With another year coming to a close, it’s time to look back at this past season and recap what occurred for the Vikings. There were highlights, such as the Vikings once again winning the individual championship at the MWC Championships. The Vikings had a track All-American, and have a chance to have another.
There were lowlights as well. The LU Football team went 0-10, not winning a game for the first time in school history, and there were the usual valiant efforts in the regular season, but just not enough come playoff time.
So in the next few paragraphs, relive the 2002-2003 Vikings’ sporting year, and get pumped for 2003-2004.
The Vikings started off the fall with some promise. Both the Men and Women’s Soccer teams would have players sweep MWC Player of the Week awards. The men fell short of a playoff berth again, but they have great promise for next fall.
The women once again made the MWC Tournament, and had visions of repeating as MWC Champions and qualifying for the NCAA Championship. These hopes were dashed with a 2-0 semifinal loss to Carroll, but it was another good year for the women. They are losing a lot of talent this year, but will be tough next fall.
The Viking Football team never seemed to hit their stride this season. Their closest game was a 34-30 loss to Grinnell where they lost in the final few minutes. The Vikings finished 0-10, the first time in school history the football team had failed to win a game. However, things are looking brighter for Dave Brown and the returning Vikings. Another good recruiting class has put the Vikings in a position to compete next fall.
More good news came a few weeks ago when former Viking All-American running back Scott Reppert was named to the College Football Hall of Fame. Reppert led the Nation in rushing three consecutive seasons, and led the Vikings to the final four of the NCAA tournament in 1981.
The Viking Cross-Country team had another good season. The men never finished too high, but kept their spirits up. The women had a few good tournaments, but Val Curtis stood out. The LU senior finished third in the MWC and advanced to the NCAA tournament. She finished in 73rd place out of 215 and continued a long tradition of successful LU cross-country runners.
The Viking Volleyball and Women’s Tennis teams both had surprising seasons. Both teams exceeded expectations at the beginning of the year. The volleyball team finished second in the Northern Division of the MWC, and had two players named All-MWC. The tennis team finished seventh in the MWC and is looking forward to increasing that next fall.
The winter was highlighted by several impressive performances by teams and by individuals. The LU Hockey team came roaring out of the gate early and never looked back. The Vikings defeated Marian College, ending the Sabres’ 26-game conference winning streak. The Vikings would take third place in the MCHA, and would drop a heartbreaking game to Marian in the semifinals of the conference tournament before defeating MSOE for third place the next day.
Ryan Blick and Andy Schroeder led the Vikings, both finishing in the top 30 in the nation in scoring.
The LU Men’s Basketball team wasn’t expected to compete for the conference title this season, but to settle for middle of the pack. The pollsters were wrong, however, and the Vikings led the MWC most of the season. The Vikings would finish second in the regular season in the MWC with only four losses, one of them a 150-149 loss in triple overtime at eventual conference champion Grinnell.
The Vikings would sweep rival Ripon for the first time since 1982. The Vikings would have a tough time against Illinois College, and would fall to the MWC Playoff Champion Blueboys in the semifinals of the MWC Tournament.
The Vikings were led by freshman phenom Chris Braier. Braier led the MWC in rebounding and led the Vikings in scoring. He will return next year, along with the entire LU roster, to make a run at Grinnell and the conference title.
The LU women were trying to advance to the conference tournament again, a string that had been revived the previous season. They would achieve their goal, as the Vikings would finish fourth in the MWC and advance to the conference tournament.
The Vikings would have two huge wins during the year, one a 62-61 upset of Lake Forest at home, and the other a 67-66 upset of Ripon at home. The Vikings were led by another freshman phenom, Claire Getzoff. Getzoff was named to the All-MWC team, and was one of only two freshmen named to the 15-player All-Central Region team.
The Indoor Track and Field team also performed well. Kolade Agbaje-Williams would shatter the LU record in the long jump and the triple jump. He would win the MWC Championships in both, and would be named an All-American after finishing sixth in the nation at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the long jump. He was the first LU male ever to compete at the NCAA Championships.
The Viking Swimming and Diving team finished third at the MWC Championships. Both the men and women had some amazing performances. The Vikings has several athletes named All-State after the Wisconsin Private College Championships.
The Viking Wrestling team suffered from the loss of National Champion Andy Kazik, but still managed to perform well in their first year in the WIAC. Ric Scannel was the leading individual for the Vikings all season long.
The spring was no different. The LU softball team tore through the MWC schedule and took home the Northern Division Title. They would host the MWC Tournament, and while they would be quickly eliminated, it was still a great season, as Jenny Burris was named the Northern Division player of the year for the second year in a row. She will return for her senior season looking for that elusive NCAA berth.
The Viking Baseball team has a tough season. The Vikings couldn’t find the bats in some games, and because of this they didn’t win as many games as they would have hoped. They finished fourth in the Northern Division of the MWC, and will be looking to improve on that next year.
The LU Men’s Tennis team had another outstanding season. The Vikings finished second in the Northern Division in the regular season, and then took second in the tournament as well. Nick Beyler took home an individual crown for LU, and the Vikings had many other top finishers.
The Viking Golf team had another amazing year. The Vikings rolled through the fall season, and had numerous successes. Even after having to pull out of the Northern Division Championship because of NCAA regulations, the Vikings till tore up the links.
Viking Freshmen Andy Link and Joe Loehnis would benefit the team greatly as it made a run for the MWC crown.
While the team fell seven strokes short, Loehnis did not. He won the Individual Championship in a tournament, and gave the Vikings their first back-to-back individual champions since 1948-49.
The LU Outdoor Track team had successes equal to the indoor team’s. Shelley Ebert and Agbaje-Williams will be competing at the NCAA Championships this weekend. The women finished third in the MWC again. The Vikings will lose several seniors, but will still stay competitive.
So there you have it; 2002-2003 was an amazing sports year for LU. Will 2003-04 be even better? I wouldn’t bet against it. The fall season is only three months away. Look for complete coverage of all your favorite sports teams in The Lawrentian next fall.
The graduating seniors will be missed, but in the world of sports, you can’t take time to cr
y and miss them, because your opponents won’t.
Good luck, LU class of 2003. Hopefully your successes in the real world will be as drastic as those on the court or the field. With luck the LU class of 2007 will be just as beneficial to LU sports as you were. We will see you all in the fall!