Veltkamp Comes Down the Home Stretch of Her Remarkable Career
Robyn Veltkamp, the senior captain on Cornerstone University's women's basketball team, recently surpassed three significant milestones in her collegiate career, scoring more than 1500 points in conjunction with over 500 assists and more than 500 rebounds, all the while playing her first-ever season without her twin sister Melissa. Passing her sister in the Cornerstone record book, Veltkamp currently stands fourth in career points with 1703 and second in career assists with 524. On top of her Cornerstone records, Veltkamp has tallied multiple conference and national accolades. Robyn was named 3rd team WHAC All-Conference (2008-09), 2nd team WHAC All-Conference (2009-10), 1st team WHAC All-Conference (2010-11 and 2012-13), WHAC All-Academic Team (2012-13) and honorable mention NAIA All-American (2010-11) during her career at Cornerstone.
Last Wednesday night (Feb. 13), Robyn Veltkamp helped her team defeat Indiana Tech in her final home game at Cornerstone. She will now lead her team into the WHAC tournament, hoping to make a solid post season run to end her outstanding career. It is a career, however, that will not finish like she originally thought it would.
During the summer before the 2011-12 season, Robyn suffered a hip injury that forced her to redshirt her senior season. Watching her sister finish her collegiate career while she sat on the bench was difficult for Robyn, because playing basketball together was something Robyn and Melissa had done from an early age.
"Our house was known as the house with the two blonde girls who were always outside playing basketball," recalled Robyn, adding that always having her sister there to rebound for her and doing likewise for her sister motivated both of them. The pair also received a lot of encouragement from their father, who would come home from work and ask them both how many free throws they had made that day.
The two moved from playing together in the driveway to playing together for Hudsonville High School, and it was there that they were first noticed by Carla Fles, Cornerstone's head coach at the time.
"[Coach Fles] came to a lot of our games," said Robyn. "Sometimes she'd bring some of her players along. That really showed us that Cornerstone wanted us there."
That presence, along with the desire to stay close to home and family, made Cornerstone University an easy choice for the twins.
Their freshman year, the pair helped the Golden Eagles qualify for a trip to the national tournament, and two years later they did it again. "[Those] are two of my favorite memories from Cornerstone," said Robyn. "National tournaments and beating Davenport [University] when they were ranked number one in the nation and we were unranked."
The two seemed inseparable. When Mel, as Robyn calls her, hit her 1000th point, it was Robyn who gave her the assist. When Robyn made her 1000th point a few games later, it was Mel who returned the favor.
"I'll keep that memory for the rest of my life," said Robyn.
Then came Robyn's injury and the ensuing season on the bench. That was hard for her and Mel but when the 2012-13 campaign began, the difficulty really hit her.
"Getting ready for this season and knowing I was going to be playing without Mel was one of the most difficult things I've faced," said Robyn. "I cried on media day when they asked me about it."
Adding to the difficulty was the retirement of veteran coach Carla Fles and the addition of not only new players but a new coach as well. Robyn pushed on, realizing that God had given her another year in college basketball to help lead the young players at Cornerstone and to play for former WNBA player Katie Mattera as her new head coach.
Robyn says that she has learned a lot during her time at Cornerstone, in the classroom, on the court, and, "just in general."
"I knew my professors cared. They always asked us about our games and how the season was going," she said.
On Wednesday night Robyn will suit up for the start of her last post-season run as Cornerstone faces Madonna University in the first round of the WHAC tournament. After that, she'll prepare for graduation in May before pursuing a career connected to sports in some way. Robyn says she really wants to coach someday.
"And I want to tell [everybody] to try your hardest," she says, "because it will pay off someday."
Click here to watch the full interview with Robyn.
Track & Field Boasts Multiple Qualifiers for Nationals
The Cornerstone University men's and women's indoor track and field seasons are coming to an end with only two meets remaining. Both teams traveled to the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) indoor track and field championships in Angola, Ind., last weekend. The indoor season will culminate at the NAIA National Championships in Geneva, Ohio, Feb. 28-March 2.
The men's and women's track and field team already have numerous qualifiers for the NAIA National Championships. These athletes have met national qualifying standards in different meets throughout the school year.
The following Cornerstone men's track and field athletes have qualified for the NAIA National Championships: Ryan Versen, Louis Falland, Zach Yeo (pictured right), Zach Bourdon, Jared Courtright, Cody Risch, Nathan Vanderwall, Spencer Parry, and Deon Fox. The Cornerstone men's team also qualified in the 4x400m Relay and the 4,000m Distance Medley.
The following Cornerstone women's track and field athletes have qualified for the NAIA National Championships: Julie Oosterhouse, Jill Louisignau, Monica Lawrence, Brianna Griffiths, Kayla Ovokaitys, Anita Souza, and Lindsay Lipa. The Cornerstone women's team also qualified in the 4x400m Relay, the 4x800m Relay, and the 4,000m Distance Medley.
The qualifiers are highlighted by Louis Falland (pictured left), who holds the best time in the mile in the NAIA at 4:08.77, and Cody Risch, who has the best time in the 3,000m racewalk in the NAIA with a time of 12:04.83. On the women's team, Brittany Green has the third-best long jump this year in the NAIA with a distance of 18' 7.75".
The NAIA will stream the National Championships live on the NAIA Network at NAIA.org. The broadcast will showcase hundreds of student-athletes with a free, live video and audio stream. Follow along online to keep tabs on the Cornerstone University student athletes.
Basketball Enters Post Season, Smells March Madness Coming
The Cornerstone University men's and women's basketball teams have finished their respective Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) regular seasons. Now the two teams enter the post-season, beginning with the WHAC tournaments.
The women's basketball team finished the regular season on a high note with a 67-56 win over Lourdes University, securing their spot as the fifth seed in the WHAC tournament. The team finished the regular season with a 13-9 conference record and an overall record of 19-11. Coach Katie Mattera's team is leading the WHAC in team defense, allowing just 54 points per game. Robyn Veltkamp is second in the conference and 15th in the nation in individual scoring, averaging 18 points per game.
Sophomore Ashley Niedermayer, who is thinking of changing her name to "The Rebound Machine," is second in the conference and 13th in the nation in total rebounds this season with 268. She is also third in the WHAC in both rebounds per game, averaging just shy of nine per game, and blocks per game, averaging 1.4 blocks per game.
The men's basketball team secured the No. 4-seed in the WHAC tournament after a 75-63 win over Lourdes University to close out the regular season. The team currently sits with a 14-8 conference record and a 20-10 record overall. Coach Kim Elders and his team scratched out a five-game win streak to end the regular season. They are currently 2nd in the WHAC in scoring with an average of 75 points per game. Wes Hudson leads the conference in scoring, averaging 17.5 points per game, and is also second in the WHAC in assists per game, averaging just over four per game. Shane Moreland is second in the conference with an average of more than two steals per game.
The WHAC tournament begins Wed., Feb. 20, for the women, who travel to face Madonna University for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff, while the men, who secured a first-round home game with their win on Saturday, tip off against Indiana Tech at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21.
"[Indiana] Tech will be hungry," said senior forward Derek Kingshott. "They weren't very happy after we beat them [last week]. It will be a tough game, but we've beaten them twice this season so we might as well make it three times."
Both teams need solid performances in the WHAC tournament if they wish to make it to the national tournament. The NAIA national tournament takes place March 6-12 in Sioux City, Iowa, for the women and in Point Lookout, Mo., for the men.
Come out and cheer both teams to an exciting conclusion as they each pursue berths in the NAIA National Tournament.
Baseball Gets Underway
On Feb. 15 the Cornerstone University baseball team played its first game of the spring season. The Golden Eagles opened up against Victory University for a three-game series in Memphis, Tenn., with one varsity game on the 15th and a varsity doubleheader on the 16th. The head-to-head matchup of first-year programs (Victory also started their baseball program this year) was also a head-to-head matchup of head coaches who have known each other since attending Liberty University together over thirty years ago. True to their name, Victory came out on top, sweeping the Golden Eagles over the weekend.
The Cornerstone University baseball team has spent the last five weeks practicing in earnest to prepare for the beginning of the season. More than 90 percent of the practices took place indoors due to frigid temperatures and piles of snow (and oftentimes both).
"The players are itching to get outside to play," said pitching coach Chuck Lowitzki.
Once the players finally get to play outside, they will be facing quite a difficult schedule for a first year program. Cornerstone baseball will play a quarter of its schedule against teams ranked in the NAIA preseason top 30. After the trip to Memphis, the Golden Eagles will depart for Central Florida on Feb. 28 where they will play ten games over spring break. The trip will include games against No. 6 Point Park and No. 19 St. Francis (Ill.).
The fledgling baseball program is matched by the youth of the 2012-13 roster. Seventeen of the 26 players are freshmen, and many of those freshmen will be "tossed into the fire" as it were, as they are expected to make big contributions this year. There are, however, some players on the roster who transferred in to Cornerstone University last fall with some college baseball experience.
Cornerstone baseball hopes to catch many teams by surprise this spring. The pitching staff will be led by Jon Knapp (SO, Davison, Mich.), Brandon Willard (FR, Sylvan Lake, Mich.), Luke Heller (SO, Whitewater, Wisc.), Kyle Marburger (FR, Peru, Ind.), and Justin Geerts (FR, Surrey, BC). The offense will be led by Tommy Enslen (JR, Middleville, Mich.), Tyler Krahn (FR, Abbotsford, BC), Nick Covello (FR, Princeton, NJ), Zach Harbison (JR, Zeeland, Mich.), and Zack Meyer (FR, Egg Harbor, NJ).
After returning from Florida, head baseball coach David Mitroff and his team will christen the new baseball field on March 16 at 2 p.m. against Taylor University. A difficult WHAC schedule will follow, including games against three nationally ranked teams.
It looks to be an exciting first year for the new Cornerstone baseball program. Be sure to get out to a game and support the newest team on campus.
Tennis Prepares for Season, Coach Prepares to Change Hair
The Cornerstone University women's tennis team finished the fall half of their season with a 1-8-1 record, its lone win coming against Goshen College. The women began the spring section of the season with a loss to Calvin College on Feb. 15. After a trip to Albion on Feb. 23, the Cornerstone women's tennis team will head to Orlando to play five matches.
Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) play only takes place during the spring season, and the Golden Eagles will have some tough competition with Davenport ranked No. 25 and University of Northwestern Ohio (UNOH) receiving votes (RV) in the preseason poll.
The Cornerstone University men's tennis team had a great first half of its season during the fall. Coach Erickson's squad posted a 6-3 record and had many bright spots. The second half of the season began on Feb. 9 with a loss at Grand Valley State and will continue later this month at the Grand Rapids City Tournament. After that, the team will head down to Orlando, Fla., where they will be tested against some of the nation's top teams.
In the WHAC, the Cornerstone men's tennis team will have to deal with No. 9 Aquinas, No. 19 UNOH, and Davenport University (RV).
One of the highlights of the fall season for head coach Dan Erickson occurred at Goshen College. "Both our men and women beat Goshen College 5-4, with the deciding matches both on at the same time and ending within two minutes of each other," Coach Erickson said. Another bright spot came from freshman Austin Hunt, who won the back draw of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Midwest Regionals last fall.
Alex Tarnow (JR, Holland, Mich.) sees a difference in the program, saying, "We have grown considerably over the past year or so. Coach Erickson did a great job at recruiting our current freshman. We have four new players this year, all from out of state. Our team is much stronger this season and we are looking forward to hopefully making some noise this spring."
According to Coach Erickson, "Our goals are simply to continue to improve and get better each match. Above that, if each team gets to a certain threshold of wins, I have to do something embarrassing that we have negotiated."
Coach Erickson would not reveal all the details of this embarrassing act, but did say to prepare for his hair to seem a little different at the end of the spring season as the two teams continue to head in the right direction under his leadership.
Introducing the 2013 Hall of Honor Inductees
Every year during Homecoming, Cornerstone University hosts its annual Hall of Honor banquet and induction ceremony to recognize former Cornerstone athletes for their success in academics and in their sport(s). This year Cornerstone University honored three athletes and two Golden Eagle Club inductees. The 2013 Hall of Honor induction class is:
Shannon (Burmaster) Mulder graduated from Cornerstone in 2005 with a degree in Business/Marketing and was a member of the volleyball and track & field teams. During her three seasons as a Golden Eagle, Mulder was a strong leader on the volleyball court and dominant competitor in Track & Field. Mulder received numerous individual and team accolades while breaking several Cornerstone records.
In volleyball, Mulder was named Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) 1st Team All-Conference 2002-2004 and WHAC Player of the Year in 2004. She was a two-time team captain and three-time team offensive MVP. As a member of the Track & Field team, she was a 2004 Indoor All-American in the High Jump and was an All-American for both Indoor and Outdoor in 2005.
Julie Vogelzang graduated from Cornerstone in 2002 with a degree in Social Work and was a member of the women's basketball team. During her four years, she received numerous individual and team accolades while breaking several CU Women's Basketball records. Vogelzang also helped the Golden Eagles reach the 2001-02 NAIA Division II National Championship finals in her last season.
Julie was named honorable mention All-America in 2001 and First Team All-America in 2002. She was a two-time First Team WHAC All-Conference player and was runner-up conference Player of the Year in 2002. She was team MVP as a junior and senior and selected as a captain as a senior.
Ron Emmorey attended Grand Rapids Bible College (now Cornerstone University) from 1968-1971 while working on his bachelors degree in the Religious Education program of study. Emmorey was a member of the GRBC Comets men's basketball team. He helped the Comets reach a 16-9 overall record during one of his seasons, while the Comets shared the league championship with an 8-2 record. The Comets then advanced to the National Christian College Athletic Association District Tournament.
Emmorey received several individual honors and broke several records during his time at GRBC. He is 14th in career points at Cornerstone, despite playing before the introduction of the three point line.
Gene & Mary Lynn Peterson were selected as this year's Golden Eagle Club inductees. Gene was a professor at Cornerstone for 27 years, teaching in CU's Teacher Education program as well as in The Learning Center. He is known for his quick wit, his dedication to his students and his love for the Lord. His wife, Mary Lynn, is an avid basketball fan as well and spends a lot of her time working with Paws With A Cause, an organization which trains assistance dogs for people with disabilities.
"They both have been very faithful in their support of Cornerstone University and have been a huge encouragement throughout their years as Golden Eagle Club members," stated athletic director Dave Grube.
The induction banquet took place on Jan. 30 on the Cornerstone University campus. Each new member of the Hall of Honor was introduced to the audience and then had time to speak about each of their respective experiences. Each of the inductees had friends, family members, and teammates on hand to be a part of the celebration. It was a fantastic showcase of what it means to be a Cornerstone student-athlete.
Former Basketball Standout Honored
Ron Emmorey, former basketball standout at Cornerstone University, was recently inducted into the university's Hall of Honor for his merits as both a student and an athlete.
Emmorey, 62, attended Grand Rapids Bible College (now Cornerstone University) from 1968-71 while working on his Bachelors of Religious Education. He was a member of the men's basketball team and helped them record a 16-9 overall record and a shared league championship with an 8-2 league record. Emmorey and the Comets then advanced to the National Christian College Athletic Association District Tournament.
During his time at GRBC, Emmorey received multiple individual honors and broke several records, including being named to the All-Tournament Team. He still holds the single-game record for free throws made with 17, a feat he accomplished in 1970, and ranks 14th in career points with 1568. Additionally, Emmorey scored 47 points on 21-of-25 shooting in the fifth game of his collegiate career.
His accomplishments on the court made Emmorey an easy selection for this year's class of inductees. Dave Grube, Director of Athletics at Cornerstone University, said, "[Ron] is very deserving of this honor and I am pleased to have been able to celebrate the occasion with him."
The Cornerstone University Hall of Honor exists to recognize men and women who have demonstrated outstanding achievement, leadership and service in the area of athletics. Inductees are selected annually by the selection committee and are inducted during the Hall of Honor banquet. An additional induction ceremony is held during the Winter Homecoming basketball games.
Emmorey and his wife Bonnie plan to move to Mobile, Ala., for at least half of the year in order to be close to their daughter-in-law while their son is deployed to Afghanistan. Emmorey is originally from the area, and said, "I'll be looking for opportunities to join some basketballers in Mobile as well."
While in Alabama, Ron plans to continue his hobby of restoring old houses, noting that he is studying the market down there, hoping to find a project house.
Since Emmorey's time at GRBC, the university has undergone many changes, including multiple name changes and expansion. The university athletics program has also expanded, adding sports programs and teams as well as renovating and expanding athletic facilities. The GRBC Comets are now the Cornerstone University Golden Eagles and have since left the NCCAA to join the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The Cornerstone men's basketball team has won two national championships since joining the NAIA, the first in 1999 and, more recently, winning the title in 2011.
Through this growth, the university hopes to foster more student-athletes like Emmorey to continue the tradition of Cornerstone Athletics.