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 Winter 87-88,   Alumni News - Concordia Moorhead
 The Lady Cobbers: Champions with Class

1987-88 Lady Cobber Basketball

By Julie M. Stillwell

Praise and thanksgiving. A caring community united in celebration. Euphoria and humility gracefully balanced.

Monday-morning chapel was indeed the perfect time and place for Concordia to celebrate the achievements of the Lady Cobbers, who the previous Saturday, March 19, had captured the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III championship title.

The victory was especially sweet because Concordia was host to all five tournament games. An overflow crowd shared in the glory as the Lady Cobbers won their 40th consecutive Division III home game and met their ultimate goal with style and grace, besting the previously undefeated, No.1-ranked St. John Fisher, Rochester, N.Y., 65-57.

Performing with Excellence

In remarks directed to the athletes, to coach Duane Siverson; assistant coach Jerry Pyle; and to student manager Julie Hunt '88, Kasson, Minn., President Paul Dovre referred to Eric Liddell, the 1924 Scottish Olympic runner immortalized in the movie "Chariots of Fire.''

''Eric said he could feel God's pleasure when he performed with excellence, Dovre said. "You have given us pleasure, and surely you have given God pleasure."

This is the sixth consecutive year the Lady Cobbers have participated in the NCAA national playoffs. Last year they finished second in the nation. Intent on a first-place finish, the team built, game by game, an impressive list of credits.

At the end of conference play, the team was ranked second nationally, No.1 in both scoring and field goal percentage, No.2 in won-lost percentage, and No.3 in scoring margin.

"I told these kids that if individual accolades are to be attained, the team had better be very successful," Siverson said. "If the team is successful, the individuals will be recognized as well."

It was, and they were. The Women's Basketball Coaches Association selected Jessica Beachy '88, Staples, Minn., as Champion Products Outstanding Player of the Year for Division III women 5 basketball and named her to the Kodak women's all-America basketball team. The WBCA also honored Siverson as Converse Coach of the Year for Division III women's basketball.

Beachy; Jillayn Quaschnick '89, Sebeka, Minn.; and Michelle Thykeson '91, Hope, N.D.; were named to the final four all-tournament team. This is the first time in thc seven-year history of NCAA Division III women's basketball that three of the five all-tournament team members have been from the same School. Siverson was also named West Region Coach of the Year. MIAC all-conference team members were Beachy, Quaschnick, Thykeson and MaryLee Legried '88, New York Mills, Minn. Cheri Beyer '88, Frazee, Mion. rcceived honorable mention. Beachy and Legried also made the MIAC academic all-conference list.

MIAC record-holders include Beyer, best season three-point field goal percentage; Rhonda Schneekloth '91, Tower City, N.D., best season field goal percentage; Legried, most career assists; and Peachy, most career points in the conference. Patty Kubow '89, Rush City, Minn., holds a career record of 452 rebounds, followed by Nancy Jacobson '88, Bismarck, N.D. Quaschnick's field goal percentage of 61.1 percent is fourth best in the nation.

Team Attitude

Individual record building was secondary to team success. Siverson watched closely to be sure that team success did not lead to failure by going too far.

''The reason for this game is to build confidence and prepare the players for the rest of their lives. At the same time we can t lose sight of the other team,'' Siverson said. ''I teach the women to play with grace. We will abandon our normal schemes rather than demoralize another team. 1 always want people to be able to say the Lady Cobbers have class.''

Kubow echoed her coach's philosophy.  "'The focus isn't so much plain success as it is to be personnally satisfied.''

The Lady Cobbers achieved much more than athletic superiority during their long and arduous season. Together, the women learned the meaning of self discipline. balance, sacrifice and class.

Academic Excellence

''Not being able to offer athletic scholarships (an NCAA Division III rule) sometimes causes us to lose players we would like to recruit. But it also means that the players who come here and their families have made a commitment to a Concordia education." Siverson said. ''They're thinking of education first. ~d that means we almost never have to worry about academic eligibility. players getting into trouble. or players thinking their lives are in shambles just because their basketball careers might not be going as well as they had hoped.

It's clear the women's success on the court has been achieved as a result of not in spite of, the college's academic standards. The Lady Cobbers have earned a cumulative 3.51 grade point average. The college's athlete graduation rate is 98.8 percent.

'Coach stresses the fact that we are student-athletes,'' said Quaschnick who next year will add a time-consuming student teaching assignment to her already full academic and athletic agenda. AllAmerica seniors Beachy and Legried will attend graduate and medical school, respectively.

 Homegrown Talent

All but four of the Lady Cobbers come from communities with populations of fewer than 3,000. ''Hick town girls" is how one of the women proudly described the team.

Family and friends from these hometowns packed the Field House to watch the Lady Cobbers win the championship. The greatest testimony of hometown support came from a farm couple, clients of Legried's veterinarian father, Dr. Howard Legried. This quiet, almost reclusive pair is rarely seen in the New York Mills community.

'I couldn't believe it when I heard they had come to the game. They thought so much of my dad that they came to the championship game just to see his daughter play basketball, Legried said. 'I didn't think they even drove a car! I can't imagine they knew anything about basketball. They probably had never seen a basketball game in their lives.'

Throughout the long basketball season attendance at the games grew. Faithful Cobber fans from the Twin Cities attended metro-area conference games, often outnumbering the home team cheering section.

And what entertainment the Lady Cobbers provided. The team had such depth and diversity that everyone played Individual players rarely saw more than 25 minutes of action per game.

''Compared with many other teams more of our players can score, pass and work the floor. Other teams don't know how to defend against us," Beachy said.

The Lady Cobbers kept the action fast and furious, thrilling the crowd with their lightning speed and their impressive passing and shooting skills. By wearing down the competition the team kept the fatigue factor in their favor and chalked up victory after victory.

Siverson measures his team's success with the yardstick of personal development, rather than the trophy count.

''No one will ever tell me these ladies didn't grow and mature. They will all have successful lives because of what they've learned.

"It's nice for our Lady Cobbers to be rewarded for their hard work. It's amazing mg what that does for self-esteem and who knows what that will lead to?

Jessica Beachy's Stellar Career

  National Collegiate Athletic Association Divisions Il-Ill Postgraduate Scholarship, 1988
Champion Products Outstanding Player of the Year for NCAA Division III women's basketball, as selected by the Women's Basket ball Coaches Association, 1988
Kodak women's basketball allAmerica team for Division III, as selected by the WBCA, 1987,1988
American Women's Sports Federation all-America freshman first team, 1985; third team, 1986; first team, 1987,1988
Division III final four all-tourna ment team, 1987,1988
All-West Region team, 1985, 1986, 1987,1988
West Region all-tournament team, 1985,1986, 1987,1988
West Region Most Valuable Player, 1987,1988
Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference all-conference team, 1985,1986,1987,1988 MIAC academic all-conference team, 1987,1988
MIAC Most Valuable Player, 1987
MIAC record in conference scoring, 1,491
Concordia Most Valuable Player, 1987,1988
  Concordia career records: points scored, 2,101; steals, 278; free throw percentage, 79.5%
  Concordia record { 1986-87) in season field goals made, 251 Team leader in points scored, 1986,1987, 1988; in free throw percentage, 1987,1988

Dynamic Duo - Beachy and Legried

'Beachy and Legried are the best pair of guards in the conference - possibly in the nation," coach Duane Siverson said following the 1986-87 women's basketball season.

This year the truth of that statement was borne out as the Lady Cobbers' two senior standouts, Jessica Beachy, Staples, Minn., and MaryLee Legried, New York Mills, Minn., led the way in earning the national championship title.

Their greatest fan is undoubtedly their coach, Duane Siverson, who guided them through four years of excellence.

"I knew Jessie was a great player when I recruited her, and she obviously lived up to our expectations. She is a great player, and she has worked very hard for her success," he said. "MaryLee is a floor leader. She's like another coach out there."

Beachy was named Outstanding Player of the Year by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association.

Legried's contributions to the team were recognized as well. She holds a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference record for career assists (704) and a Concordia career-assist record of 926. She was named to both the all-conference and the academic all-conference teams. Last year besides being all-conference, she was a member of the American Women's Sports Federation all-America second team.

Throughout the season the Lady Cobbers piled up victory after victory, working toward the ultimate goal of a national championship.

"We kept thinking, 'If we win, it will make everything worthwhile.' We learned that unless we did our work we wouldn't be ready for the tough situations," Legried said.

"Sometimes the games weren't going too well, but because we had grown so close we were able to pull it out. We learned to adapt and appreciate the good things about each other," Beachy added.

The desire to win was especially strong for Beachy, whose high school basketball team, coached by her father, Ron Beachy, narrowly missed winning the state championship in her senior year.

Finally, the dream came true, the final buzzer sounded, and the Lady Cobbers were national champions. "There were so many people surrounding us on the court, I couldn't find my dad in the crowd," Beachy recalled. "Finally he found me. I was so overwhelmed. He knew how much it meant to me to finally say I'm on a team that's No. 1. I cried, and he held me. My parents were ecstatic. Not just for me, but for the whole team."

 Winter sports season challenges Cobbers


Brett Larson, a senior from Elbow Lake, Minn., earned all-America status with his fourth-place finish in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III wrestling tournament held in Wheaton, Ill.

Prior to the national tournament, I,arson was chosen Most Valuable Wrestler of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament, where he captured his third consecutive conference title by defeating a three time all-America wrestler. Larson finished his season with an outstanding 32-6 record.

The wrestling team, coached by Ron Nellermoe, placed sixth in the MIAC. He recognized the seniors for their contributions to the team. In addition to Larson they are Dave Erickson Windom; Steve Tonder Albert Lea; Joe Klingfus, Austin alt in Minnesota; and Kurt Scheer and Todd Risa both of Fargo.

Nellermoe also credited outstanding freshmen on the team. They were led by Mike Northcutt Missoula, and Kirk Leinwand, Forsyth, both in Montana. Other freshmen for the future are Kirk Crews, Florence, Mont. and Minnesota students ]ason Daniets, Walker; Jeff Theel, Minnetonka; Pat Lorenson, Greenbush; Steve Nattrass and Clint Moser, Rochert

 Men's basketball

The men's basketball team, which posted a 10-10 conference record, missed the four-team MIAC playoffs by only one game. While the team finished in the middle of the conference, it placed second in the conference for both two and three-point field goal accuracy.

The team was led by Mike Schwarz, a senior from Burnsville, Minn. An excellent outside shooter, Schwarz set a new school record with nine three-point field goals in one game. With 797 career points, Schwarz led the team in rebounding and scoring, and ranked third in the conference for his scoring average of 18 points per game. In recognition of his outstanding season, Schwarz was named to the MIAC all conference team.

Wade Hanson, a junior from Willmar, Miinn. averaged 5.3 assists per game, ranking second on the MIAC assist charts. Senior Rodger Taylor, Fairview, Mont., accumulated 835 career points (during his three years of varsity play, placing him 13th on Concordia's all-time scoring list. Hanson , Taylor and Mark Thimjon, a sophomore from Barnesville, Minn., were named to the honorable mention all-conference team.

According to Coach John Fidsness, the outlook is optimistic for next year's team, which will include three returning starters.


The hockey team tied for fourth in the conference with St. Olaf. However, the Cobbers didn't earn a playoff spot because the Oles swept them in season play. According to Coach Stevc Baumgartner, a highlight of the season was scoring 19 goals in a victorious series against St. John's.

Baumgartner recognized Bruce Elson, a senior from Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, for his consistent play. Elson was the team's leading scorer with 37 points. Named to the all conference team  were Elson and Brian Johnston, a senior defenseman from Thief River Falls, Minn.

The outlook for next year, says Baumgartner, is excellent. He looks to freshmen John Town from Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, and Dave Prokop from Moorhead, as athletes to watch on next year's team.