Emily Haverdink flew through the Herb Blakely Invitational course in Madison, South Dakota. The Freshman cross-country speedster sealed first place and ran 19:17. Katlyn Wiese was a close eleven seconds following Haverdink, and Junior Tirzah Wittenberg finished third. The race resulted in Haverdink receiving her second GPAC runner of the week award.
A freshman leading her teammates in competition is an impressive feat, but Haverdink is guiding those around her to seek a higher purpose in athletics, namely, God. These relationships are both reciprocal and transformational.
“I am thankful for each of my coaches who encourage and push me each day not only as a runner but in my walk with the Lord,” said Haverdink.
What does this walk look like? A golden future of broken records and big wins. September 24, 2011 was the women’s most recent win at this invitational; Haverdink is an enthusiastic beginner in this process and does not plan to stop her pursuit anytime soon.
In fact, the Orange City native is already determined to get what she wants at the finale of the 2022 season. “My goal for the rest of the season is to qualify for nationals as a women’s team!”
If the past predicts the future, Haverdink’s goals are not out of reach. Her impressive runner’s resume includes an early win at the Augustana Twilight meet where she knocked 25 seconds off her personal record.
The remarkable pattern continued. The Sioux City meet was Haverdink’s first collegiate 5K. She earned her first GPAC runner of the week honor after sealing a time of 18:49.96 and placing 26th of 313 runners. She attributes her success to the countless helping hands working hard across campus.
“My greatest athletic and academic supporters have been my teammates, coaches, family and the overall NWC community. There are so many people on this campus who are here to serve and help us students thrive,” said Haverdink.
With teammates like Wiese and Wittenberg, winning is a communal effort. The two upperclassmen, like many others on the team, work so their underclassmen teammates can rise. The surrounding people are the motivation for a greater calling.
“From a young age I knew I wanted to attend NWC because of the Christ centered community,” said Haverdink.
Who stands on the podium is an expression of who understands the bigger picture. Emily Haverdink, cross country whiz, is painting that picture.