by Alan Babbitt
Saturday's trip to the Greater Louisville Classic took an unexpected turn for the nationally ranked Hope College women's cross country team.
The Flying Dutch finished fourth out of 37 teams in the Silver Division after the games committee decided to score the race at the 3.9K split due to a course mishap.
According to a United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association tweet, "A gate was opened at the wrong time due to a lapped runner, which caused the field to deviate to an alternate course for the safety of spectators. The Games Committee determined that the race will be scored at (the last split point)."
Due to the error, none of the teams in the Silver Division will be able to use their times for consideration for next month's NCAA Division III Championships, head coach Mark Northuis said.
Despite the disappointment, Northuis said the Flying Dutch gained confidence from their performance.
"We ran very well," Northuis said. "The question was 'How we well do you handle the adversity?' We moved up in the last little bit. We beat several teams ranked ahead of us. We ran a really strong race."
Freshman Ana Tucker of Midland, Michigan (H.H Dow HS) led Hope by finishing in the top five in the 252-runner field.
Hope's next five runners cross the finish line within 35 seconds of each other, Northuis said.
Senior Anna Frazee of Watervliet, Michigan (Home School) recorded the Flying Dutch's second-fastest run.
She was followed by senior Chelsea Miskelley of Holland, Michigan (Black River), freshman Ellie Jankowski of Granger, Indiana (Penn), junior Jacinda Cole of Holland, Michigan (West Ottawa) and senior Sally Hansma of Jenison, Michigan (Jenison).
The Flying Dutch next will run at the Muskegon Community College Invitational on Friday, October 11 at 2 p.m.