Best of the 2012-2013 Athletic Season
Will Rossmiller
wross460@uwsp.edu

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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: Forward 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 36 points.

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 she goes.

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.