Hope Women's Cross Country Historic Moments

Updated thru 2017 season

Cross country for women became an intercollegiate sport at Hope in 1981. Over a relatively short period of time, the program has become highly regarded at the conference, regional and national level.

Five years into the program, Hope was both conference and NCAA Great Lakes Regional champion. Over a 30-year period, the Flying Dutch have been a top-five team in the region 20 times and an MIAA champion nine times.

The Flying Dutch have claimed three consecutive MIAA titles twice in their history: 2015-17 and 1985-87.

The best finish by a Hope women's cross country team at the NCAA Division III championship was fourth place in 1993. It was an amazing accomplishment for a team that had finished second at both the conference and regional championships.

The best finish by a Hope runner at the NCAA Division III women's cross country championships is fourth place — by Marcia Vandersall in 1992 and Erin Herrmann in 2017. In 1993, Alicia Mendenhall-Elmore placed fifth at the national meet.

A trademark of the Hope cross country program is the orange and blue school bus used to transport the teams to their practices. Hope cross country personifies the Division III model for participation, annually attracting in the area of 20-30 runners to the team.

Hope College was host to the 1987 NCAA Division III national cross country championships for men and women. The races were run over a challenging, snow-covered course at the Holland Country Club.

Jilanne Bannink is Hope's most decorated female athlete by the MIAA. She was All-MIAA in cross country four consecutive years and three years in swimming.

Jennifer Ernst '00 achieved NCAA All-America status in both cross country and track (10,000 meters).

The 2004 Flying Dutch won the MIAA championship, ending Calvin's 14-year hold on first place. Hope's five runners all finished in the top ten at the league championship meet, led by conference MVP Tina Pike.

The 2011 Flying Dutch won the MIAA championship to again end Calvin's string of successes as league champion.

The 2012 Flying Dutch won the NCAA Great Lakes Regional, Hope's first title in 25 years. The team went on to finish 10th at the national championship. Coach Mark Northuis was honored as the Great Lakes Regional Coach-of-the-Year.

The 2013 Flying Dutch finished ninth at the national championship, matching their second-best performance at the Division III meet. Senior Sheri McCormack placed ninth, the third-highest finish by a Hope runner.

The 2015 Flying Dutch earned their second MIAA title in five years and their second Great Lakes Regional championship in four years. Coach Mark Northuis was honored as the Great Lakes Regional Coach-of-the-Year after leading the Flying Dutch to their sixth consecutive trip to nationals.

Michelle Kerr claimed the NCAA Elite 90 Award in 2015 at the NCAA Division III Championships in Winneconne, Wis. The Elite 90, an award founded by the NCAA, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. Kerr was a nursing student with a 4.0 grade point average. She also won the award as a sophomore in 2013.

In 2016, the Flying Dutch placed 10th at the NCAA Division III Championship in Louisville, Kentucky. Erin Herrmann's All-American, fourth-place effort of 20:51.1 topped Hope.

Hope.edu | PO Box 9000, Holland, Michigan 49422