It’s been a season of victory for the women’s cross-country team at Hope College, and it culminated in a wildly successful showing last Saturday, Oct. 28, at the MIAA Championship Meet at Raisin Valley Golf Club. The Dutch claimed their third straight MIAA championship, finishing first with a team total of 20 points. The last time the Dutch claimed three straight titles was 1985-1988.
Hope’s Alexis Guttila (’18) surprised teammates and competitors alike with an exciting first-place finish, in which she passed two teammates in an all-out sprint in the last half-mile. Guttila, who trains as an 800-meter runner during the track and field season, clocked a winning 6k time of 21:58.0, edging teammate Emily Hamilton (’19), who finished second in 21:59.9.
After Guttila and Hamilton, Hope’s next finisher was Rachael Webb (’18), who finished in fourth with a time of 22:01.4. After Webb came Alissa Frazee (’18) in fifth with a time of 22:10.4, followed by Avery Lowe (’19) in eighth with a time of 22:29.3, Chelsea Miskelley (’20) in ninth with a time of 22:31.0 and finally Kelly Peregrine (’20) in 12th with a time of 22:35.2. This meet truly showcased the depth of this Flying Dutch team, with all of Hope’s runners finishing within 37 seconds of each other. Hope posted four of the five fastest times and blew away the competition with second-place Calvin finishing with 66 points to Hope’s 20.
Hope’s Hamilton, who took second place at both the MIAA Jamboree and the MIAA Championships, was named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Runner after the meet. She is the seventh runner in the women’s cross- country program to receive the honor and the second Hope runner to do so in the past two years, with 2017 graduate Erin Herrmann taking top honors last year. Joining Hamilton on the all-MIAA First Team were teammates Frazee, Guttila, Webb and Miskelley, with Lowe receiving all-MIAA Second Team honors.
This wildly successful year can be attributed to the close team bond and competitive intensity of the Flying Dutch squad. Each of the top seven runners performed at high levels throughout the season as they pushed each other toward faster times. Congratulations to the team on a phenomenal year.