Hope will be well represented at the NCAA Division III national cross country championships after strong finishes at the Great Lakes Regional held in Holland on Saturday.
The Flying Dutch are headed as a team to the women's national meet in Waverly, Iowa next Saturday, Nov. 20, after finishing second behind rival Calvin in the 34-team field. Coach Mark Northuis' Dutch last qualified for nationals in 1998.
Junior Nate Love (Midland/Midland HS), has qualified for the men's championships as an individual with an eighth place (25:20.9) finish in the field of 240 runners. A year ago as a sophomore Love finished 98th at regionals.
The Hope men finished sixth in the field of 33 teams. Other Hope finishers were sophomore Chris Ryan, 44th (26:11.3), sophomore Blake Rottschafer, 50th (26:16.6), freshman Sam Pederson, 51st (26:17.1), junior Brian Hernandez, 67th (26:32.3), senior Jordan Richardson, 130th (27:18.6), and freshman Tom Smeltzer. 153rd (27:28.2). Calvin won the men's regional team title for a 15th consecutive year, led by senior Nick Kramer who repeated as the individual champion.
Hope's top five runners in the women's 6K ran within 19 seconds of each other to challenge meet winner Calvin. Leading Hope was sophomore Sharon Hecker who finished 15th (22:29.9) in the field of 240 runners. Other Hope finishers were freshman Camille Borst, 18th (22:35.0), senior Emily Fischer, 21st (22:39.5), sophomore Taylor Mattarella, 23rd (22:42.1), junior Karlyn Skima, 26th (22:44.9), junior Kelly Lufkin, 31st (22:52.7); and senior Susan Savasky, 38th (22:59.3).
Members of the women's team eligible to run at nationals are senior Claire Bird of New Paltz, N.Y. (New Paltz HS), freshman Camille Borst of Allendale, Mich. (Allendale HS), junior Salome Emmanuel of Wheaton, Ill. (Wheaton North HS), senior Emily Fischer of Naperville, Ill. (Naperville Central HS), sophomore Sharon Hecker of Grandville, Mich. (Grandville HS), junior Kelly Luftkin of Houghton, Mich. (Houghton HS), sophomore Taylor Mattarella of Traverse City, Mich. (TC Central HS), junior Kate Nelson of Williamston, Mich. (Williamston HS), senior Susan Savasky of Berkley (Marion HS), and junior Karlyn Sikma of Grand Rapids (North Pointe Christian HS). On race day coach Mark Northuis will declare the team's seven runners from this group of ten.