The spirited athletics competition between Hope and Calvin colleges goes beyond a single sport as evidenced this year in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) all-sports standings.
The MIAA sponsors 18 sports, nine for men and nine for women. All-sports points are gained in each sport.
When the points were tallied at the end of this
year, Hope prevailed in the women's all-sports standings while Calvin was first on the men's side.
Cumulatively, Calvin gained the advantage for the overall prize edging Hope by a mere two points. It was the closest margin between first and second place in the all-sports standings since the award combined men's and women's performances in 1981-82. And the final outcome was not determined until a school-year-ending baseball series was played between Hope and Calvin!
The spring sports season had several significant accomplishments, both for teams and individuals. Those accomplishments extended beyond the regular season into NCAA championship play in three sports -- golf, tennis and track & field.
Honors were particularly abundant in tennis, as the Flying Dutch won the MIAA women's championship for a fifth consecutive year while the Flying Dutchmen established a single-season record for dual match victories en route to finishing second in the MIAA men's standings.
Senior Jennifer Smith of Holland, Mich., was voted the most valuable player in MIAA women's tennis. The honor was particularly meaningful because 15 years earlier Jennifer's brother Randy '85 was voted the MIAA's most valuable men's tennis player. It is believed to be the first time in the 113-year history of the MIAA that siblings have been the MVP in a sport.
Jennifer Smith also gained a berth in the NCAA Division III championships, advancing to the round of 16. She ended her career with 77 singles victories, second best all-time for a Hope women's tennis player.
All three major awards in MIAA men's tennis were presented to Hope players. Senior Paul Lillie of Roseville, Minn., was voted the MIAA's co-most valuable player, the first time a Hope player has received that distinction since 1985. He was also presented the Lawrence Green Scholarship, given in memory of "Doc" Green who was the Hope tennis coach and athletic trainer until his untimely death in 1982. And the league's Stowe Sportsmanship award was presented to senior Chad Bollinger of Petoskey, Mich.
Both men's and women's golf were represented in the NCAA Division III championships. At the women's nationals, senior Ellen Colenbrander of Holland, Mich. gained NCAA All-America honors for the second time in her career with an eighth place finish. Appearing at the men's nationals as a team for the first time since 1988, the Flying Dutchmen finished 17th.
The track and field teams had their most productive season in recent years, crowning seven MIAA champions under first-year coach Dereck Chavis. Interestingly, Hope crowned the MIAA champion in both the men's and women's shot put and 400-meter hurdles. The shot put champions were freshman Tim Hoogewind of Wyoming, Mich., and sophomore Sarah Burgess of Niles, Mich., while the hurdles winners were junior Erica Torgerson of Weidman, Mich., and freshman Ed Perez of Dorr, Mich. Other conference champions included junior Garret Childs of Breckenridge, Mich., 1,500-meter run; junior Steve Rabuck of Myerston, Pa., 800-meter run; and junior Emily Sowers of Grand Rapids, Mich, discus.
It was the third straight MIAA discus championship for Sowers. After setting Hope and MIAA records in the event, she went on to achieve NCAA All-America status for the second straight year, finishing third at the Division III nationals. Torgerson also qualified for nationals, finishing 11th in the heptathlon.
Each of Hope's conference champions achieved All-MIAA designation. An additional honoree was junior Joe Kattelus of Okemos, Mich., an outstanding athlete in the weights who was honored by the league's coaches despite missing the conference meet after suffering a fractured ankle in preparation for the competition.
All-MIAA honors in other spring sports were presented to: baseball -- sophomore pitcher Mark Simonson of Holland, Mich.; softball -- junior pitcher Kim Grotenhuis of Hamilton, Mich., senior shortstop Heather Roy of Alpena, Mich., junior catcher Carrie Scott of Centreville, Mich.; men's tennis -- Paul Lillie and sophomore Dann Mann of Spring Lake, Mich.; women's tennis -- Jennifer Smith and junior Julie Murray of Spring Lake, Mich. Grotenhuis also had the distinction of also being All-MIAA in volleyball last fall.
The baseball team posted its fourth consecutive winning season (19-16).
The softball team achieved a milestone, surpassing 20 victories (21-16) for a school-record seventh consecutive year and for the 10th time in 13 years under coach Karla Hoesch '73 Wolters. Among noteworthy individual accomplishments was the pitching of Kim Grotenhuis, who hurled two no-hitters and the hitting of Carrie Scott, who slugged a season-record eight home runs.