Basketball Wrap Up
The Future Looks Bright
The women's basketball team finished the season 16-15 overall and tied for third in the WHAC. Highlights included back to back wins over Davenport (65-54) who was ranked Mo.1 in the NAIA at the time and No.16 Aquinas College (74-59). Cornerstone was the No. 5 seed going into the conference tournament and the Golden Eagles upset No. 4 seed Concordia 65-58 in the first round of the tournament. The season came to an end after a hard fought game against No. 1 seed Davenport (76-64). The future looks bright as the entire roster returns next year.
Multiple players were recognized by the WHAC. Junior Brooke Carter was named 1st team All WHAC, sophomore Robyn Veltkamp was named 2nd team All-WHAC and sophomore Melissa Veltkamp was named 3rd team All WHAC. Alicia TerHaar was named to the Champions of Character team as well as the WHAC Academic Team. Brooke Carter became the 6th player in Cornerstone history to be named to an NAIA All-American team (2nd team). In addition, Alicia TerHaar was named Academic All-American for carrying over a 3.5 G.P.A.
Golden Eagles Finish Season in NAIA Quarterfinals
Many goals were reached in the 2009-2010 season. The men's basketball team defeated NCAA Division II powerhouse Grand Valley, won the Grand Rapids Hall of Fame Classic, won the WHAC regular season championship, won the WHAC tournament and finished the season in Branson, Mo. Although the ultimate goal of winning a national championship wasn't meant to be the team won the first two games at the NAIA tournament before losing to eventual national champion St. Francis Ind. 79-73. The team finished 29-7 overall and 12-2 in the WHAC.
The Golden Eagles were well represented on the All-WHAC teams. Coach Kim Elders was named WHAC Coach of the Year for leading the Golden Eagles to their 5th WHAC Regular Season title. Kelvin DeVries and Caleb Simons were both named First Team All-Conference. Ronald Bates was named to the Second Team and Matt Kingshott was named to the Third Team. Bryan Pasciak was named to both the All-Newcomer Team and the All-Defensive Team. Corbin Donaldson was also named to the All-Defensive Team. Donaldson was also named to the Champions of Character Team. DeVries, Donaldson, Pasciak, Kingshott, Ryan Zwier and Dominic Allen were all named to the All-Academic Team.
Juniors Kelvin DeVries and Caleb Simons were both named NAIA Honorable Mention All-American. DeVries, Zwier and Allen were named NAIA Daktronics Academic All-American as well. The careers of four seniors comes to an end as we say goodbye and thank you to Matt Kingshott, Ryan Zwier, Corbin Donaldson and Dennis Jones for their contributions to the program.
Men's & Women's Track Record Highest Finish at NAIA Indoor National Championship
The Golden Eagle men's and women's track & field teams recorded their highest finish at the NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships in Johnson City, Tenn. The men's team scored 18 points and finished in a three-way tie for 8th place and boasted three All-Americans, which included a national champion. Joel Leong won the Weight Throw on the last throw of the contest. Leong had the longest throw in prelims and qualified first in the finals. Eight contestants made the finals. Leong remained in after the 4th round of throws but James Refenes of Concordia (Neb.) had a huge effort of 63' 7.5" on his 5th throw to take the lead over Leong. He fouled on his 5th throw and remained in second going into the last throw of the competition. No one improved upon the mark on their final throw, which left Leong as the last competitor to have a chance to defeat Refenes. Leong let loose a huge attempt of his own that landed well beyond the 60' arc and then he had to wait for the measurement. He defeated Refenes by the narrowest of margins with a throw of 63' 7.75" and became the National Champion. He is the third NAIA National Champion overall and first to claim a title at the Indoor National Championships. Two other men earned All-American honors for the Golden Eagles. Kris Shear finished third in the 3000 race walk with a time of 13:50.51 and Zach Ripley finished fifth in the 5000 Meter Run with a time of 14:46.54.
The Women's team finished 10th with 19.33 points and had six All-Americans. Janelle Brown became the first Cornerstone woman to earn 2010 Indoor All-American honors by finishing 6th in the 3000 Meter Race Walk with a time of 15:04. Brandi Hagan finished 6th in the Pole Vault clearing 11'7.75" to earn All-American honors. Amy Boyer and Kayla Wilson finished 3rd (3468 points) and 5th (3457 points) respectively in the Pentathlon to give Cornerstone its 3rd and 4th All-Americans. Kay-De Vaughn earned her third straight All-American honor in the Triple Jump jumping 39' 8.75" to finish 3rd overall in that event. Andi Owens was the last Cornerstone athlete to compete and she finished in style by setting a school record 2:55 time in the 1000 meter run to finish 4th overall. The women finished 10th out of 40 teams, which is their highest finish ever at the Indoor Track & Field National Championships.
Veltkamp Twins are Sparkplugs for Golden Eagle Offense and Defense
Robyn Veltkamp had a perplexed look on her face as she turned to her twin sister Melissa.
"What went wrong," she asked. "Why aren't we like the rest of the family?"
Robyn and Melissa, sophomore guards for the Cornerstone University women's basketball team, are 5-8 spark plugs who run the Golden Eagles' offense and fire up the defense. Both are second-year starters, Robin averaging 13 points per game and Melissa 15.
And the rest of the family?
"We have a sister who is 6-2, and brothers who are 6-4," Robyn said. "The only way Mel and I could be that tall is if she played on my shoulders."
As any coach will tell you, size is not everything. Not when you put heart, intensity, quickness, work ethic and quickness into the mix.
"Each one brings something different to the team," said Carla Fles, head coach for the women's team. "And they tend to take turns having big games. When I was recruiting them I thought it was great that we could get both, because together they bring something to the team that none of us can really explain.
"Each one knows what the other is doing. And that makes them hard to defend. Simply put, we need both of them on the court to be competitive."
Like most twins, Robyn and Melissa are inseparable. They room together (with another set of twins), they tend to complete each other's sentences, and on the court, there is this mystical mental hokus-pokus that allows one to anticipate almost perfectly what the other is doing.
"We'll make a play or complete a pass, and somebody will come down court and say 'I didn't even know she was back there. How did you make that pass?'," Robyn said. "I can't explain it. I look at Mel or she looks at me and we just know where we are supposed to go or what we are supposed to do."
"We grew up playing together," said Melissa. "We'd be out on the driveway every day, and we'd make up our own plays. It's just there. We know each other and we are able to make that work for us."
The Veltkamp's were All-Staters at Hudsonville High School and wanted to stay together for college.
But what if Michigan State coach Susie Merchant came calling, but wanted only one twin?
"I'd hope Mel would have a great career at Cornerstone," Robyn said, laughingly throwing her sister under the bus. "I love her, but Michigan State....?"
"That doesn't bother me," Melissa smiled. "Because I would do the same thing."
The twins admit that as toddlers, they didn't exactly get along.
"They couldn't put us in the same play pen when we were little," Robyn said. "We'd always wind up fighting over something. But we never fight now."
In order to tell the twins apart as toddlers, Melissa was dressed in pink and Robyn in blue.
It has always been difficult for casual acquaintances to tell them apart.
"We had teachers in high school who never did figure it out," Melissa said.
Did that mean one could take a math test twice and cover for the other?
"Maybe we could have gotten away with it," Melissa said. "But we were both pretty good students so we didn't need the help."
Both players are thinking about a career in business, but coaching is not far from their minds.
"I know when I'm finished playing, I want to stay close to the game," Melissa said. "I don't know in what form, but I don't want to just walk away from it."
Early in February the Golden Eagles had a season's worth of success in less than a week. First they stunned Davenport, the nation's No. 1 team 65-54, then put frosting on the cake by stunning arch-rival Aquinas 75-59.
Robyn had 39 points in those two games and was named NAIA Division II National Player of the Week for her efforts.
"That was awesome," Robyn said. "We were so pumped up. Before the game we watched a motivational You-Tube video about underdogs stepping up. So we were ready."
"And following that with a win over Aquinas made it even better,"Melissa said.
The Cornerstone women have become big sisters to the players on the Sparta JV team.
"They've come to our games, and we've gone to a couple of theirs," Melissa said. "Their coach tells us that it has had a positive impact on the players, like we are role models. I like that."
Both players know that being role models goes hand-in-hand with being a Christian athlete.
"We know that people are watching us and judging us," Robyn said. "We know that we want to see if we actually live by the things we say. And it's not just basketball, it's everything. If we live for Christ, we have to model that in everything we do."
"We have played games where the other team swore at us, or their fans swore at us," Melissa said. "Those kids live in such a different atmosphere than we do. We play to give glory to God, so we have to always have that in mind."
Law Enforcement a Calling for Former Center
"What's a nice girl like you doing in a job like this?"
The question made Julie Vogelzang smile, because it wasn't the first time she'd heard it.
Vogelzang (CU'02), starting center on the Cornerstone women's basketball team that lost in a breath-taking NAIA National Championship game with Northwestern College (Iowa), and somebody classmates remember as fun-loving and easy-going...is now on "the job" as a deputy sheriff for Kent County.
"Even my old roommate didn't believe it," Vogelzang laughed. "I don't think anybody could have seen this happening. But there came a time in my life when I had to make a decision, and I'm glad I did."
Cornerstone women's head coach, Carla Fles, knew she had the qualifications for the job.
"Julie was the kind of basketball player who didn't mince words and stood true to her convictions," said Fles. "Those qualities are needed in the profession she is in. She is serving the community and battling on the front lines, and I am really proud of her."
Vogelzang graduated with a degree in social work and a minor in sociology. Upon graduation she went worked with the probation department for the 61st District Court. After her internship, she volunteered for the probation office for two years.
"I saw a lot of things, things that really bothered me," she said. "It got to a point where I no longer wanted to deal with what happened after a crime, but to be in front of it and stop it or minimize it as much as I could."
She took her law enforcement academy training while holding down two full-time jobs.
"That was pretty tough," she said. "But my mind was made up. This was what I wanted to do, and I would do what it took to graduate and get a law enforcement job."
Vogelzang became a cadet before serving as a full-time officer. She has spent the past five years on night patrol.
"It took awhile to adjust," she said. "I got good training, but nobody can prepare you for the things you see or have to deal with. I was living at home for my first two years, and that grounded me. When I was moody or irritable, my parents were there to talk me out of it."
She had stopped by her parents home in Byron Center on a break one evening early in her career when a call came over her radio.
"I was Car 13," she said, " and the dispatcher told me that there was a report of shots fired, and one person was down, possibly DOA (dead on arrival). That was my first homicide, and my mom said she could see me slip into sheriff mode, even my facial expression changed."
Writing tickets is part of the job. But while the public sees only the ticket part...and the costs attached...Vogelzang knows that anything can happen when she stops a strange vehicle on a country road.
In one such stop, she had a driver get out of the car when she saw him hide something in his glove box. While patting the driver down she discovered he was wearing a bullet-proof vest.
"I think my heart stopped," she said. "It was like I was in a bubble, I couldn't hear anything, all I could do was focus on the driver. I warned him to not even THINK about reaching for a weapon. Thankfully, at that point my partner drove up."
Vogelzang has a strong Christian faith, and grew up at Grandville Christian for grade school and Calvin Christian for high school before attending Cornerstone.
"My faith helps me a lot," she said. "It helps keep things in perspective. I see a lot of what I do as a witness, because I can impact people's lives in a good way."
One time she convinced the victim of spousal abuse to press charges against her husband after responding to their house for the sixth time.
"It was hard for her, but she did it," Vogelzang said. "And now she lives a good life and he has no part in it.
" I don't often deal with normal people," she went on. "But God gives me strength to do this, because people need the help I can give. I can celebrate little victories, and that always reminds me that God is in charge."
She constantly looks back at her Cornerstone years, especially the National Championship that got away.
"We had a lead but let it get away from us," Vogelzang said. "Then in the last minute I had my legs cut out from under me on a rebound, and I blacked out when my head hit the floor. We sent in a 90 percent free throw shooter to shoot the foul shots for me and tie the game. But she missed both.
"It's almost 10 years later, and I still haven't been able to watch the tape of that game."
"Julie helped put Cornerstone basketball on the national map," Fles said. "She had an incredible work ethic and was a tremendous leader. She was the type of player who could put the team on her back and carry us through tough times."
Athletics influenced Vogelzang's life.
"The people, the challenges, the experiences, the trips...all of that came together to make it an awesome time in my life," she said. "And it wasn't just me. My parents missed two games during my entire college career, and they miss the friends they made and the experiences they had.
"It was just a special time in my life."