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2008-2009 winter sports recap: Divers dominate

WOMEN'S SWIMMING & DIVING

Monica BresslerLed by head coach Dan Gelderloos, the women’s swimming and diving team captured its fifth consecutive MIAA title, its seventh in the last 10 years.

At the MIAA championships, Calvin recorded a team score of 849.5 points, finishing 90 points ahead of runner-up Hope. Calvin took first place in six events and took first place in four relays. The Knights were led by senior Erica Deur (Holland, Mich.) who won both the one- and three-meter diving for the fourth consecutive year, becoming the first individual in MIAA women’s swimming and diving history to do so. Deur won the one-meter board with an MIAA- and Calvin-record score of 507.20 points.

During the three-meter competition, Deur set a new MIAA record with a score of 491.25 in the morning prelims. At the conclusion of the meet, Deur was named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Diver for an unprecedented fourth straight year.

Calvin junior Emily Roberts (DeKalb, Ill.) was named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Swimmer after winning the 200 IM with an MIAA-record time of 2:06.55 and the 100 breaststroke with an MIAA-record time of 1:02.72. Her time in the 100 breaststroke ended up as the fastest time in NCAA III women’s swimming during the season.  Roberts also placed third in the 200 breaststroke.

Other individual titles for Calvin included junior Laura Price (Warren, Pa.) winning the 500 freestyle and junior Maggie Vail (Portage, Mich.) winning the 200 breaststroke in an MIAA-record time of 2:19.89.

Calvin’s winning 200-freestyle relay consisted of sophomore Monica Bressler (Sandusky, Ohio), senior Cara Van Woerkom (Wyoming, Mich.), Vail and Price. Calvin’s 400-medley relay that clocked in with an MIAA- and Calvin-record time of 3:50.34 included Bressler, Roberts, senior Julie Wolfe (Westerville, Ohio) and Van Woerkom. Its 800-freestyle relay was made up of Wolfe, Van Woerkom, Price and sophomore Kendra Kinzer (Fort Wayne, Ind.) while its 200-medley relay which recorded an MIAA-record time of 1:45.90 consisted of Bressler, Roberts, Wolfe and Vail.              

Calvin then landed seven individuals on the All-MIAA team, including Deur who received the honor for the fourth straight year. She was joined on the All-MIAA team by Van Woerkom, Wolfe, Roberts, Vail, Price and Bressler.      

Calvin sent 11 individuals to the NCAA III Championships. There Calvin finished seventh with 171 points, recording its fifth consecutive top-10 national finish. Of the 11 individuals that represented Calvin, 10 earned NCAA III All-America recognition. The competitors were Deur, Van Woerkom, Wolfe, Vail, Roberts, Price, senior Jeena Velzen (Jenison, Mich.), juniors Libby Veldkamp (Wyoming, Mich.) and Casey Herman (Libertyville, Ill.), Kinzer and  Bressler.  Deur led the way for the Knights, winning her second national title on the one-meter board with an NCAA III Championships record of 496.05 points while taking second on the three-meter board (495.85 points). Deur was one of two diving All-Americans for Calvin as Herman took eighth on the one-meter board. Roberts also claimed an individual All-America berth, placing seventh in the 100 breaststroke.     

Calvin also claimed All-America status in three relays as Bressler, Van Woerkom, Vail and Price were eighth in the 200-freestyle relay, Van Woerkom, Price, Kinzer and Veldkamp seventh in the 800-freestyle relay and Bressler, Roberts, Wolfe and Van Woerkom eighth in the 400-medley relay. Over the course of the season, Calvin recorded 11 school records with Deur establishing four of them, doing so on the one meter and three meter for both six and 11 dives. Bressler also established two school records while swimming at the national meet, clocking a time of 58.45 in the 100 backstroke and a time of 2:07.56.

MEN'S SWIMMING & DIVING

Keith ConradUnder the guidance of head coach Dan Gelderloos, the men’s swimming and diving team took fourth place at the MIAA Championships, posting a team score of 334 points.

At the MIAA Championships, senior Keith Conrad (Wheaton, Ill.) posted three top-eight finishes, placing fourth in the 200 butterfly, sixth in the 100 butterfly and sixth in the 500 freestyle. In a time trial race, Conrad also broke a school record in the 100 breaststroke, finishing with a time of 59.88.

Freshman Ross Battoclette (Cincinnati, Ohio) also had a pair of top-eight finishes, placing seventh in the 200 backstroke and seventh in the 200 freestyle. Senior diver Dennis Steenbergen (Aylmer, Ont.) had a pair of top-eight finishes, placing fourth on the one-meter diving board with a career-best score of 360.55 and sixth on the three-meter board.

Other top-eight individual finishes for Calvin included junior Ethan Tatum (Grand Rapids, Mich.) placing eighth in the 200 freestyle and junior Kurt Van Allsburg (Grand Rapids, Mich.) placing seventh in the 100 backstroke.

Calvin’s relays also performed well with its 200-freestyle relay finishing sixth, its 400-medley relay finishing fifth, its 200-medley relay finishing sixth, its 800-freestyle relay finishing fourth and its 400-freestyle relay finishing fourth.

MEN'S BASKETBALL

John MantelLed by head coach Kevin Vande Streek, the men’s basketball team captured its 28th MIAA title, finishing 19-8 overall and 12-2 in the MIAA regular season. Picked to win the league in the pre-season MIAA coaches’ poll, Calvin made good on the prediction. During the conference season, Calvin recorded a pair of thrilling victories over Hope, winning 66-64 in Holland and then 63-62 at Calvin’s Van Noord Arena. A mid-season highlight came in late January in a 79-73 win at Albion. The win was the 255th of Vande Streek’s coaching career at Calvin, moving him into first place on the all-time Calvin coaching list for victories.

The Knights opened the year by winning just three of their first eight games but then won 14 of the next 15 to turn the season around. Senior guard Caleb Veldhouse (Sioux Falls, S.D.) was named to the All-MIAA first team for the fourth straight year, becoming just the seventh individual in MIAA men’s basketball history to be so honored.

Veldhouse was joined on the All-MIAA first team by junior center John Mantel (Chelsea, Mich.) while junior forward Matt Veltema (Grandville, Mich.) was named to the All-MIAA second team. Mantel was named the MIAA’s Player of the Week three times during the season and was also named to the Calvin Tip-Off Tournament All-Tournament team. Veldhouse was named the Most Valuable Player of the Calvin Tip-Off Tournament and was later named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches Division III All-District Team for the second straight year.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

Brook VanEckUnder the direction of head coach John Ross, the women’s basketball team finished 16-10 overall and tied for third place in the MIAA standings with a 9-7 conference record. Calvin opened the year by winning its first five games, which included winning the championship of the Wisconsin-Lutheran Tip-Off Tournament.

Calvin then dropped five of its next six games and lost senior center Marcia Harris (Grand Rapids, Mich.) in the fifth game of that stretch to a knee injury that would sideline her for the next nine games.

Undaunted, Calvin fought back to win four of its next five games including a 71-65 double-overtime win over Trine in the team’s first-ever game inside Van Noord Arena. In fact, five of Calvin’s league games in January went to overtime.

Harris returned to the line-up in early February, helping spark a five-game win streak. The win streak was snapped in a 68-65 homecoming loss to nationally ranked Hope in a game Calvin led inside the final two minutes of play in front of a crowd of more than 3,000 fans.

At the conclusion of the season, Harris was named to the All-MIAA first team, one of only two individuals in MIAA women’s basketball history to be so honored four times. Harris was joined on the All-MIAA first team by junior teammate Brook Van Eck (Lowell, Mich.). Van Eck finished second in the MIAA scoring race (15.1 points per game) and was a two-time MIAA Player of the Week. Harris was also named MIAA Player of the Week once during the season and was named to the All-Tournament team at Thomas More. Senior Kristi Brummel (Byron Center, Mich.) was also named to that all-tournament team.