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| 1998-99 Cobber Men's Hockey
Mar. 12, 1999 | Concordian | Cobber Sports
  | Men's Hockey | Women's Track | Men's Track | Swimming | Baseball | Softball

Men's Hockey Falls in MIAC Finals
Gast, Gramer, Howard, and Baumgartner given post-season honors

Ryan McCallum
Sports Editor

After advancing to the playoffs for the first time in nine years, the Cobber men’s hockey team ended their season Saturday one win shy of winning the MIAC title.

Concordia fell to St. Thomas 5-2 in the deciding game of the MIAC Playoff Championship series at Augsburg Arena. The Cobbers ended their season with a 14-2-3 overall record, including going 9-5-2 in the MIAC. “Our season was a definite success,” Junior Guy Clairmont said. “The seniors on our team won three games in their freshman year, and to come in and take second in the playoffs is a really big statement.”

The team tied the Tommies in the first game in the series 1-1. Sophomore goalie Bryan Howard dominated again in that game, stopping 36 of 37 shots.

“We easily could have won that game,” Clairmont. “But, we also could easily have lost it. Bryan came up huge for us.” 

Senior Brock Blickre’s power-play goal 20 secondes into the final period tied the game for the Cobbers. Sophomore Mike Gast and junior Jason DiMatteo were credited with assists.

The tie ment that the winner of Saturday’s game would win the best-of-two series and advance to the NCAA tournament.

Going into the third period on Saturday trailing 4-2, Concordia came at St. Thomas with everything they had, outshooting them 15-4. However, they couldn’t put the puck in the net, and an empty-net goal sealed the game for the Tommies.

“In the first two periods, we weren’t doing what got us there,” said junior Ken Putt. “Then, in the third period, we played with a sense of ungency, but it was too little too late.” 

Clairmont said that the team could easily have taken the series from St. Thomas.

“They laid it on the line in the  third period, and gave it everything they head,” said coach Steve Baumgartner. “I wondered where they were digging it from. It was a tough game, but there’s nothing to be ashamed about. They worked extremely hard, and left everything on the ice.”

On Sunday, Baumgartner was named MIAC Coach of the Year.  “Winning Coach of the Year was a surprise,” Baumgartner said. “It was a reflection of just how good the team was. We had such a good group of players.”

Three indiduals from the team were also honored on Sunday. Howard, Gast, and junior defenseman and team captain Rob Gramer were named All-MIAC. Howard was the MIAC’s leading goalie, wih a goals against average of 2.6. Gramer had six goals and led the team with 19 assists. Gast had 12 goals and 13 assists for the Cobbers.

In order to reach the MIAC finals, the Cobbers split two games with St. Johns in the first round, and won the deciding 15-minute mini-game to advance to the finals.

The Johnnies dismatled Concordia in the first game on the way to a 10-2 rout. However, the Cobbers bounced back in the second game and won 4-3. Putt scored a power-play goal with 1:36 remaining in the game to even the series, and force the mini-game.

“That was probably the biggest goal in my life, when I scored then,” Putt said.

The biggest struggle the Cobbers will have next year will be replacing seniors Paul Thacker, Paul Bender, Corey Rupp, and Blickre.

“We are going to lose key players next year,” Clairmont said. “But, we lost our number one, two, and four scorers the year before, and we still managed to improve.”

Baumgartner said that the team cannot afford to forget the lessons that the team leaders have taught them.

“They were the key to our success,” Baumgartner said. “They’ve set a standard that we’re going to strive to maintiain. We want to make sure that tradition is held up, and that we can get Concordia to the top,
where it belongs.”

| 1999 Men's Track and Women's Track
Mar. 12, 1999 | Concordian | Cobber Sports
  | Men's Hockey | Women's Track | Men's Track | Swimming | Baseball | Softball

Track teams complete indoor seasons Brenden named Indoor Athlete of the Year as women take first

Kati Schmidkunz 
The Concordian

Both the men’s and women’s track teams ended their conference indoor seasons over the weekend at the MIAC tournament at the University of Minnesota. The Concordia women's track team dominated at the event, winning the MIAC indoor title for the second year in a row. The men's track team took third place. 

“They were the best team in the conference throughout the whole season,” women’s head coach Marv Roeske said. “They worked hard and it payed off.”

Roeske said the women's track team surprised everyone last year when they did so well at the MIAC. This year, the women went into the season knowing they had experience on their side. 

“When the MIAC tournament came up they knew what they had to do,” Roeske said. “They trained and were ready. When they were given the chance to perform they did it.”

Roeske mentioned that last year the women knew they were competition for other teams. This year they knew they were the favorites.

On Tuesday, sophomore Heidi Brenden was named the NCAA Central Region Division III Indoor Womens Athlete of the Year, also she took the honor of being MIAC Indoor Track's Most Outstanding Athlete. 

“I was kind of surprised," Brenden said. "It's a big region. I was shocked.”

Brenden excelled in three events over the weekend, including breaking the MIAC meet and Concordia’s record in the 800-meter with a time of 2:16.88. 

Sophomore Angie Strom participated in the Pentathlon for the first time and took second. The pentathlon consists of hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump, and the 800-meter run.

Senior Barb Breidenbach, one of the track team's captains, performed well. On Friday Barb placed 6th in the 1500 with her personal best a 4:49. Then on Saturday she placed 3rd in the 1000 with a 3:03 and also
the 3000 with a 10:39.

“Barb showed lots of guts and ran close to her best times,” said Roeske. 

Sophomore Lisa Hodapp, placed fourth in the pole vault at the tournament with a school record-breaking 9’6” vault. 

"Lisa crushed the school record in the past two weeks," said Roeske. Hodapp said she had been pole vaulting around seven or eight feet. She got a new pole that could support her a little bit better and with her good technique everything came together for her at the MIAC.

“I am excited and happy about how things worked out,” Hodapp said. The men's team also did well at the MIAC tournament. Men's head coach Gerrick Larson said nobody won an event but many of the men placed.  “As a team we were okay with what we did but we were not satisfied.” Larson said. “We've come from the pit with in the past six years.”

Sophomore Micah Benson placed second in the long jump with a 22’11 3/4” also earning himself the school long jump record. Three men from the track team placed in the pentathlon. Jeff Hertel, Dan Bucholz, and Joe Schmidgall, placed second, third, and fourth, respectively. The pentathlon was a big event for the team said Larson. 

Steve Edlund took eighth in the 3000 meter with a 9:04.87 and sixth in the 5000 meter with a 15:47.09. 

In the 35-pound weight toss, Joel Nelson placed third, Mark Aslakson placed fourth, and Scott Jorgensen placed fifth.

Larson said that the men's team has a good balanced team effort. It was mentioned by Brendon, Strom, Breidenbach, and Hodapp that both the men and women's teams have always pulled together but when it came down to the MIAC they pulled together even more. 

Hodapp mentioned, "We have a good group of men and women. It seems more like one team rather than two." 

| 1999 Cobber Baseball
Mar. 12, 1999 | Concordian | Cobber Sports
  | Men's Hockey | Women's Track | Men's Track | Swimming | Baseball | Softball

Baseball opens season at Gene Cussic Classic

Nathan De Cock
The Concordian

The Cobber baseball team ventured its first steps out-of-doors over spring break at the Gene Cussic Classic as they opened the 1999 baseball season. 

With snow still covering the ground in Moorhead, practice has been a strictly indoor event. So with wooden mounds giving way to dirt, and smooth fielding surfaces giving way to imperfection, a lack of outdoor experience was apparent in Florida.

The team finished the Classic with four wins and six losses. This does not mean it was a disappointing trip, for the hitting was great, and the pitching superb. But, with new surfaces to adapt to, and winter rust to shed, the Cobber fielding left much to be desired. 

While committing over twice as many errors as their opponents, the Cobbers allowed 30 unearned runs in ten games, turning what could have been a winning record into a losing one.  It was a lackluster and unexpected performance for a team traditionally strong in the field. "It just has a lot to do with it being early in the season. Taking ground balls on a dirt field and fly balls outside for the very first time is a tough adjustment for the fielders," said senior pitcher Jay Asmus. "I thought we played about as well as we could play in most areas of the game, and to pick it up a little bit on defense is all we need to do." 

This year's Cobber baseball team returns all but three players from last year's team, making it an experienced and resilient squad. Expectations are high and the team has set its sights on an MIAC title, and an automatic bid to the NCAA regional tournament.  Only one thing stands in their way: Themselves.

"This year, we're looking to put everything together," Asmus said. "We're trying to get all three parts of the game, the defense, the pitching, and the hitting, all going at the same time. Our biggest obstacle this year is consistency."

If their performance in Florida is any indication, hitting and pitching should not be a problem. Asmus said that the team's fielding will eventually come around. Once this team runs consistently on all three cylinders, it will indeed become a force to be reckoned with.

"I think as a staff we pitched pretty darn good, and we swung the bats okay," said coach Bucky Burgau. "But if we've had a strength and trademark at Concordia over the years, it's been that we've played really good defense.  So I think that we can fix that."

And with a firm grasp of its strengths and weaknesses, Cobber baseball can only improve on what promises to be yet another successful season.

| 1999 Cobber Softball
Mar. 12, 1999 | Concordian | Cobber Sports
  | Men's Hockey | Women's Track | Men's Track | Swimming | Baseball | Softball

Softball gets a jump on MIAC season

Concordia’s softball team traveled to Florida last week to open their season three weeks before their competition.

The Cobbers went 6-4 over spring break, including 2-2 against formidable Division II opponents. They now have until the beginning of April to fine tune their offense and defense in preparation for the MIAC season. “It was great. It couldn’t have been better scripted,” said co-head  coach Jim Cella said. “We got early games, the freshmen got their feet wet and the upperclassmen got back into the swing of things. In our last six games, we went 5-1. It was a great script.”

Last year, the Cobbers went 16-17-1 overall and 10-12 on the way to a seventh place finish in the MIAC. This year, the team is looking to take the next step forward and make a run at the playoffs.

“Our goal is to be at the top of the MIAC this year,” Haadland said. “We think we have the potential to be at the top. So, that’s the goal we set before we started playing. We want to be in the top four in the MIAC and go to the playoffs.”

With the team’s chemistry and depth, Cella feels that this goal is very reasonable.

“We have seven players batting above .300,” Cella said. “We’re well-rounded and we have a deep team. If one person wasn’t hitting, someone else came up and took their place.”

The Cobbers took advantage of the early games to assess their team and adjust what they concentrate on in practice. 

“One of the things that we’ve worked on this season is improving our defense from last year,” senior Allison Haaland said. “We’re hitting well as a team. The pitching is really good, too. As the week went on, all our games got better. We really played well as a team. There were no individual stars.”

The recent snow storms that have hit other MIAC schools hard has also give the Cobbers an advantage.

“They’re sitting in the snow, too,” Cella said. “Normally, they can get outside. We both can’t get out and play. We have to hope that keeps.” Based on the team’s strong start, Cella said the team has the advantage of knowing their potential before any of the other MIAC teams are even tested.

“At the beginning of the season, you’re shooting for the stars, but you don’t know if your spaceship can carry you,” Cella said. “Now, after ten games, we know we’ve got a good ship.”

|1998-99 Cobber Women's Swimming
Mar. 12, 1999 | Concordian | Cobber Sports
  | Men's Hockey | Women's Track | Men's Track | Swimming | Baseball | Softball

No swimming story. Women's swimming is at National meet this week.