In 2014, the Hope College men's cross country team is aiming to build on the Flying Dutchmen's recent successes.

In 2014, the Hope College men's cross country team is aiming to build on the Flying Dutchmen's recent successes.

Coach Mark Northuis’ 2014 roster of 23 runners features five who ran in the Great Lakes Regional last season. There are four seniors, seven juniors, six sophomores and six freshmen.

Hope opens the 2014 season by hosting the 49th annual Vanderbilt Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 30, at Ridge Point Community Church. It is the Flying Dutchmen’s only home meet of the season.

Senior co-captains are Tim Simon of Richland, Michigan (Gull Lake HS), Zach Zandbergen of Grandville, Michigan (Grandville HS), and Ben Zank of Midland, Michigan (H.H. Dow HS).

Hope owns a long history of competitiveness in the MIAA and nationally under Northuis, who is entering his 26th season. The Flying Dutchmen have placed third or higher in the league standings every season during his tenure. They also have been in the top 10 of the Great Lakes Regional nine of the past 11 seasons.

Hope is coming off a season in which the Flying Dutchmen finished runner-up in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association and ninth out of 35 teams at the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Region.

In 2013, Zank received All-MIAA First Team honors, while fellow returner Joseph Beemer of St. Joseph, Michigan (St. Joseph HS), was an All-MIAA Second Team selection.

Beemer and Zank posted Hope’s two fastest times at the Great Lakes Regional to score along with sophomore Julian Morrison of Aurora, Illinois (Waubonsie Valley HS). Zandbergen and sophomore Tyler Brinks of Commerce Township, Michigan (Walled Lake Northern HS) also competed in the regional.

The Flying Dutchmen also return two runners named Most Improved by their teammates last season: junior Frank Moen of St. Joseph, Michigan (St. Joseph) and junior Matt Rolain of Rochester, Michigan (Stoney Creek HS). 

In 2013, the Flying Dutchmen were chosen a United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association NCAA Division III Scholar Team of the Year. Hope recorded a 3.32 GPA to be one of 146 teams nationally to earn the USTFCCCA recognition. Teams must have a GPA 3.1 or higher to qualify for the award. Zank was named an USTFCCCA individual Scholar Athlete after recording a GPA of 3.3 or higher and a finish in the top 25 percent at the regional meet along with the graduated Samuel Pederson and James Rogers.