Carissa Verkaik Named Recipient of MIAA’s Sheila Wallace Kovalchik Scholar-Athlete Award
Friday, June 14, 2013
ROYAL OAK, Mich. – Awards by the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association to the outstanding senior athletes from its member schools during the 2012-13 academic year have been announced by Commissioner David Neilson.
Cory Schmidt of Hope College has received the Albert L. Deal Scholar-Athlete Award, while Carissa Verkaik of Calvin College has been presented the Sheila Wallace Kovalchik Scholar-Athlete Award.
“Cory and Carissa have had marvelous careers these last four years in the classroom, on the field, and as role models in our conference. They will be missed, but their selection for these awards from such an exceptional group of nominees is an achievement for which they should take great pride,” Commissioner Neilson said.
The awards recognize senior class athletes who have excelled in academics and athletics, as well as displayed outstanding leadership in their respective communities. The awards honor two former MIAA commissioners, Albert Deal (1971-91) and Sheila Wallace Kovalchik (1991-2002).
A native of Holland, Mich. and graduate of Holland Christian High School, Carissa Verkaik won eight letters as a student-athlete at Calvin, four in basketball and four in track and field. She was a seven-time All-MIAA selection during her career, four times in basketball and three in track and field.
In basketball, Verkaik became the first women’s basketball player in MIAA history to be named the conference’s Most Valuable Player four consecutive years and only the third player to be named first team All-MIAA all four years. She also graduated as the conference’s all-time career scoring leader, scoring 1,219 points in 64 league games for an average of 19.0 points per game. She finished as Calvin’s all-time leader in career scoring (2,236 points), rebounding (1,071) and blocked shots (440).
Verkaik won numerous national honors in her senior year, including the 2013 Jostens Trophy as the most outstanding NCAA Division III women’s basketball student-athlete. She was also named the national Player of the Year by d3hoops.com and Women’s Division III News, and was a two-time finalist for the State Farm/Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Division III Player of the Year award.
Verkaik also excelled as a high jumper for the Knights, winning the MIAA championship in the event three times and qualifying for the NCAA national meet twice.
Verkaik graduated in May from Calvin with a degree in education, finishing with a 3.77 grade point average. She was a member of the Dean’s List at Calvin all four years, a four-time member of the MIAA Academic Honor Roll, and a two-time Capital One Academic All-America selection (2012 and 2013). Last winter, she was named the national Division III Academic All-America of the Year in women’s basketball by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
Verkaik was also active in numerous activities in the community. Some of her volunteer activities include serving as a mentor in the Special Olympics program, serving as a tutor with local elementary school children, serving as a praise and worship leader in her church and organizing a middle-school book club group. This past spring she has served as a student teacher at Potter’s House Christian School in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Verkaik was recently was named the co-recipient of the Kay Tiemersma Award, presented annually to Calvin’s most outstanding senior female student-athlete. She was also named Michigan Female College Athlete of the Year by the Detroit Athletic Club.
Carissa Verkaik is the daughter of Mike and Dawn Verkaik of Holland, Mich.
Other nominees for the Sheila Wallace Kovalchik Award were Kelly Eberhardt of Adrian, Kristin Nelson of Albion, Libby Westrate of Hope, Megan Martinez of Kalamazoo, Caitlin LaValley of Olivet, Morgan Bedan of Saint Mary’s and Andrea Gasco of Trine.
Carissa Verkaik is the seventh individual from Calvin to receive the Kovalchik Award as Annie VanderLaan (2003), Christine Hendricks (2006), Lisa Winkle (2007), Sarah Wittingen (2008), Melissa Oosterhouse (2011) and Rebecca Kamp (2012) were all previously so honored.
Calvin’s Mitch Blankespoor Named Co-Recipient of Renner Associate SID Award
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
ROYAL OAK, Mich. – The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association has announced the winners of the Renner Associate SID Award. Mitch Blankespoor, a student assistant in Calvin College’s sports information office, and Forrest Tarsa, a student assistant in Hope College’s sports information office, share this year’s Renner Award.
A native of Cutlerville, Mich. and graduate of Grand Rapids South Christian High School, Mitch Blankespoor has worked in Calvin’s sports information department for four years, most recently as a student intern during his senior year. He is being honored with the Renner Award for the second consecutive year.
Blankespoor has fulfilled numerous responsibilities in Calvin’s SID office, including writing game stories, producing feature stories for the college’s sports website, overseeing student statistics crews for home athletic events, and provided play-by-play broadcast coverage in numerous sports. He took on the role of teaching both professional staff and student crews proper statistical procedures for both volleyball and lacrosse during the past year.
Blankespoor served as the lead broadcaster with the Calvin volleyball team as the Knights captured the NCAA Division III national title in 2010, and was lead broadcaster and writer for volleyball and basketball during his senior year. He served as a play-by-play broadcaster for Calvin road basketball games on WFUR-FM (102.9) in Grand Rapids.
Blankespoor also volunteered to work at several NCAA national championship events, including the 2012 and 2013 Division III women’s basketball finals in Holland, and assisted other MIAA sports information directors during the past year, traveling to providing volleyball statistics assistance at several schools, and also to the MIAA cross country championships.
Blankespoor, who graduated in May from Calvin with a degree in sports management, is the son of Curt and Carmen Blankespoor of Cutlerville, Mich.
A native of Cedar, Mich., and graduate of St. Mary High School in Lake Leelenau, Forrest Tarsa worked in Hope College’s public and community relations office as a sports information assistant for nearly all four of his years at Hope.
Tarsa was responsible for coordinating schedules of other students who worked in Hope’s sports information office, trained students in keeping statistics, and managed the press box at home athletic events. He worked on numerous MIAA championship events and also provided support to professional staff when Hope hosted the 2012 and 2013 NCAA Division III women’s basketball championships and the 2012 NCAA Division III volleyball championships. He spent one summer at Hope determining all-time school records in several sports.
Tarsa, who graduated from Hope in May with a degree in economics, was an active member of the student body during his time at the college and as a senior received the college’s Dean of Students Greek Leadership Award.
He is the son of Stephen and Diana Tarsa of Cedar, Mich.
The Renner Award honors outstanding efforts by student assistants in sports information offices at MIAA schools. Tom Renner of Hope College, who is concluding his SID position at Hope after 47 years on July 1.
Calvin Finishes 15th in Final Division III Learfield Director’s Cup Standings
Thursday, June 06, 2013
For the 18th consecutive year, Calvin has posted a top 25 finish in the final NCAA III Learfield Sports Directors Cup standings, finishing 15th in the nation in Division III in 2012-13 with a total of 651.0 points.
Calvin is one of only six schools in the country to finish in the top 25 every year that the competition has been held at the NCAA III level. Joining Calvin in that elite group are Williams, Mass., Amherst, Mass.,
Middlebury, Vt., the State University of New York at Cortland and Emory, Ga.
Williams won the title as the best athletics program in the nation in Division III by winning with a score of 1,273.75 points.
The Cup is presented annually by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and Learfield Sports to the best overall collegiate athletics programs in the country, and is based on points earned by teams that compete in NCAA Championship events.
Division III points are awarded based on finish in championship competition. Each national champion receives 100 points with a national runner-up finish worth 90 points. Third place is worth 80 points and fourth place finishes count for 75 points with a sliding point scale continuing on down by order of finish.
Calvin picked up 143.0 points during the spring sports season as its men’s track and field took 19th at the NCAA III Championships, its women’s track and field team took 26th and its men’s golf team 30th.
The finish by the Calvin men’s track and field team was worth 54.0 points in the Director’s Cup standings, the finish by the women’s track and field team worth 45 points and the finish by the men’s golf team worth 44 points.
Combined, 12 of Calvin’s 21 sports teams scored Directors Cup points during the 2012-13 academic year.
CALVIN YEAR BY YEAR IN DIRECTOR’S CUP STANDINGS
Year Finish Point Total
1995-96 11th 425 points
1996-97 22nd 321.5 points
1997-98 25th 200 points
1998-99 7th 350 points
1999-00 6th 561 points
2000-01 9th 474 points
2001-02 11th 490 points
2002-03 22nd 403.75 points
2003-04 23rd 382.5 points
2004-05 6th 617 points
2005-06 9th 561.25 points
2006-07 8th 713 points
2007-08 24th 483.25 points
2008-09 22nd 541.0 points
2009-10 13th 634.0 points
2010-11 5th 762.25 points
2011-12 24th 483.50 points
2012-13 15th 651.0 points
CALVIN’S 2012-13 DIRECTOR’S CUP POINT SCORERS
Women’s Volleyball (2nd place) 90 points
Men’s Soccer (33rd place) 25 points
Women’s Soccer (17th place) 50 points
Men’s Cross Country (2nd place tie) 87.5 points
Women’s Cross Country (18th place) 56 points
Women’s Indoor Track and Field (23rd) 47.5 points
Men’s Basketball (9th) 64 points
Women’s Basketball (33rd) 25 points
Women’s Swimming & Diving (13th) 63 points
Men’s Golf (30th place) 44 points
Men’s Track and Field (19th) 54 points
Women’s Track and Field (26th) 45 points
TOTAL POINTS BY SEASON
FALL - 308.5 points
WINTER - 199.5 points
SPRING - 143.0 points