Yellow Jacket Winter Sport Teams Have a Great Year
BEREA, OHIO -- The Baldwin Wallace University winter sports season is complete. It was a great season for the Yellow Jacket men and women.
Three teams, the men's and women's basketball teams and the women's indoor track team all claimed Ohio Athletic Conference titles, and two squads, wrestling and women's swimming placed second. Individually, BW had two wrestlers, senior Devin Carman (Ashtabula/ Geneva) and junior Bryan Kmetz (Brunswick), and one swimmer, junior D.J. Mosiniak (Toledo/ St. Francis deSales), qualify for Division III national competition.
The women's basketball team made its third appearance in the NCAA Division III National Tournament "Elite Eight" in the last six years and finished its season with a 27-5 overall record. The Yellow Jackets have have established a standard of excellence in the OAC that is unmatched and have made appearances in nine of the past 11 national tournaments. The BW women won the OAC regular season title with a 17-1 mark-- its sixth in the last nine years -- and placed second at the OAC Tournament. The 27 victories were one shy of the school single-season record of 28.
Individually, seniors Nikki Altenweg (Perry) and Jenn Neal (Mentor) led the way and played on teams that had a 98-20 record during the past four years. Altenweg finished her career with 898 points, 331 rebounds, 356 assists and 237 steals and was named both an All-American by the WBCA (Women's Basketball Coaches Association) on its prestigious Kodak All-American team and by the D III News publication. She also was an All-OAC and Academic All-OAC the past three years and was a first-team All-Great Lakes Region pick by the WBCA (Women's Basketball Coaches Association). She was a first-team All-OAC selection for the second straight year and also was named as an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District IV player. Neal had a school career-record 101 blocked shots, scored 709 points and grabbed 385 rebounds and was tabbed All-OAC each of the last two years.
Head Coach Cheri Harrer led BW to its 10th straight 20-win season, was named as the OAC Coach of the Year by both the OAC Coaches and by D III News. She has a 328-119 career mark in her 16 seasons in Berea. Altenweg and Neal were joined on the All-OAC team by junior forward Michelle White (Hudson) and freshman guard Amanda Mondrach (Parma/ Holy Name). Mondrach additionally was tabbed as the OAC Freshman of the Year and to the D III News All-Freshman team In addition, Altenweg was joined on the Academic All-OAC squad by White for the second straight year and junior guard Steffani Jaworski (Parma/ Padua) for the first time. Altenweg also was a second-team ESPN THE MAGAZINE Academic All-District IV pick. Also, sophomore forward Stacia Shrider (Marietta/ Warren Local) was named as the Most Valuable Player and led BW to a team title at the season-opening University of Rochester Tournament.
The men's basketball team made its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance and advanced to the second round, had a single-season school-record 25 victories and a 25-5 overall record. Under the direction of veteran Head Coach Steve Bankson, the Jackets' won the OAC regular season title for the first time since 1977-78 with a 15-3 slate and the OAC Tournament title for the second straight year. It marked the first time in school history that the men won both the regular season and OAC Tournament title in the same season. In addition, the men also won tournament titles at both Westminster (Pa.) College and at The College of Wooster.
Individually, the men were led by junior forward Tori Davis (Elyria/ Open Door Christian School) who was named as the 2006 Division III Player of the Year by the D III News and as a second-team All-American by d3hoops.com. In addition, Davis was the d3hoops.com Great Lakes Region Player of the Year and the OAC Player of the Year. In baddition, seniors Keith Aufmuth (Brooklyn) and Dan Gundert (Wellington) and sophomore guards Brendan Schuler (Fairview Park/ Fairview) and Tyler Sekerak (Corry, Pa./ Corry Area) were among the best players in the OAC this winter.
Davis led the OAC in scoring and made the All-OAC team for the third straight year, including his second straight appearance on the first unit. He also was the Most Valuable Player at the Wooster Tournament and at the OAC Tournament. He will enter his senior season ranked eighth all-time in scoring with 1,626 career points, sixth in rebounding with 705 and second in blocked shots with 174. Aufmuth ended his career with 1,135 career points and is 20th all-time. He twice earned All-OAC honors. Davis and Aufmuth were named to the All-OAC team along with Gundert and Schuler. Schuler was the MVP at the season-openingWestminster Tournament and Sekerak was tabbed as the Defensive MVP at the Wooster tourney.
The women's indoor track and field team kept a Yellow Jacket and OAC tradition of excellence intact by winning their 17th OAC title in the last 19 years and captured meet titles in five of the six scored meets they competed. Individuals winning titles included senior Liz Redd (Canton/ GlenOak) in the 300-meter dash, freshman Cassie Turic (Poland/ Seminary) in the 800-meter run, sophomore Megan Cathcart (Parma/ Senior) in the high jump and junior Kara Weaver (Myrtle Creek, Oregon/ South Umpqua) in the long jump.
Carman and Kmetz led the Yellow Jacket wrestling team to its second second place showing at the OAC Tournament in the past four years. It was the cap to a difficult season for Head Coach Rich Fleming who was forced to juggle his lineup all season due to injuries. Despite the lineup problems, Carman and Kmetz went on to win OAC individual titles and qualify for the NCAA Division III National Tournament. In addition, sophomore Gino Russo (Northfield Center/ Macedonia Nordonia) placed second to earn All-OAC accolades and senior Sterling Sebek (Columbus, Georgia/ Brookstone) and sophomore Jeremy Feador (North Olmsted) each placed third at the OAC Championships and both junior All-American Jared Selover (Wapakoneta) and sophomore Chris Hamed (Akron/ Woodridge) were fourth.
Carman, a Division III All-American as a junior, ended a brilliant career at the national tournament and had a 72-17 record with two OAC titles and a runnerup finish. Kmetz will enter his senior season next winter with a 72-15 mark and already owns one OAC title and two runnerup finishes. He individually was tabbed as the Most Valuable Wrestler at this season's Rochester (N.Y.) Institute of Technology Tournament in December. Sebek also ended a strong four-year career with a 27-7 mark as a senior and a 65-45 slate overall. At the NCAA Div. III National Tournament, he was tabbed by the NCWCA (National Collegiate Wrestling Coaches Association) as a Scholar-Athlete. Russo led the team in wins this season with 28 and was 28-5 overall.
Mosiniak highlighted the swimming and diving season by placing 25th nationally in the 50-yard freestyle and 36th in the 100-yard free at the NCAA Division III National Championship Meet. He also set school records in each event during the season and won OAC titles in each event too. Overall, both the men's and women's teams had a winning record.
Joining Mosiniak as an individual OAC champion were senior Emily Wood (Carrollton) in the 50-yard free, sophomore Ambica Iyengar (Bangalore, INDIA) in the 400-yard individual medley, junior Sara Gombash (Perrysburg/ Toledo Notre Dame) in the 100-yard butterfly and freshman Sean Sonnenberg (Napoleon) in the 500 free. Overall, the swimmers set 14 school and pool records.