Men's Hockey |
March. 24, 2000 Concordian | Cobber Sports |
| Men's Hockey | Women's Track | Men's Tennis | Women's Tennis | Top |
Men's Hockey Honored
It's not surprising that head men's hockey coach Steve Baumgartner was named MIAC Coach of the Year, two players were named first team All-Americans and six Cobbers were presented with All-MIAC honors, the most of any team in the conference. Three were also named All-MIAC Honorable Mention.
Why isn't it surprising?
The Concordia men's hockey team captured this year's conference championship, made their first appearance in the NCAA national tournament since 1986 and finished the season with an impressive 20-9 record.
"This is the best team I've ever had," Baumgartner said. "Their work ethic is just phenomenal."
The Cobbers captured first place in the MIAC tournament by defeating St. Thomas, which advanced them to the national tournament. The Cobbers faced UW-Superior in the first round, and lost two games, 3-2 and 4-1. Baumgartner felt the site of the games was a big factor in the series. The match-up was supposed to be played at the Moorhead Sports Center, but due to its lack of availability, the games were played in Superior. "They had over 1500 fans, which is the most they've ever had," Baumgartner said. "Our rink holds more than that. Their fans picked up their team."
However, Baumgartner was proud of the way his team played. "We played well," head coach Steve Baumgartner said. "They just played better than we did in their rink. "
He added that most teams would've given up, but his team fought all the way, scoring a goal in the third period of both games.
Baumgartner said that the seniors played an integral role in this year's team and will be greatly missed.
"They mean so much to me and to the program," he said. "Since they've come in, our program has taken off. They will be missed, but they've taught the younger guys what needs to be done."
Seniors Rob Gramer and Kori Pearson were named to the All-MIAC team along with juniors Mike Gast, Bryan Howard, sophomore Brady Burgess and freshman Brian Nelson. Howard and Gramer were also selected as first team All-Americans.
Nelson led the team with 23 goals while Burgess topped the Cobber list in points with 37. Gramer added 27 assists and Howard had 647 goalie saves.
Although the season is over, Baumgartner is still focused on what he wants to accomplish next year.
"Our goal for this year was to win the national title, and that remains
our goal," he said. "We had that taste, it was pretty good and we want
to get back there." That's no surprise.
DeBoer and Grineski are 'Lethal Weapons'
In "Lethal Weapon", Mel Gibson plays a wild, anything goes cop. His partner, Danny Glover, plays a cop that does things strictly by the book. Although the two are exact opposites, they work together to accomplish the same goal: bring down the bad guy.
At Concordia, women's track and field has a similar two-some. Senior Maria DeBoer is the loud, outgoing leader of the team, while junior Sara Grineski is a quiet runner, who lets her actions on the track speak for themselves.
"Maria is very extroverted," said head women's track coach Marv Roeske. "You notice her the moment you meet her. Sara is the total opposite. She is very quiet and very unassuming."
Although the two have different personalities, they have combined to give the Cobber women a deadly one-two punch. DeBoer is a two-time all-american in the discus, while Grineski is one of the top hurdlers in Concordia’s history.
"They are our two most consistent performers," Roeske said. "Lots of other people do well and have their great moments, but they always perform well."
DeBoer, one of the captains for the women's team, is from tiny Pine Island, Minn. She grew up with three older sisters, and just like them, participated in every activity she could. According to DeBoer, her participation in so many actvities gave her the outgoing personality she has today.
"I learned to meet and associate with people," DeBoer said. "I can relate to a lot of different groups and have fun with them."
In high school, DeBoer was an all-state performer in track, but for her, track was no fun. All that changed in her freshman year at Concordia. The captain of the women's team that year was Renee Erickson. Erickson was a three-time national champion in the javelin, who helped show Maria that track could be fun.
"She [Renee] really stressed the team aspect of track," DeBoer said. "She showed me that you can work hard and still have fun."
Now, four years later, DeBoer is in the same shoes as Erickson, trying to make track a great experience for this year's freshmen.
"I try to bring the whole team together," DeBoer said. "I want to show the team that every group is important.”
Another important figure in DeBoer's track career at Concordia has been Evonne Vaplon, the team's throws coach. Vaplon, who came out of retirement last year, has played a key role in the Cobber tradition of great throwers. She has coached numerous all-americans, and DeBoer hopes to continue that this season.
"Evonne is one of the best coaches," DeBoer said. "I want to do well to make it worthwhile for her."
This season hasn't been without it's challenges for DeBoer. She has a bum right knee that will require surgery at the end of the season. But for DeBoer, it's just another obstacle to overcome.
"I love challenging myself and striving to do better," DeBoer said. "I'm always trying to reach a higher goal."
Roeske is not surprised by DeBoer's decision to forget about her knee and compete.
"I don't think that Maria ever considered not competing this season," Roeske said. "It's her last year, and she knows that this is it." Grineski, who is from Moorhead, is the Cobbers "silent assassin." Although she is not a very vocal person, she does make a lot of noise on the track. Grineski has qualified for nationals in the hurdles, both indoor and outdoor.
"She is really good at leading by example," DeBoer said. "She is one of the hardest workers I have ever seen... she is just amazing to watch." Hard work is what it has taken to get Grineski to this point. As a sophomore in high school, she was one of the top hurdlers in Minnesota. At the state meet that year, however, she broke her hip. That might have stopped most people, but not Grineski. She worked hard to get her hip back in shape, and her senior year, she was a state champion in the hurdles.
That is just one example of Sara's work ethic, which has not gone unnoticed by her coach.
"She works so hard and never says anything," Roeske said. "She finds one thing she wants to work on, and than she works, works, works, until she has it right."
Roeske is so impressed by Grineski's work habits, that he is focusing on hurdlers in recruiting this year, just so they can have the chance to work with Sara for a season. High praise for someone who sees hard work as part of being a member of a team.
"I enjoy helping the team and showing others what they need to know," Grineski said.
Grineski, much like DeBoer, finds the team experience to be the most enjoyable part of track.
"This team is so much fun," Grineski said. "We all get along so well." Although this duo contrasts in many ways, according to their coach, they do have one thing in common.
"They both want to do well and be successful."
Grineski and DeBoer are back in action, with the rest of the Concordia
women’s team, next Friday, at the Carleton Invitational in Northfield,
Tennis Teams Win and Lose Against Bethel
The Concordia men's and women's tennis teams split decisions last Saturday, with the men winning and the women losing in their face off at home against Bethel.
Chalk up the Cobber women's loss as a learning experience for a very young team. Bethel outpowered Concordia, sweeping in doubles and taking all but two matches in singles competition. The Cobber’s record now stands at 0-3.
"We didn't really pull through and close the points we needed to close," Junior Anna Tou said. "The effort was great, it just wasn't our day." Angie Parker and Sarika Mehta pushed the limits to provide the Cobbers with their two wins in singles play.
"We have lots of talent on the team," Tou said. "Hopefully we can get it all together and turn up something big."
On the other court, the Concordia men's team picked up a 4-3 win over Bethel to improve their record to 2-1 in conference play and 3-3 overall.
"It was nice to beat Bethel," sophomore Mark Tuchscherer said. "Especially since we lost 5-4 to them last year."
Sophomore Jake Olson clocked one of the Cobber's toughest matches of the day, as he lost in a third set tiebreaker 4-6, 7-6, 6-7. The loss, however, was not enough to stop Concordia from capturing the day. Senior Ben Nielson, and sophomores Jonah Beckermann, Tuchscherer and Andy Bakke all captured singles wins en-route to the Cobber’s victory.
"We're hoping to be one of the top three teams behind St. Thomas and Gustavus," Tuchscherer said. "Maybe [we can] even beat out one of those teams, [and] improve as the year goes on."
Concordia’s men next face the Johnnies at St.
John’s on Saturday, April 1. The women compete a week from today,
Friday, at St. Ben’s. Both matches are scheduled for 6:30 p.m.