posted November 8, 2007

Winter Sports Pre-Season Outlooks

The defending Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) champion Flying Dutchmen feature a blend of experienced veterans and a larger than normal group of first-year players.

Coach Glenn Van Wieren, who begins his 31st year at the helm of the Flying Dutchmen, will build the team around nine returning letterwinners, including five seniors. He has also selected four freshmen to be on the varsity squad.

The Flying Dutchmen in 06-07 won a record 33rd MIAA crown and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division III championships. The MIAA crown was the 16th under coach Van Wieren. The Flying Dutchmen set an MIAA record for margin-of-victory (24 points per game) en route to posting an overall 26-5 record and 13-1 mark in the MIAA.

Co-captains are senior forward Ryan Klein of Burr Ridge, Ill. (Timothy Christian HS), junior forward Jesse Reimink of Hudsonville, Mich. (Hudsonville HS), and senior forward Marcus Vanderheide of Grandville, Mich. (Calvin Christian HS).

Senior guard Derek Van Solkema of Cutlerville, Mich. (Grand Rapids South Christian HS) earned All-MIAA first team honors last year while Vanderheide received second team recognition. Van Solkema averaged 11.2 points per game and topped the MIAA in steals.

Other senior players are forward Scott Glaser of Ann Arbor, Mich. (Lenawee Christian HS), center Dan Holt of Spring Lake, Mich. (Spring Lake HS), and guard Tyler Wolfe of Cedar Springs, Mich. (Cedar Springs HS).

Klein and Reimink ranked one-two in the MIAA in field goal shooting at .613 abd .604 respectively. Reimink also topped the conference in three-point shooting (.767) while Van Solkema was second (.524).

Other returning letterwinners are sophomore forward Steven Kratz of Ludington, Mich. (Ludington HS) and junior forward Zach Osburn of Holland, Mich. (West Ottawa HS).

New to the varsity program are junior guard Brandon Bosch of Hudsonville, Mich. (Hudsonville HS), freshman forward Will Bowser of Midland, Mich. (Dow HS), junior forward Cody Canan of Grandville, Mich. (Calvin Christian HS), freshman guard Kelvin Carter of Midland, Mich. (Midland HS), freshman forward Douglas Sharples of Washington, Mich. (Romeo HS), and freshman guard Ty Tanis of Jenison, Mich. (Jenison HS).

Five tournament weekends await the Flying Dutchmen before they launch conference play in January. The season begins with the Hall of Fame Classic hosted by Cornerstone University on Thanksgiving Weekend. The team's home opener will be the Holland Sentinel Community Tournament on Dec. 7-8. Other tournaments will include the MIAA/CCIW Challenged hosted by Calvin (Nov.30-Dec. 1), the RDV Sportsplex Tournament in Orlando, Fla. (Dec. 18-19), and the home Russ DeVette Holiday Classic (Dec. 28-29).

The team will be marking their third season at the college's DeVos Fieldhouse where they've topped all NCAA Division III teams in home attendance and posted a 31-2 record.

The team's 10th victory of the season will be the sixth under Van Wieren who ranks sixth among active NCAA Division III coaches with a 590-199 record.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

There's a special reason why one of the nation's most successful NCAA Division III women's basketball programs in recent years hopes to maintain that reputation in 2007-08.

Two years ago Hope College captured the ultimate prize, winning the Division III national championship at the birthplace of basketball, Springfield, Mass.

Next March the Flying Dutch will be hosting the Division III Final Four at the college's widely acclaimed DeVos Fieldhouse.

The challenging goal of being one of the four finalists rests with a team comprised of a blend of returning veterans with national tournament experience and several promising newcomers to collegiate play.

Coach Brian Morehouse begins his 12th season at the helm of a team that has won 20 or more games a school-record nine straight years. Morehouse ranks among the winningest active Division III coaches with a 258-55 record.

A year ago the Flying Dutch posted a 24-4 record and ended second in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) regular season standings. The team rallied to win the conference tournament and advanced to the NCAA playoffs for the fifth time since 2000. The tournament run was short-lived, however, as Hope lost in the first round.

This year's pre-season roster includes nine returning letterwinners and is comprised of four seniors, two juniors, four sophomores and six freshmen. Six players were members of the 2006 national championship team.

The strength of leadership is apparent with the naming of five co-captains - senior Jordyn Boles of Grand Rapids, Mich. (Forest Hills Central HS), senior Julie Henderson of Grand Haven, Mich. (Grand Haven HS), junior Kaitlyn Kopke of Haslett, Mich. (Haslett HS), senior Lindsay Lange of Manistee, Mich. (Manistee HS) and senior Stacy Warsen of Cutlerville, Mich. (Grand Rapids South Christian HS).

Other returning letterwinners are sophomore forward Jenny Cowen of Dexter, Mich. (Dexter HS), sophomore guard Philana Greene of Grandville, Mich. (Grandville HS), junior Courtney Knox of Mattawan, Mich. (Mattawan HS) and sophomore forward Emily O'Hare of Grand Rapids, Mich. (West Catholic HS).

Sophomore forward Megan Mejeur of St. Joseph, Mich. (St. Joseph HS) is a product of Hope's junior varsity program.

First-year players on the varsity include forward Erika Bruinsma of Grand Rapids, Mich. (Grand Rapids Christian HS), guard Miranda DeKuiper of Ludington, Mich. (Ludington HS), guard Dani Fegan of Sault Ste. Marie (Sault Area HS), guard Laureen Geers of Scottville, Mich. (Mason County Central HS), center Rachael Kutney of St. Claire Shores, Mich. (Lakeshore HS), and center Carrie Snikkers of Hudsonville, Mich. (Unity Christian HS).

Jordyn Boles is a two-time All-MIAA player who has been in the starting lineup every game since her freshman season (89 in-a-row). She led the team in scoring as a junior (11.8 ppg) and is approaching 1,000 career points (918).

Lindsay Lange is also a two-time NCAA All-American heptathlete who finished fourth at national last spring and was third in 2006.

The Flying Dutch will enjoy the comforts of home as they play 11 of their first 12 games at home. The season begins the weekend of Nov. 16-17 with the Hope Tipoff Tournament. Other home tournaments will include the CCIW/MIAA Challenge on Nov. 30-Dec. 1 and the Hope Holiday Tournament on Dec. 21-22.

The NCAA Division III Final Four at DeVos Fieldhouse will be Friday and Saturday, March 21-22.

MEN'S SWIMMING & DIVING

A roster dominated by returning letterwinners should make the Flying Dutchmen a contender in this season's Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) race.

Hope has finished second behind Olivet in the MIAA standings the past two seasons. Last year the Flying Dutchmen were 21st at the NCAA Division III championships.

Coach John Patnott begins his 28th year at the helm of the swimming and diving program for men and women. The roster of 25 swimmers includes 21 returning letterwinners. There are three freshmen, 12 sophomores, four juniors and six seniors.

Senior tri-captains of the team are Wade Engers of Ann Arbor, Mich. (Ann Arbor Pioneer HS), Nicholas Hinkle of Mason, Mich. (Mason HS), and Chas VanderBroek of Holland, Mich. (Holland HS).

Other returning seniors are Jeffrey Holtman of Rochester Hills (Rochester HS), Kevin O'Brien of Battle Creek, Mich. and Gregory Reznich of Alma, Mich. (Alma HS).

Four returning letterwinners achieved All-MIAA honors a year ago - sophomore Phil Heyboer of Zeeland, Mich. (Holland Christian HS), sophomore Ryan Nelis of Holland, Mich. (West Ottawa HS), sophomore Matt Rose of Grandville, Mich. (Grandville HS) and Chas VanderBroek.

Heyboer and Nelis were conference champions as freshmen, Heyboer in the 400-yard individual medley and Nelis in the 100-yard butterfly. Heyboer went on to achieve NCAA All-America honors in the 200-yard backstroke (8th place) and was 14th in the 400 IM. Nelis finished 12th at nationals in the 100-yard butterfly. Engers was the MIAA champion in the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke in 2006.

This year's team has seven swimmers who competed at nationals in relay events last year - Phil Heyboer, Ryan Nelis, sophomore Brandon King of Willowbrook, Ill. (Hinsdale Central HS), junior Ryan Vogelzang of Holland, Mich. (Holland Christian HS), Jeffrey Holtman, sophomore Matt Rose of Grandville, Mich. (Grandville HS), and junior Stephen Kurti of Battle Creek, Mich. (Lakeview HS). Combinations of these swimmers captured MIAA championships in all three freestyle relay (200, 400, 800) events last year. At nationals the relays had four honorable mention All-America finishes - 10th in the 200-yard free and 13th in the 400 and 800 free and 400 medley.

Other returning letterwinners include junior Thomas Akers of Kentwood, Mich. (East Knetwood HS), sophomore Brian Collins of Warren, Pa. (Warren Area HS), junior Lucas Osterbur of Grennville, Ohio (Greenville HS), sophomore Matt Ray of Holland, Mich. (Holland HS), sophomore James Richardson of Mount Vernon, Ohio (Mount Vernon HS), sophomore Mitch Ruch of Zeeland, Mich. (Zeeland West HS), sophomore Matthew Smith of Holland, Mich. (Holland HS), sophomore Nicholas Stone of Westland, Mich. (John Glenn HS), sophomore Cody Tozer of Sturgis, Mich. (Sturgis HS), and sophomore Aaron Welsch of Saint Peters, Mo. (Fort Zumwalt South HS).

WOMEN'S SWIMMING & DIVING

A blend of veterans and newcomers will put the Flying Dutch in a position to contend for the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) championship this year.

The roster of 29 swimmers and divers includes 17 returning letterwinners. There are nine freshmen, 11 sophomores, seven juniors and two seniors.

Coach John Patnott has guided Hope's swimmers and diving fortunes for 28 years. The Flying Dutch have been MIAA champions 11 of the past 16 years. The Flying Dutch have finished runnerup to rival Calvin each of the past three years. Last year's team finished 10th at the NCAA Division III championships.

Co-captains of this year's team are junior Laura Ansilio of Western Springs, Ill. (Lyons Township HS), senior Trisha Meier of Cedar Park, Tex. (Naperville, Ill. North HS), and junior Brittaney Reest of Holland, Mich. (West Ottawa HS). The other senior on the team is Heather Winchell of Rochester, N.Y. (Greece Athena HS).

Returning swimmers who achieved All-MIAA honors in 2006-07 include Laura Ansilio, sophomore Claire Piester of Columbia, Mo. (Hickman HS), Brittaney Reest, and sophomore Christina Vogelzang.

Laura Ansilio achieved NCAA honorable mention All-America recognition last year by finishing 13th in both the 100-yard freestyle and 200-yard freestyle. Brittaney Reest was also a national finisher with a 14th place performance in the 100-yard backstroke. In 2006 Reest was an All-American finishing 5th in the 100-yard backstroke.

Returning swimmers who were members of NCAA All-America and honorable mention All-America relay teams include Laura Ansilio, Christina Vogelzang, Trisha Meier, and Claire Piester and Brittaney Reest. They combined to finish sixth in the 400-yard freestyle relay, eighth in the 800-yard freestyle relay, ninth in the 200-yard medley relay, 10th in the 400-yard medley relay and 11th in the 200-yard freestyle relay.

Other returning letterwinners include junior Rachel Bakken of Golden, Colo. (D'Evelyn HS), junior Meghan DeWees of Bay Village, Ohio (Bay HS), junior Sarah Johnson of Delaware, Ohio (R.B. Hayes HS), junior Andrea Keller of Kokomo, Ind. (Western HS), sophomore Katharine Mix of Sycamore, Ill. (Sycamore HS), sophomore Jessie Parson of Achorange, Alaska (Home School), sophomore Lauren Steel of Greensburg, Pa. (Greaterr Latrobe HS), sophomore Tessa Talsma of Grandville, Mich. (Unity Christian HS), junior Heather Urling of Holland, Mich. (West Ottawa HS), and sophomore Whitney Willson of Commerce Township, Mich. (Walled Lake Western HS).

Hope will host the MIAA championships at the Holland Aquatic Center the weekend of Feb. 14-16.