by Alan Babbitt
On its run this season, the Hope College women's cross country team encountered more than a few obstacles.
Neither illness nor injuries deterred the 21st-ranked Flying Dutch, though. They pushed their string of consecutive NCAA Division III Championship appearances to 10 and Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championships to five.
Hope is competing at the NCAA Championships on Saturday, November 23, at 11:45 a.m. at Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Kentucky. It is a 6K course.
Head coach Mark Northuis is proud of how his runners embraced the adversity they met this fall.
"Sometimes life throws you curveballs, and you've got to hit them. That's how we've approached it," Northuis said. "It's been up to the team that we can build that day. We have the confidence in them. Last week, we had some new runners (at regionals) and they took the next step for us."
The Flying Dutch finished fourth at the November 16 Great Lakes Regional in Grand Rapids. They received an at-large berth to advance to nationals as a team for the 17th time in team history.
Ten Hope runners, below in alphabetical order, made the trip to nationals. Seven will compete on Saturday.
- Rebecca Duran, senior from Palatine, Illinois (Palatine)
- Anna Frazee, senior from Watervliet, Michigan (Home School)
- Sally Hansma, senior from Jenison, Michigan (Jenison)
- Hannah Kenny, senior from Grand Haven, Michigan (Grand Haven)
- Chelsea Miskelley, senior from Holland, Michigan (Black River)
- Kelly Peregrine, senior from Traverse City, Michigan (T.C. Central)
- Jacinda Cole, junior from Holland, Michigan (West Ottawa)
- Julia Robleski, sophomore from Wheaton, Illinois (Wheaton Academy)
- Ellie Jankowski, freshman from Granger, Pennsylvania (Penn)
- Ana Tucker, freshman from Midland, Michigan (H.H. Dow)
Miskelley, a co-captain, said the dynamic of the team helped the Flying Dutch succeed this season despite the challenges.
"We really have a positive attitude," Miskelley said. "We are so encouraging of each other. We know when to ease up when we need to do and push it when we need to."
Peregrine, also a captain, credited head coach Mark Northuis for assisting the Flying Dutch.
"Coach Northuis understands us and makes sure we're fresh," Peregrine said. "He's pretty smart on how to help us throughout the season."