Hope College spring sports athletes have been honored for outstanding performances by the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA).
The spring sport highlight came in women's tennis with the Flying Dutch capturing the MIAA championship for a fifth consecutive year and gaining a berth in the NCAA Division III tournament. Three teams -- softball, men's tennis and women's track -- finished second in their respective MIAA races while the men's track team was third and the baseball team ended in fifth place.
Senior Jennifer Smith of Holland (Holland HS) was voted the MIAA's most valuable women's tennis player. She was joined by junior teammate Julie Murray of Spring Lake, Mich. (Spring Lake HS) on the All-MIAA first team while junior Kristen Kooyer of Holland (Holland Christian HS) was a second team honoree.
Smith was All-MIAA first team three consecutive years while Murray was honored for the second time. Smith's MVP award also had a special meaning because her old brother Randy, who also played at Hope, was the MIAA's most valuable men's tennis player in 1985.
In men's tennis, senior Paul Lillie of Roseville, Minn. (Roseville Area HS) was voted the MIAA's co-most valuable player with Dan Harding of Kalamazoo College. Lillie was joined on the All-MIAA first team by sophomore Dan Mann of Spring Lake (Spring Lake HS). Hope players Chad Bollinger, a senior from Petoskey (Petoskey HS), and junior Kai Bouchard of Hinsdale, Ill., were voted to the All-MIAA second team. Lillie was All-MIAA first team for a third consecutive year.
Lillie was also presented the MIAA's Lawrence Green Scholarship, named in memory of longtime Hope educator, athletic trainer and tennis coach Lawrence Green. The MIAA men's tennis sportsmanship award for presented to Chad Bollinger. It marked the fourth time in five years that a Hope player has received the Stowe Sportsmanship Award.
The track teams had their largest number of All-MIAA athletes in several years. Honored were sophomore Sarah Burgess of Niles (Buchanan HS), junior Garett Childs of Breckenridge (Breckenridge HS), freshman Tim Hoogewind of Wyoming (Wyoming Park HS), junior Joe Kattelus of Okemos (Okemos HS), freshman Ed Perez of Dorr (Hopkins HS), junior Steve Rabuck of Myerston, Pa. (East Lebanon County HS), junior Emily Sowers of Grand Rapids (GR Christian HS), and junior Erica Torgerson of Weidman (Chippewa Hills HS). All were first-year honorees except Sowers who received the distinction a third consecutive year.
Several of Hope's All-MIAA track and field athletes were conference champions -- Sarah Burgess and Tim Hoogewind, women's and men's shot put; Garett Childs, 1,500-meter run; Steve Rabuck, 800-meter run; Ed Perez and Erica Torgerson, men's and women's 400-meter hurdles; and Emily Sowers, discus.
Six softball players achieved All-MIAA distinction. Junior pitcher Kim Grotenhuis of Hamilton (Hamilton HS) and junior catcher Carrie Scott of Centreville (Centreville HS) were voted to the All-MIAA first team for a second consecutive year while senior shortstop Heather Roy of Alpena (Alpena HS) was honored for the first time. Second team All-MIAA honorees included senior outfielder Angie Ciesielski of Linden (Linden HS), freshman outfielder/designated hitter Kathi Grotenhuis of Hamilton (Hamilton HS), and senior third baseman Sara Paccione of Kalamazoo (Portage Central HS).
Five baseball players received All-MIAA recognition. The only first team honoree was sophomore pitcher Mark Simonson of Holland (Holland HS). Voted All-MIAA second team were sophomore second baseman Nick Grinzinger of Mount Pleasant (Sacred Heart HS), junior shortstop Sean Bateman of Saline (Saline HS), senior third baseman Ben Fellows of Lansing (Lansing Eastern HS), and junior outfielder Scott Houser of Portage (Portage Central HS).