2012 Season Outlook
The cross country programs for the women and men have established themselves as solid programs over the years. The 2011 season produced positive results and the teams gained recognition as competitive programs. The squads enter the 2012 season with the confidence of previous success and with a positive outlook on the opportunities to excel.
“We are always looking to improve both individually and as a team,” said coach Bob Brickman, who is in his ninth year as the head coach. “We did well at the conference and national level last season and look to build on that this year.”
The women’s team looks to be especially strong as they return nine runners from last year in which they took fourth at the conference meet and were sixth at the NCCAA National Championships. After receiving votes in the NAIA national ratings last season, the Trolls started this year ranked No. 19 in the preseason poll. The team has all of their top runners back and will be experienced in the scoring positions. Also adding strength is the addition of a new runner that will challenge for a top position, as well as the competition that a squad of 14 provides.
“The women’s team is an experienced group and are at least eight deep,” commented Brickman. “We have a large group of runners in which anyone can step up and score.”
With their ability and potential, the Trolls look to move up a couple of places in the conference standings from a year ago. In order to do that they will need to have consistent improvement as the conference race will be tough with tight competition among the top five teams.
The top returners for the Trolls include a pair of seniors and a pair of sophomores. Leading the team is sophomore Anna Bos (Rockford, Michigan), a NAIA national qualifier last season. Bos made an impact in her rookie season as she set a school record at 18:15, took second place at the NCCAA Championships, and, in 35th place, became the highest place finisher for Trinity at a NAIA Championship. The team’s No. 2 and No. 3 runner are seniors Nicole Hill (Wyoming, Michigan) and Hannah Schaap (Mahomet, Illinois). Both of these runners posted personal bests last season at 19:02 and 19:28 respectively. Taking over the No. 4 position throughout last season was sophomore Kasey Zaremba (Frankfort, Illinois), who made her impact with a season best of 19:27.
A strong pack of returners are in the next group that will factor into the scoring positions and make a difference in the team’s success. Senior Hannah Sprague (Lansing, Michigan) ran her best time of her career last year at 19:56 and was consistently in the top five for the team. Junior Justine Van Dyk (Tinley Park, Illinois) improved her time last season and posted a best of 20:37. Also often in scoring position was sophomore Molly Gobeli (Milwaukee, Wisconsin), who finished her freshman year with a best of 21:10. Junior Hannah Schwab (Pella, Iowa), who did not compete last season, will factor into the mix as she posted a 20:38 in her freshman year.
In addition sophomore Kelsey Verhagen (Monee, Illinois) and senior Lauryn Meyers (Grand Rapids, Michigan) provide experience and depth to the squad.
The newcomers include three freshmen and a senior. Of that group Jessica Disselkoen (Walker, Michigan) will make an immediate impact. The all-state runner posted a 5K time of 19:14 in high school and will challenge for the top spot on the team. Rounding out the team and gaining collegiate experience are senior Kristi Koopmans (South Holland, Illinois), who is in her first year with the team, and freshmen Nicki Jager (Grand Rapids, Michigan) and Leah Van Tol (Rock Valley, Iowa).
The men’s squad consists of nine runners of which six have competed on the team before. Their top tier is experienced and proven and will lead the team. In order for the team to score well as a whole the next group of runners will have to step up and put in solid performances. They will have to make up for the loss of three scoring- position runners from last season, including the No. 1 man.
“We are not as deep in the men as we are with the women,” said Brickman. “We lost some significant talent from last year so there are a few more questions on the men’s side. We have the talent to do well, but will need some individuals to step into new roles.”
Last season the men’s team finished in fourth place in the conference and was fifth at the NCCAA Championship. With their talent and potential they can move up to second in the CCAC.
The team’s top three runners will do well for the team as they were competitive last season. Leading the group is junior Andy Reidsma (Wyoming, Michigan), who was a NAIA national qualifier last season. In 2011 he posted a best of 25:59 as the team’s No. 2 runner and finished in 11th at the conference meet to earn second-team all-conference honors. Seniors Ryan Lindemulder (Monee, Illinois), who posted a best of 25:45, and Kyle VanEerden (Wyoming, Michigan) with a best of 26:00, bring experience to team. They will be in the No. 2 and No. 3 spots and bring consistent scoring to the team.
The next group of runners has experience and will keys to how well the team scores overall. Senior Brian Hofman (Waupun, Wisconsin) has posted a personal best of 27:54. After missing the cross country season last year, senior Brian Clark (Grandville, Michigan) returns and adds potential with his best of 28:51. Junior Chris Koutavas (Orland Park, Illinois), the final returner, has a best of 28:17.
Three new individuals join the team. Freshman Michael Potter (Kentwood, Michigan) will be a contender for the scoring positions as he adjusts to the longer collegiate 8K race. Sophomore Jason Van Deraa (Crete, Illinois) trained with the team last season and will join the competition this year. Rounding out the roster is freshman James DeVries (DeMotte, Indiana)
For the 2012 schedule the Trolls will compete in six regular season meets. They start off with an early meet at Elmhurst College in August. After a meet at Olivet Nazarene University in September they will compete in two large events at the Illinois Intercollegiate Championships and the Loyola Lakefront Invitational. The first weekend in October has both teams defending their titles at Wisconsin Lutheran College and then facing tough competition at Aquinas College in the middle of the month. The CCAC Championships will be hosted by the University of St. Francis on November 3. Post-season competition includes the NCCAA Championships on November 10 and the NAIA Championships on November 17.