PELLA — Pella Christian athletes get into spring sports in earnest this week. A couple of events were scheduled for last week — one was postponed because of inclement weather.
The Eagle soccer team defeated Prairie City-Monroe’s boys, 5-1, last Thursday. The Eagle girls’ golf home triangular last Thursday was postponed. The Pella Christian track teams competed in Saturday’s Knoxville Panther Relays.
Three events were slated for Tuesday and it starts for the Eagles.
Five is the number for the Eagle girls’ golf team. They return two golfers in senior Savanna Baugh and junior Autumn Vos.
“Savanna and Autumn have lots of experience, but the other three girls have virtually no experience,” said Eagle girls’ head coach Larry Hessing.
The other members of the team are senior Alexis Wright, and juniors Malia Beatty and Emma Farwell.
The Eagles were 17-17 last year and advanced to the second round of regional tournament play.
Jim Dingeman, who is in his third year as head coach for the Pella Christian boys’ golf team, expects good things out of the 2014 squad. The Eagles have six returning letterwinners from a team that took third at sectionals last year. The Eagles went 33-34 last year and 2-10 in the Little Hawkeye Conference.
Back for the Eagles are seniors Mason Howerzyl, Justin Stravers and Jordan Pleima, juniors Josh Posthuma and Jason Holwerda, and sophomore Mitch Fopma. Dingeman said seniors Tanner Van Maanen and Chase Riggen, junior Joel Van Maanen and freshman Graham Howerzyl could contribute at the varsity level.
“We’ve got a team of guys with a lot of varsity experience,” Dingeman said. “We just need to mature some and play a little smarter — think our way around the course. We have a ton of talent on this team, and I’m really excited to start playing meets.”
With three returning players, the Eagle girls’ tennis team is a young squad going into 2014. Second-year head coach Danielle Stubbs was still working with the 21-player squad to find a varsity lineup.
“The strength of our team is a group of girls with great attitudes and strong work ethics. Our biggest challenge is that we are a young team,” Stubbs said. “We graduated eight seniors last year and have several spots to fill on the varsity roster.”
Andrea DeBruin is a junior who played No. 2 singles for the Eagles a year ago. Also back are seniors Claire VanWeelden and Addison VanWeelden, who played No. 6 singles and No. 3 doubles, respectively, last year.
The Eagles were 4-1 in Little Hawkeye Conference play last year. Stubbs said the only non-conference meet scheduled last year was rained out.
Pella Christian has 19 boys on its 2014 Eagle soccer team and three girls. The Eagle boys opened the season with a win last week. They played at home Monday against Albia, and host Dallas Center-Grimes in a Little Hawkeye Conference game today.
The Eagles are building to improve on a 3-11 mark of last year. They have five returning letterwinners but lost three of their four defenders and their goalkeeper from last year’s squad.
Seniors John Admiraal and Cory Van Gilst, and juniors Jacob Brouwer, Jonathan Beltman and Jake DeRuiter are back for the Eagles. DeRuiter, a forward, scored six goals and had one assist for the Eagles. Admiraal, a mid-fielder, made four goals and had seven assists.
“These players are accustomed to playing together and will play a key role in building our attack and getting more shots on goal,” said Eagle head coach Gerrit Brouwer. “I believe that we will be able to compete well again this year and will be able to get more wins this season.”
Sophomore Josh Fopma is working at goalkeeper.
Pella Christian did not have the numbers to field a girls’ soccer team in 2014. Senior Morgan DeRuiter and sophomore Kathryn Groenenboom played for the Eagles’ girls last year at mid-field and goalkeeper, respectively. Klaaske Miller is a a freshman.
Pella Christian’s girls have strong leadership returning on the 2014 track team. The Eagles have 12 returning letterwinners, which include four athletes who qualified for the 2013 state track meet.
“We graduated only two seniors last year, so we have most of our team coming back. This will provide experience and an extra level of leadership for the team,” Eagle girls’ head coach Kevin Herdegen said. “We have a larger group of distance runners, which will help us fill more spots for each meet. My greatest concerns are the lack of hurdles on the team and experience for our new athletes.”
Three members of the state-qualifying 4x100-meter relay team are back in senior Leah Breon and sophomores Taylor Bolt and Sarah Meyer. Bolt, Meyer and junior Christa Veenstra are back from the sprint medley relay team that qualified for state.
Others back are senior Alec Breon, junior Alyssa Starkey and sophomores Cara Theune and McKinley Zula in distance races. Providing depth in the sprints are junior Julia Dykstra and sophomore Sydney Faber. Leading the throwers are juniors Calise Gritters and Miranda Nikkel.
Herdegen said the following athletes are expected to contribute at the varsity level: juniors Morgan Anderson, Laura Nicholson, Courtney Nikkel, Marina Shannon and Damaris Worthington; sophomore Abby Van Soelen and freshman Kathryn Van Tuyl.
With 11 returning letterwinners, the Pella Christian boys’ track team is half and half with experienced and non-experienced athletes in 2014. The Eagles have a large contingent, 10, of freshmen on the team of 22.
Eagle head coach Keith Anderson, who is in his third year guiding the Eagles, said the strengths of the team are in the sprint events and field events.
“We have several athletes who are fast in the 100 meters and 200 meters. We have some strong throwers in the shot put and discus,” he said.
Returning for the Eagles are seniors Zach Van Zee, Jordan Breon and David Dykstra and juniors Jon Larson, Caleb Attema, Dillon Branderhorst, Max Shannon, Jackson Schelhaas, Nate Haveman, Far Zhu and Jake Lensing.
Also on the team are sophomore Joel Larson, and freshmen Sam Fredrickson, Cody Gritters, Levi Jungling, David Kacmarynski, Eddie Pringle, Caleb Roose, Colin Stravers, Matthew Vermeer, Miles Wichhart and Grant Dunsbergen.