by Alan Babbitt
The Hope College women's cross country team continued its unprecedented title run with a dominating performance at the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Championships in Kalamazoo.
The 14th-ranked Flying Dutch ran away with a school-record, fourth consecutive MIAA title after posting a winning score of 32 points. They finished 25 points ahead of runner-up Calvin College in the nine-team event.
Hope clocked six of 12 fastest times at Eastern Hills Golf Club. Senior Emily Hamilton of Naperville, Illinois (Naperville HS) topped the Flying Dutch with a second-place 6K effort of 22 minutes, 17.1 seconds.
Junior Chelsea Miskelley of Holland, Michigan (Black River) placed fifth with a run of 22:54.6.
Junior Kelly Peregrine of Traverse City, Michigan (T.C. Central) came in seventh at 23:04.5.
Junior Anna Frazee of Watervliet, Michigan (Home School) joined her teammates in claiming All-MIAA First Team honors by taking eighth in 23:12.7.
Lowe recorded a 10th-place run of 23:21.9. Neumar was 12th at 23:25.6.
Freshman Julia Robleski of Wheaton, Illinois (Wheaton Academy) gave the Flying Dutch seven runners in the Top 20. She came in 19th at 23:39.4.
"Our depth," head coach Mark Northuis said, describing how his team became the first in team history with four consecutive MIAA titles. The Flying Dutch were league champs three times in a row from 2003-2005.
"You look at some of the runners in our top seven, and they're not the usual names. Sarah didn't run the first couple of meets for us. The names go on and on. They were all big for us today, along with our usual suspects. Our depth made the difference. When you have that depth, everyone pushing each other in practice, everyone gets better every single day."
Northuis said the Flying Dutch helped themselves stay on top by concentrating on what they could control, not the competition.
"We try to focus on what we do best," Northuis said. "Calvin's really strong. You cannot have a down meet. We have to be strong to accomplish what we want to accomplish."
Hope's next meet is the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional on Saturday, November 10 in Franklin, Indiana.
The Flying Dutch will try to earn their second regional title in a row and claim a spot in the Saturday, November 17 NCAA national championships. Hope has been regional champion twice in the past three years and six times overall.