Teams come out of spring break trips ready to face the season


Photo Courtesy Brian Bolt

Men’s golf on the sunny golf course of Palm Desert.

While most people who went to Florida for spring break were relaxing on the beach, teams such as softball, tennis, and baseball were there to work. Many of Calvin’s spring sports teams spent their spring break traveling to kick-start their spring seasons. 


Coaching Becky Talking With the End of the Batting Order. (Photo Courtesy Rebecca Hilgert)

Calvin’s softball team had five days of double headers for six days down in Orlando. The team went head-to-head with schools from Iowa, Maine, Ohio and other states. “It was definitely a work trip, not really a vacation,” said Head Coach Rebecca Hilgert. This was the first time the team had been on a trip like this since 2019. 

With a younger team consisting of mostly sophomores and first-year students, this type of trip and training was a new experience for the majority of the team. The team was still successful, though, finishing 6-4. Another accomplishment of this trip was to play against several competitive teams, two of which belonged in the top 25 teams. With a bench of 19 players, Hilgert considers this as a great first time playing outside for the season. 

“The team bonding aspect was huge. The girls got to know each other better and many said it was the best week they’ve had.”


Men’s and women’s tennis also traveled to the Orlando area to play other DIII schools. Associate professor of kinesiology and head coach for both teams, John Ross, said tennis teams from all over the country register to travel down and play against other teams. According to Ross, both teams did well despite the experience being new for most players. “Our men’s team is really young, there’s seven sophomores and two freshmen, and there was only one woman with any experience being down there [before COVID],” he said. “I was really happy to see how everyone did.”

One specific aspect Ross was proud of was how the players were able to quickly adapt to the heat and their preparation for it. This preparation to fight the heat started days in advance before the matches began. The tennis team started to hydrate days before they made it to Orlando, and continued drinking water and other liquid solutions throughout the entirety of the trip. 

Overall, the teams finished strong, with the men’s tennis team winning 5-1 and women’s being undefeated with a 5-0 score. “We had a great week with such a young team on both sides and great senior leadership on the women’s side,” Ross said. “We’re excited to get the conference season started.”


Calvin’s baseball team also got to experience the warm weather in the Orlando area. The team went from no outdoor practice to playing nine outdoor games in just one week. They came home with a winning record of 5-4 to start their season. 

Senior outfielder, Jeffrey Erickson, has been highly anticipating this spring break trip. “We played pretty well and are finding ourselves, finding our groove, and building up our momentum for the rest of the season,” said Erickson. “This week definitely strengthened our team relationship. When you’re traveling and eating every meal together and your whole schedule is intertwined with the guys you’re playing with, you really start to act as one unit and build comradery.” 

Erickson said the baseball team has one of the strongest senior classes that Calvin baseball has ever seen. “That’s going to contribute a lot to our success,” he said. 


Calvin’s golf teams also got to go south for spring break. While the men’s team explored Palm Desert, California, the women’s team went to Davenport, Florida. 

Brian Bolt, head coach of the men’s team since 2005, said the spring break trip is extremely important for golf as preparation for the meaningful tournaments in March. “The trip gives us six days of play and practice that we could not get in Michigan,” he said. The team was able to play and practice every day, ending their week going against the University of Redlands. According to Bolt, even though they lost, the guys performed well for the first week of outdoor play. Coming off winning the MIAA conference championship in the fall, Bolt has high hopes for a successful spring.

Sophomore Chandler Sjoerdsma plays for the women’s golf team. She said the 10-player team was able to establish a bit of a line-up over the break and they were all able to get used to playing outside again, with one winning competition against Webber International. 

“We were able to practice in a way that we haven’t since October. Generally, everyone did decently well, but we all found things that we could improve on,” Sjoerdsma said. She also pointed out the team dynamic of relaxing together mentally with the break from classes and growing closer as a team in a setting other than school and classes. 


The final Calvin team to travel this spring break was Calvin’s women’s lacrosse, who went to Georgetown, Texas. The 15-member team won a shutout against University of Dallas with a 24-0 score and a loss against Southwestern University. “It was a tough game and we fought hard,” said one of the senior captains, Madison Brown, when asked about the Southwestern game. “There were some things that we still need to straighten out, but that will come with time.”  According to Brown, the trip also offered more individualized attention from the coaches, giving the players a better chance to ask questions and improve. 

Megan Gilbert, the other senior captain, also believed the break gave the team the chance to build team culture and get to know each other. “Going away helped us all as players because it strengthened our bonds with each other which helps us on the field,” she said. “Calvin has shown me what it means to be on a team and how important it is to have good team culture and play for each other.”