The Highlights

Inside LU Athletics: Vikings an interesting mix of youth and experience

Posted on: March 5th, 2015 by Joseph Vanden Acker

APPLETON, Wis. — It’s a bit of an all-or-nothing proposition for the Lawrence University baseball team.

On one hand, the Vikings bring an experienced team to the field with nine seniors when they open this season Saturday in Jacksonville, Ill. On the flip side, Lawrence will have to rely on nine freshmen to play key roles this spring.

“This is an interesting group because we are really experienced, and we’re really young at the same time,” said head coach Jason Anderson, who is starting his seventh season at Lawrence with a squad of 19 players.

Lawrence, which posted a 6-27 record a season ago, returns an experienced group in the field and on the mound, but the rookies were quickly incorporated into the team. The Vikings manned a concession stand at Lambeau Field in the fall, and the team bonded while selling hot dogs, nachos and soda.

“They are pretty close off the field. That’s been a nice bonus from doing all the fundraising stuff we’ve done,” Anderson said. “It was a chance for those guys to get to know each other and work together.”

The core of Lawrence’s team is led by senior center outfielder Jake Gordon, who received a bevy of postseason awards in 2014. Gordon was named to the All-Midwest Conference North Division team, earned second-team All-Central Region accolades and was chosen for the Jewish Sports Review All-America team.

Gordon hit .400 last season with nine doubles, one triple, one homer, a team-high 30 runs scored and 14 runs batted in. Gordon compiled a team-record 54 hits and posted 16 multi-hit games. He also tied the school record with five hits in a game in Lawrence’s 24-11 win over Carroll.

While Gordon helps set the table, senior designated hitter Luke Zablocki can power the Lawrence offense. Zablocki, the starting right tackle on the football team, hit .354 last season with eight doubles, four homers and 19 RBIs in a season limited to 19 games by injury.

Lawrence also returns senior Joel Birch in left field, and either senior Tim Kinsella or freshmen Zach Rabideau or Carl Olsen will play in right.

The infield returns senior shortstop Davis Ogilvie and sophomore second baseman Brandon Klar. Ogilvie hit .253 last season with a pair of homers and 11 RBIs, and Klar hit .209. Matthew Holliday, who hails from Hong Kong, looks like the starter at third, and rookie Anthony Ortiz will see serious time on the infield as well. Freshman Jake Mills could be the guy to replace the graduated Sam Kossow at first.

“Between Hootie (Zablocki’s nickname), Holliday and Davis, we have guys who can drive runs in,” Anderson said. “All three of those guys are legitimate power guys.”

There is no question a rookie will be behind the plate since the only two catchers on the squad are freshmen Travis Weber and Kyle Duex. In addition to their fellow freshmen, they will be catching an experienced group of pitchers.

The Vikings return seniors Drew Doares, Philip Clark, Atley Gay and Kelton Jenkins to the mound. The hard-throwing Ogilvie figures to be the Vikings’ closer.

“That’s our core group of pitchers,” Anderson said. “They have all pitched a ton since they were freshmen, and they will all pitch on the weekends.”

Doares had a team-best three wins last season, and Ogilvie held opponents to just a .250 batting average. Another season with pitching coach Chris Krepline should help the returning hurlers, and Anderson is very high on Holliday and Rabideau.

“The freshmen are playing better than expected,” Anderson said. “It doesn’t seem like they are freshmen. However, we haven’t played any games yet so we are cautiously optimistic about those guys. All of them are going to have to play in some way shape or form.”

While Anderson likes his tight-knit squad, freshmen can still play like, well, freshmen.

“We certainly could be very good, but when half of your team is freshmen, you don’t know until you get out there,” Anderson said. “This group is very focused in practice, and I’ve been very happy with that. We’ve gotten better every day in practice, and that’s all I can ask for.”

Lawrence rally falls short at MSOE

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by Joseph Vanden Acker

MILWAUKEE, Wis. — The Lawrence University men’s tennis team rallied but fell short in a 5-4 nonconference loss at MSOE on Sunday.

Lawrence (3-2) dropped all three doubles matches to start the day, but the Vikings rallied during singles play.

David Jumes started singles with a 6-1, 6-2 victory at No. 1 for Lawrence’s first point. The Vikings followed with wins by Adam Busch at No. 5, Brian DeCorte at No. 3 and Mitch Kasprzyk at No. 4 to grab a 4-3 advantage over the Raiders (4-6).

MSOE came back to win the day’s final two matches, at No. 2 and No. 6 singles, to pull out the 5-4 victory.

MSOE 5, Lawrence University 4

Singles competition
1. David Jumes (LU) def. Dam, Zachary (MSOE) 6-1, 6-2
2. Price, John (MSOE) def. Sotaro Kurahashi (LU) 7-5, 6-1
3. Brian DeCorte (LU) def. Slaughter, Matthew (MSOE) 6-2, 6-2
4. Mitch Kasprzyk (LU) def. Smith, Tom (MSOE) 0-6, 6-2, 1-0 (10-3)
5. Adam Busch (LU) def. Sauder, Mason (MSOE) 6-2, 6-1
6. Kosasih, Andrew (MSOE) def. Izaya Turenne (LU) 7-6, 6-2

Doubles competition
1. Dam, Zachary/Slaughter, Matthew (MSOE) def. David Jumes/Sotaro Kurahashi (LU) 8-5
2. Smith, Tom/Price, John (MSOE) def. Brian DeCorte/Adam Busch (LU) 8-4
3. Sauder, Mason/Gorodetsky, David (MSOE) def. Mitch Kasprzyk/Ethan Perushek (LU) 8-3

Match Notes: Order of finish, doubles 3, 1, 2; singles 1, 3, 5, 4, 2, 6
Lawrence University 3-2
MSOE 4-6
T-3:00 A-25

Ranumas speeds to title in 60-meter hurdles at MWC Championships

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by Joseph Vanden Acker

GRINNELL, Iowa — Lawrence University track and field star JP Ranumas blazed to the title in the 60-meter hurdles on Saturday at the Midwest Conference Championships at Grinnell College.

Ranumas won the 60 hurdles in 8.71 seconds to top St. Norbert College’s Jack Feuerstein, who took second in 8.79 seconds.

Led by Ranumas’ win on Saturday, Lawrence finished sixth in the team standings with 44 points. Monmouth College won the title with 172.

Freshman Ethan Gniot grabbed third in the 800 meters in 1:58.43, just 1.06 seconds off the winning time. Max Edwards and Cam Davies both placed in the 3,000 meters. Edwards took fourth in 9:05.40, and Davies was fifth in 9:08.89.

Lawrence also placed in the 1,600 relay as the team of Gniot, Ranumas, Tyler Herman and Stephon Berry took fifth in 3:34.56.

On the women’s side, the top finisher Saturday was thrower Genna Matt. She grabbed fourth in the weight throw with a toss of 46 feet, 9.50 inches. Matt’s throw broke the school record of 40-8.25, which was set in 2014 by Brielle Bartes.

Erin Schrobilgen took eighth in the 3,000 with a time of 10:48.81. Lawrence’s 1,600 relay team of Anna Bolgrien, Noelle Hele, Kate Kilgus and Janey Degnan took eighth in 4:26.53.

Lawrence finished ninth in the team standings with 16 points, and St. Norbert won the title with 181.5.


Lawrence rolls past Wisconsin Lutheran

Posted on: February 28th, 2015 by Joseph Vanden Acker

NEW BERLIN, Wis. — The Lawrence University men’s tennis team rolled to an 8-1 nonconference victory over Wisconsin Lutheran College Friday night at the Moorland Park Tennis Center.

The Vikings (3-1) ran its win streak to three matches and jumped on Wisconsin Lutheran (0-5) early. Lawrence won all three doubles flights to take control of the match.

Sotaro Kurahashi (No. 2), Brian DeCorte (No. 3), Mitch Kasprzyk (No. 4), Adam Busch (No. 5) and Izaya Turenne (No. 6) all won in straight sets in singles. Busch posted a shutout with a 6-0, 6-0 victory, and Kasprzyk dropped just one game in a 6-0, 6-1 win.

Lawrence University 8, Wisconsin Lutheran 1

Singles competition
1. Johnson, Lee (WLC) def. David Jumes (LU) 3-6, 6-3, 1-0 (10-3)
2. Sotaro Kurahashi (LU) def. Birner, Zach (WLC) 6-4, 6-4
3. Brian DeCorte (LU) def. Sallmann, Derek (WLC) 7-5, 6-3
4. Mitch Kasprzyk (LU) def. Breister, Adam (WLC) 6-0, 6-1
5. Adam Busch (LU) def. Wagenknecht, Austin (WLC) 6-0, 6-0
6. Izaya Turenne (LU) def. Wordell, Ben (WLC) 6-2, 6-4

Doubles competition
1. David Jumes/Sotaro Kurahashi (LU) def. Johnson, Lee/Birner, Zach (WLC) 8-2
2. Brian DeCorte/Adam Busch (LU) def. Sallmann, Derek/Wagenknecht, Austin (WLC) 8-4
3. Mitch Kasprzyk/Ethan Perushek (LU) def. Breister, Adam/Wordell, Ben (WLC) 8-4

Match Notes:
Lawrence University 3-1
Wisconsin Lutheran 0-5
T-2:30 A-25

Edwards nabs title in 5,000 at MWC Championships

Posted on: February 27th, 2015 by Joseph Vanden Acker
Max Edwards

Max Edwards

GRINNELL, Iowa — Lawrence University track and field standout Max Edwards grabbed the title in the 5,000 meters on Friday on the first day of the Midwest Conference Championships at Grinnell College.

Edwards, a sophomore from Appleton, Wis., raced to the title with a time of 15:44.64. He beat Grinnell’s Anthony McLean by almost two seconds to claim his first conference track championship.

Other top finishers for the Vikings were Pat Mangan, who grabbed sixth in the mile with a time of 4:35.34, and the sprint medley relay team of Cole Erickson, Stephon Berry, Tyler Herman and Chris Fuelling took seventh in 3:50.63.

The Lawrence men are seventh in the team standings with 15 points after the first day. Monmouth College leads with 61 points.

On the women’s side, two relay teams grabbed the best finishes of the day. The sprint medley relay team of Kendra Thomas, Janey Degnan, Anna Bolgrien and Noelle Hele took sixth in 4:28.78. The 800 relay team of Thomas, Bolgrien, Degnan and Sage Greenlee finished seventh in 1:55.10.

Erin Schrobilgen was the top individual of the day with an eighth-place finish in the mile in 5:25.42.

The Lawrence women are in ninth place with six points, and St. Norbert leads with 79 points.


Nikitas earns all-conference basketball honors

Posted on: February 26th, 2015 by Joseph Vanden Acker
Jamie Nikitas

Jamie Nikitas

APPLETON, Wis. — Lawrence University men’s basketball standout Jamie Nikitas has been named to the All-Midwest Conference team.

Nikitas (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) was a second-team selection.

Nikitas, who was chosen for the team for the first time, finished seventh in the Midwest Conference in scoring at 15.0 points per game. The 6-foot-1 guard was second in the league in rebounding at 7.7 per contest.

Nikitas also finished third in the league at 2.1 steals per game with a total of 46 on the season. Nikitas now has 129 steals for his career, and that ranks fifth on Lawrence’s career list. Nikitas was ninth in the league at 3.0 assists per game, and finished fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.3.

In conference games, Nikitas averaged 14.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 3.0 assists per game.

Nikitas posted five consecutive double-doubles to open the season, and scored a career-high 28 points against Ripon College back on Nov. 22. Nikitas grabbed a career-best 15 rebounds at Illinois College on Dec. 6. He also recorded a career-high eight assists at Knox College on Jan. 24 and picked up a season-high five steals vs. UW-Stevens Point on Jan. 13.

Lawrence finished with a 10-13 overall record and took sixth place in the league with an 8-10 mark.

Inside LU Athletics: Vikings hoping little victories will translate into big wins

Posted on: February 26th, 2015 by Joseph Vanden Acker

APPLETON, Wis. — The Lawrence University women’s basketball team just endured a season that saw just one mark on the winning side of the ledger.

Normally, that would signal disaster. In this case, the Vikings look at that one win as a seed from which to grow a strong, sustainable program.

“It’s definitely not the result we were all expecting on paper,” said Lawrence coach Ashley Wellman, who just finished her second season with the Vikings. “We made a lot of progress and improvements along the way. Our freshmen got a lot of valuable playing time and their games improved as well.”

Wellman took the court with a group that included three freshmen in the starting lineup on a regular basis. The growing pains were substantial, but the potential is just as great.

“We looked at the little victories along the way, but we didn’t see the results in the win category,” Wellman said.

“In the team aspect, we improved throughout the year in playing as a unit and getting used to playing college basketball. A lot of our freshmen came in and thought it was going to be like high school basketball, and they got a rude awakening.”

Lawrence loses seniors Kassidy Rinehart and Bethany Hoster to graduation, but the Vikings will return nine of their top 10 scorers from next season.

“The three things we were missing coming into this season was leadership, confidence and experience,” Wellman said. “We have all of those things coming back. We just need to work on that confidence level.”

As the Vikings look ahead, they see a bright future built around the talents of current freshmen Danelle Buck and Elizabeth Arco. Buck led the team in scoring at 9.4 points per game and was second on the squad at 5.5 rebounds per game. Arco was second on the team in scoring at 8.7 points per game and averaged a team-high 5.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per conest.

“Danelle constantly gave us double-digit figures in scoring and rebounding, and she worked her butt off on both ends of the court,” Wellman said. “She has a lot of things to work on, but if her work ethic stays the same, she can be a very good player.”

Buck seemed to grow more confident and comfortable as the season progressed. After returning from a two-game absence due to injury in mid-January, Buck averaged 10.2 points and 6.3 rebounds over her final 11 games.

Arco showed just how good she could be against Cornell’s Taylor Dicus, arguably the best post player in the Midwest Conference. Arco scored 19 points, grabbed six rebounds and handed out three assists while matched up against Dicus. Over her final 11 games, Arco averaged 10.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

“Seeing that kind of game against Cornell and the potential Liz has, we just need her to do that consistently,” Wellman said. “Once we can get her to play a little more under control, she has the right attitude and work ethic to get there. We are planning to use more of her speed and athleticism in the future.”

Arco’s size (6-foot-1), foot speed and length are a unique combination among post players in NCAA Division III.

“Liz has a huge upside,” Wellman said. “She’s very long and athletic. This year she was trying to adjust to the college game in general.”

Current juniors Patsy Kealey and Andrea Wilkinson and freshman guard Natalie Kramer are the team’s other returning starters. Rookie guards Olivia Hoesley, Nicole Cummins, Fanita Robins and Lauren Deveikis also all saw significant action during the past season.

“We definitely got better in handling and passing the ball as the year went on. Definitely not where we want to be but we improved,” Wellman said.

The players’ decision-making and shot selection improved as well, Wellman added.

“We seemed to get a lot smarter and played within ourselves and got a lot better,” Wellman said.

The biggest issue for the Vikings was consistent scoring. Lawrence was solid defensively, but the Vikings shot just 33.6 percent from the floor and were last in the league in scoring at 45.8 points per game. Lawrence also shot a league-worst 52.5 percent from the foul line.

“Our shooting percentage as a team was not good,” Wellman said. “There were games where we were holding teams under 50 points, which is great at the college level, but we couldn’t score 51.”

Wellman said this off-season will be critical for her returning players. They need to work on their offensive games and free-throw shooting, according to Wellman.

“They need to work on their fundamentals,” Wellman said.

“We need players who can put the ball in hole more. That’s the biggest area of our game where we need to make huge strides this summer.”

Merry, Peterson share Wurdinger Award

Posted on: February 23rd, 2015 by Joseph Vanden Acker
Chuck Merry '57 and Rick Peterson shared the 2015 Bob Wurdinger Athletic Service Award.

Chuck Merry ’57 and Associate Director of Communications Rick Peterson shared the 2015 Bob Wurdinger Athletic Service Award.

APPLETON, Wis. — Lawrence University alumnus Chuck Merry and long-time university staffer Rick Peterson are sharing the 2015 Bob Wurdinger Athletic Service Award.

Merry and Peterson were presented with the award at this past Saturday’s basketball games at Alexander Gymnasium.

Merry, a Milwaukee native and a member of the class of 1957, has been a fixture at Lawrence events since he moved back to Appleton in 1962. Merry was a cross country and track athlete during his days at Lawrence and has been involved with the university during all his adult life.

Merry, who was the president of the Letterman’s Club (the L Club) when he was a student, currently serves on the Lawrence Intercollegiate Athletic Hall of Fame Committee. He has served on the Lawrence Alumni Association Board of Directors and been a chairman of multiple class reunions. Merry received an Outstanding Service Award from the Lawrence Alumni Association at his 40th reunion in 1997.

Merry, who is still a recreational runner, has been involved in multiple fundraising campaigns for the university. A retired IBM executive, Merry is currently helping with the effort to raise funds for the renovation of the Banta Bowl.

Peterson has worked for Lawrence since he was hired as the sports information director in 1979. A graduate of UW-Whitewater, Peterson came to Lawrence and ushered in the modern era of sports information at the university.

A Neenah resident, Peterson won numerous publications awards from the College Sports Information Directors of America. He created comprehensive media guides for Lawrence’s teams and put together extensive team records for all of Lawrence’s teams. Peterson also served on the selection committee for several All-America football teams in the 1980s.

Peterson, who served as the voice of Lawrence football on WLFM, worked as the sports information director until 1993 when he moved into the role of director of news services. While working on the news side of the Communications office, Peterson continued to help with sports information. For the past 22 years, he has served as the clock operator for both football and basketball.

Peterson now serves as Lawrence’s associate director of communications.

The award was established to honor Wurdinger, a Kaukauna native, and long-time Lawrence assistant football coach. Wurdinger, who has been a tireless advocate for Lawrence athletics for more than four decades, received the first award in 2006.

Other winners of the Wurdinger Award are: Chuck and Cinny Reff, Ken and Carole Ebert, Joe, Clyde and Jeanne Kieffer, Don Strutz, Dick Knapinski, Jerry Podair, Joy Jordan and Paul Wilke.

Green Knights shut out Lawrence

Posted on: February 21st, 2015 by Joseph Vanden Acker

DE PERE, Wis. — St. Norbert College scored three times in the first period Saturday at the Cornerstone Community Center and went on to a 6-0 win over Lawrence University to clinch the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association quarterfinal playoff series.

Michael Hill recorded a hat trick for the eighth-ranked Green Knights (19-5-2), who advance to the Harris Cup semifinals.

St. Norbert scored three times on the power play as Lawrence (7-19-2) was whistled for 14 penalties. The Vikings went 0-for-4 on the man-advantage.

Blake Thompson scored at 8:11 of the first on the power play to put the Green Knights on the board. Hill scored 1:57 later, and Marian Fiala scored at the 13:59 mark to give St. Norbert a 3-0 edge.

Hill and Tyler Zepeda both scored power-play goals in the second period, and Hill’s goal with 4:30 left in the third period completed the hat trick.

Tony Kujava made 23 saves to earn his second shutout in as many nights for St. Norbert. Mattias Soderqvist made 35 saves for the Vikings.

Box score

Schrobilgen breaks school record in mile at UWSP

Posted on: February 21st, 2015 by Joseph Vanden Acker

STEVENS POINT, Wis. — Lawrence University freshman Erin Schrobilgen broke her own school record in the mile on Saturday at the Big Dog Invitational at UW-Stevens Point.

Schrobilgen raced to third place in the event with a record time of 5:21.84. That broke the mark of 5:22.01 set by Sue Schneider way back in 1978.

Freshman Hannah Kinzer also grabbed a third-place finish in the 5,000 meters in a time of 19:49.63. Teammate Margaret Huck raced to fifth in the same event in 20:01.39.

The 800-meter relay team of Kendra Thomas, Anna Bolgrien, Janey Degnan and Marisa Morrison took fourth in 1:58.53.

On the men’s side, Cam Davies was the top finisher for the Vikings. He took fifth in the 3,000 meters in 9:18.22. The 800 relay team of JP Ranumas, Cole Erickson, Dalton Sendelbach and Trevor Spina grabbed fifth in 1:40.11.