Conference championships and individual honors highlighted the Hope College fall sports season. The result was Hope taking the lead in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) all-sports standings, a familiar position for an intercollegiate athletic program that has claimed the honor six times in the decade of the 1990s.
For the second time in three years the football team captured a share of the MIAA championship, winning a dramatic season-ending game.
And for the first time in more than a decade, the men's golf team captured a league title. Individually, the MIAA's top player in both men's and women's golf hailed from Hope.
Hope celebrated an All-American in women's cross country and sent a football player to a post-season bowl game.
Flying Dutchmen Capture MIAA Gridiron Honors
The season came down to a "must win" game against rival Kalamazoo in the traditional Wooden Shoes rivalry contest. Albion and Alma had already clinched a share of the MIAA championship and Hope needed the victory to make it a three-way tie. It was supposed to be a showdown of the league's best defensive teams, but the offense prevailed. The Hornets scored a touchdown on their first possession, but the Flying Dutchmen responded with 30 unanswered points to gain a 44-28 victory.
Hope claimed its second title under in five seasons under coach Dean Kreps and the 16th crown in school history.
Junior quarterback J.D. Graves of Troy, Mich. was voted the MIAA's most valuable offensive player. Joining him on the All-MIAA first team were senior offensive tackle Tony Petkus of Jenison, Mich., junior tight end Brian Adloff of East Grand Rapids, Mich., senior linebacker Ryan Gonzales of Troy, Mich., and senior defensive back Todd Tester of Traverse City, Mich.
Graves established a Hope single season record for total offense. Another distinction belonged to senior receiver Matt Handzo of Clinton Township, Mich. who started in 36 consecutive games over four seasons, a modern day rarity.
Tester, who intercepted six passes during the season including three in one game, was invited to play in the Aztec Bowl by the American College Football Coaches Association. The post-season game features 40 of the nation's top NCAA Division III players against an all-star team from Mexico colleges and universities. Hope alumnus Ron Schipper '52, who had a distinguished coaching career at Central College in Pella, Iowa, was coach of the Division III team.
Cross Country Runner Is NCAA All-American
Senior Jenny Ernst of Westerville, Ohio brought distinction to the cross country program as she achieved NCAA All-America honors at the Division III national championships. It was a significant individual accomplishment because Ernst was also an NCAA All-American in track last spring. This fall she finished 25th among 213 runners at nationals.
The Flying Dutch finished second in the MIAA standings and were fifth at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. MIAA women's champion Calvin captured the Division III national championship for the second consecutive year.
The Flying Dutchmen were third in the MIAA men's cross country standings and finished sixth at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. The Hope cross country teams are coached by Mark Northuis '82.
Junior Joe Veldman of Sawyer, Mich. qualified for the men's NCAA championships by finishing sixth at the regional meet. He ended 55th among 212 runners at nationals.
Joining Ernst and Veldman as All-MIAA runners was junior Dylan Wade of Beulah, Mich.
Dutchmen Tops on Links; Hope Golfers are Medalists
The Hope golf program continued to excel as the Flying Dutchmen won the MIAA men's championship and the Flying Dutch were runnersup in the women's standings. The men's championship was the first by Hope since 1989.
Sophomore Eric Wohlfield of Brighton, Mich. captured league medalist honors for the second consecutive year averaging 74 strokes per tournament round. Sophomore Aaron Vandenberg of Holland joined Wohlfield on the All-MIAA first team. In fact, all six of coach Bob Ebels' golfers achieved either first or second All-MIAA distinction.
Senior Ellen Colenbrander of Holland, Mich. concluded a distinguished collegiate career by winning MIAA medalist honors for the third time.
She was the league tournament medalist 18 times during her career and this fall averaged 80.9 strokes per round.
Volleyball Team's Challenging Schedule Brings Out the Best
The Flying Dutch might well have been the best .500 team in NCAA Division III volleyball. Coach Maureen Dunn put together arguably the most difficult schedule in school history. By the end of the season the Dutch had met six of the top ten nationally ranked NCAA Division III teams finishing with an
admirable 18-18 record and second place MIAA finish.
Senior Health Velting of Byron Center, Mich. gained the distinction of becoming just the third player in MIAA volleyball history to be all-conference four consecutive years. She was also voted to the Great Lakes All-Region team for a third time.
She was joined on the All-MIAA team by junior teammate Kim Grotenhuis of Hamilton, Mich. Grotenhuis was also an All-MIAA honoree in softball last spring.
Soccer Teams Finish In Middle of MIAA Standings
Both Hope soccer teams finished fourth in their respective MIAA standings. The Flying Dutchmen were 13-6-1 overall under coach Steve Smith and were 9-4-1 against league opponents. The Flying Dutch posted an 8-9 overall record under coach Paul Rosenbrook and were 5-3 in league matches.
Achieving All-MIAA honors were senior Rob Allison of Kalamazoo, Mich., senior Clayton Bergsma of Holland, Mich., sophomore Emilie Dirkse of Holland, Mich. and junior Lindsey Odell of Sterling Heights, Mich.
Senior Matt Hassenrik of Holland, Mich. established a Hope men's single season assists record (13). The Flying Dutchmen posted nine shutout victories and were involved in 10 games decided by one goal or less. Two of those games were 1-0 losses to MIAA rival Alma who advanced to the semi-finals of the NCAA Division III championships.