Top 10 Spartan sports stories of 2008 - 2009
Observer Sports Staff
Issue date: 4/24/09 Section: Sports
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They did it again. For the second straight season, the football team went undefeated during the regular season, won the University Athletic Association conference championship, and went to the Division III playoffs.
The Spartans were eliminated by Wabash in the first round on a dramatic 52-yard touchdown pass by Wabash in the game's final seconds.
2. Cross country sends men's, women's teams to nationals
For the first time in school history, both the men's and women's cross country teams qualified for the NCAA Championships. The women finished 16th and the men finished in 29th. Justine Jeroski and Britta Kumley garnered All-America honors.
3. Nwanna: All-American
Track's all-purpose athlete Obinna Nwanna was named an All-American on March 14 when he placed fourth in the pentathlon at the Div. III indoor track and field championships. Nwanna was also named the Great Lakes Region Male Athlete of the year by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
4. Baseball places second at UAA tournament
The Spartan baseball team had their best finish ever at the UAA tournament over spring break. The team's 3-3 finish, their best mark since 1995, was led by great pitching performances from Kevin Haley and Zach Fry. Both started twice and posted an ERA of 2.77 and 2.19, respectively, for the tournament. Also notable were Steve Bills' two Grand Slams during the tournament.
5. Two wrestlers at nationals; Gardella an All-American
Senior Drew Gardella and freshman phenom Issac Dukes both qualified for the NCAA Championships at the beginning of March. Unfortunately, Dukes had an early exit after wrestling the reigning champion in the first round. However, Gardella made it interesting and finished sixth overall, good enough for an All-American distinction.
6. No budget cuts for Athletic Department
976,213 on varsity athletics last academic year and that total is expected to remain nearly the same for this and next year. The university as a whole plans to keep spending flat. Other UAA schools with football teams plan to cut athletics spending next year.