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Winter  1977-78,   Alumni News - Concordia Moorhead
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Bennett Leads Cobber Wrestlers

The 1977-78 Concordia wrestling team, anchored by the near-perfect wrestling of senior heavyweight Barry Bennett, captured third place in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship held at the Concordia Memorial Auditorium. The Cobber matmen picked Up 52½ total points and finished behind only Augsburg (92½) and St. Thomas (73).

Concordia's wrestlers, under the direction of veteran coach Finn Grinaker, posted a very respectable 9-5 dual meet record this season. This year's team boasts two nationally-competing grapplers, Barry Bennett and Mark Jensen.

Bennett, football All-American and native of North St. Paul, MN, continued his total domination of the heavyweight division. Extending his personal win streak to 68, Bennett nailed down his third consecutive MIAC title and maintained a season mark of 2-0.

Junior standout Mark Jensen, Brainerd, MN, claimed the 150-pound title and was awarded the Carl Larson Memorial Trophy as the MIAC tournament's outstanding wrestler. He finished the season at 25-3.

Coach Grinaker will lose six mainstays of this year's squad to graduation, Barry Bennett; Randy Hansen (177) of Brainerd, MN; Gerald Howard (177) of Eden Prairie, MN; Jeff Poliak (158) of Albert Lea, MN; Charles Thompson (134) also from Albert Lea; and Doug Tweet (158) of Perham, MN, who have helped make 1977-78 a successful season for the Cobber wrestling team.

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 Icemen ranked high

College hockey, a perennial favorite among Concordia's sports fans, again proved to be ex- citing to the many who turned out to see the 1978 Cobber hockey team in action. Concordia's icers, after the first seven conference games of the season maintained a strong 6-1 record. However, a gruelling road schedule against the MIAC's best left the Cobbers at 6-8 for the season

Under the guidance of head coach Al Rice, the relatively young squad had been ranked as high as second in early National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics polls. However, nine of Concordia's 14 conference games were played on the road, and on numerous occasions Concordia jumped quickly to an early lead before their opponents prevailed.

Among the leading scorers for Concordia this year were juniors John Villalta of International Falls, MN, Jeff Frider, team captain from Hibbing, MN, Ray Weisgarber of Regina, Sask., and Dave Perry of Moorhead. Also providing scoring punch for the maroon and gold were senior Rex Lewis of Duluth, MN, and freshman standout Sheldon Vatnsdal of Roseau, MN.

Concordia's icemen, 11-16 overall this season, stand to lose just three players from the present roster. Senior goalie Kevin Sorenson from Coleraine, MN, provided the Cobb ers with depth at a very demanding position. Along with Sorenson and the versatile Rex Lewis, Randy Beck, the speedy wing from Puposky, MN, will be graduating from the 1978 team. Though Concordia's hockey team is losing three players, Coach Al Rice has a number of talented young players in the wings for 1979.

Two Cobber icers receive conference honors

Junior center John Villalta, International Falls, MN, and senior defenseman-forward Rex Lewis from Duluth, MN, were Concordia selections to the All-Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference team for 1977-78.

Villalta topped Concordia scorers for the season with 40 points; 17 goals and 23 assists. His conference total of 20 (10 goals, 10 assists) placed him fifth in MIAC scoring. Along with junior wingmen Jeff Frider, team captain from Hibbing, MN, and Dave Perry of Moorhead, Villalta's trio provided one of the highest producing lines in recent Concordia history.

A versatile forward and defenseman, Rex Lewis picked up 19 points for the year on seven goals and 12 assists. He was among the league's top ten scorers and is cunently in Germany for a tryout with a professional hockey team.

Jeff Frider, Dave Perry and junior wing Ray Weisgarber from Regina, Sask., were named to the MIAC honorable mention.

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Men Cagers post upset victories

The Concordia's men's basketball team for 1977-78 performed unexpectedly well this season and indications are that the Cobbers will be a frontrunner next season in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Concordia's cagers, with one senior on the roster, managed an 8-10 conference mark in coach Sonny Gulsvig's 23rd and final year as head coach.

Concordia's cagers, 9-16 overall, posted upset victories over league powers Gustavus Adolphus (73-67), St. Thomas (63-57) and St. Mary's (75-71) while finishing in a fifth-place tie with St. Olaf. Spearheading the offensive attack for the Cobbers this year was sham-shooting guard Eric Larsen, a sophomore from Fargo, ND. Larsen topped all scoring with a 14-point per game average. Junior Mark Lynne, Bismarck, ND, led the team in rebounds with 126 and total points with 219, averaging seven rebounds and 12 points per game.

The lone graduating senior from the 1978 roster is forward Steve Johnson of Montevideo,  MN; therefore, new Cobber coach John Eidsness will have a returning, well-balanced attack to work with. Junior guard Dave Glaser, Bismarck, ND, has proven he can score consis-  tently and regulars Mark Lynne and Craig Flaagen of Fargo, ND, can be counted on for board strength as well as offensive power.    Junior forward Brent Reichert from Crookston, MN, and sophomore center Bob Dale of Moorhead add offensive scoring potential to next year's squad, certain to be a conference contender.

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 Cobber women cagers post excellent season

A little experience can do wonders. Last season Coach Collette Foistad began with three returning starters, eight freshmen and one transfer student. Cobber women fought their way through heavy competition to tie for fourth in the 1976-77 Minn-Kota Conference and to  finish second among small colleges in the state.

They had spent the year learning about each other and about a new system of basket ball. That one year of dedication and determination of the players payed off this season.  Concordia women were unbeaten in conference competition, finishing with a 7-0 won-lost record. The Cobbers, seeded third in the state playoffs, sewed up the Minnesota championship by defeating finalists Concordia College-St. Paul 63-61, the College of St. Catherine 53-51 and Winona State College 57-51. They went on to represent Minnesota in the Region VI Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) competition, finishing as consolation champions in that seven-state tournament.

Coach Folstad attributes the team's "excellent season" to the experienced lineup. "The players were an intelligent group of young women whose overall knowledge of the game helped in competition against much taller opponents. They possessed superior quickness that was nearly impossible to beat and they were able to control the tempo. They had le&ned to work together and knew what teamwork really meant."

The key to their games all season had been their "tremendous determination and inspired play," according to Folstad. "They lived basketball and spent many hours at practice developing good ball-handling technique."

Concor&a played well defensively and was very balanced offensively. When the final scores were tallied, statistically the Cobbers sported the best records in the conference, holding opponents to 44.4 points per game. Overall, they had limited their opposition to 51.7 points per game.

Outstanding individual performances were turned in by seniors, captain Cindy Hudson of Hunter, ND, and Becky Dooley of Wheafland, ND. Coach Folstad said the two graduating athletes "will be hard to replace."

Sophomore Kathy Meyer of Mayville, ND, was another high performer who led the conference in rebounds, averaging 15.1 per game. Coral Beske, a sophomore from Lake Park, MN, was high team scorer. She also ranked second in conference scoring with an average of  19 points per game, and she had the fourth best field goal percentage in the conference with .471. Mary Schultz, a sophomore from Fargo, ND, was overall an outstanding player.

Coach Folstad will also be looking to freshmen Mary Jo Schafer of Adams, MN, and Paula Langseth of Casselton, ND, for a strong Cobber lineup next year.

This season will mark Coach Folstad's fourth year with the Cobbers and her second conference championship. Highlight of the season, however, was the opportunity to participate in regional competition. 'It was an exceptional experience and we were proud to represent the entire state of Minnesota."

In regional action, Concordia fell to Nebraska's champion, Midland Lutheran College (Fremont) 68-61, missing several easy layups in the final three minutes of play that could have given the Cobbers a victory, and a chance to advance to the National Small College championship playoffs in Florence, NC. (Midland and Region VI champion William Penn College of Askaloosa, IA, won the honors.)

In regional consolation playoffs, however, Concotdia downed Dickinson State College 72-56 and the University of South Dakota 62-57 to place fifth in the tournament and win the consolation championship.

Assisting Collette on the bench this season was Paul Rykken, a junior from West Fargo. The former JV and varsity cager is considered a "student of the game," according to Coach Folstad. "Paul has a great knowledge of basketball and won the respect and trust of the team." In addition to assisting with the varsity squad, Rykken coached the junior varsity women's basketball team.

Women cagers capture tournament honors

Four members of the Concordia women's basketball team's first string received Minn-Kota All-Conference honors, with three of the four athletes earning All-State selection as well.

Cobber women voted All-Conference by the players and coaches of the seven-school league are: Kathy Meyer, a sophomore from Mayville, ND; Coral Beske, a sophomore from Lake Park, MN; Becky Dooley, a senior from Wheatland, ND, and Cindy Hudson, a senior from Hunter, ND.

Final conference statistics showed Kathy Meyer topping the conference list of rebounds with 15.1 averaged per game. Teammate Beske with 19 points per game (133) total points) ranked second in scoring in the conference. Captain Cindy Hudson and Becky Dooley both played "outstandingly" all season, Coach Collette Folstad said.

For the first time in the state tournament's history, an All-Tournament team was selected Concordia was strongly represented All State honors went to Beske, Hudson and Meyer The three-game totals of state tournament action showed leading Cobber scorers in points were Beske, with 54; Dooley, with 33, and Hudson with 27. Leading the Cobbers in rebounds were Meyer, with 42; Dooley, with 18; Hudson, with 16, and Beske, with 16.

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Gymnasts show gains in conference standings

Totaling 96.9 points, Concordia women gymnasts finished in third place in Minn-Kota conference tournament competition. Cobbers were pleased with their performance, having bettered previous fifth-place tournament finishes.

Bemidji State College headed up team totals with 121 points, followed by Moorhead State University (100.75), Concordia College, University of North Dakota-Grand Forks (90.45), North Dakota State University (87), Valley City State College (83.35), and Mayville State College (69).

Mary Jacobus, a freshman from Albert Lea, MN, held her own for Concordia, standing fifth in all-around competition with 27.2 points. On the uneven bars Jacobus ranked third at 7.35; on the beam and in floor exercises she placed fourth, scoring 6.9 and 7.5 respectively.

Coach Dianne Ritchie commented that the team had a great season. "We achieved several of our goals including a win over Moorhead State and breaking 100 points."

The gymnasts finished their season at the state (MAIAW) tournament in Winona, MN, placing fifth in the small college division. Coach Ritchie said seniors Jean Greseth of Hanley Falls, MN, and Ann Nelson of Redwood Falls, MN, performed very well in their last meet.