Team To Watch Next Season- Men’s
Basketball: You would think that a team that finished
22-6 and ranked 15th in Division III basketball at the end of the season
wouldn’t have room to get better, but the Pointer basketball team could be a
legitimate National Championship contender next season. The Pointers will lose
a key player in Jordan Giordana, who averaged 6.6 points and provided excellent
senior leadership, but every other member of the 2012-2013 roster is returning.
Tyler Tillema was a senior this season but was granted a medical redshirt that
will allow him to play next season. The Pointers will have a majority of
players that logged major minutes last season, giving them a great advantage
that few teams will have. Don’t forget that the players will also have another
preseason with Head Coach Bob Semling’s instruction. The notion that five
players will be returning next year who averaged nine points or more should
certainly scare some of the Pointers’ WIAC opponents. One thing is for certain:
Quandt Gym will be one rocking place for a very talented Pointers basketball
team next year.
Game of the Year-UWSP vs. UW-Whitewater
Football: It wasn’t a season to remember for the Pointers
football team. They finished with a 2-8 record and battled injuries on both
sides of the ball throughout the entire season. Yet there was one bright spot
to the season. It came on a chilly October Saturday afternoon when the Pointers
stunned the Warhawks of UW-Whitewater. The Pointers relied on two big plays in
the second quarter, a 22-yard interception return for a touchdown by Zach
Vallafskey and an 84-yard touchdown pass from Mitch Beau to Theo Maglio.
Stevens Point played solid defense, not allowing the Warhawks to score a
touchdown until the fourth quarter. The game ended with a score of 17-14.
Freshman kicker Jesse Vervelde was crucial to the Pointers win, as he connected
on a pivotal field goal in the third quarter that put the Pointers up by 14
points. It was the first time since the 2008 season and only the second time in
the last eight seasons that Stevens Point has beaten Whitewater. Don’t be
surprised to see more great wins by the Pointers football team in the upcoming
season. They have a good nucleus of players returning, and Tom Journell now has
a full season of head coaching experience under his belt.
Men’s Freshman of the Year- Bryton
Guckenberg: It’s hard for any freshman to make a big
contribution to their team, especially on a very talented baseball team that
has many gifted players, but Guckenberg has gone above and beyond the normal
expectations for a first-year player in an elite program. Guckenberg is all the
way from Trego, Mont. He is a tall athletic outfielder that didn’t get heavily
recruited because he didn’t get many opportunities to play in an unstable
baseball environment in Montana. Head Coach Pat Bloom saw a tape of Guckenberg
and decided to recruit him to UWSP. Guckenberg may be one of the most talented
players to be recruited by Bloom. It took a while for Guckenberg to get
consistent playing time, but when given the opportunity, he was very effective
in the at-bats he got. Guckenberg held a .369 batting average, good enough for
fourth on the team. He added 31 hits, two home runs and 18 runs batted in. He
fits the mold of current baseball standout, junior Casey Barnes, as an athletic
outfielder that is a good all-around hitter. Watch for Guckenberg to only get
better as he gets more coaching from Bloom, who is great at developing athletic
athletes into great all-around baseball players.
Women’s Freshman of the Year- Emily Lester:
Emily Lester had a strong freshman campaign, playing in all 28 games for the
women’s hockey team and tying for third with eight goals, two on a power play
and one short handed. Lester was also second on the team in points and assists
with 18 and 10, respectively. The Eau Claire native will be expected to
continue her scoring output next season to replace seniors Brooke Hanson and
Michelle Lunneborg, who tied with Lester for eight goals apiece and combined for
Best Female Athlete-Sam Barber: Senior guard Sam
Barber finishes her career as a Pointer with one of the most memorable
single-season performances in recent memory. The Division III Player of the
Year will have her jersey displayed in the “Ring of Honor” at the Women’s
Basketball Hall of Fame, becoming the second member of the women’s basketball
team at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point to receive such an honor.The
First Team All- American and consecutive two-time WIAC Player of the Year averaged
just under 20 points per game while collecting 7.5 rebounds per game, both team
highs. Barber ends her collegiate career with 1,329 points, 1,238 at UWSP.
Following her time in Stevens Point, Barber plans to take her talents to Europe
and play professionally. With career numbers of 47 percent from the field and
43 percent from behind the arc, her abilities are sure to translate wherever
Best Male Athlete-Dan Sullivan: 4 minutes, 7.03
seconds. That’s all the time it took for junior Dan Sullivan to set a new DIII
national record for the mile and defend the title he won last year. It took
significantly less time to choose him as the Pointer Male Athlete of the Year.
Sullivan was the favorite for the mile coming into the NCAA DIII Indoor Track
Championship, and he did not disappoint. His performance during the indoor
season earned him the Men’s Indoor Athlete of the Year in DIII by the U.S. Track
& Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Sullivan’s success has
carried over into the outdoor season, where he successfully defended his WIAC
title in the 1,500-meter run, bringing his WIAC title total to four.
Best Male Team-Baseball: The Pointers baseball team
finished the regular season with a record of 30-8 and 17-5 in the Wisconsin
Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, good enough for second behind
UW-Whitewater. The Pointers took to the mantra, “It’s not how you start, but
how you finish.” In their last 19 outings, the Pointers won 17 games. Despite
losing WIAC 2012 Pitcher of the year, Cam Seidl, to Tommy John surgery, the
Pointers haven’t missed a beat. The team has had great senior leadership coming
from pitcher Jake Herbst, first baseman Sean Gerber, shortstop Dan Douglas and
catcher Ryan Schilter. Herbst led the team with 55 strikeouts while pitching 55
and 2/3 innings with an earned run average of 2.43. Gerber leads the team with
a .392 batting average, 54 runs batted in and 11 home runs. Gerber’s 11 home
runs put him in the top ten in all of Division III baseball. Douglas played
excellent defense up the middle and was second on the team in batting average,
.386, and led the team with 68 hits. Schilter is the leader behind the plate.
He held the third-best batting average on the team, .373, and led the team with
18 steals. The Pointers could be just as strong next year, as they only lose
these four seniors.
Best Female Team-Basketball: The women’s basketball
team had yet another successful season that saw them win the WIAC tournament.
The Pointers finished the season with a 24-6 overall record, 12-4 in
conference. It was the sixth year in a row that the women’s basketball team has
won 24 games or more. They ended the year as the 23rd ranked team in Division
III women’s basketball. After a rough start, Stevens Point won 18 of their last
20 games heading into the NCAA tournament, losing eventually in the second
round to Simpson College. Senior guard Sam Barber was a huge part of the team’s
success. The Pointers only lose three seniors for next year, but each was a
pivotal part of the program’s success. Barber has played her last game as a
Pointer along with Liz Althoff and Brooke Allen. Althoff finished the season
with 9.4 points and 3.4 rebounds. Allen added 6.6 points and was second on the
team in assists, with 51 on the season. Next year, junior Myranda Tyler will be
asked to step up as the main scoring threat. This year Tyler averaged 10.3
points and 5.4 boards per game, both the second highest totals on the team.
Most Improved Team-Softball: After a 14-24 first year
for head coach Jill Millis, the team improved to 19-17 in her second year.
There is still plenty of room for improvement as the team had a rough year in
conference, 5-11. The team’s finish to the season left something to be desired,
but the Pointers took a big step in the right direction. A big part of the
Pointers’ improvement was the senior leadership. Katie Shulfer was named to the
All-WIAC team. Pitcher Michelle Jones and first baseman Katie Krueger were both
named to the All-WIAC Honorable Mention team. UWSP also has plenty of
successful underclassmen this season and look to continue it in the future.
Jordon Schreiner, a sophomore, led the team with a .412 batting average, 28
RBI’s, five home runs and 47 hits. Freshman pitcher Kali Riddell pitched 115
and 1/3 innings, leading the team with 12 wins while compiling a 3.25 ERA and
62 strikeouts. After Jones graduates from the team this season, Riddell is set
to be the staff ace next year. With plenty of key returning players, expect the
Pointers softball team to improve once again next year.