The 1996-97 Concordia winter sports seasons featured a host of Cobber athletes reaching career milestones and setting school records. And the Cobber teams for which they played were not without their own successes.
The Cobber Men's Basketball team won 10 of their last 12 games to record their third consecutive winning season and a tie for fourth in the MIAC. The Cobber Women's Basketball team finished 18-7 overall , 15-5 and tied for third in the MIAC. The Wrestling and Women's Track teams both sent representatives to NCAA national championships. The young Hockey Team showed marked improvement. Concordia successfully hosted the first MIAC Men'a and Women's Indoor Track and Field Championships ever held in Moorhead. And the Cobber Women's Swimming Team completed it's first-ever season of intercollegiate competition with two dual wins.
Cobber Men's Basketball coach Duane Siverson became the winningest basketball coach in Cobber history as the Running Cobbers completed their third consecutive winning season. The Cobbers, 13-10 overall, won 10 of their final 12 games to end their conference season 12-8 and tied for 4th in the MIAC. Those 13 wins pushed Siverson's career win total at Concordia to 246. He had 165 wins from 1984-1991 as the Cobber women's coach and now has 81 wins in six seasons with the Cobber men. Siverson's total surpassed Sonny Gulsvig, who recorded 237 wins as the Cobber men's coach from 1955-1978.
The 1996-97 Cobbers were led by All-MIAC seniors Daimen Crump ('97 Seattle, Wash.) and Greg Dean ('97 Rapid City S.D.)
Crump, a 6-3 forward, was a repeat member of the All-MIAC team, averaging 21.1 points per game . He ended his career with 1005 points, becoming just the 7th player in Cobber men's basketball to score 1000 points. He was 5th in MIAC scoring in 1996-97 with 20.0 ppg. Crump also broke Bob Laney's career scoring average record of 19.4 ppg, posting a 20.1 average over his two-year, 50-game career. The Cobbers were 34-16 in Daimen's career.
Point guard Greg Dean was named All-MIAC and was also named for a second time to the MIAC's All-Defensive team. He finished second in the nation in steals with 5.5 per game and led the MIAC in assists with 6.25 per game. He set the school record for career steals with 307. His 126 steals this year broke the single season steal record he set last year at 108. Dean also ended up with 446 career assists, the second best Cobber career total behind the 478 posted by Dale Moe from 1981-1984. He finished 3rd in MIAC FG% standings in 1996-97, making 58.2% of his shots.
Senior guard Cornelius Bishop ('97 Anchorage, AK) was voted co-winner of the MIAC's Sixth Man Award. He came off the bench to hit 10.8 points per game and set a single season Cobber record for 3-point shooting accuracy with 46.9% , making 53 of 113. He finished 4th in MIAC 3-pt fg% at 46.8%.
Senior forward Kevin Pearson ('97 Fergus Falls) was the Cobbers' second leading scorer and third leading rebounder in 1996-97, hitting 10.8 ppg and 4.1 rpg. He was also named to the MIAC's All-Defensive Team.
The Concordia Women's Basketball team posted a 18-7 overall record, 15-5 and tied for third in the MIAC. It was Concordia's 23rd consecutive winning season and their 16th consecutive top-3 MIAC finish.
The Cobbers were led by two 2-time All-MIAC senior forwards, Ann Mehrkens (97 Goodhue) and Holly Zollar ('97 Barnesville) and junior center Leah Sonstelie ('98 Fosston).
Mehrkens ended her four year Cobber career with 1,031 points. She became the 14th Cobber women's basketball player to reach the 1000 career point mark. Her 718 career rebounds put her 6th on the Cobber all-time list for career rebounds. Ann finished 6th in MIAC rebounding per game (7.9) and 7th in the league in FG% at 50.5%.
Zollar earned her third MIAC All-Defensive team honor while averaging 11 points and 5.6 rebounds. She was also named an Academic All-MIAC Athlete for a second time.
Leah Sonstelie led the Cobbers in scoring with 14 ppg and was second on the team in rebounding with 5.9 per game. She earned honorable mention all-MIAC honors while finishing 10th in league scoring, second in league FT% (83%), 5th in FG% and 12th in MIAC rebounding. She was also named an Academic All-MIAC Athlete.
The Cobber wrestling team was led by sophomore Nathan Reiff ('99 Whitehall, Mont.). Reiff won the MIAC title at 177 lbs., advanced to the NCAA National Tournament for the second consecutive year and compiled a 21-10 record. Reiff also earned recognition as a member of the Scholastic All-American Team, an award presented by the American Wrestling Coaches Association to outstanding wrestling student athletes.
The Cobbers, who finished 4th in the MIAC and posted a 4-9 overall dual record, also got All-MIAC performances from junior Shawn Nicholas (Shepherd, Mont.) (3rd at 134) and 4th place finishers Jeremy Hernandez ('99 Billings, Mont., 118 lbs), Kevin Jackson ('97, Chicago, Ill., 142 lbs) and Colby Marich ('98, Thompson Falls, Mont., 150 lbs).
Senior wing Jeff Corkish ('97 Wawota, Sask.) earned all-MIAC honors for a young Cobber hockey team that finished 7th in the MIAC and 7-14-4 overall. Earning honorable mention all-MIAC honors were three underclassmen, Justin Reinholz ('99, Anoka), Rob Gramer ('00, Moorhead) and Josh Arnold ('98, Moorhead).
Corkish led the Cobbers in scoring with 20 goals and 15 assists. He led the nation with 6 short-handed goals this year and ended his career with 42 goals and 37 assists. Chris Thomes ('97, Little Falls) had 7 goals and 16 assists and earned Academic All-MIAC honors.
Severson and Williams Win Pentathlons as Concordia Hosts Indoor MIAC Men's and Women's Track and Field Championships
Concordia's Sarah Severson (98 Ellsworth, WI) and Ryan Williams ('97, St. Cloud) won the women's and men's pentathlons at the Women's and Men's MIAC Indoor track and Field Championships held in Concordia's Olson Forum Feb. 27-March 1. It was the first time Concordia had hosted the MIAC Men's and Women's Indoor Championships since the opening of the three-year-old Olson Forum.
Severson also advanced to the NCAA Division III National Championship meet in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where she finished 9th in the long jump.
Along with her MIAC Pentathlon title, Severson placed 3rd at the MIAC in the long jump and 2nd in the MIAC Triple jump competition.
It was Williams second consecutive MIAC Indoor Pentathlon title. Williams also took third in this year's triple jump.
Both Williams and Severson are Chemistry majors and both earned Academic All-MIAC honors, Williams for a third time and Severson for a second time.
The Cobber men placed 7th in the MIAC indoor team standings and the women placed 6th.
Other top finishes by Cobber men were turned in by Dan Buchholz ('99, Moorhead, 2nd in the pentathlon), Bill Keating ('97 Fargo, 3rd in the 800 and 1500), David Jacobson ('97, Crosby, ND, 3rd in the high jump), and Jeremy Blake ('99, Moorhead, 5th in the 600).
Other top performers by the Cobber women included Mollee Ludtke ('98 Albert Lea, 3rd in the 600 and 800), Michele Haugen ('97 Alexander, ND, 3rd in the 400), Becky Kearns ('98, Hopkins, 4th in the 20 pound weight throw and 5th in the Shot Put) , Julie Engh ('99, Missoula, MT, 5th in the 600 and 800), and Shannon Manders ('97, Brooklyn Park, 5th in the 20 pound weight throw).
Concordia's first-ever women's swimming team completed their first season of competition at the MIAC championships March 20-22. Though the Cobbers finished 10th in league standings, their season did include two dual wins and much promise. Fourteen underclass women comprised the season-ending roster, an excellent number for a first-year program.
Cobber Janey Hill ('00 Bozeman, MT) was the top Cobber finisher at the MIAC Championships, finishing 8th in the 1650 free style.
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