UW-Parkside student athletes excel on & off court
Under 2013 Great Lakes Valley Conference Coach of the Year Luke Reigel, the men's basketball squad had a breakout season, winning the GLVC East Division Title for the first time in program history while collecting the squad's first 20-win season since 1987. The Rangers (20-9, 14-4 GLVC) rattled off nine straight conference wins and climbed as high as 13th in the national polls, punching a ticket to the NCAA Division II Tournament for just the second time in program history.
Jeremy Saffold was a big part in the team's success, becoming the first Ranger to earn GLVC Player of the Year honors while also earning a unanimous selection to the All-GLVC First Team and a spot on the Daktronics All-Midwest Team. Andy Mazurczak was the GLVC co-Freshman of the Year while Zygimantas Riauka and Colt Grandstaff earned All-GLVC Second Team accolades.
Both Reigel and Saffold were also honored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) with Reigel named Midwest District Coach of the Year and Saffold earning NABC All-Midwest District honors.
Women's basketball continues its recent run of success, advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive season while making its fourth straight trip to the Big Dance. The Rangers (21-10, 12-6 GLVC) knocked off four ranked teams during the season while winning nine of 10 from mid-January to late February. Among the upsets was a 50-47 win over then-No. 6 Washburn University in December while unseating 20th-ranked Lewis University 59-49 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Jenna Endisch established a new single season record for three-pointers made while shattering a single game record after draining nine against the University of Indianapolis on Feb. 23.
Three Rangers earned a spot on the GLVC All-Defensive Team, including Danielle Slivka who also achieved Second Team All-GLVC honors. Additionally the women's squad excelled off the court, compiling the highest team grade point average of any sport, finishing the fall with a 3.387 GPA.
The UW-Parkside wrestling team logged a top 20 finish at the national championships for the eighth consecutive season, placing 17th in the team standings, while two grapplers earned All-American honors. Dillon Bera became the program's first four-time NCAA Division II All-American, placing seventh in his weight class while Davien Willis captured his first career All-America certificate, placing fifth.
Josh Anthony and James Malechek also qualified for the national tournament for the Rangers who compiled a 6-4 dual match record, earning victories over then No. 1 and eventual national champion University of Nebraska-Kearney while reclaiming the Sake Bottle Trophy on Feb. 6 with a 22-15 victory over the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
The men's indoor track & field team placed eighth at the GLVC Championships while recording three provisional qualifying performances. Michael Karwowski provisional qualified for nationals in both the 200- and 400-meter dashes while Will Cranford was named All-Midwest Region by the USTFCCCA after hitting the provisional standard in the 60-meter hurdles.
Jessica Watychowicz had a breakout season for the women's indoor track & field team, winning a GLVC title and qualifying for nationals in a pair of events. The senior established a new conference record in the 3,000-meter run, crushing the field and winning by a comfortable 20-second margin. The distance runner provisionally qualified for nationals in three events, the mile, 3,000- and 5,000-meters while claiming All-Midwest Region accolades in the 3k and 5k. As a team, the Rangers placed seventh at the GLVC Championships while winning the team title at the Parkside Classic on Feb. 2.