The Flying Dutchmen will be bidding to repeat as champions of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) with one of the largest pre-season rosters in recent years.
Coach Kevin Cole begins his seventh season with a nucleus of 29 returning letterwinners who a year ago stunned the MIAA by gaining a league co-championship with rival Calvin. In addition to their excellence as competitiors, the 2011 Flying Dutchmen as a team were named to the national All-Academic Team Honor Roll by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association for a fifth consecutive year.
The pre-season roster of 54 athletes includes seven freshmen, 25 sophomores, 12 juniors and 10 seniors.
Co-captains are senior Christian Calyore of Naples, Fla. (Barron Collier HS), senior Nate Love of Midland (Midland HS), and junior Zak Vossen of Belmont (Northview HS).
Middle distance runner Andrew McKeachie of Milford (Milford HS) is a returning All-MIAA honors. Juniors Elliott Barney of South Holland, Ill. (Seton Academy) and Joel Rietsema of Rockford (Rockford HS) were members of MIAA champion relay teams. Barney received All-MIAA honors in 2010 as the conference champion in the 400-meter run while senior Kyle VanderVeen of Alto (Caledonia HS) was honored in 2009 after winning the 100-meter dash. Nate Love is a two-time All-MIAA cross country runner who competed in the NCAA championships last fall.
Returning athletes who had team-best performances in 2011 include Joel Rietsema, 800 meters; sophomore James Rogers of Saginaw (Valley Lutheran HS), 3,000 meters; Nate Love, 5,000 meters; sophomore Thomas Smeltzer of Frankfort (Benzie Central HS), 10,000 meters; senior Kyle Gibson of Alma (Alma HS), 3,000 meter steeplechase; sophomore Michael Rosso of Grand Haven (Grand Haven HS), pole vault; sophomore Steffon Mayhue of Holland (Holland HS), long jump; junior Jonas Lawson of Inkster (Robichaud HS), triple jump; Zak Vossen and sophomore Evan Finch of Ann Arbor (Pioneer HS), shotput; Zak Vossen, discus; and senior Andrew Chew of Novi (Northville HS), javelin.
The Gordon M. Brewer outdoor track underwent some major u grades during the off-season, including an expansion to accommodate the running of the steeplechase and the installation of improved facilities for the hammer throw.