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Fall 1977,   Alumni News - Concordia Moorhead

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Concordia football for 1977 provided what Cobber fans have come to expect - exciting grid action at a highly competitive level.

The Cobbers captured second place in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) with a 5-2 record. Their overall mark, 7-2, includes two impressive pre-season victories over Northern Intercollegiate Conference (NIC) powers, Moorhead State and the  University of Minnesota-Morris.

While piling up five consecutive wins, Concordia quickly became a front runner in national  rankings. They climbed to second in National Association Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division Ill polls before sustaining their first loss to eventual champion, St. John's. After a tough defeat at Augsburg one week later, the Cobbers beat Hamline and St. Thomas in convincing fashion to close out another successful year under Coach Jim Christopherson.

The young Cobber offense averaged 25 points per game this year, including a record  97-point performance at Macalester. Coach  Christopherson will have all but five members of the offensive squad returning to see action in 1978. Fullback Jim Ostlund, of Bagley, MN, had an excellent year as a senior ball carrier. Though hampered by injury, he proved to be a workhorse for the Cobbers.

Also graduating are Cobber offensive linemen: Tom Bartholemew, a center from Hastings, MN; tackle Tim Hodel, of International Falls, MN; and guards Dave Verley, of Canton,  MN, and Steve Dibb, from Litchfield, MN. Concordia running backs Bob Beliveau, of Alexandria, MN, and Jeff Welker, of Willmar, MN, will be back next season along with quarterback Mike Lien, from Duluth, MN, and promising receiver John Rehkemp, of Cottage Grove, MN. The Cobbers figure to be strong offensively with the return of their proven backs behind a seasoned offensive line.

Concordia exhibited outstanding defensive skill this season, holding opponents to an average of nine points a game. Coach Christopherson noted, however, that "nine of our 11 defensive starters in the St. Thomas game are graduating."

Christopherson faces a massive rebuilding job for next fall, beginning with starting defensive backs Dave Bruflag, of Henning, MN, Bob Majeski, of Hastings, MN, Dan Rosenfeldt, of Glyndon, MN, and Greg Hruby, of Canby, MN. Graduating linebackers are Mike Johnson, from Pelican Rapids, MN, and Steve Wonderlich, from Moorhead.

The highly-touted defensive line of the maroon and gold featured ends Dave Klug, from Litchfield, MN, and senior Mike Blum, of Stewart, MN. All-American candidate Barry Bennett, from North St. Paul, MN, and tackle Randy Smith, of Austin, MN, rounded out the graduates from this year's awesome interior line.

Tackle Derek Johnson, of  Whitefish, MT, punt returner Larry Selevold, of Moorhead, and backs Dave Martinson, of Twin Valley, MN, and Bob Bellefeuille, of Fargo, ND, will also be lost to next season's team.

"The low point of the season," according to Christopherson, "had to be the back-to-back losses against St. John's and Augsburg. St. John's played its best game of the season against us."

Another difficult foe on the Concordia schedule this year was Gustavus Adolphus. The Gusties fell in a defensive battle 9-7.

Coach Christopherson noted, "Our best game of the season was played at Morris." The Cobbers  clearly handled NIC champion Morris 10-0, for the Cougars' lone defeat of their season.

Special mention must be made of the superior play of defensive tackle Barry Bennett. At 6 feet 3-1/2, 255 pounds, he was selected Most Valuable Player by his teammates and was the first Cobber in history chosen to play in the East-West Shrine Game on December 31. The 1978 Concordia football team will surely miss this year's outstanding defense headed by Bennett, but Coach Jim Christopherson is optimistic that next season's offense and Cobber football  team may bring Concordia a league championship.

MIAC All-Conference list three Cobbers

Three Cobber football players were named to the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) All-Conference team for the 1977 season. They are defensive linemen Barry Bennett and Mike Blum, and offensive lineman Allen Holm.

Coach Jim Christopherson also announced Mike Johnson, senior from Pelican Rapids, MN, and Bob Beliveau, junior from Alexandria, MN, received honorable mention.

 In congratulating the athletes, Christopherson said of Bennett, a senior from North St. Paul, MN: "He is one of the finest defensive players in Concordia history." Blum, a senior from Stewart, MN, is, "an aggressive defensive lineman against any running, rushing or passing play." And Holm, a junior from Tulare, SD, was, "our most consistent offensive lineman, a great pass blocker and outstanding down-field blocker."

Barry Bennett named to Shrine All-Star team

 Barry Bennett , 6-foot-3-1/2, 255-pound Concordia College defensive tackle, has been selected to play in the annual East-West Shrine All-Star football game in San Francisco, December 31st. Bennett will play for the West.

The two teams represent some of the most outstanding collegiate players in the United States. The game will be televised nationally. Bennett will report to camp December 20.

Bennett has received numerous honors in two sports: football and wrestling. Among his football accolades, the senior from North St. Paul, MN, was tri-captain of the 1977 squad and has been named All-Conference (MIAC) in 1976 and in 1977.

He has led the Concordia defensive team in points, solo tackles, assists and quarterback sacks for three consecutive years. This gifted athlete has twice been selected Most Valuable Player by his teammates in addition to earning Most Valuable Freshman honors in 1974.

Jim Christopherson, former Minnesota Viking and veteran grid coach for nine years, rates Barry Bennett as a better collegiate defensive player than Gary Larson (one-time Cobber and Minnesota Viking defensive tackle for 11 years).

The defense was spearheaded by All-American candidate Barry Bennett.

"His outstanding career in wrestling (two-time NAIA heavyweight champion) has helped develop his football skills."

A Minnesota state high school wrestling champion (1974), Bennett is the defending National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Heavyweight wrestling champion for 1976 and 1977. His stellar national achievements in wrestling, including a position in the 1976 U.S.  NAIA-AAU wrestling team are similar to national honors awarded to him in football.

Barry Bennett is a serious candidate for college football's coveted All-American status. He was an NAIA All-American honorable mention in 1976 and coach Christopherson predicts, "He will be drafted high by the pros."

Bennett, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert M. Bennett, is a senior majoring in physical education and health.

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 In their opening game at the tournament Cobbers routed Mayville State, 15-9, 10-15, 15-11, but dropped to Bemidji in their second match, 1-15, 11-15. Coming from behind, Cobbers upset North Dakota State to win 7-15, 15-11, 15-9. Earlier in the season Concordia played North Dakota and lost.

The Cobbers downed the University of Minnesota, Morris, in three games, 15-0, 5-15, 15-12. They were handily defeated, however, in their final match with Moorhead State, 9-15, 7-15. Overall Concordia bettered its fourth place seasonal standing at the tournament.

With new coach, Kay Peterson, directing the Concordia women's volleyball team, it showed good potential this past year.
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Women's field hockey finish good season

Concordia women's field hockey team were ranked second following Minn-Kota Conference tournament play in Bemidji. The Cobbers defeated the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, and Moorhead State University before falling to nationally rated Bemidji State.
In its first game of the tournament, Concordia shut out the University of North Dakota, 2-0. Scoring for the Cobbers were Sandy Borgstahl, a senior from Faribault, MN, and Sonja Peterson, a senior from Stiliwater, MN. Borgstahl and Peterson co-captain the team.

In action against Moorhead State, Concordia topped the Dragons, 3-1. Sandy Borgstahl shot and hit for two points; Sonja Peterson scored one.

Concordia lost in its final game against Bemidji State. The score was 0-3. Final tallies ranked Bemidji first, Concordia second, University of North Dakota third, and Moorhead State fourth. Surprisingly, Peterson was the only Cobber selectted to the Minn-Kota AllConference team. Both co-captains provided the team with strong leadership, contributing to the Cobbers outstanding season.

The Cobbers accumulated 15 wins versus 8 losses this year, enjoying one of their best seasons. Action was exciting with many games going into overtime.

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Women golfers defend title

 Undefeated in conference play, the Concordia women's golf team downed opponents in tournament action at Grand Forks, to bring home its second consecutive Minn-Kota Conference championship - Concordia's fourth title in the past six years.

Cobbers shot 170 over nine holes, followed by the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks with 201, and Moorhead State University with 211. Diane Fedje, a sophomore from Hoople, ND, tied for medalist honors with teammate Kris Elton, a freshman from Alexandria, MN, shooting a one-over par 39. Second high scorer was Cobber Laurie Kloster, a sophomore from Mayville, ND, with a 45. Gwen Larsen, a freshman from Casselton, ND, tied for third, shooting a 47.

With all its golfers returning next year, Concordia can only expect another outstanding season.

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Cobber cage coach resigns in 1978

 Edwin "Sonny" Gulsvig announced he will resign as head basketball coach of the Concordia College Cobbers, effective the end of this 1977-78 season. He will continue on the physical education, health and athletic department's coaching staff and teaching faculty.

In addition to his basketball coaching duties, Gulsvig has served as assistant football coach, one-time sports information director and associate professor of physical education at the college. Gulsvig ends a 22-year career with the Cobber cagers.

In accepting his resignation, submitted to the president in a formal letter, Dr. Paul J. Dovre said, "The lives of many athletes at Concordia have been enriched by the leadership of Sonny Gulsvig. He has instilled winning habits and qualities of character which represent the best traditions of a college like Concordia. Sonny will continue in his role as a member of our faculty and coaching staff so that we will  continue to benefit from his strong leadership."

The president added that he fully understands Sonny's position. "Basketball coaching is one of the most demanding areas of leadership in intercollegiate athletics and Sonny has been at his job for over 20 years.

"He has always been able to instill winning habits in his players, and to inspire and prepare his teams. The true measure of his effectiveness is the kind of loyalty he has always inspired from his players and students."

Concordia's athletic director, Dr. Armin Pipho, commented: "Sonny had dedicated a significant portion of his life to the development of the basketball program at Concordia College. As head coach in a major spectator sport, his very positive outlook on life has been exposed  to the general public through his players. Sonny has always placed the welfare, the attitude and the overall development of the individual player uppermost in his teaching and coaching, and Concordia has benefited tremendously from this.

"Since I was new at Concordia last year, I only saw Sonny's team perform one season. However, his players were exciting to watch, and they played together well as a team. I will miss working with Sonny in basketball, but I am looking forward to continued work with him in his many other capacities. His energy, his enthusiasm and his concern for students are invaluable assets to our department and our program."

A native of Erdahl, Minn., Gulsvig is a 1946 graduate of Elbow Lake, (MN) High School, a 1950 Concordia graduate, and he holds a master's degree from the University of Minnesota. In 1975 he was named the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) District 13 basketball coach of the year. Gulsvig was primarily responsible for the Concordia Coaching Clinic which became one of the most highly respected coaching clinics in the country for many years.

Prior to coaching at Concordia, Gulsvig taught and coached at Moose Lake and Sauk Centre, MN, high schools. He is married and has four children.

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 Net women look ahead to 1978 season

 Concordia women's tennis team finished the 1977 season with a disappointing 2-8 win loss record. Defeating only the University of Minnesota, Morris, and North Dakota State University in season matches, Cobbers went on to place fifth in the Minn-Kota Conference tournament in Fargo.

With several talented players returning next fall the team expects expenence to pay off be coming stronger contenders for the 1978 season.