The 2013 recipients of the Dale B. Lake Presidential Award for athletic, academic and leadership achievement are Sam Goldschmeding and Veronica Hayden. Cody Piechocki, Kalamazoo Valley’s head baseball coach, nominated Goldschmeding. Hayden, a 2011 Hastings High School graduate, was nominated by women’s basketball coach Ron Welch.
Goldschmeding, a 2011 Allegan High School graduate, was a two-year starter for the Kalamazoo Valley baseball team. During his freshman year, he started at second base and third base. “During his sophomore year, he became our number one conference pitcher,” Piechocki said. “Sam earned a 3.56 GPA through the honors college and did an incredible job of balancing that academic challenge and baseball. As the conference number one, he was the leader of our pitching staff and the ‘go to’ guy in big games. He led the pitching staff in innings pitched with 55.1 and threw four complete games. He finished with a 2-2 record and one save.”
Piechocki said Goldschmeding was “always a team first guy who was willing to do whatever it took to help the team win.” He played short stop on several occasions and even picked up the 3 inning save in the last game of the year vs. Grand Rapids, requesting to pitch after only being on two day’s rest.
“He always had a smile on his face and was the type of guy that the other players migrated to and looked up to,” Piechocki said. “The fact that he was so willing to make the position change from his freshman to sophomore year in order to do what was best for the team shows his loyalty and reliability to the program. Sam always amazed me with his work ethic not only on the field, but to also attend the honors college and finish with honors is quite an incredible feat.”
In addition to receiving the Dale B. Lake Award, Goldschmeding was voted Top Pitcher by his team mates, MCCAA Honorable Mention, Academic All-Conference, and Academic All-MCCAA.
Sophomore Veronica Hayden was also an honors college student and a basketball player. She finished her academic career at Kalamazoo Valley with a 3.92 GPA. “Being a student athlete is tough enough, let alone accomplishing what she did with a very rigorous academic schedule,” coach Welch said. She plans to transfer to either Kalamazoo College or Hillsdale College to finish her baccalaureate degree.
Hayden was a two year player at Kalamazoo Valley. Welch said she was a big part of the basketball team’s success over her two years, including back-to-back Western Conference Championships and 52 wins in two years.
“A role player as a freshman, playing behind a very talented sophomore (Jen Lofts), Veronica stepped her game up as a sophomore, became a starter and became our anchor on the floor,” Welch said. He called her “the glue that kept us together. She was our leader, both on the floor and off, and when she went down with an ACL tear, the effect on our team was significant on the floor. Off the floor, nothing changed. She was still our leader. Controlling her frustration at not being able to contribute, she became a vocal leader on the bench in support of her teammates.”
Hayden has been active in the community, both with the basketball team and their activities regarding community service and on her own, mostly in her hometown of Hastings, although, as part of the KVCC Honors program she also completed some community service obligations in the Kalamazoo area.
“Veronica is one of the most level-headed, down-to-earth young ladies that I have had the pleasure to coach here at KVCC,” Welch said. “She was a willing servant leader for our team, offering and giving tutoring assistance if a teammate was struggling academically, or whatever other type of support that was needed. It was a pleasure to have her as part of the Kalamazoo Valley basketball program. I feel strongly that we will be able to continue to take pride in as she continues her academic, athletic and personal career. We have had several Dale B. Lake award winners in my time at Kalamazoo Valley, none more deserving than her.”
This award is a yearly endeavor that honors Kalamazoo Valley’s founding president, Dale B. Lake. It salutes outstanding student-athletes at the college. Exceptional academic achievement, outstanding athletic contribution, and evidence of uncommon leadership and character are among the criteria.