#WeAreOne: Fall Sports Roundup

 “When one wins, we all win,” Athletic Director Tim Schoonveld ’96 likes to say about Hope’s overall team culture. Since that’s the case, there were a whole lot of collective Hope victories this past fall.

Two Hope College teams won Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association titles, while no team finished below third place in the league during the fall of 2019. On top of that, a total of four Hope squads qualified for NCAA Division III Championships, and Hope hosted two NCAA tournament opening rounds in football and men’s soccer, to boot. 

Individually, five Hope student-athletes earned All-American honors, two more were league MVPs, and 42 total received All-MIAA accolades.

The 27th-ranked Hope College women’s cross country team won
its fifth MIAA championship in a row and qualified for the NCAA Division III Championships for the 10th consecutive year under coach Mark Northuis ’82. The Flying Dutch were led by a freshman Anna Tucker (pictured) of Midland, Michigan, who was runner-up at the MIAA Championships and finished 24th at nationals with a time of 22:00.01. The former result earned Tucker All-MIAA honors and the latter finish made her an All-American, Hope’s ninth all-time  in women’s cross country.

Anna Tucker

Tucker was joined on the All-MIAA First Team by senior Anna Frazee of Watervliet, Michigan, and senior Chelsea Miskelley and junior Jacinda Cole, both of Holland, Michigan. On the All-MIAA Second Team were: Senior Rebecca Duran of Palatine, Illinois, and senior Kelly Peregrine of Traverse City, Michigan.

The Hope College men’s cross country team ran to a tie for third place in the MIAA. The squad was led by sophomore Nick Hoffman of Holland, Michigan who earned All-MIAA Second Team honors. Hoffman finished 14th at the league meet.

Hope College football won its first MIAA championship since 2007 and first outright title since 2006 by going undefeated in league play (7-0) and claiming only its second nine-win season ever (9-2). Under AFCA Region 4 Coach of the Year Peter Stuursma ‘93, the Flying Dutchmen received an automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs by virtue of their MIAA crown and played a first-round NCAA Division III Championship game at home at Ray and Sue Smith Stadium. The Flying Dutchmen lost to Wartburg College (Iowa) in that playoffs opener.

Mason Dekker

Nine Hope players were selected to the All-MIAA First Team, including dual league MVPs: Senior quarterback Mason Opple (offense) of Hudsonville, Michigan, and senior defensive back
Mason Dekker  (defense) of Holland, Michigan (pictured top) who was
also made The Associated Press NCAA Division III All-America Second Team. Joining Dekker and Opple on the MIAA First Team were: Senior defensive tackle Jake Babb of Caledonia, Michigan; senior safety Luke Beckhusen of Coldwater, Michigan; senior receiver Christian Bos of Hudsonville, Michigan; senior punter Austin Heeres of Wyoming, Michigan; sophomore running back Kenyea Houston of Chicago, Illinois; senior left tackle Timothy Ivery of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; and, senior center  Zach Smith  (pictured bottom) of Suttons Bay, Michigan. Smith was also named an AFCA and D3football.com First-Team All-American, and the winner of the Rimington Trophy as the best center in NCAA Division III.

Zach Smith

All-MIAA Second Team honorees were: Senior receiver Cooper Cecchini of Hudsonville, Michigan; senior left tackle Noah DeVelder of Grand Rapids, Michigan; junior right tackle Brady Eding of Hamilton, Michigan; junior running back Connor Mellon of Adrian, Michigan; and, sophomore linebacker Jeremiah Purnell of Wyoming, Michigan.

Both men’s and women’s golf took second place in the league. Each will host an MIAA NCAA qualifying round
in the spring due to those finishes. 

On the men’s side, head coach Scott Lokers’ Flying Dutchmen finished the fall season with a league 301.7 stroke average. Freshman Jack Crawford of Carmel, Indiana, earned All-MIAA First Team honors, while senior Daniel Settecerri of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and freshman Drew Dykens of Holland, Michigan, were awarded second-team All-MIAA honors. 

The Flying Dutch, coached by Greg Stafford, finished with a 335.0 stroke average in the MIAA. Juniors Jordyn Rioux of Livonia, Michigan, and Abby Meder of Lansing, Michigan, as well as sophomore Megan Jenkinson of Traverse City, Michigan, all received second-team All-MIAA accolades.

In men’s and women’s soccer, runner-up finishes were again achieved by two like-sport teams. The Flying Dutchmen finished with a 14-6-1 overall record, 6-1 in the league, while the Flying Dutch had a mark of 6-5-6 overall and 5-1-2 in the MIAA.

Head coach Dave Brandt’s men’s team received an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Championship, and Hope hosted the first two rounds at Van Andel Soccer Stadium for the first time ever. The Flying Dutchmen were defeated by Ohio Wesleyan University in the first round. 

Logan Bylsma

The Hope College men’s soccer trio of senior midfielder Isaac Braak of Hudsonville, Michigan, sophomore midfielder Ryan Flynn of Bloomington, Illinois, and senior defender Jordan Hooker of Grand Rapids, Michigan, claimed All-MIAA First Team honors while sophomore forward Alec Belcastro of Washington, Pennsylvania, was chosen as the MIAA Newcomer of the Year. Belcastro was among four second-team honorees, along with junior midfielder Ty Dalton of Rockford, Michigan, sophomore defender Brett Dyer of Northport, Michigan, and senior forward  Logan Bylsma  (pictured) of Hudsonville, Michigan. Bylsma was also named CoSIDA First Team Academic All-American for Division III.

In women’s soccer, four players earned
All-MIAA honors: senior midfielder Megan Bigelow of Flushing, Michigan,
and junior midfielder Maria Egloff of Kalamazoo, Michigan, on the first team, and junior forward Corinne Cole of St. Paul, Minnesota, and freshman defender Erin Powers of Norton Shores, Michigan on the second team.

Coach Becky Schmidt’s ’99 volleyball team finished runner-up  in the MIAA and received an at-large bid to the 2019 NCAA Division III Championship for the 12th time in 14 years. where the 10th-ranked Flying Dutch advanced to the regional final before bowing to host Calvin University in four sets. Volleyball finished with a 24-8 overall record, 7-1 in the league.

McKenna Otto

Sophomore middle hitter  McKenna Otto  (pictured) of Wheaton, Illinois, not only earned All-MIAA First Team honors, she was also selected as a second-team NCAA Division III All-American by the AVCA. 

Also receiving All-MIAA First Team recognition was sophomore outside hitter Ana Grunewald of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Two more Flying Dutch were selected to the All-MIAA Second Team: Senior libero Gabbi Vachon of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and sophomore setter Tracy Westra of Clarendon Hills, Illinois.

Hope College is in first place in the MIAA Commissioner’s Cup all-sports standings after the fall season with a total of 64.5 points in four men’s and four women’s sports. Calvin University is second (49), while Trine University is third (48.5). The Commissioner’s Cup award is based on the cumulative performance of each member school in the league’s 23 sports — 11 in women’s sports and 12 in men’s sports, with each school counting its top eight finishes by gender. The fall update includes each school’s MIAA finish in all sports.

In the first update of the NCAA Division III Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup, Hope stands in 22nd place after the fall. Points are awarded based on each institution’s finish in NCAA Championships. Hope totaled 186 points by reaching the regional final in women’s volleyball, finishing 27th in women’s cross country and earning first round points in football and men’s soccer.

There are 446 schools in NCAA Division III.

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