by Alan Babbitt
Golfer Josh Gibson and basketball player Francesca Buchanan have been chosen as recipients of Hope College's top individual athletic honors.
The Otto van der Velde award has been presented since 1932 to a senior man for outstanding contribution to the college in athletics, scholarship, and participation in student activities. The award is named in memory of Dr. Otto van der Velde, a 1915 Hope College graduate who lettered in four sports and was later team physician for more than 40 years.
The John Schouten Award has been presented annually since 1983 to the outstanding female athlete in the senior class. The award is named in memory of John (Jack) Schouten, a long-time physical educator at Hope and the college's first athletic director.
Gibson finished runner-up in May at the 72-hole, four-day NCAA Division III Men's Golf Championships and helped the Flying Dutchmen place ninth as a team.
The Grandville, Michigan native concluded his career with three of the top four NCAA Championship finishes by any Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association golfer, including Hope's first national title in 2017.
In June, Gibson received the Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year award for NCAA Division III for the second time in his career.
Last fall, Gibson became the first Flying Dutchmen golfer to claim MIAA Most Valuable Golfer three consecutive seasons. He joined Eric Wohlfield (1998-99, 2001) as three-time MVPs at Hope.
On the basketball court, Buchanan started at forward and helped Hope post a 24-5 overall record by averaging team-highs in scoring at 14.4 points per game and rebounding at 6.8 per game. The Flying Dutch reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Grant, Michigan native reached double figures in scoring in 22 of the 29 games she played, including a season-high of 27 at Trine University on January 26.
Buchanan finished her career second among Flying Dutch scorers with 1,476 points and seventh among rebounds with 710.
Buchanaqn was selected to play in the inaugural Women's Collegiate NCAA Division III All-Star Game presented by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association in March.