by Alan Babbitt
Korey Derr's feet are filling some big and fast shoes for the Hope College men's indoor track and field team.
The senior from Grand Rapids, Michigan (Northview HS) has taken a lead role for the Flying Dutchmen this season after record-setting, sprinting champion Justin Freeman, the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association's Most Valuable Outdoor Field Athlete, graduated.
Heading into this weekend's Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Indoor Track and Field Championships at Trine University, Derr owns the league's second-fastest run in the 60-meter dash.
MIAA Championship Central
"Over the past two years, I've been building relationships with a lot of guys in our Sprint Crew. It's been nothing but competition in practice and doing whatever we can do to get better," Derr said. "Justin was a big role model for all of us. When lef let, I wanted to step up and take control, doing whatever I can do to help them, but also get myself prepared for every meet. This is my last go-round. I just want to do whatever I can for my teammates, for myself, for Hope and for my family."
The 2020 MIAA Indoor Championships in Angola, Indiana, are scheduled to start on Saturday, February 29 at 11 a.m. It is a one-day meet.
Derr's 60-meter dash time of 7.00 seconds is second in the MIAA. The only faster sprinter in the league is Trine University's Josh Davis — by one-hundredth of a second.
Derr also has the MIAA's 16th fastest time in the 200 meters at 23.51 seconds.
Derr credits head coach Kevin Cole's adjustment this season in pre-meet preparation.
"He's been doing a lot more very fast-paced, competitive workouts," Derr said. "Throughout the week, we are doing 40-meter flies. We are doing 10-meter flies. We're timing them every time and we're seeing who is the best. The competition is so high. It's good to have the competition throughout the week."
Off the track, Derr is working toward completing his degree in business. He is eyeing a career in event management.
Derr is grateful he made the decision to transfer to Hope three years ago to play football and run track for the Flying Dutchmen.
"Hope has changed my life," Derr said. "I've built the most incredible relationships I ever would have thought of. Great coaches from football to track. It's been an incredible journey through the ups and downs through school, anything that's been tough, I've had a great support group. It's shaped the person I am. I'm glad I did come here because it was the best move I ever made. Hope is going to help me be more successful."