Hope athletes set records, claim rankings during successful winter season

As we approach the midpoint of Hope College’s winter sports season, competition has started to intensify as athletes continue to persevere both in practice and in competition. The women’s basketball team has continued  their winning streak while maintaining a number one national ranking; meanwhile, Hope’s runners continue to break records on the indoor track.

While much of the season and typical running traditions were halted this year, the Dutchmen continue to succeed on the indoor track. Hope runners have consistently delivered positive meet results against varying division teams and broken long-standing Hope records, earning them local and national attention and accolades.

The Hope runners have made history through special national recognition. The U.S. Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) named two runners both from Hope as their National Athlete of the Week in late January, the first time ever in Hope’s history. 

The men’s recipient, Nick Hoffman (’23), was the first indoor male athlete in Hope’s history to be honored. Hoffman is currently first in the national USTFCCCA ranking index, and his performance at the Grand Valley State University Mike Lints Open is evidence of this. Hoffman broke Hope’s 14-year standing record in the indoor mile, clocking in at a time of 4:09.38. Later in mid-February, Hoffman set a new Hope record, this time in the 3,000 meter run in a time of 8:37.13. This record time earned Hoffman fourth place at multi-divisional events.

The women’s recipient, Ana Tucker (’23), claimed this USTFCCCA award for the second consecutive week this year. Tucker later went on in January to be named for a third time, beating her personal career best in the 3000 meter race by running a speedy 9:41.33 at Grand Valley. While Grand Valley’s oversized track runs faster for most athletes, Tucker’s Hope records converted time of 9:46.33 still breaks the record set in 2017. Tucker is ranked first in the nation for the indoor 3,000 meters event. 

On February 13 the Hope men’s track time traveled to Trine University for a multi team event against Trine, Olivet College and Alma College. Hope claimed second place by earning a total of 137 points, and first place was captured by Trine with 188 points. Meanwhile, Olivet took third with 128 points, and Alma went home with 52 points, ranking fourth. 

Leading the Dutchmen with special performances included pole vaulter Barry Bait (’21), who tied Olivet’s Paul Muir (’23) for first place, as both men cleared 12 feet, 11.5 inches. In the distance medley event, Hope claimed first with a time of 11:11.17. The four man squad included Aidan Jones (’23), Joey Gillengerten (’24), Jack Tamlyn (’24) and Anders Bogard (’23). A few other special performances were Jared Lowe’s (’21) second place high jump of 5 feet, 10 inches, and David McHugh’s (’22) second place long jump of 39 feet and 3.75 inches.

While Hope’s track team continues a productive season, the women’s basketball team proceeds to dominate on the court, earning their current title as best in the nation. 

The West Michigan rivalry returned in regular fashion as the Hope College Dutchmen took on the Calvin University Knights in women’s basketball at Van Noord Arena on Saturday, February 20. This was the second meeting of the two teams this year, and previously in January, Hope claimed the win.

The Hope women started strong, outsourcing Calvin in the first quarter 22 points to 12 points. Hope exemplified incredible scoring depth with their starters, the five women scored a respectable average of roughly 10 points each. The top score for Hope was number 20, Kennedy Schoonveld (’21), with 14 points, followed closely by number 5, Olivia Voskuil (’22), and number 22, Sydney Muller (’22), with 12 points each.

Calvin responded in the third quarter scoring 23 points, only 4 points less than Hope within the quarter. Calvin’s top scorer was number 20, Leah Harris (’23), with an exceptional 24 points. Calvin’s other top scorer was number 24, Gabby Timmer (’22), with 14 points. However, Calvin’s success was short lived with Hope one again outsourcing them in the fourth quarter 20-15. Hope would go on to claim victory with a commanding score of 89-56.

Hope maintained their undefeated season and their winning streak, marking the 39th win in a row. While the Calvin women still lead the entire series 71-56, Hope continues their recent string of dominance. Since 2000, the Hope women have claimed 42 of the total 57 games, also marking 10 straight wins against the Knights.

While the Hope women may appear invincible, their team’s strength will be tested next week with a road game in Angola, Indiana. The Dutchmen are set to face off against the Trine University women, who are currently ranked fifth nationally. Best of luck to our women’s team—and roll Dutch!

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