Two new coaches will lead the Hornet cross-country team this season; head coach Kris Koster and assistant coach Betsy Frens. Although new to Kalamazoo College they are not new to the dynamics of cross-country, or Division III sports.
Both Koster and Frens have accomplished records, as coaches and runners. They hope to bring their first-hand knowledge of Division III competition to the benefit of the Hornets.
Koster graduated from Calvin College in 2004 and won the NCAA III Cross Country national championships at Calvin in 2000 and 2003. He has since coached at Grand Rapids Christian High School. His passion for competitive running started early as he and his siblings grew up running with their dad. Through the experience, Koster gained the competitive spirit and edge needed for cross country.
“What I do see my role as being is more of a guide, someone who has been there and done that, and someone who can take the long view of things that is often so difficult,” said Koster, “There is truly no place in the world I’d rather be on a Saturday morning in the fall than at a cross-country meet.”
Assistant coach Frens graduated in 1997 from Calvin College with a degree in Spanish Education and Religion. At Calvin, Frens won the Division III National Champion in track and was a seven time All-American, with four titles in cross-country and three in track.
“I have a heart for Division III athletics and Liberal Arts Colleges,” said Frens, “I love how the academics and athletics fit together to broaden the development of the whole person.”
On Saturday, the women’s team placed 22nd and the men’s 15th. The team is currently training for the first home meet. The upcoming meet, to be held on the 27th at Eastern Golf Club, is the first home meet the Hornet’s have had in 6 years.
“I am super excited about having a ‘home’ meet this year,” said Frens. “I hope that the student body will represent K College well and come out to support the team, and show some school spirit. After coming to a race, students will learn to appreciate the sport of cross-country and the toughness of the athletes.”
“There isn’t a single other sport at K in which spectators get to participate, to a certain degree, right alongside the athletes,” Koster said, “I’d like to think this kind of participant-observation fits right in with what K is all about.”
School vans will be available to help shuttle spectators on the day of the event, in an effort to make it easier for students to go watch, and cheer on the Hornets cross-country team.