2018 Season Outlook

The track and field teams have done very well as a whole and individually over the years and the 2018 season will follow that pattern. As the program has become established over the past 18 seasons school records become harder to break, but the overall talent and competition level continues to increase. This year’s squads will once again rely on their proven veterans as well as on student-athletes who had success or developed in the fall cross country season. In addition they are loaded with new incoming talent and many of the younger runners look to rise to the top and be leaders.

“We are fairly well-rounded this season and have talent in our returning group as well as in our incoming athletes,” said Bob Brickman in his eighth season as head coach. “We lost a quality group of competitors and leader from a year ago, but I like the leadership our team has this year as well and the feel of the team as a whole.”  

Each year the Trolls continue to strive for personal bests and to maximize their talent on a team and individual level. The teams will be looking to improve their conference finishes and to compete with the top athletes in the CCAC. A year ago the women took fifth and the men eighth of the ten conference schools. The Trolls also look forward to having national qualifiers for both the NCCAA and the NAIA national championships.

The women’s team has a roster of 24 athletes of which 15 are returning from a year ago. A number of those returners have great experience and are leaders in their area on the track or in the field events. The nine newcomers include a very talented group of seven freshmen who will make an immediate impact.

The team is very well balanced this year and will be able to cover most areas on the track and in the field events. On the track they will be strong in the distance events as they have a large group of runners who have experience on both the track and the cross country course.  They have added new talent in the sprints and will be stronger in those races this season. In the field events the team has done well in the horizontal jumps and be competitive there again. They have also added a high jumper who will score points in that event.  In the throwing events the team has a number of upperclassmen that provide experience. While they will compete in multiple throwing events, overall the team should be strongest in the hammer throw.

“We will have quality athletes in almost all areas this season,” said Brickman. “Our returners have already proven to be leaders and this may be one of the best incoming classes we have had in a while. The new freshmen will compete in a variety of events which will make us well-rounded and not just strong in a couple of events. Overall we will have a leader in each group from distance to sprints and in the jumps and throws.”

The team will definitely pick up points in the distance events. Leading that group will be junior Megan DeWeerd (Sioux Falls, South Dakota) who is coming off a tremendous cross country season in which she earned All-American honors with a seventh place finish at the NAIA Championship and also set the school record in the 5K.  She will miss the indoor season, but will compete in the outdoor meets. Freshman April VanRyn (Tinley Park, Illinois) will also be a leader as she made a name for herself in the cross country season. She was a NAIA national qualifier and All-American with a 28th place finish at the national cross country meet. In addition she holds Trinity’s second fastest time in the 5K.

The distance group is strengthened by a proven group of returners who are also experienced cross country competitors.  Junior Nicole Syverson (Hawthorn Woods, Illinois) competed in the events from the 1,500 to the 10,000 meter last year. She placed in the 5,000 meter at the CCAC indoor and outdoor championships and in the 10,000 meter at the NCCAA outdoor national meet. Junior Hope Fathman (Hamilton, Michigan) will also compete in the 5K and 10K events and will be able to help the team pick up points in those races. Sophomore Corrie Jacobi (San Marcos, California), who has competed on the cross country team for the past two seasons, will join the distance runners on the track for the first time this year.

The middle distance runners are also a group of athletes who are cross country runners. Junior Brittany Hoekman (Hudsonville, Michigan), in her second season, was an integral part of the relay teams last year and will fill that role this season as well as compete in open middle distance races. Sophomore Mikayla VanLaan (Wayland, Michigan) will also help out in the relay events and compete in the 600 and 800 meter races. Joining that group is freshman Annie Rangel (Palos Heights, Illinois) who bring her experience from the cross country season.

The Trolls look to be stronger in the sprints this season with a number of returners as well as number newcomers who will make a difference. The team will look to score more points in the shorter races and to field stronger relay teams. Many of these athletes will also help out in the field events in the jumps.

Returning in the sprinters group are seniors Sarah Kliora (Roselle, Illinois) and Katie Moran (Naperville, Illinois), who joins the outdoor season after finishing her basketball career, junior Christa Veenstra (Sully, Iowa), who missed last year due to injury, and sophomores Carissa Wisse (Oostburg, Wisconsin) and Bailie Fredlock (Tuscon, Arizona). Creating strength and making an impact to the group are freshmen Muabon Paye (Carol Stream, Illinois) and Olivia Hoekstra (Elmhurst, Illinois). Paye will specialize more in the dashes while Hoekstra will race in the 200 to 400 meters. In addition freshmen Sarah DeVries (Grand Rapids, Michigan), Alexis VanRyn (Tinley Park, Illinois) and junior Daisy Vazquez (Chicago, Illinois) are all in their first year with the team.

A large number of those sprinters will also be involved in the jumping events. Moran placed in both the long jump and triple jump in last year’s conference meet and ranks in the top five in those events in Trinity’s records book. Kliora also is a long and triple jumper. Paye looks to be very promising in the long jump as she is a high school state qualifier in that event and has a personal best of 18-02.75. DeVries also gives the pool of athletes in the long jump some depth.

The Trolls gain a vertical jumper this season in freshman Madelyn Clausen (Minneapolis, Minnesota). She will compete in the high jump and may try her skill in the pole vault.

The field event throwers are a solid group of athletes that will represent the team well. Senior Daisy Geurink (Zeeland, Michigan) is a team leader in the shot put, weight throw and hammer throw, an event she took seventh place in at the 2017 NCCAA Outdoor Championships. Geurink ranks in the top three in Trinity’s indoor and outdoor records in her throwing events. Senior Rachel Janke (Palos Heights, Illinois) competes in the weight throw as well as the discus and hammer. Junior Miranda Nikkel (Sully, Iowa) provides depth in a number of events as she contributes in the shot put, weight throw, javelin, and hammer throw. Sophomore Ally Lee (Holland Michigan), missed the outdoor season last year due to injury, but adds depth to the throwers. Junior Taylor Yanke (Oak Lawn, Illinois) is a discus and javelin thrower. She is a versatile athlete and also competed in the pentathlon a year ago in the CCAC indoor meet.

The men’s team has a total of 23 athletes with only nine returners and 14 new comers. Nearly half of their team is also members of the cross country team which gives the Trolls a strong presence in the middle distance to distance events. However the team has also picked up a good group in the sprints and has added depth to the throwers.
The one area in which they lack participants is in the jumping events.

“We have a large group of distance runners and will look to runners to lead to the team and to those races to score points,” said Brickman. “The talent in that group is spread from veterans and newcomers. In addition our group of sprinters will be competitive and help us to field more relay teams. The added numbers to the throwers will also help in training to make us strong in those events.”

Competing in the distance races will be a group of four individuals. Junior Kyle VanderPlaats (Sioux Center, Iowa) brings the most experience to the group and will compete in events from the 1,500 meter to the 5,000 meter. He is coming off the best cross country season of his career.  Senior Nick Heidinger (Crestwood, Illinois) will also be a leader in the distance events. He has experience in a multiple of distance races, including the 3,000 meter steeple-chase. New to the track team is freshman Cole Akimoff (Salem, Oregon), who competed in the cross country season, and junior Noah Friesen (Orland Park, Illinois), who has not ran track for the past two seasons.

The middle distance group is comprised of eight young runners.  The leader of that group will be a new runner in freshman Caleb DeWeerd (Sioux Falls, South Dakota). He was a state champion in four events in his high school senior year and competed in the 800 to 3,200 meters as well as in relays. This fall he also was one of the top runners for the Trolls’ cross country team. Another top runner will be returning sophomore Brantley VanOverloop (Hudsonville, Michigan) who was a vital part of 4 x 800 meter relay team a year ago. In addition he also throws the javelin.

Other returners to the middle distance group are junior Noah Wolters (Hudsonville, Michigan), sophomore Kevin Courtney (Crestwood, Illinois), who placed in multiple relay events at the CCAC outdoor meet, and sophomore Jose Beltran (Palos Heights, Illinois). All three of those runners are also members of the cross country team. Also carrying over cross country experience from this fall are newcomers sophomores Nathan Krygsheld (Monee, Illinois) and Andrew Miller (Alsip, Illinois).

The Trolls have added more sprinters to their team to make that group of runners more substantial. Providing the most experience is senior Justin Schutt (Oak Lawn, Illinois), who will help out in the dashes and sprint relays. Also returning is junior Eddie Binion (Woodridge, Illinois), who will run in the 100 and 200 meters. As a member of the men’s volleyball team he will miss the indoor track season, but will compete in the outdoor season. The remaining sprinters are new to the team and in their first collegiate track season. They include junior transfer Sean Finley (Calumet City, Illinois), senior Isaac Lopez (Chicago, Illinois), freshman Jurrone Petry (Slinger, Wisconsin), and freshman Logan VanOverloop (Hanover Park, Illinois).

In the field events the Trolls have added a few new throwers to give that group some depth. Senior Sam DeKryger (Grandville, Michigan) is the one returners and provides the team with leadership and experience.  Last year he threw the shot put, discus, and javelin as well as competed in the sprint relays.  Freshman Ross Barz (Holland, Michigan) shows great promise and adds quality talent to the throwing events. Junior Will VanDyken (Grand Rapids, Michigan) and freshmen Jonah VanderNaald (Villa Park, Illinois) and Alex Fitzgerald (Oak Lawn, Illinois) are the other newcomers that will develop their talent in the throwing events.  

Junior Michael Carthage (Ypsilanti, Michigan) joins the team this season and will concentrate his efforts in the high jump.  

The track season for the Trolls consists of five indoor meets and five outdoor meets. The indoor season starts on January 19 at Grand Valley State University. The team will also compete at St. Ambrose University, Olivet Nazarene University, and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, before ending the regular season in the CCAC Indoor Championships hosted by St. Ambrose on February 16-17.  For national qualifiers, the NAIA Indoor Championships are in Pittsburg, Kansas, on March 1-3.

The opening outdoor meet takes places on April 7 at Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois. The Trolls will return to Benedictine the following weekend and also competes at Concordia University and Grace College during April. The CCAC Outdoor Championships are in Joliet, Illinois on May 4-5. Post-season competition for those who reach qualifying standards includes the NCCAA Championships in Winona Lake, Indiana on May 10-11 and the NAIA Championships in Gulf Shores, Alabama on May 24-26.