by Alan Babbitt
With a few challenges thrown its way prior to the race, the Hope College women's cross country team took a different approach to the talent-loaded Wisconsin-Oshkosh KollegeTown invitational.
It was still a hugely successful run for the 17th-ranked Flying Dutch.
Hope finished fifth out of 33 teams on Saturday at Lake Breeze Golf Club in Winneconne, Wisconsin. The Flying Dutch, who totaled 203 points, finished only behind teams ranked higher than them in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll.
"It's been a hard week academically. We didn't have one of our top runners, Chelsea Miskelley," head coach Mark Northuis said. "We didn't put a lot of mental stress on this race. Also having two captains out, we didn't want to play that card. We focused on our race plan and what they needed to work on.
"We had a really solid performance."
Freshman Ana Tucker of Midland, Michigan (H.H. Dow HS) crossed the finish line first for Hope by clocking a seventh-place run of 6K run of 22 minutes, 18.5 seconds.
Senior Anna Frazee of Watervliet, Michigan (Home School) also finished in under 23 minutes. She placed 50th at 22:49.2.
Hope's next four runners also finished within 23 seconds of each other.
Junior Jacinda Cole of Holland, Michigan (West Ottawa) clocked a run of 23:23.9 for 50th place.
Senior Sally Hansma of Jenison, Michigan (Jenison) posted a time of 23:29.2 for 58th place.
Freshman Ellie Jankowski of Granger, Indiana (Penn) recorded a run of 23:41.3 for 67th place.
Senior Rebecca Duran of Palatine, Illinois (Palatine) went 23:46.2 for 72nd place.
Senior Hannah Kenny of Grand Haven, Michigan (Grand Haven) ran 24:07.4 for 88th place.
"I thought we ran very well," Northuis said. "I was pleased how we worked through the pack and found our teammates. You can't do that in practice. You have to do it in a big meet. That helped us prepare us for the championship meets that we are racing in."
Hope's next race is the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Championships hosted by Trine University on Saturday, November 2.