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2009-2010 winter sports recap: men's basketball, women's swimming top MIAA
Swimming & Diving: Women's | Men's ~ Basketball: Women's | Men's

Caitlin AlexanderUnder the direction of Dan Gelderloos, the women’s swimming and diving team captured its sixth consecutive MIAA title; its eighth in the last 10 years, recording a first-place point total of 939 points at the MIAA championships at Calvin’s Venema Aquatic Center. During the dual-meet portion of the season, Calvin went 7-2. They were 6-0 against MIAA opponents.

At the MIAA championships, Calvin took first place in 11 o f a possible 20 events. Calvin received first-place performances from senior Maggie Vail (Portage, Mich.) in the 200 IM (2:08.07), 100 breaststroke (1:04.94) and 200 breaststroke 2:21.54) with Vail winning the 200 breaststroke for the second straight year. Junior Monica Bressler (Sandusky, Ohio) was also a triple-winner, taking the gold in the 50 freestyle (23.76), 100 backstroke
(58.66) and 200 backstroke (2:09.94). Senior Casey Herman (Libertyville, Ill.) also won the one-meter diving competition (441.25) and was runner-up on the three-meter board (433.00).

Herman was part of a strong contingent of Calvin divers as freshman Samantha Klaasen
(Holland, Mich.) was fourth on the three-meter board (411.30) and junior Carmen Brummel (West Olive, Mich.) fifth (406.45). On the one-meter board, Klaasen was third (432.60) and Brummel seventh (369.20).

Calvin also took first place in four of the five relay events. In the 200-freestyle relay, Calvin’s quartet of Bressler, sophomore Rachel Bos (Hudsonville, Mich.), freshman Stephanie Fox (Kentwood, Mich.) and Vail took first place in a time of 1:36.64. In the
200-medley relay, Calvin’s team of freshman Kristen Kinzer (Fort Wayne, Ind.), Roberts, junior Caitlin Alexander (Holland, Mich.), pictured above, and Bressler won in a time of 1:46.25. Calvin’s 400-medley relay team of Bressler, Roberts, senior Kelly Barr (Dover, Del.) and Fox came in with a first-place time of 3:57.06 while Calvin’s 400 freestyle-relay team of Bressler, Bos, senior Laura Price (Warren, Pa.) and Vail won in a time of 3:32.25.

Vail was then named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Swimmer, marking the eighth time in the last nine years that a Calvin women’s swimmer has been so honored. Vail was also named to the All-MIAA team for the third straight year while Roberts was named to the honor squad for the fourth consecutive year. Roberts is the 11th individual in Calvin
women’s swimming and diving history to receive All-MIAA honors four consecutive years. In addition, Bressler was named to the All-MIAA team for the second time while Bos, Counsell and Herman received All-MIAA accolades for the first time.

Calvin then sent eight individuals to the NCAA III Swimming and Diving Championships
in Minneapolis, Minn
. At the meet, Roberts and Herman were named All-Americans, while Counsell and Vail earned honorable mention status.

Mark RushlowLed by head coach Dan Gelderloos, the men’s swimming and diving team took fourth in the final MIAA standings, recording a score of 428 points at the MIAA Champion-ships hosted by Calvin at the Venema Aquatic Center. Calvin finished just 65 points behind third place Olivet. Calvin’s point total was also a 93-point improvement over its 2009 conference meet score. During the dual meet season, Calvin posted an overall record of 3-4 and a 3-2 mark against MIAA foes.

At the MIAA Championships, Calvin was led by freshman Mark Rushlow (Goshen, Ind.) who was third in the 100 butterfly (50.29), fourth in the 100 freestyle (46.56) and ninth in the 50 freestyle (21.48).

Freshman Colin Reynolds (Baltimore, Md.) also had a pair of top-eight finishes, placing fifth on the three-meter board (242.25) and fourth on the one-meter board (296.50).

Other top-eight finishes from Calvin included sophomore Ross Battoclette (Cincinnati, Ohio) placing eighth in the 500 freestyle (4:49.45) and eighth in the 200 backstroke (2:00.95), freshman Mathias Bares (Holland, Mich.) taking seventh in the 1650 freestyle (16:45.28), freshman Stephen Kraft (Warsaw, Ind.) taking seventh in the 200 breaststroke (2:13.20) and seventh in the 400 IM (4:19.34). In addition, senior Kurt VanAllsburg (Grand Rapids, Mich.) was sixth in the 100 back stroke (52.96) while sophomore Greg Gorham
(Minneapolis, Minn.) was sixth in the 100 breaststroke with a school-record time of
59.05, breaking his own record of 59.28 set in the prelims.

For his efforts at the conference meet, Rushlow, pictured above, was named to the All-MIAA team. Rushlow also qualified for the NCAA III Championships, competing in the 100 and 200 butterfly and 100 freestyle.

Matt VeltemaUnder the direction of head coach Kevin Vande Streek, the men’s basketball team
finished 19-9 overall and captured its second consecutive outright MIAA regular season
title, recording a 12-2 conference record. The MIAA title is the 29th in Calvin men’s basketball history. Calvin opened the season by winning just two of its first seven games but then rallied, winning 11 of its next 12 games including its first seven in conference play.

Two season highlights included seniors John Mantel (Chelsea, Mich.) and Matt Veltema (Grandville, Mich.), pictured at left, reaching the 1,000 point plateau, becoming the 19th and 20th players, respectively, to reach the milestone in Calvin men’s basketball history.

At the conclusion of the season, Mantel was in 12th place (1,263) points on the Calvin
scoring list while Veltema was in 18th place with 1,019 points. Veltema also finished his
career with 191 three-point field goals, ranking third on the Calvin career list. Mantel finished with 680 career rebounds, ranking sixth on the Calvin career list.

In addition, Veltema matched a Calvin single-season record for free-throw percentage
originally set by Greg Broene during the 1973- 74 season. Veltema connected on 92.0 percent of his free throw tries during the 2009-2010 season, at one point connecting on 37 consecutive free throws.

Mantel and Veltema were both named to the All-MIAA first team. Mantel was named to the all-tournament team of the Calvin Tip-Off Tournament while Veltema was an all- tournament selection at the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame Tournament. Mantel was also an MIAA Player of the Week selection as was junior Brent Schuster (Denver, Colo.).

Carissa VerkaikLed by head coach John Ross, the women’s basketball team recorded the 11th 20-win
campaign in school history and reached the NCAA III Tournament for the 12th time. Calvin finished the season with an overall record of 24-5 and posted a 14-2 record in conference play that was good for a secondplace league finish.

Calvin was nationally ranked throughout the season, reaching as high as number 10
in the polls. Calvin opened the season by winning 14 of its first 15 games, which included a victory over Wilmington College (Ohio) in the championship game of the Wilmington Tip-Off Tournament. Senior Brook Van Eck (Lowell, Mich.) was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and was joined on the all-tournament team by freshman teammate Allison Wolffis (Muskegon, Mich.). The following weekend, Calvin picked up two victories at the Olivet Thanksgiving Classic with freshman Carissa Verkaik, pictured at right, receiving tournament MVP honors. Verkaik was joined on the all-tournament team by Van Eck.

During the season, Verkaik was named to the Team of the Week twice.
Her first appearance came after a 39-point, 23-rebound performance in a win at Purdue- Calumet University (Ind.) in December. Her second appearance came after she scored a
Calvin and MIAA single-game record 46 points in a 93-77 win over Adrian at Van Noord Arena. In the win, Verkaik was 18 of 20 from the field, 3 of 3 from the three-point line and 7 of 8 from the free-throw line. Verkaik’s scoring performance ranked as the top single- game scoring performance in NCAA III women’s basketball during the season. Her performance also helped her become the first MIAA scoring champion from Calvin since 2000, averaging 18.5 points a game in league play. Verkaik also blocked 60 shots in 16 league games for an average of 3.75 blocks-per-game, establishing a new MIAA single-season record. For her efforts, Verkaik was named the MIAA’s Most Valuable Player, becoming the first freshman in MIAA women’s basketball history to receive the award, and was later named the Great Lakes Region Freshman of the Year.

VanEck joined Verkaik on the All-MIAA first team, earning the award for the second straight year. VanEck was also voted to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District third
team during the season. VanEck finished her career with 1,001 points and 555 rebounds. VanEck is the 12th player in Calvin women’s basketball history to reach the 1,000 point plateau. She also ranks sixth on the Calvin career rebounding list and is one of only seven players in Calvin women’s basketball history to have reached the 1,000 point and 500 rebound marks.