on Saturday, November 19 in Vancouver, Washington. Michelle Steiger, a senior from Lynden, Washington, finished 71st in her third appearance at the event while Renee Buikema, a freshman from Brookfield, Wisconsin, placed 177th in the 323 field with a time of 19:53.

Obsie Birru won the event competing for Grand View with a time of 17:15. California State San Marcos claimed the team title on the 5,000 meter course with 82 points.

The Dordt College men's cross country team finished 24th in the team standings at the NAIA National Championship Meet on Saturday, November 19 in Vancouver, Washington. The Defenders totaled 589 points in their first appearance at the National Meet since 1981.

Dordt's first runner across was Nathan Jackson in 25:59 for 88th place in the scoring. Ryan Tholen was in at 26:12 and was 104th and Jeremy Van Woerden was right behind in 26:22 for 118th place. Eric Tudor and Steve Olson placed 129th and 150th in the scoring with times of 26:31 and 26:48. Running sixth and seventh for the Defenders was Tim Bierma and Trent Kischer with times of 26:59 and 27:08 for 164th and 179th.

312 runners and 32 teams ran at the meet held at Fort Vancoouver National Historic Site with Kennedy Kithuka from Wayland Baptist (Texas) winning in a time of 23:15--44 seconds faster than the second place finisher. Oklahoma Christian won the team title with 93 points and California State San Marcos claimed second.

The meet was run on an 8,000 meter course.

Last Time… The Dordt College Defender women's cross country team claimed its first ever GPAC Championship with a dominating performance the conference championship race on Saturday, November 3 at McCook Lake, South Dakota hosted by Briar Cliff. The Defenders took the low total with 25 points to win the team title over their nearest competitors, Concordia and Nebraska Wesleyan with 91 points each.

Dordt took places three through eight on the way to the team title and the seventh runner for the Defenders in the scoring was 31st. Dordt's top five runners were separated by just 20 seconds in earning a team berth at the NAIA National Meet to be held on November 17 in Vancouver, Washington.

Lauren Opp was the first across for the Defenders with a time of 18:00 for third overall. Merissa Harkema came in fourth with a time of 18:15 and the next four runner came across in short order for Dordt. Kayla Byl was in at 18:17, Abby De Vries was right behind in sixth with a time of 18:18. Next was Renee Buikema with a time of 18:20 and Katie Bonnema was less than a second out behind Buikema for a eighth place time. Lillie Koerner clocked a 19:09 and was the second pusher for the Defenders, not figuring into the team score.

Concordia's Sarah Kortze and Jena Schwalenberg were first and second with times of 17:11 and 17:45 over the 5,000 meter course.

95 runners and 11 teams competed in the meet. Dordt's women will advance to the NAIA National meet at Vancouver, Washington.

"Our ladies put everything together today," said Dordt College coach Greg Van Dyke. "We ran a great team race with a 1-6 spread of 20 seconds. The team is excited to make a strong run at the National Championships Meet."

Final Standings
Dordt 25
Concordia 91
Nebraska Wesleyan 91
Doane 99
Morningside 131
Hastings 159
Northwestern 162
Mount Marty 186
Midland 219
Dakota Wesleyan 295
Briar Cliff 341

The Dordt College Defender men's cross country team placed fifth in the Great Plains Athletic Conference Championships on Saturday, November 3 at McCook Lake, South Dakota hosted by Briar Cliff.

The Defenders were led by Ryan Tholen with a fifth place finish of 25:19, 11 seconds behind the winner. Nathan Jackson finished eighth in a time of 25:31. Both Tholen and Jackson qualify for the national meet on Saturday, November 17 at Vancouver, Washington with their finishes.

Tim Bierma was 30th in the race with a time of 26:13 and Ryan McNamara was 35th in 26:32. Dordt's final counting score was Jake Byma with a 37th place time of 26:35 and Trent Kischer was 43rd in 26:47. Derek opp was Dordt's seventh runner with a time of 26:56 for 51st place.

Concordia won the team title with 48 points. Eleven teams and 94 runners competed in the annual race.

Final Standings:
Concordia 48
Morningside 55
Nebraska Wesleyan 75
Doane 84
Dordt 115
Northwestern 163
Mount Marty 198
Hastings 224
Midland 261
Dakota Wesleyan 298
Briar Cliff 299

Poll…The Dordt College women are no. 10 in the final in-season NAIA poll released November 4.

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