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Spring sports recap: track and field records fall
Nate Meckes
Nate Meckes (Bay City, Mich.)

The men’s track and field team captured its 10th straight MIAA title posting a 5-0 dual meet record and taking first at the MIAA Championships with a score of 233 points. Over the course of the year, Calvin shattered three school records. Sophomore Nate Meckes (Bay City, Mich.) established two of the marks, breaking records in the shot put (56-3) and discus (177-2). Senior Joel Klooster (Chatham, Ont.) shattered his own school record in the 10,000 meters with a time of 29:36.82 at the Stanford Invitational in late March. The time would end up as the fastest in NCAA III Track and Field this spring.

In the second week of the outdoor season, Calvin took first place at the Emory Springtime Invitational with a first-place score of 144 points. In winning all five of its MIAA dual meets, Calvin stretched its MIAA dual-meet win streak to 43, dating back to 1994.

At the MIAA Championships, Calvin took first place in eight events. Meckes was a double winner, capturing the league shot put and discus crowns while also placing fourth in the discus. In the shot put, Meckes repeated as league champion and established a new MIAA record with a throw of 55-2. For his efforts, he was named the MIAA’s Most Outstanding Field Performer.

Senior Jon Hutchful (Accra, Ghana) also repeated as league champion in the triple jump, winning with a leap of 45-10. In the 10,000 meters, Klooster took first place with an MIAA record time of 30:22.20. Other MIAA champions from Calvin included sophomore Andy Yazzie (Rehoboth, N.M.) in the 3,000 meter steeplechase (9:21.5), senior Francis Ikwueme (Jos, Nigeria) in the 100 meters (11.10), senior Cameron Baron (Lake Stevens, Wash.) in the high jump (6-7), junior Hendrik Kok in the 1,500 meters (3:55.45) and junior Dave Haagsma (Byron Center, Mich.) in the 5,000 meters (14:52.01). Baron and Kok both repeated as MIAA champions in their respective events.

Named to the All-MIAA team from Calvin were Meckes, Hutchful, Yazzie, Klooster, Ikwueme, Baron, Kok, Haagsma and junior Tim Avery (Rochester, N.Y.).

At the United States Track and Field Coaches Association (USTCA) Division III Awards banquet, held the night before the NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Canton, N.Y, head coach Jong-Il Kim was named USTCA Division III Men’s Coach of the Year. In addition, Meckes was named Great Lakes Regional Athlete of the Year.

Meckes then went on to earn All-America honors in both the shot put and discus, placing fourth in the shot put (55-8) and sixth in the discus (169-4). Meckes’ was one of five All-America performances by Calvin at the national meet in which the Knights finished tied for 13th in the final team standings with 15 points. Calvin also received All-America performances in three distance events as Klooster took eighth in the 10,000 meters (30:52.83), Yazzie took seventh in the 3,000 meter steeplechase (9:10.41) and Kok took fifth in the 5,000 meters (14:31.61). Baron also competed in the high jump but did not place while Haagsma just missed All-America accolades in the 10,000 meters, finishing 10th with a time of 31:36.31.

At the conclusion of the season, Klooster, Avery, Kok and senior Brian Paff (National City, Calif.) received Verizon Academic All-District honors with Klooster and Avery named to the first team and Kok and Paff to the second team. Klooster was then named a first team Verizon Academic All-American, becoming the first four-time Verizon Academic All-American in Calvin men’s athletic history.

Missy Smith
Missy Smith (Grand Rapids, Mich.)

The women’s track and field team captured an unprecedented 14th straight MIAA title, as it recorded a 5-0 MIAA dual meet mark and posted a first-place total of 302 points at the MIAA Championships.

Over the course of the year, Calvin shattered eight school records. Senior Annie VanderLaan (Grand Rapids) broke two of the records, establishing new marks in the 100 meter hurdles (14.57) and heptathlon (4,852 points). Three of Calvin’s throwing records were broken as junior Katie Corner (Grand Rapids) set a new mark in the discus (158-2), senior Mandy VanDenBosch (Grand Rapids) set a new mark in the shot put (44-9) and junior Carrie Zatarga (Coopersville, Mich.) broke a record in the hammer throw (144-6). In the sprints, sophomore Sue Abbring (Highland, Ind.) broke records in the 100 meters (12.12) and 200 meters (24.52). In the 3,000 meter steeplechase, junior Sarah Hastings (Traverse City, Mich.) broke the school record with a time of 10:54.89.

At the MIAA Championships, Calvin took first place in 15 events and shattered four league records. In the discus, Corner repeated as league champion, winning with an MIAA-record throw of 152-2. Abbring repeated as league champion in the 200 meters, clocking in with an MIAA-record time of 24.52, while also repeating as league champion in the 100 meters (12.47). In the pole vault, freshman Missy Smith (Grand Rapids) won an MIAA title with a league-record vault of 11-7. Hastings captured the steeplechase title with an MIAA record time of 11:13.20.

In the 100-meter hurdles, VanderLaan repeated as league champion for the fourth straight year, winning with a time of 15.06. VanderLaan became the first individual to win the event all four years at the MIAA Championships and just the eighth athlete in MIAA women’s track and field history to win an event at the league meet four straight years.

VanDenBosch repeated as league champion in the shot put (42-3) while sophomore Laura Hamilton (Downers Grove, Ill.) repeated as league champion in the 400-meter hurdles (1:04.47). Freshman Camille Medema (Grand Rapids) was a double winner for the Knights, winning the 800 meters (2:15.99) and 1,500 meters (4:47.20). In the 5,000 meters, junior Jessie Lair (West Bloomfield, Mich.) repeated as MIAA champion with a time of 17:58.69. Other MIAA champions from Calvin included senior Jodi VerMeulen (Holland, Mich.) in the 10,000 meters (37:36.31) and freshman Kim Vanderzee (Shoreline, Wash.) in the high jump (5-2).

VanderLaan was named the MIAA’s Most Outstanding Runner, while Corner was named the MIAA’s Most Outstanding Field Performer. Named to the All-MIAA team from Calvin were Corner, VanderLaan, Vanderzee, Smith, Medema, VanDenBosch, Hamilton, Abbring, Lair, Jodi VerMeulen, Hastings, freshman Christine Hendricks (Cincinnati, Ohio) and senior Tami VerMeulen (Holland, Mich.)

At the USTCA Division III Awards banquet, held the night before the NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Canton, N.Y., head coach Jong-Il Kim was named USTCA Division III Women’s Coach of the Year.

Calvin then went on to post six All-America performances at the national meet, where the Knights finished tied for sixth place in the team standings with 30 points, just two points out of the top four.

VanderLaan highlighted the meet for Calvin, as she captured a national title in the heptathlon (4,852 points), moving into first place in the final event of the competition—the 800 meters—with a career-best time of 2:19.69. VanderLaan was one of two Calvin All-Americans in the heptathlon; Hendricks took eighth with a score of 4,364 points. Hendricks also had a career-best time in the 800 meters (2:30.22).

VanderLaan then went on to record All-America performances in the 100-meter hurdles and 4x100-meter relay, placing sixth in the 100 hurdles (14.76) and anchoring Calvin’s relay team to a sixth-place time of 47.32. She was joined on the relay by Abbring, Hamilton and sophomore Kristen Carlson (Encinitas, Calif.). Abbring came up with an All-America effort in the 200 meters, placing fourth with a time of 24.97, while Hamilton just missed All-America honors in the 400-meter hurdles, taking ninth with a time of 1:02.70. Hamilton qualified for the finals in the 400-meter hurdles with a career-best time of 1:01.77 in the prelims.

Corner repeated as an All-American in the discus, placing second with a school-record throw of 158-2. Corner later placed 11th in the shot put (41-9) while VanDenBosch took 10th (42-6). In the pole vault, Smith tied for 14th place (11-1) while Hastings took 14th in the steeplechase (11:15.82) and 12th in the 5,000 meters (17:18.87). Lair placed 15th in the 10,000 meters (36:57.62). Abbring also just missed a spot in the finals of the 100 meters, as she clocked the 10th-best time of the prelims (12.46).

At the conclusion of the season, Hamilton, VanderLaan, VanDenBosch and Lair received Verizon Academic All-District honors, with Hamilton named to the first team and VanderLaan, VanDenBosch and Lair to the second team.

Under the direction of veteran coach Jeff Pettinga, the baseball team posted an 8-27 overall record and took sixth in the MIAA with a 4-14 conference mark. A youthful Calvin team went 6-11 in its first 17 games but proceeded to drop 16 straight games before snapping the skid with a doubleheader sweep over Kalamazoo on the final day of the season.

Freshman infielder Tyler VanEps (Denver, Colo.) was a bright spot during the season, recording a team-best batting average of .361 that included three home runs and 18 RBIs. In conference games, VanEps batted .362 and finished sixth in the MIAA batting race. Senior Arie Eppinga (Walnut Creek, Calif.) also batted .346 with a team-leading 31 RBIs.

Sophomore pitcher Jim Deters (Portage, Mich.) posted a 3-0 record with a 2.35 ERA before suffering a season-ending injury early in the season.

Juniors Darrell Heuker (Hudsonville, Mich.) and Aaron Griffith (Manhattan, Kan.) were both named to the All-MIAA second team. A catcher, Heuker finished third in the MIAA in home runs (4) and sixth in RBIs (17). Calvin’s rightfielder, Griffith, batted .322 and finished 18th in the MIAA batting race.

Eppinga, VanEps and sophomore shortstop Josh Vriesman (Denver, Colo.) received honorable mention recognition from the MIAA coaches.

Rachelle Heyboer
Rachelle Heyboer (Fremont, Mich.)

Led by seventh-year head coach Amber Warners, the softball team finished tied for second in the final MIAA standings, taking second in the MIAA regular season (10-4) and placing fourth at the MIAA Tournament. Overall, Calvin finished with a 24-13 record, its best overall record since 1997.

During its MIAA campaign, Calvin split with nationally ranked and eventual league-champion Alma, losing 2-0 and then winning 4-3. At the MIAA Tournament, Calvin dropped a pair of games in extra innings, falling 2-0 to Albion and 2-1 to Olivet.

Sophomore pitcher Rachelle Heyboer (Fremont, Mich.) and freshman shortstop Jeanne Cole (Fountain, Mich.) were named to the All-MIAA first team. During the year, Heyboer was named MIAA Pitcher of the Week for the second time in her career.

Heyboer was also named to the All-Central Region third team. Heyboer finished the year with an 11-5 record on the mound that included three saves and a 1.79 ERA. She was credited with four shutout victories and 11 complete games. Also a standout defensive player, Heyboer was named the recipient of the MIAA’s inaugural MIAA Defensive Player of the Year award.

Cole split time between shortstop and pitcher this year. In 14 regular season conference games, Cole batted .348 with 10 runs scored and 10 RBIs. Of her 16 hits in conference play, seven were for extra bases, including a pair of triples. On the mound, Cole went 2-3 in conference play with a 3.40 ERA. She also sparkled defensively, committing just three errors in over 50 fielding chances for a .943 fielding percentage.

Receiving honorable mention recognition from the MIAA coaches were Calvin senior Becky Austen (Pembroke, Ont.) and junior Keri Cole (Fountain, Mich.). Austen served as Calvin’s second baseman this year and played shortstop when Jeanne Cole was on the mound. Austen batted .268 with nine RBIs and seven runs scored in conference games this year. She also compiled a .943 fielding percentage, committing just three errors in 51 fielding chances. Keri Cole also batted .268 this year in conference play, while splitting time between the outfield and second base. Cole played second base when her younger sister, Jeanne, was pitching. The elder Cole collected six RBIs in conference games and did not commit an error in 25 fielding chances.

Austen and sophomore Leah Bareman (Hudsonville, Mich.) were then voted to the Verizon Academic All-District IV first team, with Austen receiving Verizon Academic All-District honors for the second straight year and Bareman receiving the academic award for the first time.

Kevin Van Haitsma
Kevin VanHaitsma (Hudsonville, Mich.)

The men’s tennis team, under the leadership of head coach Milan Norgauer, went 10-4 against four-year institutions this spring and took third place in the final MIAA standings, as the Knights went 3-2 in the dual match season and accumulated a third place total of 62.5 points at the MIAA tournament.

Sophomore Kevin VanHaitsma (Hudsonville, Mich.) was named to the All-MIAA first team for the second straight year, while freshman Rafael Siebenschein (Lynden, Wash.) landed a spot on the All-MIAA second team. Playing at No. 1 singles, VanHaitsma compiled a singles record of 9-9 against four-year schools and a doubles record of 12-7. Siebenschein was 15-4 at No. 2 singles against four-year schools and 11-7 in doubles.

Senior Tom Zeilstra (Oak Brook, Ill.) was also strong for the Knights, compiling a 12-7 mark against four-year competition at No. 3 singles and an 11-8 mark in doubles. Sophomore Jon Miedema (Grand Rapids) was 12-5 at No. 4 singles, senior Nate Kraai (Grand Rapids) was 13-5 at No. 5 singles and freshman David Bratt (Grand Rapids) was 13-5 at No. 6 singles. Playing primarily with Zeilstra at No. 2 doubles throughout the year, freshman Ryan DeNooyer (Kalamazoo, Mich.) was 11-8 in doubles action.

At the MIAA Tournament, Kraai and Miedema reached the championship finals at No. 3 doubles while VanHaitsma and Siebenschein captured the consolation final at No. 1 doubles. Calvin also captured all six consolation finals in singles play.

The women’s tennis team, led by head coach Jerry Bergsma, compiled an overall record of 8-6 and took fifth in the final MIAA standings. In MIAA dual match play, Calvin went 4-3 and then posted a fifth-place score of 59 points at the MIAA Tournament.

A highlight of the year was a 6-3 MIAA dual-match victory over rival Hope. The victory was Calvin’s first over Hope since 1993.

Senior Sally Skodinski (South Bend, Ind.) was named to the All-MIAA first team for the second straight year, while freshman Amy Zeilstra (Oak Brook, Ill.) was named to the All-MIAA second team.

Skodinski compiled a 10-7 record at No. 1 singles during the year, while Zeilstra was 9-8 at No. 2 singles. Together, the duo combined for an 11-6 record at No. 1 doubles.

At the MIAA Tournament, Calvin’s No. 2 doubles team of sophomore Rachel Pater (Byron Center, Mich.) and freshman Annie Huizenga (Hudsonville, Mich.) reached the championship final. Pater also took third at No. 3 singles while junior Renee VanDommelen (Sheboygan, Wis.) took third at No. 6 singles. During the year Pater was 10-5 at No. 3 singles, while freshman Kim Bosscher (Grandville, Mich.) was 11-6 at No. 5 singles. Freshman Kristina Plaisier (Kalamazoo, Mich.) was a partner of Bosscher at No. 3 doubles for most of the year and posted a 9-7 doubles mark.