2017 HOPEYS Nominees


Presented to an athlete who has reemerged on the field of play after overcoming adversity in the previous season due to an injury, illness, or other personal commitments.

Dennis Towns, Men’s Basketball – Towns severely dislocated his ankle in the final game of his freshman season in 2015-16, but came back to play a key role off the bench this season.  Towns played in 28 games for the Flying Dutchmen.

Katrina Ellis, Softball – As a senior, Ellis incurred an ACL tear in the fall of 2016, an injury most would define as career ending.  However, Ellis rehabbed diligently in the off-season and has gotten it strong enough to play this spring and help the team.  She is starting at third base for the Flying Dutch and it is due to her dedication to her teammates, hard work, and determination to not let the injury define her senior season.

Dominique Molinaro, Women’s Golf – As a senior, Molinaro reentered the top five line-up for the Flying Dutch this year after not competing her sophomore season due to personal reasons and overcoming playing adversary her junior season. She was dedicated over the summer to improve her game and became very consistent for the Flying Dutch all season. Molinaro was a key contributor to the success of the team this fall as they captured their third consecutive MIAA Championship.

Matt Olson, Men’s Lacrosse – Olson suffered a broken back in high school, survived multiple surgeries and countless hours of rehab to become a starter for the Flying Dutchmen in his freshman season in 2016.  Unfortunately, he tore his ACL in the middle of the season, ending his playing for the year.  Despite his injuries, Olson continues to make a positive impact on the team.

Tyra Smith, Women’s Basketball – Smith tore her achilles during her junior season in 2016 and was uncertain if she would be able to return to her previous playing ability.  She reemerged on the court this year, improving in every statistical category and was the best defensive player for the Flying Dutch, helping the team to a 24-5 season record.

Elizabeth Fris, Women's Swimming & Diving – Fris broke her fourth metacarpal bone during warm-up of the first meet of the 2016 season, requiring her to train in a cast for the next six weeks.  She overcame the lack of early training in the season to win the 1,650-yard freestyle at the MIAA Championship.  Fris also was runner-up in the 500-yard freestyle and the 400-yard individual medley and was named to the All-MIAA team.

Jacob Pardonnet, Football – After starting at linebacker as a sophomore, Pardonnet underwent extensive shoulder surgery in the off-season.  He was able to return to his starting role on defense in 2016, changing positions to play safety for the Flying Dutchmen.  Pardonnet recorded 45 solo tackles, 15 assists, seven tackles for loss, four sacks, and one fumble recovery.  He was named All-MIAA Second Team.

Abigale Cassella, Women’s Lacrosse – Cassella entered the 2016 season after recovering from stress fractures in both shins, injuries that took her out of play for most of the 2015 season.  She returned to become one of the team’s top three scoring players for the Flying Dutch, and finished the season with a total of 19 goals with nine assists.  Cassella was named to the All-MIAA Second Team.

Tyler Brinks, Men's Cross Country – After missing the 2016 indoor and outdoor track seasons due to an injury, Brinks returned to great running form and competed for the Flying Dutchmen at the 2017 MIAA Championship and NCAA Great Lakes Regional.  Brinks was named to the All-MIAA Second Team. | PO Box 9000, Holland, Michigan 49422