blend of returning letterwinners and athletes new to the Hope cross country program should put the Flying Dutch in the thick of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) race this fall.

The 2007 Flying Dutch finished third in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA).

Mark Northuis begins his third decade as coach of the Hope cross country program. In 20 seasons under coach Northuis, the Flying Dutch have always finished no lower than in third place in the MIAA standings.

The pre-season roster of 34 athletes includes 19 returning letterwinners. There are eight freshmen, 13 sophomores, six juniors and seven seniors.

The co-captains will be seniors Sarah Multer of Plainwell, Mich. (Plainwell HS) and Rebekah Woods of Lowell, Mich. (Lowell HS).

Sophomore Susan Savasky of Berkley (Marion HS) achieved All-MIAA second team honors last fall while senior Kate Freshour of Bloomington, Ill. (Olympia HS) was an All-MIAA second team honoree in 2006. Freshour also received All-MIAA recognition in track & field last spring.

Other returning senior letterwinners include Holly Grieving of Grandville, Mich. (Grandville HS), Molly Nyboer of Spring Lake, Mich. (Spring Lake HS), and Sara Tyler of New Milford, Conn. (New Milford HS).

Other returning letterwinners include sophomore Claire Bird of New Paltz, N.Y. (New Paltz HS), sophomores Kate Brundige of Vicksburg, Mich. (Vicksburg HS), sophomore Kelsey Engle of Park Ridge, Ill. (Maine South HS), sophomore Emily Fischer of Naperville, Ill. (Naperville Central HS), sophomore Joanne Gabl of Saline, Mich. (Saline HS), junior Sara Gosses of Amherst, Ohio (Amherst Steele HS), junior Laura Jackson of Allen Park, Mich. (Allen Park HS), junior Emma Lucas of Cadillac, Mich. (Cadillac HS), sophomore Andrea Miller of Algonquin, Ill. (Dundee Crown HS), sophomore Elle Munoa of Holland, Mich. (West Ottawa HS), junior Haley Smith of Bronson, Mich. (Bronson HS), and Faith Whitehouse of Manton (Manton HS).

The Flying Dutch also excelled in the classroom in 2007-08 receiving Team Academic All-America honors from the College Cross Country Coaches Association for the 18th consecutive year. Ten returning Flying Dutch were named to the 2007-08 MIAA Academic Honor Roll - Kate Brundige, Joanne Gabl, Sara Gosses, Emma Lucas, Andrea Miller, Sarah Multer, Molly Nyboer, Sara Tyler, Faith Whitehouse and Rebekah Woods.

The Flying Dutch will open the season on Saturday, Aug. 30 by hosting the Bill Vanderbilt Invitational. It will be the team's only home meet. The regular season schedule will culminate with the MIAA championships hosted by Kalamazoo College on Saturday, Nov. 1. The NCAA Regional will be run in Westerville, Ohio on Nov. 15 and a week later the nationals will be held in Hanover, Ind.