Hope College spring sports coaches could well have used the old cliche "The future is now" when looking at some of the accomplishments of this year's teams. And while these achievements were pivotal in Hope's successful defense of the Commissioner's Cup of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) they also bode well for the future.
For example, freshman Jennifer VanderMeer of Holland, Mich., was the national runnerup in NCAA Division III in the women's pole vault. Another freshman, Mike VanderVelde of Grandville, Mich., topped all batters in MIAA baseball. And yet another underclassman, sophomore Anneliese Fox of Alma, Mich., won the MIAA women's tennis singles championship for a second year.
It's not to say that upperclassmen didn't also make significant contributions to the season's successes. Senior Kelly Kraft of Brown City, Mich., received All-MIAA and All-Region honors in softball for the second straight year, and senior Lacey Wicksall of Traverse City, Mich., was named a Division III All-American in women's golf.
Hope College claimed the MIAA Commissioner's Cup for a record 26th time. The standings are determined using the cumulative standings from the 18 MIAA-sponsored sports for men and women. Hope also topped the 2003-04 men's All-Sports standings and finished second to Calvin in the women's All-Sports standings.
Hope teams won seven conference championships -- men's golf, football, men's basketball, men's and women's swimming and diving, and men's and women's soccer.
The Flying Dutchmen finished third in the MIAA with an 11-7 record and were 23-17 overall, marking the fourth consecutive year of winning 20 or more games. Senior Aaron Quimby of Quincy, Mich., was voted the team's most valuable player. Voted to the All-MIAA first team were second baseman Mike VanderVelde, and pitchers senior Jon Deming of Portage, Mich., and junior Andrew Vlasak of Grosse Pointe, Mich., while senior outfielder Aaron Quimby received second team recognition. Vandervelde's MIAA leading batting average was .452.
The Flying Dutch finished fourth in the MIAA standings (8-6), were third in the conference tournament and posted an overall 20-17 record.
In addition to conference and region honors, Kelly Kraft was voted the team's most valuable player. Junior Lauren Vande Kopple of Rockford, Mich., received All-MIAA second team recognition. Sophomore Emily Adams of Hudsonville, Mich., joined Kraft on the All-Region squad.
The Flying Dutchmen finished second in the MIAA and posted an overall 11-9 dual match record.
Senior Kevney Dugan of Holland, Mich., and sophomore Andy Phillips of White Pigeon, Mich., shared the honor as the team's most valuable players. Dugan and junior Jason Wagenmaker of Grand Haven, Mich., were voted to the All-MIAA first team, while Phillips and sophomore Andy Ruemenapp of Petoskey, Mich., received second team honors. An All-MIAA first team honoree for a third consecutive year, Dugan was also presented the MIAA's Stowe Sportsmanship Award. Jason Wagenmaker and Andy Ruemenapp were conference doubles champions at the second flight.
The Flying Dutch finished fifth in the MIAA and posted an overall 11-9 dual match record.
Sophomore Anneliese Fox was voted the MIAA's most valuable player after winning the conference championship at first flight singles for the second consecutive year. She posted an overall 16-3 record. Fox was voted to the All-MIAA first team for a second consecutive year, while senior Stephanie Springer of Bloomfield Village, Mich., received All-MIAA second team recognition.
MEN'S TRACK & FIELD
The Flying Dutchmen finished third in the MIAA. Junior Peter Derby of Cadillac, Mich., was voted the team's most valuable track performer, and sophomore Phil Wilson of Fruitport, Mich., was voted the most valuable field performer. Conference champions were senior pole vaulter Tony Gawron of Muskegon, Mich., and freshman Aaron Kenemer of Zeeland, Mich., in the 800-meter run. Both were voted All-MIAA.
Freshman Ryan TerLouw of Pella, Iowa, established a school record in the 1,500-meter run (3:50.59).
Sophomore Jeff Weber of Grandville, Mich., achieved NCAA All-America honors by finishing seventh at nationals in the 1,500-meter run.
WOMEN'S TRACK & FIELD
The Flying Dutch finished second in the MIAA. Senior Christy Watkin of Holland, Mich., was voted the team's most valuable track performer, and junior Emily Schlitz of Potterville, Mich., was voted the most valuable field performer. Conference champions were Christy Watkin, long jump; senior Jennifer Price of Battle Creek, Mich., 800-meter run; and freshman Leslie Tableman of Lansing, Mich., 1,500-meter run. Watkin won the long jump for the third consecutive year, while Price was the 800 winner for a third time over four seasons.
Voted All-MIAA team Jennifer Price; Leslie Tableman; senior Kara Van Assen of Jenison, Mich.; Jennifer VanderMeer; and Christy Watkin.
Establishing school records were Christy Watkin, long jump (18-9); Kara Van Assen, triple jump (36-1 1/2); and Jennifer VanderMeer, pole vault (12-2 1/2).
In an amazing accomplishment for the conference to which Hope belongs, athletes from the MIAA captured three of the top four places in the women's pole vault competition at nationals. Adrian College sophomore Amanda Haines won the gold medal, while Hope's Jennifer VanderMeer was second and Calvin College sophomore Missy Smith fourth.
Two senior members received national honors from the National Golf Coaches Association. Lacey Wicksall was named a Division III All-American for the second time in her career. This spring she finished 44th at the NCAA championships. Sarah Scholten of Grand Rapids, Mich., was named a national All-Academic Scholar Athlete for a third consecutive year.
Awards as the outstanding senior athletes were presented to three graduating students. Edward Huebner of Kalamazoo, Mich., a soccer All-American, was presented the Otto van der Velde All-Campus Award, while Jennifer Price of Battle Creek, Mich., and Michelle Smith of Olympia, Wash., track and swimming standouts respectively, were co-recipients of the John Schouten Award.