The pinnacle in athletics is winning a championship or achieving an individual distinction. Hope College has been fortunate to have reached that level of performance many times over the years. The 2007 fall sports season is another example.
Conference championships in two sports, football and men's golf, were evidence of that sustainability. The golf squad won its fifth straight Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) championship while the football team repeated as conference champions with their sixth title over the past decade.
Individually, senior Dan Tresslar of Indianapolis, Ind. was voted the MIAA's most valuable soccer player for the second year in-a-row and senior golfers Matt Lapham of Brighton, Mich. and Tommy Yamaoka of Zeeland, Mich. each achieved All-MIAA honors a fourth consecutive year. Amazingly, these two outstanding golfers ended their league careers with an identical stroke average!
Further evidence is Hope's first place position in the MIAA Commissioner's Cup standings after the fall season. An award given to the MIAA member college with the best cumulative performance in 18 sports over an entire school year, this honor has been won by Hope seven consecutive years.
It was a milestone season for the Flying Dutchmen. The team's "Wooden Shoes" rivalry victory over longtime rival Kalamazoo was the 400th alltime for Hope football. During their march to a league co-championship with Olivet, the Flying Dutchmen won a school-record 14 consecutive conference games. Senior tailback David Book of Three Rivers, Mich. became the first Hope player to top the team in rushing yardage all four years.
Senior wide receiver Doug Van Eerden of Grand Rapids, Mich. was the co-recipient of the league's outstanding offensive player award and senior fullback George Klupchak of Naperville, Ill. the co-recipient of the Pete Schmidt Scholar-Athlete Award.
Joining Van Eerden and Booko on the All-MIAA first team recognition were senior offensive tackle Jake Droppers of Kalamazoo, Mich.; junior offensive tackle Erik Ladomersky of Grandville, Mich.; senior tight end Kevin VandenBosch of Grandville, Mich.; senior defensive end Matt Rugenstein of Grand Rapids; senior linebacker Drew Weigel of Saginaw, Mich.; senior defensive back Troy Blasius of Gaylord, Mich.; and senior kicker Chris Bowen of Ithaca, Mich.
With a come-from-behind effort, the Flying Dutchmen finished 13 strokes ahead of runnerup Olivet over the course of the eight-tournament season. As league champions, Hope has earned a berth in the NCAA Division III championships to be held next spring. Hope has won the MIAA championship eight of the past nine years
Tommy Yamaoka won conference medalist honors for the second time in his career. He and teammate Matt Lapham finished their league careers with identical tournament stroke averages (73.3).
In women's golf, the Flying Dutch finished fourth in the MIAA. Senior Julie Hoogerhyde of Grand Rapids, Mich. achieved All-MIAA first team honors by finishing second in the seasonal player standings.
With a young squad that had just one senior player, the Flying Dutch improved as the season progressed. A turning point came when the Flying Dutch defeated nationally ranked rival Calvin before more than 1,800 fans at DeVos Fieldhouse. The team went on to finish second in the MIAA while posting an overall 24-9 record.
Junior Nora Slenk of Holland, Mich. was voted to the All-MIAA first team while Kara VandeGuchte of Hamilton, Mich. was named the MIAA's freshman player of the year. VandeGuchte was also named the outstanding Division III freshman volleyball player in the Great Lakes Region.
Both Hope soccer teams contended for league championships with strong finishes. With only one loss over the final 12 games, the Flying Dutchmen ended in second in the MIAA behind rival Calvin and posted a 13-6-1 overall mark. Winners in six of their last eight games, the Flying Dutch tied for third place in the MIAA and ended 10-8-1 overall.
League MVP Dan Tresslar topped the MIAA in scoring with with 15 goals and seven assists over 14 league games. He was joined on the All-MIAA first team by sophomore midfielder Kevin Bartosek of Traverse City, Mich., junior back James Trebilcock of Haslett, Mich., and senior goalkeeper Mike Amerman of Indianapolis, Ind..
Flying Dutch receiving All-MIAA first team honors were senior forward Sarah Cochrane of Watertown, Wisc., junior midfielder Allison VanBeek of Libertyville, Ill. and freshman defender Courtney Cook of Grand Rapids, Mich.
Both Hope team finished in third place in their respective conference standings. Junior Rob Bailey of Portage, Ind. received All-MIAA first team honors.
The world championships of Korfball, played in The Czech Republic, had a distinctive HopeCollege flavor because the USA team was comprised primarily of Hope students and recent alumni.
Korfball is the world's only coed team sport and resembles the game of basketball. Longtime physical educator and softball coach Karla Wolters '73 introduced Korfball to Hope in 2005 through her teaching. Interest in the sport grew to the point that several Hope students were invited to be part of the USA team at the world championships. The tournament, held in late October and early November, drew teams from 16 countries. The USA team posted a 2-4 record.
Members on the USA team affiliated with Hope included sisters Amanda and Erika Guijarro, seniors from Los Angeles, Calif.; Kate Madison, a senior from Charlevoix, Mich.; Stephen Malvitz, a senior from Ada, Mich.; Chris Olds, a senior from Brainerd, Minn.; Gerry Ruffino, senior from Holland, Mich.; Mark Slotman, a junior from Cedar Grove, Wisc.; Effie Van Dyke, a senior from Spruce, Mich.; Aaron Kenemer, a 2007 grad from Zeeland, Mich.; Allison Watchorn, a junior from Sault Sainte Marie, Mich.; and Antoine Williams, a 2007 grad from Holland, Mich. Wolters accompanied the team and served as an assistant coach.