MALE BE STRONG. BE TRUE. ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
A junior or senior who demonstrates the true essence of being a student-athlete and embodies the Division III motto of Discover, Develop, Dedicate. This student-athlete is in high academic standing (minimum GPA of 3.75), plays a significant role on the team, and is involved in the Hope and Holland community.
Kade Hoeksema, Men’s Golf – Hoeksema is a junior majoring in Management and Economics. He has developed and shown his commitment to his studies and is driven toward excellence in the classroom as well as on the golf course. He scored for the Flying Dutchmen this fall in MIAA play and contributed to the team’s fourth consecutive MIAA Championship.
Harrison Blackledge, Men’s Basketball – Blackledge is a Communication major and is active in the Center for Faithful Leadership on campus. He leads Bible studies and embraces an unselfish approach to life. Blackledge was named the MIAA Men’s Basketball MVP this season and averaged 20.0 points-per-game. He was selected the 2017 Jostens Trophy recipient as the most outstanding NCAA Division III men’s basketball player of the year.
Aaron O’Meara, Football – O’Meara is a senior Biology. He is a person of true leadership, integrity, and is an inspiration to those around him. As a captain for the Flying Dutchmen, O’Meara was named the team’s defensive MVP and also received All-MIAA first team honors. Additionally, he was a third-team D3Football.com All-Region Honoree. O’Meara was selected as a NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipient as he plans to pursue Physician Assistant School next fall at Central Michigan University.
Jake Chipka, Baseball – Chipka was the number one pitcher for the Flying Dutchmen in 2016. He graduated in 2016 with a degree in Kinesiology – Exercise Science. On campus, he was involved with Mortar Board, CASA, and Campus Ministries’ Men’s Night Out. Additionally, he organized a basketball tournament to raise money for kids in Honduras after spending a summer in the country for missions. Chipka was a two-year captain for Hope baseball and was named to the All-MIAA Second Team in 2016.
Thomas Conerty, Men’s Soccer – A political science, Conerty was the recipient of the MIAA Dr. Marvin Zuidema award in 2016. This award is given to a selected men’s soccer senior for his contributions to team play, leadership qualities, demonstration of ethical values and excellence in athletics and academics. In addition to spending four years competing for the Flying Dutchmen, he has been president of the Pre-Law Society, a member of the Tocqueville Forum and an Honor’s Scholar with the Intercollegiate Studies Institute on campus. Conerty plans to use his degree to aid his legal education after graduating this spring.