The 2013-14 fall and winter seasons of UW-Eau Claire athletics were highlighted by a number of accomplishments and impressive finishes. The men’s indoor track & field team took second place at the NCAA Division III championship, tying its best finish in program history. In addition, the Blugolds earned 19 All-American awards, two teams captured Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles, eight Blugolds were honored by the conference, and four current or former head coaches were inducted into halls of fame.
Men’s indoor track & field takes second at NCAA championship
The men’s indoor track & field team finished in second place at the NCAA Division III championship March 14-15 in Lincoln, Neb.
With eight top-eight finishes, the Blugolds compiled 48 points to finish behind UW-La Crosse, which won its second straight NCAA title after scoring 63.5 points. Thurgood Dennis highlighted the Blugolds’ time at nationals by winning two titles. He successfully defended his 60-meter dash national title, winning with a time of 6.68 seconds, the fastest time ever achieved in NCAA Division III. He also won the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.27 seconds. It was the first time in history the 200-meter dash was contested at the national meet. Dennis is now a four-time indoor national champion and seven-time indoor All-American. He was named the Division III Indoor Track Athlete of the Year the week after nationals. Click here for complete recap.
Other team finishes for the Blugolds at NCAA championships this season include ninth for men’s cross country, tied for 23rd for women’s indoor track & field, 27th for the men’s swimming & diving team, tied for 28th for women’s swimming & diving, and tied for 51st for wrestling.
19 All-American awards earned during 2013-14 season
A total of 19 All-American awards have been earned so far during the 2013-14 season. All-American honors are earned either by placing high at national championships in events in individual sports or being voted to the team by a sport’s national coaches association.
Men’s indoor track & field had the most All-American honorees, with eight Blugolds earning eight awards. Thurgood Dennis won three All-American awards while Cody Prince earned two, and Brandon Zarnoth, Greg Peterson, Roger Steen, Matt Scott, Jimmy Paske and William LaJeunesse each earned one.
Women’s indoor track & field earned two All-American awards: Carly Fehler in the 200-meter dash and the 4×400-meter relay team of Brooke Patterson, Steph Rouse, Megan Mulligan and Jessica Rupnow.
Men’s swimmer Alex Card finished with two All-American first-team awards this year, taking third in the 200-yard breaststroke and eighth in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Women’s diver Sara Axness earned first-team All-American honors in the 1-meter dive and received All-American honorable mention status by finishing 10th in the 3-meter dive.
Women’s gymnastics had two All-American finishes at the NCGA Championship as Michaela McCamey-Metropulos took third on the balance beam and Elizabeth Stubbs tied for sixth in the floor exercise.
Men’s cross country runner Ryan Mugan took 13th place at the NCAA championship last fall to earn All-American honors.
Men’s hockey player David Donnellan was named to the American Hockey Coaches Association All-American second team in the west.
Volleyball player Kelly Schuh was named an honorable mention All-American by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.
Two teams named conference champions
The Blugolds have won two WIAC teams titles so far this year: women’s golf on Oct. 6 and men’s hockey on March 8.
Women’s golf won its ninth WIAC championship in program history and fourth in the last five seasons, finishing nine strokes in front of UW-Stout, which won the conference title the previous year. With the first-place finish, the Blugolds earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III championship to be held in May in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.
Men’s hockey won its second straight WIAC title, which also was the second in program history, by defeating UW-Superior 3-0 in the WIAC championship game. The Blugolds were the No. 3 seed in the tournament while the Yellowjackets were the No. 6 seed, but both teams knocked off the higher-seeded teams so the Blugolds earned the right to host the WIAC final at Hobbs Ice Center.
Four Blugold coaches inducted into halls of fame
Former UW-Eau Claire head wrestling coach and assistant football coach Don Parker was inducted into two halls of fame this year: the Blugold Hall of Fame on Sept. 28 and the National Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame on March 13.
Marilyn Skrivseth, who spent 22 years with the Blugold athletics program as a coach and administrator, arriving in 1979 as the women’s head tennis coach and assistant women’s track and field coach, also was inducted in the Blugold Hall of Fame.
Former women’s golf head coach John Means, who coached the team from 2006-11, was inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of America’s Hall of Fame on Dec. 9 in Las Vegas.
Chip Schneider, current head track & field and assistant cross country coach, was inducted into the UW-Platteville Athletics Hall of Fame on Dec. 7. He competed for the Pioneers from 1992-95 and still holds five Pioneer track and field records.
Eight Blugolds earn WIAC annual awards
Luke Ortscheid was named the WIAC Scholar-Athlete for wrestling while Nikki Kothenbeutel earned the WIAC Scholar-Athlete Award for women’s hockey.
WIAC Player of the Year honors were bestowed on Kate Engler (women’s golf) and Katie Gillman (women’s tennis).
Named men’s indoor Track Performer of the Meet was Thurgood Dennis, his third straight selection, while Brandon Zarnoth was selected the men’s indoor Field Performer of the Meet.
Alex Card earned men’s Swimmer of the Meet recognition for the second year in a row while Sara Axness was named the women’s Diver of the Meet, the first Blugold in history to win the honor.
Scott Kilgallon to retire as athletics director June 30
After 10 years as director of Blugold athletics, Scott Kilgallon announced in February he will retire from UW-Eau Claire as of June 30. Kilgallon said he is being considered for athletic director positions at other institutions and announced his retirement early to give the university adequate time to recruit his replacement.
Swimming & diving coach Art Brandt retires
Men’s and women’s swimming & diving head coach Art Brandt announced he would retire at the conclusion of the 2013-14 swimming & diving season. He has been the Blugolds’ head coach for six years.