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Spring sports recap: Calvin women's track posts 16th straight MIAA title, just misses national title
Women's track team at nationals
Women's Track at Nationals

Led by head coach Jong-Il Kim, the women's track and field team put together one of the finest seasons in Calvin history as it captured the MIAA title for an unprecedented 16th straight year and missed a national title by a single point.

During the conference dual-meet season, Calvin swept its way to a perfect 5-0 record, stretching its MIAA dual-meet win streak to 77, dating all the way back to 1989. At the MIAA track and field championships, Calvin posted a first-place score of 327 points, 124 points ahead of second-place Hope. Calvin took first place in 14 of a possible 19 events at the conference meet with senior Sue Abbring (Highland, Ind.) leading the way. She captured titles in the 100- and 200-meter dashes for the fourth straight year. In doing so, Abbring became the first individual in MIAA women's track and field history to win two events at the conference meet for four straight years.

Calvin senior Laura Hamilton (Downers Grove, Ill.) was another four-year league champion. In the 400-meter hurdles, she took first place with a time of 1:03.10. Junior Camille Medema (Grand Rapids, Mich.) was another double winner, taking first place in the 800- (2:18.87) and 1,500-meter (4:48.81) runs. Junior Kim Vanderzee (Shoreline, Wash.) repeated as MIAA champion in the high jump, taking first place with a jump of 5-4. Also repeating as MIAA champion was Calvin senior Lisa Nanninga (Grand Rapids, Mich.) in the shot put (46-1). Capturing her second league title in the last three years was junior Missy Smith (Ada, Mich.) in the pole vault (12-3). Also collecting league titles from Calvin were sophomore Lisa Winkle (Grand Rapids, Mich.) in the long jump (17-8), junior Christine Hendricks (Cincinnati, Ohio) in the javelin (112-7), sophomore Lydia Singer (Wilmington, Del.) in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (11:26.02) and sophomore Lorilyn Vogel (Orange City, Iowa) in the triple jump (36-10 1 / 2 ). The marks by Nanninga in the shot put and Vogel in the triple jump were both MIAA-record performances.

Calvin's 4x100 meter relay team of Hamilton, freshman Sarah Wittingen (East Grand Rapids, Mich.), Winkle and Abbring took first place with a time of 48.13 while the 4x400 meter relay team of sophomore Katie VanderLaan (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Wittengen, Winkle and Abbring clocked in with a first-place time of 3:53.85.

Abbring was named the MIAA's Most Outstanding Runner for the second straight year, while Hendricks was named the MIAA's Most Outstanding Field Event Performer. In addition to winning the MIAA javelin title for the second year in a row, Hendricks also placed third in the high jump and long jump and third in the 100-meter hurdles.

Abbring and Hendricks were both named to the All-MIAA team and were joined on the honor squad from Calvin by Hamilton, sophomore Katie Bolt (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Medema, Nanninga, sophomore Megann VanderVliet (Oakville, Ont.), Singer, Smith, VanderLaan, Vanderzee, Vogel, Winkle and Wittengen. Both Abbring and Hamilton were named to the All-MIAA team for the fourth straight year, while Smith, Hendricks and Vanderzee were so honored for the third time.

At a banquet held the night before the NCAA III Track and Field Championships opened, Abbring was named the Great Lakes Regional Athlete of the Year for the second straight year, while head coach Jong-Il Kim was named the Great Lakes Regional Coach of the Year for the fourth straight year. Kim was then named the Division III National Coach of the Year for the third time in the last four years.

At the NCAA III Track and Field Championships hosted by Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, Calvin finished in a tie for second place with Wisconsin-Oshkosh with 42 points; host Wartburg won the national title with 43 points. The College of New Jersey took fourth with 41 points, marking the closest four-way finish in the history of the NCAA III Women's Track and Field Championships.

Abbring led Calvin's charge at the national meet, taking national runner-up honors in the 400 meters (55.10) and third in the 200 meters (24.38). She then anchored Calvin's 4x400 meter relay team that took fourth with a time of 3:47.82. She was joined on the relay team by VanderLaan, Winkle and Wittengen. Hamilton was scheduled to run in the relay but suffered an injury while competing in the 400-meter hurdles earlier in the meet. Hamilton managed to complete the 400-meter hurdles and take eighth but was replaced by VanderLaan in the relay.

Hendricks also came up big at the national meet, placing third in the grueling heptathlon with a score of 4,818 points, just 34 points away from the school-record total established by Annie VanderLaan in 2003, when she captured the national title in the event.

In the shot put, Calvin came up with two All-American performances as VanderVliet took third (46-4 1 / 4 ) while Nanninga was sixth (45-4 1 / 2 ). Smith repeated as an All-American in the pole vault as did Vanderzee in the high jump. Smith was fifth in the pole vault (12-2 1 / 2 ) and Vanderzee fifth in the high jump (5-5).

Kris Koster and Tim Finnegan

Kris Koster (left) and
Tim Finnegan

Led by head coach Jong-Il Kim, the men's track and field team had a banner season, as the Knights captured their 12th straight MIAA title and took sixth at the NCAA III Track and Field Championships.

During its league campaign, Calvin finished 5-0 in MIAA dual meets and then took first place at the MIAA track and field championships with 255 points to capture the MIAA title outright after sharing it with Albion last year. The league crown was the 12th straight for the Calvin men, establishing a new MIAA record for most consecutive titles in men's track and field.

At the MIAA track and field championships, Calvin took first place in 10 out of a possible 19 events. Seniors Reuben Sportel (Caledonia, Mich.) and Nate Meckes (Bay City, Mich.) were both double winners at the meet, with Sportel winning the 110 high hurdles (15.76) and 400-meter hurdles (54.84) while Meckes won the shot put (56-3) and discus (176-3) and placed fourth in the javelin. The winning throws by Meckes in the shot put and discus were both MIAA record marks. Sportel was later named the MIAA's Most Outstanding Runner while Meckes was named the MIAA's Most Outstanding Field Event Performer for the second time in three years.

Also winning MIAA titles from Calvin were senior Kris Koster (Grand Rapids, Mich.) in the 5,000 meters (15:01.95), sophomore Tim Finnegan (Los Alamos, N.M.) in the 10,000 meters (32:06.13), sophomore Josh Meckes (Bay City, Mich.) in the long jump (22-6), senior Aaron Iverson (Radnor, Ohio) in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (9:18.20) and junior Tim Zwiers (Pella, Iowa) in the triple jump (46-1).

Sportel, Finnegan, Koster, Iverson, Zwiers, freshman Dan Mackay (Whitinsville, Mass.) and Nate and Josh Meckes were all named to the All-MIAA team.

Calvin then sent six individuals to the NCAA III Track and Field Championships at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. The small group packed a powerful scoring punch as five of the six earned All-American honors boosting the Knights to a sixth-place total of 22 points. Nate Meckes was the biggest point producer as he took second in the discus (194-10) and fourth in the shot put (57-9 1 / 2 ). His second-place throw in the discus was not only a new school record, but also the second best throw in NCAA III track and field history. Meckes was edged for the national title by Williams College junior Dan Austin, who won the discus with an NCAA III-record throw of 196-1. Koster and Finnegan also scored in multiple events with Koster taking fifth in the 10,000 meters (30:47.96) and fourth in the 5,000 meters (14:44.82). Finnegan was sixth in the 10,000 (30:50.99) and eighth in the 5,000 (14:49.66). Also earning All-American honors for Calvin were junior Justin Grasmeyer (Norwalk, Calif.), who was eighth in the discus (172-10), and senior Jeff Engbers (Whitinsville, Mass.), who was sixth in the 1,500 meters (3:57.19).

At a pre-national meet banquet at Wartburg College, Nate Meckes was named the Division III Great Lakes Regional Athlete of the Year for the second time in three years. Meckes was later named to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District IV team along with Engbers.

Mark Tigchelaar
Mark Tigchelaar

Under the direction of first-year head coach Jim Timmer, Jr., the baseball team went 14-20 overall but took third in the final MIAA standings, with a 12-9 conference mark. The third-place finish was an improvement of three spots over its sixth-place finish of 2004. Calvin remained in the hunt for the MIAA title until the final week of the season before dropping two of three games to eventual league champion Adrian.

Seniors Jim Deters (Portage, Mich.) and Josh Vriesman (Denver, Colo.) had record-setting performances during the season. A four-year starter at shortstop, Vriesman moved past 1985 graduate Joe Rinckey and into first place on the Calvin career list for hits during the season, finishing his four-year career with 153 hits and a batting average of .317. Calvin's ace pitcher, Deters completed his collegiate career as Calvin's career leader in pitching victories (25), strikeouts (295), innings pitched (252.1) and ERA (2.42). He also finished as the MIAA career leader in pitching victories (18), strikeouts (210) and ERA (1.76). During the 2005 season, Deters struck out 20 batters on two separate occasions, matching the sixth-highest single-game total in NCAA III baseball history, while also establishing a new MIAA single-game record for strikeouts in the process. Deters finished the 2005 season with a 7-1 record, a 2.79 ERA and 99 strikeouts. For his efforts, Deters was named the MIAA's Pitcher of the Year and was also selected to the All-MIAA first team and All-Mideast Region first team.

Deters was joined on the All-MIAA first team by junior teammate Mark Asma (Portage, Mich.). A centerfielder, Asma batted .351 in league play, ranking him 11th in the final MIAA batting race. Calvin's lead-off man at the plate, Asma compiled an on-base percentage of .474 in league play, while scoring 23 runs and driving in 10, finishing third in the MIAA in on-base percentage and runs scored. He also collected a league-best 15 walks, was tied for third in stolen bases (6), fourth in base hits (27) and fifth in total bases (36).

Named to the All-MIAA second team from Calvin were sophomore outfielder Nick Caudle (Grandville, Mich.), junior utility man Mark Tigchelaar (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and junior catcher Mike Aggen (Evergreen Park, Ill.). In conference games, Caudle was 21 for 59 at the plate for a .356 average, placing him eighth in the final MIAA batting race. Caudle also scored 14 runs and compiled a slugging percentage of .492 that ranked eighth among the MIAA leaders. His on-base percentage of .437 was seventh in the final MIAA statistics.

Tigchelaar, a graduate of Grand Rapids Christian High School, started in all 21 of Calvin's MIAA games and appeared at first base, second base, designated hitter and the outfield. Tigchelaar finished the conference season with a .293 batting average, scored 22 runs and drove in 17, as he finished sixth in the MIAA in runs batted in. Despite his several position shifts, Tigchelaar committed just one error in 45 fielding chances for a .978 fielding percentage.

Aggen, a graduate of Evergreen Park (Ill.) Community High School, batted .358 (29-for-81) in league play to finish seventh in the final MIAA batting race. He also finished second in the MIAA in base hits (29), fifth in runs batted in (19) and tied for sixth in total bases (35). Behind the plate, Aggen compiled a fielding percentage of .978 and threw out nine runners attempting to steal to finish tied for the league lead in that category.

Also receiving honorable mention recognition from the MIAA coaches were juniors Tyler VanEps (Denver, Colo.) and Tim Stoeffler (St. Joseph, Mich.).

Rachelle Heyboer
Rachelle Heyboer

The Calvin softball team was led by head coach Deb Bakker, who returned to the softball sidelines for the first time in eight years. Under Bakker's direction, Calvin finished 25-13 overall and in second place in the final MIAA standings, as the Knights were 13-3 during the MIAA regular season and then took second at the four-team MIAA tournament. Calvin's 25 victories marked its highest win total since its 1997 campaign.

The Knights were sparked by junior shortstop Jeanne Cole (Fountain, Mich.) who was named the MIAA's Most Valuable Offensive and Defensive Player. During the year, Cole compiled a .425 batting average along with 37 runs scored, 12 runs batted in and 17 extra-base hits - 11 doubles, two triples and four home runs. During the season, she recorded a 15-game hitting streak. Cole finished the year with a sizzling .633 slugging percentage and posted an on-base percentage of .473. She also swiped 13 bases in 14 attempts. In the field, Cole was also superb, recording a fielding percentage of .957, committing just six errors in more than 135 fielding chances.

In conference play, Cole captured the MIAA batting title, becoming the first Calvin player to do so since Laurie Hiemstra achieved the feat in 1989. Cole collected 27 hits in 54 trips to the plate for an even .500 average, while establishing a new MIAA single-season record for hits in the process. Cole also matched the MIAA single-season record for doubles with eight in conference play, while finishing with a league-leading 43 total bases. At the MIAA tournament, Cole batted .429 (6 for 14) and stole three bases. Cole also led the MIAA in runs scored (18) and was second in slugging percentage (.796).

Defensively, Cole also sparkled, compiling an impressive .982 fielding percentage in league play, committing only one error in 56 fielding chance while turning three double plays. For her efforts, Cole was also named to the All-MIAA first team and All-Central Region first team.

Also landing spots on the All-MIAA first team and All-Central Region second team was Calvin senior Abby Konyndyk (Grand Rapids, Mich.). Calvin's designated player, Konyndyk had a break-out year at the plate, recording a batting average of .398 and a slugging percentage of .796, which ranked among the nation's leaders. Konyndyk was known for the long ball and the ability to drive in runs as she belted 10 home runs and drove in 38, establishing Calvin single-season records in both categories. Konyndyk also collected nine doubles and one triple and scored 19 runs. In conference play, Konyndyk finished eighth in the MIAA batting race with a .423 average while placing fourth in slugging percentage (.731). A left-handed hitter, Konyndyk also tied for the league lead in home runs with four and finished second in runs batted in with 21.

Named to the All-MIAA second team from Calvin were senior pitcher/first baseman Rachelle Heyboer (Fremont, Mich.), senior pitcher Kara VanKooten (Anchorage, Alaska) and sophomore pitcher Ruth Anna Spooner (Twin Falls, Idaho). Heyboer did double-duty this spring, serving as a starting pitcher and, when not pitching, starting as first baseman. In the pitcher's circle, Heyboer was 4-1 with a 2.55 ERA and picked up one shutout victory. At the plate, Heyboer batted .415, collecting 17 hits in 41 trips to the plate, driving in eight runs, scoring five and collecting five doubles. Heyboer finished 10th in the MIAA batting race and was seventh in the league in ERA. Heyboer was also selected to the All-Central Region third team for the second time in three years. In overall games, Heyboer was 6-4 as a pitcher with a 2.38 ERA. She also tossed three shutout victories, struck out 40 batters and walked 26. At the plate, Heyboer chalked up a .333 batting average, driving in 14 runs and scoring nine. Heyboer also put together a fielding percentage of .949 in nearly 200 total fielding chances.

VanKooten was named to the All-MIAA second team for the second straight year. In league play this spring, VanKooten was 7-1, including a pair of shutout victories. VanKooten also compiled a 1.97 ERA, struck out 31 batters and walked just one. She had the fifth-best ERA in the league and finished sixth in innings pitched.

Despite missing time because of an injury this spring, Spooner was superb on the mound, fashioning a 2-1 record with two saves and a 0.74 ERA in league play. In MIAA games, Spooner struck out 31 batters and walked just 11, while holding the opposition to a .176 batting average. In the MIAA tournament, Spooner shone in three appearances as she did not allow a run in 16 innings of work, while compiling a 2-0 record with 13 strikeouts and only two walks. Spooner was particularly effective against rival Hope. Facing a Hope lineup that featured three All-Americans, Spooner hurled 14 shutout innings against the Flying Dutch.

During the year, VanKooten was named MIAA Pitcher once, while Konyndyk and junior third baseman Laurel Sands (Rockford, Mich.) were both named MIAA Player of the Week once.

John Miedema
John Miedema

Led by second-year head coach John Ross, the men's tennis team had a sterling 2005 campaign, fashioning an overall dual-match record of 16-4, while finishing tied for second place in the final MIAA standings. During the MIAA dual-match season, Calvin posted a 5-1 record with its only loss coming against nationally ranked Kalamazoo. The Knights also claimed a 7-2 victory over rival Hope, recording its first dual-match victory over the Flying Dutchmen since 1998. At the MIAA tournament, Calvin scored a fourth-place total of 56.5 points, a half-point behind third-place Hope and seven points behind second-place Albion.

Calvin opened its dual-match slate with a 7-2 loss to nationally ranked Aquinas but then rattled off 14 straight victories before finally falling to Division II Ferris State University 7-2.

The Knights were paced by seniors Jon Miedema (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and Kevin Van Haitsma (Hudsonville, Mich.). Miedema was 11-9 at No. 1 singles and earned a spot on the All-MIAA first team, while Van Haitsma was 11-9 at No. 2 singles. Freshman Michael Goorhouse (Holland, Mich.) led the Knights in victories with 16 at No. 6 singles, while junior Rafael Siebenschein (Lynden, Wash.) and sophomore Dan Volkema (Holland, Mich.) both posted 15-5 marks at No. 3 and No. 5 singles, respectively. Siebenschein was named to the All-MIAA second team. Freshman Ricky Tilton (Lancaster, Pa.) filled Calvin's slot at No. 4 singles and posted a 12-3 record.

At the MIAA tournament, Calvin posted three conference runner-up finishes with Siebenschein taking second at No. 3 singles; Tilton at No. 4 singles and Volkema at No. 5 singles. In doubles, Calvin's No. 3 doubles tandem of junior Ryan DeNooyer (Kalamazoo, Mich.) and Volkema took second place, while the No. 2 doubles team of Van Haitsma and Siebenschein took third place. Over the course of the season, DeNooyer and Volkema posted a 15-6 doubles record, while Van Haitsma and Siebenschein recorded a 17-4 doubles mark.

Amy Zeilstra
Amy Zeilstra

Under the direction of head coach Jerry Bergsma, the women's tennis team took fourth in the final MIAA standings after finishing 4-3 in MIAA dual matches and then recording a third-place score of 65 points at the MIAA tournament. In overall dual matches, Calvin posted a 10-6 record, marking the second straight year the Knights hit the double-digit plateau for dual-match wins.

At the MIAA tournament, senior Rachel Pater (Byron Center, Mich.) and sophomore Kari Lipinski (Grand Rapids, Mich.) both took conference runner-up honors, with Pater taking second at No. 2 singles and Lipinski doing so at No. 4 singles. Junior Annie Huizenga (Hudsonville, Mich.) took third at No. 3 singles, with sophomore Allyson Logan (Fort Wayne, Ind.) taking third at No. 5 singles and junior Kim Bosscher (Grandville, Mich.) taking third at No. 6 singles. Calvin's No. 1 doubles tandem of Pater and Zeilstra also took third place.

At the conclusion of the tournament, junior Amy Zeilstra (Oak Brook, Ill.) was named to the All-MIAA first team for the second straight year, while Pater was named to the All-MIAA second team for the second year in a row.

Sophomore Allyson Logan (Fort Wayne, Ind.) led Calvin in victories, posting a 16-3 singles record over the course of the season; Lipinski was close behind with a 15-4 mark.