National champions, conference titles and outstanding performances at NCAA events highlighted the winter sports season.
And quite appropriately, the athletics rivalry between Hope and Calvin has come into focus through the all-sports standings of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA).
Through the winter season, Calvin is challenging Hope's recent dominance of the all-sports award. The Knights hold a slim one-point lead over the Dutch through the fall and winter seasons which have consisted of 12 sports for men and women. Hope has won the all-sports award a league-record 22 times, including five of the last six years.
The winter sports highlight came in swimming where Hope crowned the NCAA Division III national champion in both the men's and women's 200-yard breaststroke. Sophomore Josh Boss of Jenison, Mich. repeated as the men's national champion in the event a week after junior Betsy VandenBerg of Beverly Hills, Mich. won the gold medal at the women's nationals.
The swimming teams marked the 20th year under coach John Patnott by finishing sixth in the nation at both the women's and women's nationals. It marked the 10th consecutive year that the Dutch have been a top ten team nationally and the ninth time in 10 years that the Dutchmen have accomplished that fete.
Hope celebrated MIAA conference championships in women's basketball for the third time in a decade and in women's swimming for the ninth straight year. The men's swimming team finished second in the conference standings while the men's basketball squad ended third.
The Flying Dutch posted a 21-5 record, marking the first time in Hope women's basketball history that team has had back- to-back 20-win campaigns. The Dutch also marked another historical moment when the 1990 national championship team was honored at game played at the Holland Civic Center, site of the "Miracle on Eighth Street" a decade ago.
The Flying Dutchmen finished with a 15-11 season record, marking a school-record 15th consecutive year of posting 15 or more wins.
Hope had the MIAA's most valuable athlete in three of four winter sports.
Senior Lisa Hoekstra of Grandville, Mich. gained the MVP honor in women's basketball and was elected to the Division III all-district team. A three-time All-MIAA honoree, she ended her career as Hope's second alltime leading scorer with 1,249 points.
Senior Erinn Van Auken of Holland, Mich. was voted the league's most valuable female swimmer while Josh Boss shared the honor in men's swimming with Kalamazoo senior diver Jeff Gorton. Van Auken became the most decorated female All-American in Hope swimming history. She was an All-American 24 times in her career, including five events this year. Boss, who has qualified for the
U.S. Olympic swimming trials next summer, repeated as conference champion in both the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke and was the national silver medalist in the 100-yard event.
Hope had 11 All-American swimmers at the NCAA championships. Joining Boss, Van Auken and Vanden Berg were senior Tom Bouwens of Zeeland, Mich., junior Chris Dattels of Wilmette, Ill., senior Colleen Doyle of Rochester Hills, Mich., senior Llena Durante of Chicago, Ill., senior Kari Jackson of Canton, Mich., freshman Brian Slagh of Holland, Mich., sophomore Laura Smith of Dearborn, Mich., and junior Scott Vroegindewey of Kalamazoo, Mich.
Hope was also well represented on the MIAA all-conference teams. Junior Ryan Klingler of Holland, Mich. achieved first team All-MIAA distinction for the second consecutive year while Hoekstra was joined on the All-MIAA women's basketball team by freshman Amanda Kerkstra of Grandville, Mich. All-MIAA honorees in swimming included Josh Boss, Chris Dattels, Llena Durante, freshman Sara Gray of Grand Rapids, Mich., Kari Jackson, freshman Chris Roecker of Battle Creek, Mich., Brian Slagh, Laura Smith, Erinn Van Auken, Betsy VandenBerg, freshman Erin VandenBerg of Beverly Hills, Mich. and Scott Vroegindewey.
Hope's outstanding cheerleading squad also received recognition during the basketball season. Sophomores Beth Evans of West, Chicago, Ill. and Tony Frucci of Plainwell, Mich. finished third in the partner stunt routine at the 2000 AmeriCheer College Winter Classic in Columbus, Ohio.
Three Hope students were honored as scholar-athletes in the winter at-large category at the district level as part of the GTE Academic All-America program. An accounting major, swimmer Betsy VandenBerg was voted to the all-district first team. Second team honorees were senior swimmer Tom Bouwens, who is a chemistry major, and senior cross country and track runner Jennifer Ernst of Westerville, Ohio, an art major.