posted April 5, 2001

Outstanding efforts reap rewards for winter sports athletes and teams

Outstanding team and individual accomplishments highlighted the winter sports season as Hope College moved into first place in every category of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) all-sports standings.

The MIAA presents separate awards for the best cumulative finish in men's and women's sports as well as an award for the best cumulative finish in all league sports. Entering the spring sports season, Hope is ranked first in all three areas.

The winter season was highlighted by two swimmers who repeated as NCAA Division III national champions, a berth in the NCAA playoffs by the conference champion women's basketball team and the presentation of the MIAA's MVP honor to Hope athletes in three of the four winter sports.

Junior Josh Boss of Jenison, Mich., was voted the NCAA Division III male swimmer of the year as he won national championships in the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke and swam on three All-America relay teams. He is the second Hope swimmer to achieve the honor, joining Shelly Russell '89 Schafer.

He won the gold in the 200 breaststroke for a third consecutive year in record time (1:58.90) and captured the 100 breaststroke for the second time in three years. A competitor in the U.S. Olympic Trials last year, Boss has already been an NCAA All-American 13 times in his career.

Senior Betsy VandenBerg of Beverly Hills, Mich., won the women's 200-yard breaststroke national championship for a second straight year to end her career an NCAA All-American 17 times.

VandenBerg and Boss were voted the most valuable swimmers in the MIAA, each for the second time in their career. VandenBerg won the league championship in both breaststroke events four consecutive years, while Boss has swept them in his first three years.

While swimming might be viewed as an individual sport, it truly took a team effort for the men's team to finish among the nation's elite programs. The Hope delegation of seven swimmers headed to the men's nationals in Buffalo, N.Y., with 17 opportunities to place in 13 events. They returned to campus having scored points in all 13 events and gaining All-America or honorable mention All-America designations in 16 of their 17 opportunities. It resulted in a fourth place finish nationally and brought back an NCAA trophy.

The Flying Dutch captured their second consecutive MIAA women's basketball championship, reeling off a school-record 21 consecutive victories en route to a 25-3 season record.

Sophomore center Amanda Kerkstra of Grandville, Mich., was voted the MIAA's most valuable player as she set a Hope single season scoring record (451 points). Kerkstra and junior Laura Poppema of Holland, Mich., were voted to the All-MIAA first team. The only senior on the team, Kristin Koenigsknecht of St. Johns, Mich., received All-MIAA honors four consecutive years as she finished fifth among all-time Hope scorers (1,032 points).

Women's basketball coach Brian Morehouse '91 was honored by his peers by being named the Great Lakes Division III coach of the year and the Michigan colleges coach of the year. In five seasons he has guided the Dutch to an outstanding 97-38 record, two conference championships and three NCAA tournament appearances.

The men's basketball team marked its 20th consecutive season of winning 15 or more games by posting a 16-10 record and finishing second in the MIAA standings. It marked the 21st consecutive winning season for the men's basketball program under coach Glenn Van Wieren '64.

Senior Ryan Klingler of Holland, Mich., was voted to the All-MIAA first team for a third consecutive year. He became the 25th men's basketball player to score more than 1,000 points, finishing with a career total of 1,155.

Hope counted eight NCAA All-American swimmers, raising the 20-year total of All-Americans under coach John Patnott to 96. He has coached swimmers to 25 national championship performances.

Joining Boss and VandenBerg in gaining All-America distinction in swimming were senior Chris Dattels of Wilmette, Ill.; sophomore Tim DeHaan of Haslett, Mich.; freshman Chris Hamstra of Zeeland, Mich.; sophomore Ian Kobes of Holland, Mich.; sophomore Brian Slagh of Holland, Mich.; and senior Scott Vroegindewey of Kalamazoo, Mich.

All of the All-Americans achieved All-MIAA recognition along with teammates Audrey Arnold, a freshman from Richmond, Ind.; Ross Geurink, a freshman from Hudsonville, Mich.; Kelly Parker, a sophomore from Battle Creek, Mich.; Hannah Rapson, a freshman from Iowa City, Iowa; Chris Roecker, a sophomore from Battle Creek, Mich.; Michelle Smith, a freshman from Olympia, Wash., and Erin VandenBerg, a sophomore from Beverly Hills, Mich.