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Spring Sports Recap: Baseball and track top MIAA

 

Under the leadership of head coach Jeff Pettinga, the baseball team advanced to the NCAA III Tournament and captured the MIAA title for the first time since 1984 as the Knights posted a 21-16-1 overall record and a 14-4 mark in the league. It marked the second time that Calvin has cracked the 20-win plateau. Calvin opened the year by going 4-4-1 on its spring break trip and then took command of the MIAA race by winning 12 of its first 14 conference games. Late-inning rallies were a key to Calvin's surge as the Knights won seven times in their last at-bat. At the Mideast Regional hosted by Ohio Wesleyan in Canton, Ohio, Calvin bowed out of the double-elimination tournament with a 9-5 loss to Ohio Wesleyan, ranked number one in the country, and 10-5 to Thomas More of Kentucky. Aaron Wiers, of Chicago, Ill., was named the MIAA's MVP, becoming the fourth player in Calvin baseball history to earn MIAA MVP accolades. Wiers and Mike Ott, of Grand Rapids, finished tied for the MIAA lead in pitching victories (4) while Ott was second in ERA (2.30). Dirk Eppinga (Walnut Creek, Calif.) finished second in the MIAA batting race (.447) while Steve Ekkens (Grand Rapids) was fourth (.423).

The softball team under the direction of head coach Amber Warners finished fifth in the MIAA with a 7-7 league record while also posting a 12-19 overall record. With its fifth-place finish, Calvin missed the four-team tournament for the first time. During the league season, Calvin nearly upset nationally-ranked Alma before falling 6-5. Alma would go on to win the MIAA and finish third in the nation.

Susannah Knust (Grandville, Mich.) finished second in the MIAA batting race (.415) while Erin Dyksterhouse (Kalamazoo, Mich.) was sixth (.382).

Under the direction of first-year head coach Milan Norgauer, the men's tennis team posted an overall record of 6-11 while finishing third in the MIAA dual meet standings with a 3-2 league mark. Calvin then took third at the MIAA Championships with 65 points to finish third in the final MIAA standings for the third consecutive year.

At the league championships, Calvin had four players win the third place match in singles play as senior Jeff Teusink (Zeeland, Mich.) took third at No. 2 singles; freshman Tom Zeilstra (Hinsdale, Ill.) took third at No. 3 singles; junior Tim Haig (Arlington, Mass.) took third at No. 5 singles and sophomore Matt Hogfeldt (Sheboygan, Wis.) took third at No. 6 singles.

In doubles play, freshman Mark Betten (Kalamazoo, Mich.) and Teusink took third at No. 1 doubles; junior Ben Knoester (Grand Rapids) and Teusink took second at No. 2 doubles and junior Scott Jongekrijg (Grand Rapids) and Hogfeldt took third at No. 3 doubles.

The women's tennis team under the leadership of head coach Kim Gall finished 16-4 overall good for second in the final MIAA standings. During the MIAA dual season, Calvin went 6-1 with its only loss coming to league champion Hope. The Knights then took third at the MIAA Championships with 71 points to finish tied for second with St. Mary's for second place in the final MIAA standings.

At the MIAA Championships, Calvin's No. 3 doubles team of sophomore Becky Schaafsma (Grand Rapids) and freshman Jessica Bosma (Lansing, Mich.) captured the league title with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over a team from Hope in the flight's championship match. In singles play, Calvin had three conference runner-ups as junior Kait Disselkoen (Nairobi, Kenya) was runner-up at No. 1 singles; junior Kait Zeilstra (Hinsdale, Ill.) runner-up at No. 2 singles and junior Rachel Knoester (Holland, Mich.) runner-up at No. 5 singles.

The men's track and field team under the direction of head coach Jong-Il Kim took home its seventh consecutive MIAA title including its 13th in the last 14 years. Calvin swept through the MIAA dual meet season with a 5-0 record and then took first place at the MIAA Championships with 216 points. At the MIAA Championships, Calvin took first place in 13 events with junior Phil Sikkenga (Wheaton, Ill.) repeating as MIAA champion in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 110 high hurdles. Sikkenga's time of 14.52 in the 110 high hurdles established a new MIAA record. He also anchored Calvin's first place 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 meter relay teams. Junior Mark DeWeerd (Hudsonville, Mich.) also repeated as league champion in the pole vault, winning the event for the third consecutive year. Senior Scott Westhouse (Dorr, Mich.) established a new MIAA record in the 3,000 meter steeplechase with a time of 9:41.30. Sikkenga was named the MIAA's MVP for the second year in a row.

At the NCAA III Championships hosted by North Central College in Naperville, Ill., Calvin placed ninth with 28.5 points behind five All-American performances. Sikkenga led the way with a pair of individual All-American performances as he took third in the 110 high hurdles and 200 meters. He also anchored Calvin's 4x400-meter relay team to a national runner-up finish in a school record time of 3:09.85, missing a national championship by two-tenths of a second. Joining Sikkenga on the All-America relay were Hansen, VanGoor and freshman Steve Abbring (Highland, Ind). Kleinheksel also placed fifth in the high jump to repeat as an All-American in the event.

Calvin shattered three school records during the year as Sikkenga set new marks in the 100 (10.77) and 200 meter (21.38) dashes while also running on Calvin's record-setting 4x400-meter relay team at nationals.

The women's track and field team under the guidance of first-year head coach Ralph Honderd captured its 11th consecutive MIAA title by sweeping through the MIAA dual-meet season with a 6-0 record and then taking first place at the league championships with a meet-record score of 353 points, becoming the first school in MIAA history to score more than 300 points at the league championships. The previous meet record had been 282 points established by the 1996 Calvin team.

At the MIAA Championships, Calvin took first place in 16 of the 19 events. Junior Megan Pierce (Fort Wayne, Ind.) was the leader as she took first place in the 200 and 400 meters with MIAA record times of 25.36 and 54.50. Pierce also anchored Calvin's first place 4x100 and 4x400 meter relay teams. Joining Pierce on the 4x100 meter relay team were sophomore Megan Fathbruckner (Deleware, Ohio), freshman Anne VanderLaan (Grand Rapids) and sophomore Lindsay Mulder (Wyoming, Mich.). Mulder, junior Sara Veltkamp (Grand Rapids) and sophomore Mindy Worst (Grand Rapids) were also a part of Calvin's 4x400 meter relay team that recorded an MIAA record time of 3:53.36. Mulder also established a new MIAA record in the long jump as she took first with a jump of 18-11 . Sophomore Rachel Veltkamp (Grand Rapids) also established a new MIAA record in the pole vault with a vault of 10-9.

Mulder repeated as league champion in the long jump while Pierce earned league championship honors for the third time in the 400 and for the second time in the 200. Other repeat league champions for Calvin included Sara Veltkamp in the 800 meters and senior Sarah Gritter (Wauwatosa, Wis.) in the 1,500 and 3,000 meters. A record 15 Calvin individuals were then named to the All-MIAA track and field team with Pierce heading the group as the MIAA's MVP for the second consecutive year.

Gritter was then named the Great Lakes Regional Athlete of the Year while Honderd was named Great Lakes Regional Coach of the Year.

At the NCAA III Championships, Calvin placed fifth with 30 points, recording its fourth top-five national finish in the last eight years. Pierce was the top point producer for Calvin as she repeated as national champion in the 400 meters with a school record time of 53.97. Her time was the second fastest in Division III women's track and field history. Pierce also anchored Calvin's 4x400 meter relay team of Worst, Sara Veltkamp and Mulder that also repeated as national champion with a school record time of 3:44.60. Mulder also took fourth in the long jump for the second straight year while Gritter took fourth in the 3,000 meters with a school-record time of 9:41.90. Her time shattered the previous school record held by 1997 3,000-meter national champion Betsy Haverkamp by nearly 11 seconds. Gritter's record was one of five school records that was broken during the year. Also breaking Calvin records were sophomore Mae Baber (Brandon, Wis.) in the triple jump (36-8) and freshman Mandy VanDenBosch (Grand Rapids) in the shot put (40-2 ).

First Team All-MIAA

Baseball
Justin Cole (Grand Rapids)
Steve Ekkens (Grand Rapids)
Ross Hunderman (Drenthe, Mich.)
*Aaron Wiers (Chicago, Ill.)
Mike Ott (Grand Rapids)

Softball
Susannah Knust (Grandville, Mich.)
Sara Plasman (Grandville, Mich.)

Women's tennis
Kait Disselkoen (Nairobi, Kenya)
Kait Zeilstra (Hinsdale, Ill.)
Women's Track and Field
Rashel Bayes (Sparta, Mich.)
Liz Blevins (Marion, Mich.)
Erinn Bott (Kalamazoo, Mich.)
Sarah Gritter (Wauwatosa, Wis.)
Liz Kuipers (Sarnia, Ont.)
Lindsay Mulder (Wyoming, Mich.)
*Megan Pierce (Fort Wayne, Ind.)
Andrea Rip (Bothell, Wash.)
Lisa Timmer (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
Rachel Veltkamp (Grand Rapids)
Anne VanderLaan (Grand Rapids)
Anna VanDrie (Grand Rapids)
Sara Veltkamp (Grand Rapids)
Mindy Worst (Grand Rapids)
Bethany Zylstra (Whitinsville, Mass.)

Men's Track and Field
Mark DeWeerd (Hudsonville, Mich.)
Eric Hansen (Big Rapids, Mich.)
Derek Kleinheksel (Hamilton, Mich.)
Joel Klooster (Chatham, Ont.)
Bryan Mayhew (Richland, Mich.)
Justin Momany-Pfruender (Midland, Mich.)
Paul Petersen (Crawfordsville, Ind.)
*Phil Sikkenga (Wheaton, Ill.)
Scott Westhouse (Dorr, Mich.)
Keith VanGoor (Midland Park, N.J.)

 

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