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Page 7 | The Herald | Friday, February 27, 2009

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Track WHAC results

BASKETBALL: Women squeak by in first round matchup

by zach ripley

Guest writer

The women’s basketball team faced more drama than it expected in its first round matchup with Indiana Tech on Wednesday, which gave Cornerstone freshman Melissa Veltkamp a chance to walk off the court a hero. She knocked down a go-ahead 3-pointer from the corner with 28 seconds remaining in the second half, and the Golden Eagles went on to win 80-73 in overtime. “I just got in the corner and I’m like, ‘Please go in,’” Veltkamp said. “I was actually surprised that I was really open. I had made some other shots so my confidence was already up.” Veltkamp scored 17 points for Cornerstone, including 3-for-6 three-point shooting.

men: While expectations for the Cornerstone men were not unreasonable, goals were set high, and many rose beyond those goals and expectations at the WHAC track meet last Saturday. Among these strong performances was junior Joel Leong’s conference record and personal best throw in the weight throw, leaving him with a conference win and a third place ranking on the national list this season. One of the top scorers for the men was freshman Kenny Tufflemire. Tufflemire took second place in the high jump with a national qualifying performance. He also finished fourth in both the long jump and triple jump for a total of 16 points. “We missed some of our big goals for the meet,” distance coach Nate Van Holten said, “but for many of us, we still have nationals.” Van Holten assured his athletes that the WHAC meet was only a stepping stone to the more important nationals meets. Looking toward nationals, the men still have some work to do. “After a strong start in December followed by a somewhat disappointing season, Leong finally reached the level of performance he had been looking for,” head coach Rod Wortley said. The fifth place nationally ranked men’s distance medley relay team also had a rocky season. With nationals approaching fast, these men will need to focus heavily in order to reach the level of performance necessary to compete on the national scene.

Women beat Aquinas in nail-biter, 69-65 Jenna Plewes did what leaders are supposed to do last Saturday against rival Aquinas. She picked the Golden Eagles up and carried them 96 feet down the court for a game-winning finger-roll layup with 5.6 seconds left in a 69-65 win. “I was just like, ‘We’re not losing,’” Plewes said. “I just wanted to win. They were pressing, so I decided to take it. We wanted to win this for our senior day.” Aquinas took a one point lead with 12.3 seconds remaining, before Plewes raced coast-to-coast and tossed the 7-foot prayer toward the hoop from the center of the lane. “Jenna got to the basket. That’s what she does really well,” head coach Carla Fles said. “She just took the ball and scored it.” Cornerstone used full-court defensive pressure following the shot to force two turnovers in the final 5.6 seconds and seal the win. “That’s the way it is at the tournament too,” Fles said. We needed to be in these situations. It gives us confidence we can win down the stretch when it’s close. So that can only help us in the tournament.” Midway through the second half Cornerstone used intense defensive pressure to catch back up with Aquinas after it opened the half with a big run. “We trapped all over the place, and we were forcing them into turnovers and then converting on the other end,” Fles said. “It helped to pick up the intensity.” Robyn Veltkamp led the effort, forcing steals on three consecutive possessions. “I wanted to have the team get more energy, so I decided to pick it up on defense,” Veltkamp said. With the win the Golden Eagles (12-2 WHAC, 23-7 Overall) finish the regular season second in the conference behind Davenport.

Plewes nears all-time scoring high for CU Cornerstone’s Jenna Plewes was recognized as WHAC player of the week for her performances last week, including a gamewinning layup with five seconds left in the Golden Eagles win over rival Aquinas last Saturday. In that win Plewes moved into third place on Cornerstone’s all-time scoring list with 1,669 points, which put her 88 points away from becoming Cornerstone’s all-time leading scorer. After Wednesday’s five point game, she is now 83 points away.

Men lose lead late, fall to Aquinas 66-57 Cornerstone built an early lead against Aquinas last Saturday, but couldn’t hold on, falling 66-57 in the final game of the regular season. “We got to play better second halves,” coach Kim Elders said. “That’s where we’re losing games. It’s coming down to our execution.” Cornerstone has now lost three of its last four games as it heads into the WHAC tournament, and those three losses have come at the expense of three of the top teams in the WHAC – Aquinas, Davenport and Indiana Tech.

Pink Out a success The basketball team’s raised $2070 for its Pink Out fundrasier last weekend. “It went really well,” senior forward Dani Kraai said, who led the fundrasier. “We sold almost all the shirts.”

women:

Herald/Robbie Scudder

ronald bates: takes an 18-foot jump shot.

Ronald Bates: ‘I’m very sneaky’ by cachell clay

Staff writer

On the basketball court, freshman guard Ronald Bates isn’t the tallest person on the team. He’s actually the shortest. But his big heart, laid-back attitude and talent make him a fan favorite. His exciting approach to basketball has been a perfect fit for a Golden Eagles team that was lacking fan appeal last season. But the way Bates handles his skill is what made head coach Kim Elders recruit the Central High School graduate and Grand Rapids native. “We liked his fiery, competitive spirit,” Elders said. “He’s a true competitor. He’s coming off the bench, but he’s a spark plug. He brings a lot of energy and intensity to our team, and he’s a very good defender.” Bates didn’t have to overcome many obstacles on the court when he was growing up, but college basketball presented has a bit of a challenge for the 5-foot-8 guard. “Everyone growing up wasn’t that much taller than me, but in college it’s a different level,” Bates said. “Everyone is taller than me; I’m probably the shortest person in our entire league, within our conference. But it doesn’t bother me.” Bates has learned to use his height to get the results he needs on the court. “I’m very sneaky,” Bates said. “I use my shortness and quickness to my advantage. I’ve adapted to it so I know how to use all my

skills and abilities. Sometimes it comes into effect, because I can get through small holes that big, tall people can’t get through.” Bates started playing basketball for fun at a young age, and when he reached fourth grade he began participat-

“I’m very sneaky. I use my shortness and quickness to my advantage. I’ve adapted to it so I know how to use all my skills and abilities.” Ronald Bates Freshman/basketball guard

ing in recreational leagues. “Basketball kept me off the streets,” Bates said. “Because I grew up in a rough neighborhood, it kept me focused.” One of the people who influenced him to play to his best abilities was a close family member, who went to the same schools he did. He provided Bates a bit of competition, and it challenged him.

“One of my cousins went to the same high school I went to, and he was an all-state athlete and went to college and played,” Bates said. “That encouraged me to try and break his record, but he was a taller person so that was kind of hard. But I still made all-state.” Elders had good things to say about the freshman guard. “He’s a great kid. Brings a lot to our team, on the court and off the court,” Elders said. “He gets along with the guys well; he’s just a neat kid to have on the team. He’s very humble; he’s just a likable kid, and he’s well-liked with our fans.” Cornerstone fans, though, almost didn’t get a chance to witness Bates dart around on the basketball court as a Golden Eagle. Before the school year started, Elders was sure Bates would play basketball at Ferris State University. But once it fell through, Elders was relieved to find out that Bates had chosen Cornerstone. “We thought it was a done deal that he was going to go somewhere else,” Elders said. “But the next thing you know, he’s getting a hold of us saying that he was coming here. God led him here, so that was exciting.” Bates is happy with his choice to come to Cornerstone. “I like the environment,” he said. “People are friendly. It’s just a good place to be. And people on the team are good people. I get along with them pretty well. I’m just glad to be here at Cornerstone University.”

With a stunning collection of individual and team performances, the CU women’s track team nearly snatched the conference victory from Aquinas’ grasp. The women scored points in nearly every event, including long distance, sprints, jumps of every kind and throws. On the field side of things, Kay-De Vaughn earned

the honors of individual MVP of the meet, winning the long jump and triple jump and taking third in the high jump and sixth in the shot put. One point behind Vaughn was junior Andi Owens, who also took home two first place finishes in the mile and 1,000 meters, as well as taking third place in the 3,000 meters. Sophomore Brandi Hagan complemented Vaughn and Owens’ endeavors well, winning the pole vault, taking second in the 60 meter hurdles and third in the triple jump. Head coach Rod Wortley called many of the women’s performances “exceptional” as athletes continually “rose to take the competition head-on.” With many of these exceptional performances come great promises for the upcoming nationals competition in Johnson City, Tenn., on March 5-7. Many of the women, such as Vaughn, Owens and Hagan, as well as junior Kayla Wilson and sophomore Amy Boyer, ran or jumped national qualifying times in conference, placing some of them within the top 10 performances in the NAIA this year. “The confidence the WHAC meet helped build will be essential,” Owens said. “I will need to show the same strength and endurance at nationals.” Owens will be competing in multiple events at nationals, as will Vaughn and others. One area the WHAC meet lacked that may have tipped the scale for Cornerstone is the racewalk. This event is not commonly held at meets, to the frustration of two CU women in particular, junior Katie Malinowski and sophomore Janelle Brown. Both are returning All-Americans in the event from last year and are currently nationally ranked within the top six in the NAIA. Both are attempting to achieve All-American honors again this year. Conference was a successful meet for many CU women, but it was only a precursor to the real challenge of nationals. And for many, it was a glimpse of potential success.

bump: mid-air experience From Page 6

mine are tucked in,” Cohen said. “It would be better if I could work on getting my hands out...” Like a Golden Eagle soaring? “Yeah, like that.” Cohen got the job after the previous side-bumper was late, and he does not want to lose the role. Cohen said Kingshott used to call the prior bumper, “My boy,” “but now that I’ve been doing it, it kind of raised my level of friendship with him. That’s how Kingshott sees it, anyway.” And he does. “Kyle and I are pretty good friends,” Kingshott said. “We get along really well. It’s just a really good friendship that we have, because it’s just really easy going and laidback.” Every other starter sidebumps with teammate Dennis Jones during the pregame introductions, but at the beginning of the season Kingshott started the relatively new ritual to recognize his fans. “I just wanted to do something to show that I’m glad that we have fans that come to the games, and I appreciate each one of them,” Kingshott said. “I think the more people you get involved, the more intensity you can bring to the game.” Ever since, Kingshott has made sure Cohen shows up to each home game. “I think it’s 50-50 both ways,” Kingshott said. “We both make sure and know

I was late for work. I didn’t want to blow off Kingshott, and I thought that would show a sign of like commitment. I don’t want him to get mad before a game, or discouraged.” Kyle Cohen Junior

that it’s going to happen.” “If he sees me in person, he’ll ask me,” Cohen said. “But if not, he’ll text me over the phone and say, ‘Yo, shoulderbump today?’ I’ll say, ‘Yeah, sure.’ If he can’t reach me over the phone, he’ll usually message me on Facebook.” Cohen said it was “nerve-racking” at first. “But right before we shoulder-bump, it’s kind of an energy rush,” Cohen said.” It gets me pumped too. It makes me feel special. It makes me feel like I’m kind of part of the team.” Kingshott agreed. “Anybody that comes to any of the Cornerstone basketball games and supports us is part of our team,” he said.

roark: Said missing out on ’99 had never crossed his mind

From Page 6

“I didn’t feel like that until he said it,” Roark said. “It didn’t even occur to me to think, ‘Oh, you weren’t there.’” It didn’t occur to the players either. “He recruited every single person on the team,” said Mark Zichterman, who was the starting center on the team. “To say he didn’t have an influence is ludicrous. He was

still a coach to all of us that year even though he wasn’t on the bench. Always a good mentor.” In fact, Brad Tilma, the starting point guard on the team that season, believes Roark deserves more credit than the NAIA has given him. “Lance taught us for three years, and on that last year he should have got a ring because of what he did three years previous,” Tilma said. “He taught me the point guard game. I still believe he should get a

ring, but whatever.” Roark doesn’t care. He’s just glad the team won. “It’s all good,” he said about the team hassling him with jokes. “I’ve busted their chops too about stuff. It goes both ways. “I was happy to be around those guys, because you watch those kids grow up. You get to see the culmination of those four years.” But what if he could do it over? “Knowing what I know now, I

would have to coach Sparta again,” Roark said. “I have to learn lessons the hard way. Just riding that gravy train to the Promised Land, I wouldn’t have learned the lessons I needed to learn to be a coach. If I wouldn’t have stepped back and I wouldn’t have taken my own job, I wouldn’t be as good a coach as I am now for sure. “It gave me a greater appreciation for what a head coach does, so I feel like I can help Coach E more

now because I know what he goes through on a daily basis. So it was a positive for me. I learned a ton during that year.” And now CU players are learning a ton from Roark — officially — once again. Thanks to Roark the 2008-2009 Golden Eagles are poised to make yet another run at the national tournament. “I’m glad Lance came back,” Tilma said. “He has a huge impact on our players.”

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