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Winter 2012 Sports Recap

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Led by head coach John Ross, the womenís basketball team produced a banner year, finishing 28-2 overall while also matching a school record for wins in a season. Calvin captured he MIAA regular season title with a 15-1 league record and then won the four-team MIAA tournament capped off by a 65-43 win over rival Hope in the MIAA tournament championship game.

Calvin then gained its third straight bid to the NCAA III Tournament and was selected to host the first and second rounds. Calvin opened tournament play with a 59-47 win over Wisconsin-Lutheran (Milwaukee) and followed with a 76-71 win over Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the second round. Calvin then traveled to the University of Chicago for a four-team sectional. Calvin opened the sectional with a 68-50 win over host Chicago, which entered the game ranked second nationally and undefeated on the year. The win over Chicago gave Calvin a berth in the national quarterfinals for the third time in school history. Calvinís bid for a trip to the NCAA III Final Four came up just short in the quarterfinals, however, as the Knights fell to 10th-ranked St. Thomas (Minn.) 83-72 in overtime. During the year Ross recorded his 300th victory at Calvin with a win over Kalamazoo.

Post-season awards were numerous with junior center Carissa Verkaik (Holland, Mich.) leading the way. Verkaik was named the MIAAís Most Valuable Player for the third straight year, becoming the first three-time MVP in MIAA womenís basketball history. She was also named to the All-MIAA first team and was joined on the All-MIAA first team by junior teammate Julia Hilbrands (Grand Rapids, Mich.).

Verkaik was also named a third team Capital One Academic All-American, the Great Lakes Region Player of the Year and a member of the All-America first team. She was also named a State Farm Division III All-American by the Womenís Basketball Coaches Association. In addition, she was named one of 10 finalists for the prestigious Jostenís Trophy that honors one menís and womenís Division III basketball player that exemplifies athletic and academic achievement as well as community service.

During the year, Verkaik moved into second place on the Calvin career list for scoring and rebounding. She also blocked 128 shots during the season to establish a new Calvin singleseason record. In conference play, she also led the MIAA in scoring average (17.8), blocked shots-per-game average (3.75) and free throw percentage (.906). Hillbrands led the MIAA in field goal percentage (.688) and finished ninth in rebounding average (5.9). Freshman point guard Kayla Engelhard (Unionville, Mich.) finished tied for sixth in assists per game (2.5). Junior guard Kelsey Irwin (Fraser, Mich.) led the MIAA in three-point field goal percentage (.409) while senior Jill Thomas (Grand Rapids, Mich.) was fifth (.348). Thomas was also tied for 10th with senior teammate Courtney Kurncz (St. Johns, Mich.) in assists per game (2.31) while Kurncz was also eighth in the MIAA in steals per game (1.63) and fourth in blocked shots per game (1.19).

Under the guidance of head coach Kevin Vande Streek, the menís basketball team finished 13-13 overall and tied for third place in the MIAA with an 8-6 conference record. Calvin qualified for the four-team MIAA tournament where it was defeated by Hope 87-80 in the MIAA tournament semifinals. During the non-conference portion of the season, Calvin captured the championship of its own Calvin Tipoff Tournament, defeating Grace Bible College (Wyoming, Mich.) and Willamette College (Salem, Ore.). Junior Tom Snikkers (Jenison, Mich.) was named the tournament MVP and was joined on the all-tournament team by sophomore teammate Mitch Vallie (Goodrich, Mich.).

During the season, Snikkers became the 21st player in Calvin menís basketball history to reach the 1,000-point plateau for a career. Heading into the 2012-13 season, he sits in 17th place on the Calvin career scoring list with 1,061 points. Snikkers was also named to the All-MIAA first team for a second straight year. Snikkers finished fifth in MIAA scoring (15 points per game) and led the league in rebounding average (8.1 ).

Sophomore Tyler Kruis (Grand Rapids, Mich.) also made a dent in the MIAA statistics, finishing second in blocked shots per game (1.86), eighth in rebounding average (6.1 ) and 10th in free throw percentage (.740). In addition, junior point guard David Rietema (Grand Rapids, Mich.) led the MIAA in steals per-game average (2.45) and was third in assists-per-game average (4.18 ).

Vande Streek also achieved two milestones during the year, recording his 300th victory at Calvin during a win over Carthage College (Kenosha, Wis.) in December and then recording his 400th collegiate victory in a February win at Kalamazoo College.

The womenís swimming and diving team was led by Dan Gelderloos. Under his leadership, the Knights captured their eighth straight MIAA title. Calvin posted a 7-2 record during the dual-meet portion of the season, defeating rivals Hope and Wheaton (Ill.) and then cruised at the MIAA championships, recording a total of 803.5 points, finishing 150 points ahead of Hope.

Calvin landed seven individuals on the All-MIAA team: senior Rachel Bos, juniors Rachel Colasurdo, Stephanie Fox, Elizabeth Counsell, Samantha Klaasen and freshmen Erika Waugh and Kathryn Wrobel.

Bos (Hudsonville, Mich.) received All- MIAA honors for the second time in her career. She was a big point producer for Calvin at the conference meet, placing seventh in the 50 freestyle (25.15), third in the 100 butterfly and fourth in the 100 freestyle (53.67). She also swam legs on Calvinís first-place 200-freestyle relay team.

Colasurdo (Chesapeake, Va.) was a big point producer for Calvin at the MIAA championships, placing second in the 100 butterfly (59.34), fifth in the 50 freestyle (25.02) and fifth in the 200 butterfly (2:15.03) while also swimming on Calvinís first-place 200-freestyle and 200-medley relay teams.

Counsell (Indianapolis, Ind.) meanwhile picked up All-MIAA honors for the third straight year. She repeated as league champion in both the 100 breaststroke (1:05.42) and 200 breaststroke (2:21.86) while also placing seventh in the 500 freestyle (5:19.37) and swimming a leg of Calvinís winning 200-medley relay.

Fox (Kentwood, Mich.) claimed All- MIAA accolades for the second straight year. At the MIAA championships, she placed second in the 200 IM (2:10.45) and 200 freestyle (1:55.19) third in the 100 freestyle (53.22) and swam on Calvinís first-place 200-freestyle and 200 medley relay teams.

Like Fox, Klaasen (Holland, Mich.) received All-MIAA honors for the second straight year. At the MIAA championships, Klaasen repeated as MIAA champion on the one-meter diving board (433.30) while placing second on the three-meter board (418.35). At the conclusion of the meet, she was named the MIAAís Most Valuable Diver for the second straight year. It marks the sixth time in eight years that Calvin has had an individual receive MIAA Most Valuable Diver honors on the womenís side.

Wrobel (Arden Hills, Minn.) was a key contributor for Calvin in her first year as a collegiate swimmer. At the MIAA championships, she was third in the 200 freestyle (1:55.76) and 500 freestyle (5:09.34) and second in the 1,650 freestyle (17:44.12).

Waugh (Berne, Ind.) had a big weekend at the conference meet winning the MIAA title in the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:06.42. In the morning prelims, she established a new Calvin-record time of 2:06.29. She also placed second in the 100 backstroke (58.99) and sixth in the 500 freestyle (5:15.88) and was a member of Calvinís first-place 200-medley relay team.

Counsell later represented Calvin at the NCAA III Championships in her hometown of Indianapolis. She competed in the 100 and 200 breaststroke events.

The menís swimming and diving team was under the leadership of head coach Dan Gelderloos. The Knights finished fourth in a highly competitive MIAA race but also posted a school-record point total of 635.5 points at the MIAA championships. Calvin also recorded a dual-meet record during the season that included dual-meet wins over rivals Wheaton (Ill.) and Hope.

Calvin landed four individuals on the All-MIAA team as senior Ross Battoclette (Cincinnati, Ohio), junior Mark Rushlow (Goshen, Ind.) sophomore Andrew Krafft (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and freshman Travis Vincent (Novi. Mich.) were all so honored.

At the MIAA championships, Battoclette captured the league title in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:42.63. His win marked he first 200 freestyle league title in Calvin menís swimming history. He also placed second in the 200 backstroke with a school record time of 1:54.37. He was also fourth in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:42.06. In addition, he anchored Calvinís 200-medley and 400-medley relay teams. Calvinís 200-medley relay team took fourth with a school-record time of 1:33.84 while its 400-medley relay team took second with a school-record time of 3:24.92.

Rushlow also had a huge weekend at the MIAA championships, winning the 100 butterfly with an NCAA III automatic qualifying time of 49.33. He also placed third in the 100 backstroke and second in the 100 freestyle. In addition, he was a part of Calvinís school record-setting 200- and 400-medley relay teams. Rushlow was named to the All-MIAA team for the second straight year.

Krafft also made his second straight appearance on the All-MIAA team. He was named the MIAAís Most Valuable Diver for the second straight season. At the MIAA championships, he repeated as league champion on the one-meter board (534.85 points) and three-meter board (575.10 points). Both winning point totals were school records as he reset his own school marks in both events.

Vincent also made a big splash in his first conference meet as a collegian. He finished third in the 200 breaststroke with a school-record time of 2:07.07. He also placed second in the 400 IM and third in the 200 IM.

Senior Greg Gorham (Richfield, Minn.) had a strong season, establishing a school record in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 57.73 at the Calvin Winter Invitational in December. He was seventh in the 100 (Continued from page 3) breaststroke at the MIAA championships.

At the NCAA III Championships in late March, Calvin was represented by Rushlow in the pool and Krafft on the diving boards.

The menís and womenís indoor track and field teams were both under the direction of head coach Bret Otte. Both teams had solid indoor campaigns and hosted several competitions inside Calvinís Huizenga Tennis and Track Center.

In late January, Calvin hosted its own Calvin Invitational with the Calvin womenís team winning with 175 points while the Calvin men placed second with 130 points.

During the last weekend of February, Calvin hosted the Michigan/Indiana Invitational which included every MIAA school that sponsors track and field. In the menís competition, Calvin took first place with 135 points. On the womenís side, Calvin took first place with 161.5 points.

Winners for Calvin in the menís competition included junior Greg Whittle (Galesburg, Ill.) in the mile run, senior Nick Kramer (Dyer, Ind.) in the 3,000 meters (8:26.80), junior Rhett Morici (St. Charles, Ill.) in the 5,000 meters (15:31.33), sophomore Matt Christians (Grand Rapids, Mich.) in the high jump (6-6 3/4) and junior Aaron Meckes (Bay City, Mich.) in the shot put (54-0). Calvinís distance medley relay team of freshman Steven Haagsma (Grandville, Mich.), sophomore William Roloff (Charlevoix, Mich.), sophomore Johnny Davis (Rio Linda, Calif.) and sophomore Josh Ferguson (Naperville, Ill.) claimed first with a time of 10:40.74.

Winners for Calvin in the womenís competition included sophomore Stephanie Bennet (Rockford, Ill.) in the 200 meters (26.38), senior Jodi Hoekstra (Homer Glen, Ill.) in the mile run (5:04.52), sophomore Nicole Michmerhuizen (Holland, Mich.) in the 5,000 meters (17:51.57), senior Lindsey VanderBrug (Elmhurst, Ill.) in the 60 meter hurdles (9.54), freshman Amy Sybesma (Ceritos, Calif.) in the high jump (5-1) and Calvinís 4x400 meter relay team of sophomore Olivia Butler (Grant, Mich.), freshman Kelley Tuininga (Grand Rapids, Mich.), freshman Grace Stoffer (River Forest, Ill.)and senior Kaylea Brase (Lino Lakes, Minn.) with a time of 4:10.04.

Calvin then sent four members of its menís team to the NCAA III Indoor Track and Field Championships in Grinnell, Iowa. Representing Calvin at the meet were Meckes in the shot put, Whittle in the mile run and Kramer and junior Matt VanderRoest (Ann Arbor, Mich.) in the 5,000 meters. Whittle finished 11th in the mile run (4:17.80) while VanderRoest was 11th in the 5,000 meters (14:47.99). Kramer and Meckes both claimed All- America berths with Kramer finishing eighth in the 5,000 meters (14:26.84) while Meckes was eighth in the shot put (54-4 1/2). The All-America berth was the sixth of Kramerís track and field career, his second indoors. Meckes meanwhile grabbed an All-America nod for the first time and became the third Meckes sibling to do so as older brothers Nate Meckes (discus and shot put) and Josh Meckes (long jump) had accomplished the feat in outdoor track and field in previous years.

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