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Spring sports recap: Women's track takes second at nationals; men's tennis earns NCAA II tourney bid

Men's Tennis
Led by fourth-year head coach John Ross, the men's tennis team picked up its first berth in the NCAA III Tournament since 1996, receiving an at-large bid after finishing second in the final MIAA standings. Calvin opened NCAA III Tournament play with a first-round 9-0 win over Ohio Northern University and then suffered a 6-2 defeat to eventual national quarterfinalist Washington University of St. Louis, Mo.

Marcus ZeilstraDuring the year, Calvin established a school record for victories in a season, finishing 18-6 overall, including 5-1 during the MIAA dual match season. Calvin then advanced to the championship finals of the MIAA tournament before falling to Kalamazoo in the title tilt 7-2. Regionally ranked throughout the season, Calvin fared well against other ranked teams, compiling a 6-4 record against regionally ranked teams.

Individually, junior Ricky Tilton (Gap, Pa.) and sophomore Marcus Zeilstra (Oak Brook, Ill.) were named to the All-MIAA first team, while senior Rafael Siebenschein (Lynden, Wash.) was named to the All-MIAA second team. Tilton was 16-8 at No. 1 singles for the Knights during the year and, teaming up with Zeilstra at No. 1 doubles, fashioned an 18-6 record. Zeilstra was 16-5 at No. 2 singles. Meanwhile, Siebenschein was 20-3 at No. 3 singles and finished the year with a 10-match win streak. Siebenschein also established a Calvin career record for victories with a 128-34 overall mark, finishing 66-15 in singles play and 62-19 in doubles action. Siebenschein was also named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District first team for the second straight year.

Women's Tennis
Under the guidance of veteran head coach Jerry Bergsma, the women's tennis team finished fourth in the final MIAA standings, posting a 4-4 record during the MIAA dual match season and then placing fourth at the MIAA tournament. In overall match play, Calvin went 9-12 with four of Calvin's defeats coming against regionally ranked opponents.

With two seniors, one junior and seven freshmen on its roster, Calvin remained highly competitive throughout the season and pulled out a 5-4 victory over regionally ranked Wisconsin-Eau Claire during its spring trip to Orlando, Fla., in March.

Freshman Elisabeth Geenen (Holland, Mich.) and senior Kari Lipinski (Grand Rapids, Mich.) were named to the All-MIAA second team. Playing at No. 1 singles, Geenen was 10-11 in singles play while Lipinski was 9-10 at No. 2 singles. Senior Allyson Logan (Fort Wayne, Ind.) led Calvin in victories, as she was 15-5 at No. 3 singles and 10-11—along with freshman Jill VanVeen (Grand Rapids, Mich.)—at No. 2 doubles.

Women's Track & Field
Under the leadership of head coach Jong-Il Kim, the women's track and field team picked up its 18th consecutive MIAA title, finishing 6-0 in MIAA dual meet competition and then winning the two-day MIAA Field Day competition with a total of 339 points, nearly 150 points ahead of runner-up Hope. The total was the fourth highest in MIAA Field Day history. During the dual meet season, Calvin extended its MIAA dual meet win streak to 89, dating all the way back to the 1989 season. Calvin's streak of 18 consecutive league titles is also the longest championship streak in MIAA women's athletics history.

At the MIAA Field Day, Calvin took first place in 17 of a possible 19 events. Junior Sarah Wittingen (East Grand Rapids, Mich.) highlighted the two-day event by setting a pair of MIAA records, winning the 100 hurdles (14.28) and 400-meter hurdles (1:01.37) with her record time in the 100 hurdles coming in the preliminaries. Wittingen also ran on Calvin's winning 4x100- and 4x400-meter relay teams and was later named the MIAA's Most Outstanding Runner for the second straight year. Joining her on both relay teams were freshmen Jourdan Johnson (Dales Ferry, Conn.) and Heather Koning (Kalamazoo, Mich.) and senior Lisa Winkle (Grand Rapids, Mich.).

Sarah WittingenWinkle repeated as league champion in the long jump for the third straight year, winning with a leap of 18-8. Senior Katie Bolt ( Grand Rapids , Mich. ) also repeated as league champion in the high jump, winning with a leap of 5-5 while also winning the 400 meters (58.11). Sophomore Lauren Bergstrom (Rochester, Minn.) was also a double winner, taking home titles in the 800 meters (2:16.58) and 1,500 meters (4:46.05). Senior Megann VanderVliet (Oakville, Ont.) was another double winner for the Knights, repeating as league champion in both the shot put (44-6) and discus (148-1). VanderVliet was then named the MIAA's Most Outstanding Field Event Performer. In addition, sophomore Julie Bratt (Lynden, Wash.) repeated as league champion in the triple jump (34-3¼), as did senior Lydia Singer (Wilmington, Del.) in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (11:12.28) and junior Christina Overbeck ( Seattle , Wash. ) in the 10,000 meters (38:51.54). Other individual winners from Calvin included senior Kristen Kalb (Stow, Ohio) in the javelin (130-9) and sophomore Calah Schlabach (St. Michaels, Ariz.) in the 5,000 meters (18:37.08).

Calvin then placed 13 individuals on the All-MIAA team led by Bolt, Winkle, Wittingen and Singer, who were all so honored for the third consecutive year. Also receiving All-MIAA honors from Calvin were senior Lauren Colyn (Battle Creek, Mich.), Bergstrom, Bratt, Johnson, Kalb, Koning, Overbeck, Schlabach and VanderVliet.

Calvin then sent 11 individuals on to the NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Prior to the national meet, the U.S. Track and Field Coaches Association named Wittingen the Great Lakes Regional Runner of the Year. She then earned All-American honors in three events at the national meet, placing second in the 400-meter hurdles (59.96), sixth in the 100-meter hurdles (14.99) while also joining Johnson, Koning and Winkle for a fourth-place finish (3:46.98) in the 4x400-meter relay. Bergstrom was also credited with an All-American berth as she ran in the prelims of the relay race for the Knights.

VanderVliet also had a big national meet, collecting All-American accolades in both the shot put (fifth place) and discus (fourth place), joining former Calvin thrower Katie Corner as just one of two female throwers in MIAA history to pick up All-American berths in two throwing events at the same national meet.

Field events were a strength for Calvin at the national meet as Colyn took third in the high jump (5-7) for her first-ever All-American berth while Bolt was tied for fourth (5-5¾) for her third All-?American berth, including her second in the high jump. Winkle also picked up All-American honors in the long jump for the second straight year, placing eighth with a leap of 18-1.

In addition, Winkle was an All-American in the 400 meters, placing fifth (55.82). Combined with her All-American effort in the 4x400-meter relay, Winkle completed her Calvin track and field career as a 10-time All-American.

The Knights also received an All-American performance from Overbeck in the 10,000 meters as she placed fifth with a time of 35:44.36.

The collection of All-American performances helped Calvin finish second as a team nationally for the third time in the last four years and for the fourth time in school history, as the Knights accumulated a total of 44.5 points, with host Wisconsin-Oshkosh winning the national title with 57 points.

Also competing but not scoring for Calvin at the national meet were Bergstrom in the 800 meters, Overbeck in the 5,000 meters, Schlabach in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and Kalb in the javelin.

Men's Track & Field
Led by head coach Jong-Il Kim, the men's track and field team captured its 14th consecutive MIAA title—its 32nd overall. Calvin finished the MIAA dual meet season with a 4-1-1 record but came back to win the final league title outright with a dominating performance at the MIAA Field Day, finishing the two-day competition with a first-place score of 250.5 points, nearly 100 points ahead of runner-up Hope.

At the MIAA Field Day, Calvin took first place in 10 events with juniors Joel Baker (Kalamazoo, Mich.) and Kelby McClelland (Mercer, Pa.) winning two events each. Baker won the 200 meters (21.75) and 400 meters (48.88) while McClelland repeated as league champion in both the 110 high hurdles (15.33) and 400-meter hurdles (54.47). Senior Todd Schuster (Denver, Colo.) also defended his league title in the 800 meters, winning with a time of 1:53.28. Other individual league champions from Calvin included junior Ryan Jensen (Grand Rapids, Mich.) in the discus (154-11), sophomore Nate DeHaan (Byron Center, Mich.) in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (9:26.45), junior Jon Gries (King of Prussia, Pa.) in the 5,000 meters (15:18.45) and sophomore Erik VanKampen (Elmhurst, Ill.) in the 10,000 meters (32:33.97). Calvin's 4x400-meter relay team of sophomore Brad Stroner (Woodland, Mich.), Schuster, Baker and junior Jared Cok (Bozeman, Mont.) also took first place in a time of 3:21.29.

Calvin also placed 11 individuals on the All-MIAA team with senior Josh Meckes (Bay City, Mich.) leading the way as he earned a spot on the All-MIAA squad for the fourth straight year. Also named to the all-conference team were sophomore Jed Christiansen (Greenville, Pa.), junior Tad Hulst (Zeeland, Mich.), Baker, Cok, Schuster, VanKampen, Jensen, DeHaan, McClelland and Gries.

Calvin then sent four individuals to the NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships and finished 26th behind All-American performances from Meckes (fourth place) in the long jump and Schuster (third place) in the 800 meters. McClelland also competed in the 110 high hurdles and Gries in the 5,000 meters but did not score.

Baseball
Under the direction of head coach Jim Timmer, the baseball team finished 15-22 overall and in fourth place in the final MIAA standings with a 15-13 conference mark. Calvin opened the year by dropping all eight of its games on its spring break trip to Arizona but rebounded to win 15 of its final 24 games, including a stretch where the Knights won seven of eight games in conference play.

Calvin placed seven players on the All-MIAA teams, including three on the All-MIAA first team. Receiving first team All-MIAA honors from Calvin were senior pitcher Andy Draayer (Denver, Colo.), junior catcher Kyle Fletcher (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and sophomore utility man Chris Blacklidge (Comstock Park, Mich.). Named to the All-MIAA second team from Calvin were junior right fielder Alex Marcus (Wilmar, Minn.), sophomore shortstop Jacob Vriesman (Denver, Colo.), sophomore pitcher Todd LaForest (Clio, Mich.) and freshman third baseman Matt Schepel (Grand Rapids, Mich.).

Fletcher led Calvin at the plate by batting .354 overall along with 30 runs batted in. He was also named MIAA Pitcher of the Week once. LaForest and Draayer anchored the pitching staff with five victories apiece with LaForest holding down a team-leading 3.53 earned run average while Draayer amassed a team-leading 53.2 innings pitched. Draayer was named MIAA Pitcher of the Week during the final week of the season when he picked up a pair of victories over Tri-State (Angola, Ind.), including a complete-game five-hit shutout.

Blacklidge and Marcus tied for the MIAA lead in doubles (8) during the year while Vriesman was sixth in the MIAA in hits (34) and runs scored (26). Schepel finished sixth in the league in runs batted in (22) and on-base percentage (.481).

Softball
Led by head coach Deb Bakker, the softball team finished 11-19 overall and in sixth place in the final MIAA standings with a 7-9 conference record. Heading into the final week and a half of the league season, the Knights were in strong position to gain one of the four berths for the MIAA tournament but then dropped five of their final six games.

Freshman Leah VanEnk (Portage, Mich.) was the only player to earn All-MIAA honors as she landed on the All-MIAA second team. VanEnk split her time between the pitcher's circle and outfield. As a pitcher, VanEnk compiled a 9-11 record along with a 2.42 earned run average. At the plate, she batted .266 and stole eight bases. She finished fourth in the MIAA in earned run average and strikeouts and second in innings pitched. She also finished tied for second in the MIAA in pitching appearances (21).

Junior outfielder Ruth Diemer (McBain, Mich.) was also named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District second team, compiling a 3.96 grade point average while batting .374, collecting 34 hits in 91 trips to the plate.