Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Winter and spring sports summary

A national champion and a first-ever trip to the Big Dance highlighted the UW-Stout winter and spring sports seasons.

Freshman Naomi DeLara, of Kahului, Hawaii, captured the gymnastics balance beam championship in March with a school record score of 9.80. DeLara lived up to her No. 1 seed in the event going into the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association championships.

Sophomore Meghan Hargens, of Rosemount, Minn., and senior Ashley Timm, of Eden Prairie, Minn., earned All-American honors.

The UW-Stout hockey team filled the Dunn County Ice Arena consistently throughout the season as the Blue Devils battled to repeat their reign as Northern Collegiate Hockey Association champions. Stout players fought their way into the NCHA title game, only to fall in overtime to eventual national champion, St. Norbert, 4-3, but did earn a first-ever invitation to the NCAA Division III Championships. The trip was short-lived, though, as Stout lost, 4-1, at St. Thomas in the first round.

Defenseman Jack Wolgemuth, a junior from Anchorage, Alaska, was named to two All-American teams and forward Derek Hanson, a sophomore from Bemidji, Minn., was named All-West Region. Senior defenseman Jeff DeFrancesca, of Mount Prospect, Ill., was one of eight national finalists for the Hockey Humanitarian Award.

On the hardwood, sophomore Julia Hirssig, of Rochester, Minn., stepped out of the shadows and started to throw her own. Hirssig, a forward on the Blue Devils' women's basketball team, was a finalist for the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference player of the year, was an All-Central Region pick and led all of Division III in shooting percentage, hitting 64.8 percent of her shots.

In track, junior Pam Sellberg, of Brooklyn Park, Minn., won the conference pole vault title during both the indoor and outdoor season and advanced to both national championships. Sophomore Ashlea Peter, of Wausau, earned indoor All-American honors in the triple jump and successfully defended her WIAC outdoor triple jump title.

The men's and women's golf teams wrapped up their second seasons as varsity programs, with the men's team under consideration to advance to the national championships.

UW-Stout defensemen Jeff DeFrancesca was one of eight finalists for the Hockey Humanitarian Award, presented by BNY Mellon Wealth Management.

Freshman Naomi DeLara became the first UW-Stout women's gymnastics national champion when she won the balance beam event at the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association championships in March.

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