Carissa Verkaik, 20, a junior at Calvin College and a member of Haven Christian Reformed Church in Zeeland, Mich., was recently named an Academic All-American in women’s basketball. Verkaik is only the second Calvin women’s basketball player who has earned this title.
Each year, College Sports Information Directors of America selects outstanding scholar-athletes nationwide for its honorary Academic All-American teams. Verkaik was one of 15 women selected for this season’s Division III basketball teams.
“It was a huge surprise,” said Verkaik. “I feel very honored to be named an Academic All-American. When I decided to go to Calvin I didn’t want it to be just for basketball, and to get this honor showed that I made the right decision.” She maintains a 3.67 grade point average.
“What inspires me on and off the court is remembering who my gifts came from and who I live for. The Lord has truly blessed me, and I try to honor and thank him for what he has given me by doing my best,” said Verkaik, whose sister Breanna, a freshman, also plays on Calvin’s team.
Among numerous other awards this year, Verkaik has been named MIAA (Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association) Most Valuable Player in women’s basketball for a record three seasons. Verkaik averaged 19.2 points and 8.8 rebounds a game this season, and blocked a record 128 shots.