Dordt College News

Track Athletes Leave Mark

July 23, 2014

By Dordt College Sports Information Student Assistant, Sam Ekstrom

As Dordt’s outdoor track and field season came to an end in May, it concluded the careers of three highly successful competitors.

Seniors Tim Bierma, Christy Heidema and Katie Bonnema will be graduated in May after leaving a significant impact on the Defenders’ program.

Head track coach Craig Heynen has worked with them the past four years.

“For the level of success these athletes have achieved, they are genuinely humble athletes,” said Heynen. “In fact, I have never seen even a hint of arrogance or pride.”

Bierma is a three-time All-American in track and holds the 1,000-meter indoor school record and the 1,500-meter outdoor school record. He says he’s learned the importance of perseverance in his time at Dordt.

“I have seen the value of persevering through a bad race or meet or even season, knowing that things can and will get better,” said Bierma. “One of the biggest things Dordt track has taught me is that my attitude is important, not only in track but in the rest of life.”

Head cross country coach and assistant track coach Greg Van Dyke has watched Bierma since his first days as a freshman cross country runner. He and Heynen both notice Bierma’s strong faith put to practice.

“Tim has not only helped his teammates win races and break school records, he has helped his teammates grow in their faith during their time at Dordt,” said Van Dyke.

“He is a great leader in the sense that he takes his faith very seriously,” said Heynen, “and he really sets a tone for our entire team in that aspect.”

Heidema specializes in the triple jump. She holds the school record in the event at both the indoor and outdoor levels. However, a meniscus tear during her freshman year jeopardized Heidema’s future with Dordt track.

“The doctor said he did not think continuing with jumping was a great idea,” recalled Heynen. “He and I soon realized that not jumping was not an option for Christy. She was determined to come back, and one year later she was an All-American in the triple jump outdoor.”

Overcoming major knee surgery helped Heidema develop a new outlook on her track career.

“The injuries were devastating, but they forced me to reconsider who I was apart from track and consider why I ran track,” said Heidema. “Overcoming these injuries allowed me to refocus on the joy of track and field.”

Bonnema is a highly-decorated middle-distance runner. She won a national championship in the 600-meter indoor race her junior season and has accomplished All-American status a total of eight times between her indoor and outdoor careers.

Bonnema views her abilities as a tremendous gift.

“God has incredibly blessed me with the gift of running,” said Bonnema. “He has blessed me with this gift to not only inspire people through my running, but to also be an inspiration to others though my words and actions.”

On the track, Heynen considers Bonnema one of the most talented “chasers” he has ever coached.

“I don’t think I have ever coached anyone that has come from behind to win as much as she has in the 4x400,” said Heynen. “When she anchors the 4x400, you know you always have a chance because she can just go after people.”

Regarding his three graduating athletes, Heynen says they all have passions outside of track and field as well. This is demonstrated in their individual plans for the coming year.

Bierma will be attending graduate school in Southeast Asia and looks to build relationships and share his faith with fellow students.

Heidema intends to pursue a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Iowa.

Bonnema accepted a job as an elementary school teacher in Inwood, Iowa.

“It has been a tremendous honor for me to know and coach these three,” said Heynen. “They are tremendous people who are excellent athletes.”

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