by Alan Babbitt
Justin Freeman sprinted his way into elite company in Hope College and Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association outdoor men's track & field history.
The senior from Holland, Michigan (West Ottawa HS) has received MIAA Most Valuable Track Athlete of the Year honors after a record-setting performance last week at MIAA Field Day hosted by Hope College.
This marks the 12th time the Flying Dutchmen have had a MIAA Valuable Athlete in outdoor track & field.
Freeman joins a group that includes Kyle VanderVeen (2012 track performer), Nick Rinck (2011 track performer), Cameron Lampkin (201) track performer), Joe Kattelus (2001 field performer), Rob Appel (1984-86), Cliff Haverdink (1971), Ray Cooper (1966 and 1968) and Dave Lane (1965).
Freeman co-headlines an All-MIAA Men's Outdoor Track & Field team with Calvin College thrower Brendan VanHouten.
They are joined by Freeman's teammate, javelin champion Josh Izenbart. The junior from Glenwood, Illinois (Homewood-Flossmoor) won with a toss of 48.49 meters (159 feet, 1 inch).
Freeman earned his spot with MIAA- and school-record performances in the 100-meter dash of 10.56 seconds and the 200-meter dash of 21.32 seconds.
In the 200, Freeman raced past the previous record of 21.75 that had stood for 30 years: Craig Flowerday (1989).
Freeman also anchored the MIAA champion 4x100 relay. He teamed with junior Korey Derr of Grand Rapids, Michigan (Northview), sophomore David Clark of Sterling Heights, Michigan (Adlai Stevenson) and junior Adam Howard of Jacksonville, Illinois (Routt Catholic) for a winning time of 41.83 seconds.
Derr, Clerk and Howard also earned All-MIAA honors.