by Alan Babbitt
Neither illness nor the competition could deter the Hope College women's cross country team from a fifth consecutive Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship.
Without two of their top five runners, the 25th-ranked Flying Dutch still repeated as league champs on Saturday at Trine University by posting a winning score in the nine-team event of 32 points. Hope finished ahead of runner-up Trine (49) and third-place Calvin University (54).
Head coach Mark Northuis praised a true team effort that delivered the program's 11th league championship all-time.
"I think this continues to show the dedication the team has to build a strong culture of running hard, training hard and running as a team," Northuis said. "This year's team really had to overcome a lot of sickness. We didn't have two of our top five again today due to sickness. But then we got somebody else back. Kelly Peregrine runs for the first time this year.
"Just the resilience of his team and the ability to cover for each other really made a big difference. This championship was a lot different than the previous ones. They had to dig deep."
Photo by Sheila Morrigan
Hope clocked seven of the fastest 19 times.
Four of the runs resulted All-MIAA First Team honors.
Freshman Ana Tucker of Midland, Michigan (H.H. Dow) placed second with a run of 23 minutes, 19.1 seconds.
Senior Anna Frazee of Watervliet, Michigan (Home School) took fourth by clocking a time of 23:36.4. It was Frazee's second All-MIAA award.
Senior Chelsea Miskelley of Holland, Michigan (Black River) recorded a seventh-place effort of 23:46.8.
Junior Jacinda Cole of Holland, Michigan (West Ottawa) finished eighth with a time of 23:57.9.
Two more Hope runners made the All-MIAA Second Team.
Senior Rebecca Duran of Palatine, Illinois (Palatine) came in 11th at 24:17.1 to round out the Flying Dutch's winning point total.
Senior Kelly Peregrine of Traverse City, Michigan (T.C. Central) placed 14th at 24:28.0.
Sophomore Julia Robleski of Wheaton, Illinois (Wheaton Academy) also finished in the Top 20 with a time of 24:38.3 for 19th place.
"Brian VanZanten, our assistant coach, said it well. Jacinda finally raced on a Saturday like she's training during the week. She picked a great day to come out and do well," Northuis said. "She goes from not even being on the radar last year to make all-conference.
"Rebecca, who's been seventh for most of the year, stepped up for us and makes all-conference. Kelly runs her first race all season and makes all-conference. People stepped up today and really made the difference. They know when they have to compete and go after it."
Hope's next meet is the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional hosted by Calvin on Saturday, November 16.