Coach Clements Striding Toward Fall Soccer Season at HC

BY COLTON SPEARMAN

Colton Spearman Headshot

Colton Spearman blogs about sports for HC Media.

In the summer of 2012, the HC women’s soccer team named Mark Hiemenz the new head coach of the program after five-year Head Coach Ted Flogaites accepted a coaching job at NCAA D1 Western Illinois.

Now, Hiemenz has accepted an assistant coaching job at the University of Wyoming, and the Broncos are again without a leader at the hands of the enticing call from the NCAA D1 conference.

Enter long time Avila Head Coach Chris John McDonald Clements from Avila University in Kansas City, where he served as head coach for seven years. [Read more...]

Erlenbusch Continues to Dominate the Mound

 


BY DAN MILLER
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALLYSON PELCHAT

With a 1-0 Bronco lead in the bottom of the seventh inning, Palmer Bosanko steps up to the plate for the Concordia Bulldogs to hit a double RBI home run off of Bronco Taylor Erlenbusch’s pitch to win the game. This occurred on Tuesday night during a doubleheader against Concordia, in which the Broncos lost both
games 1-2.

[Read more...]

Glimpses of the past: Women’s basketball excels in 14th national championship appearance

Jamie Van Kirk drives to the basket in the national quarterfinals against Davenport (Mich.) in Sioux City, Iowa on March 15. Van Kirk led the Broncos that game with 23 points and 4 rebounds. Hastings ended the season against Davenport and a 28-6 record.

Jamie Van Kirk drives to the basket in the national quarterfinals against Davenport (Mich.) in Sioux City, Iowa on March 15. Van Kirk led the Broncos that game with 23 points and 4 rebounds. Hastings ended the season against Davenport and a 28-6 record.

The HC women’s basketball team showed shades of their storied past over the course of this season, making their deepest run into the National Championship since 2009 when the Broncos lost in the title game. Hastings College had their successful season cut short in the quarterfinals of the National Championship when they fell to Davenport (Mich.) 70-52.

Regular Season

The Broncos began the season by winning five straight victories over non-conference opponents. HC was expected to finish sixth out of the 11 conference schools in the preseason coaches’ poll. Conference play began with a rocky start as the Broncos lost two of their first three games to Northwestern and Morningside—two of the conference’s powerhouses. The 76-49 loss on the road at Morningside was the team’s worst loss of the season.

“It was an embarrassment to our kids and to our program,” said Carrie Hofstetter, head coach. “We had to have a conversation about what it is we really want. If it’s to make it to the national tournament and to make a run at the national tournament, we needed to change.”

The Broncos bounced back and picked up a huge 94-89 upset victory over then No. 5 Concordia on the Bulldogs’ home court.

“To go on the road and beat a very, very good Concordia team with all of their players still intact, that was a huge win and confidence booster for our team,” Hofstetter said. “I think that’s when they started to believe, ‘Man, we can be good.’”

The victory over Concordia was the beginning of a 15 game winning streak that lasted over two months and began to put the Broncos in the national spotlight as the team reached as high as No. 4 in the country within the regular season. HC earned a four-way share of the GPAC regular season title with a 16-4 conference record. After exacting revenge over Morningside in their second regular season meeting, it was once again the Mustangs who stood in the way of the Broncos in the GPAC tournament. HC struggled in the rubber-match, going the first nine minutes of the game without scoring a point. Losing that GPAC semifinal game 65-55, the Broncos awaited the NAIA National Championship.

National Championship

HC received an at-large bid and a No. 2 seed in the National Championship and opened against Union (Ky.). Having missed out on the tournament the previous season, there were some early jitters in the opening game as the Broncos trailed at halftime before pulling away in the second half to earn a 79-64 win. The next opponent was Indiana Wesleyan, the defending national champion.

“It was one of those where you’re playing a team that’s been there a lot lately, and that counts for something,” Hofstetter said.

The Broncos needed overtime to move on to the next round, but escaped with a 73-63 victory.

“That was a big, big win for us. I thought we played well. I thought we rose to the challenge,” Hofstetter said. 

After knocking off the defending national champion the night before, the defending national runner-up was next up for the Broncos. Davenport (Mich.) came into the game as a No. 1 seed. After trailing by as many as 12 points in the first half, Jamie Van Kirk and the Broncos came charging back to tie the game heading into the locker room at halftime. However, Davenport was able to secure the lead in the second half and won 70-52, sending the Broncos home.

“The first half I thought we defended really, really well,” Hofstetter said. “The second half I thought they made some pretty good adjustments. They started to double and triple team Jamie when she had scoring opportunities. It was one of those things where I thought we defended well enough to win the game, but offensively we couldn’t manufacture enough points to finish on top.”

With the loss, the Broncos bowed out in the quarterfinal round and finished their season with a 28-6 overall record for the season.

The Future

With the graduation of seniors Cami Bruckman, Laurel Zwiener, Frankie Petersen and Autumn Zenon this year, who each played significant roles on the team, the question remains what the future holds for the women’s basketball program. What isn’t in question is what sort of legacy these senior players leave behind.

“We wanted them to be the team to make a change. Our senior group did a great job of making a change, getting this program moving in the right direction when they left,” Hofstetter said. “All four of those kids brought very unique and different things and we’re going to miss them a ton next year. They were just such a huge impact both on the court and off the court for this team.”

There is still unfinished business for the Bronco women’s basketball team as they look to capture their first championship since 2006 and return to the dynasty of the previous decade.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” Hofstetter said. “We haven’t arrived to where we want to be. We have players that want to be great.”

 

Bronco Men’s Hoops Season Cut Short

BY TYLER SCHUSTER

Lynn Farrell Arena was standing room only, the student section was deafening and the team was hyped for postseason play. This was the scene for the Feb. 26 GPAC tournament showdown between the Broncos and the Nebraska Wesleyan Prairie Wolves. 

The student section was raucous from the start, and with the help of a career-high 34 points from Brady Lollman, the Broncos advanced to the GPAC Men’s  Basketball Semifinals. 

Although the Broncos lost their next game against No. 1 seed Dordt College, they were far from discouraged after having a strong overall season. 

“Ultimately, we felt like we had a good year and our guys continued to fight through adversity as the year went on,” said Head Coach Bill Gavers.

The Broncos, under the coaching of Bill Gavers, ascended to new heights during the 2013-14 season. The team increased its win total from the previous season, improved upon its conference record from the previous season, received top 25 votes at the end of the season and led all NAIA teams with 11 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar Athletes.

The team should look a lot different next year with the departure of nine seniors. Among them are 1,000-point career scorers Lollman and Tobin Reinwald. Lollman led the team in points and assists during the 2013-14 season with 20.07 PPG and 3.58 APG, while Reinwald averaged 11 PPG. 

The Broncos look a little different than they did in the 2012-13 season, not just from a coaching standpoint, but also from a player standpoint.

Gavers quickly added leadership and talent after accepting the position with the additions of senior transfers Akeem Morissaint and Ibou Fall. A lot was expected from both players, and they did not disappoint. Morissaint provided leadership from the point guard position, while Fall proved a valuable post presence down the stretch. 

“Being a transfer student, I just wanted to come in and help the team,”  Morissaint said. “This is a very experienced team, and I thought I could help add in that area and help win some ball games.”

While the Broncos will dearly miss the nine seniors, the future appears bright for the team.

“We have good guys coming back and we have some good recruits coming in,” said Gavers. “On the recruiting front, we’re just trying to get guys, trying to spot guys and develop relationships with players so you can get good players in here to play.” 

Schadwinkel named wrestling head coach

Last Wednesday, Shawn Kelley, head coach of the HC wrestling team, submitted his resignation. After a disappointing 2-11 regular season for Kelley’s Broncos, the team finished 10th of 12 in the NAIA North Qualifier on Feb. 22 and finished the season 24th of 39 at the NAIA Nationals.

“Getting home at six o’clock at night and making phone calls until eight, and when your daughter looks at you and says ‘I want to go to bed, bring your phone in,’ or ‘Dad you’re always on your phone.’ It’s just one of those things that wears on a guy and it’s time to put my family first,” Kelley said. “I’m not saying I won’t ever come back to coaching. I love the sport of wrestling, and I’m going to try to stay involved somehow.”

Kelley says it’s the relationships that were built here in his seven years as the head Bronco wrestling coach that he will value most.

“It had nothing really to do with the guys, as far as the team is
concerned I appreciate everything they did and all my assistant coaches and the school has shown the wrestling program a lot of support,” Kelley said. “It was just one of those things that at the end of the day when you look in the mirror and you care more about the program, so to speak, it just wears on a guy.”

On Friday the Broncos found Kelley’s replacement when they announced the hiring of Mike Schadwinkel as the new head coach of the wrestling team. Schadwinkel has been the varsity head coach at Grand Island Senior High School (Neb.) since 2004. He has led the Islanders to five consecutive state titles while coaching 21 individual state champions and 83 state medalists.

“Coach Schadwinkel has built an outstanding program at Grand Island Senior High,” said Jerry Schmutte, HC athletic director. “Moving to the collegiate level is the logical step in his career. I am glad he’s taking that step at Hastings College.”

This season, four wrestlers became national qualifiers. All-Conference honors were awarded to Blake Fruchtl and Grant Harrill earned First Team. Alec Chanthapatheth earned honorable
mention All-Conference.

Schadwinkel is effective immediately as the new wrestling head coach.

Hastings College names Schadwinkel new wrestling coach

Mike Schadwinkel has been named the new head coach of the Hastings College wrestling team following the resignation of Shawn Kelley on March 12. A native of Alliance, Nebraska, Schadwinkel has served as the head coach at Grand Island Senior High since 2004 and has led them to five consecutive state titles. He has also coached 21 individual state champions and 83 state medalists during that span. In 2009, he was named both Nebraska Wrestling Coaches Association Class A Coach of the Year and Nebraska Coaches Association Coach of the Year. In 2013, he was a finalist for National High School Athletic Coaches Association National Coach of the Year.

Prior to his time at Grand Island Senior High, he served as head wrestling coach of another GPAC institution at Dakota Wesleyan University. As a collegiate wrestler at Adams State College in Alamosa, Colo., Schadwinkel qualified for the NCAA DII National Wrestling Championship three times, finishing fourth in 1997 and as national runner-up in 1998. Schadwinkel was also named an Academic All-American all four years, including three as a 1st team selection.

Bruckman hits a milestone

Cami Bruckman looks for an open shot as a No.7 Union player defends her. Bruckman helped lead the Broncos to a first round National Championship victory. Photo by Allyson Pelchat

Cami Bruckman looks for an open shot as a No.7 Union player defends her. Bruckman helped lead the Broncos to a first round National Championship victory. Photo by Allyson Pelchat

One thousand points. That’s 250 points per season or averaging over 10 points a game throughout a four year collegiate career. For most players, they never hit that milestone. However, for HC women’s basketball senior, Cami Bruckman, it only took her until Feb. 5 in a 65-62 loss to Doane College to achieve her own spot in the Hastings College 1,000 point club.

“I really had no idea till about a month before it happened. I did not even think I was close to getting 1,000 points, actually. It definitely means a lot to be a part of the 1,000 point club here because of how great the basketball program it is. I am very honored to play at this school,” said Bruckman.

Bruckman, who averages 15.8 points a game and has scored 491 points this season, with the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Championship not included. Her highest scoring game this season came against Mount Marty where she scored 29 and went 11-23 from the field. Although her 1,000 points didn’t come until later and accompanied with a loss, it was still a moment for her to remember.

“I don’t remember the exact show when I got the point, but I do remember the game since we lost, but it is still a great honor and I will always cherish it,” she said.

Bruckman’s coach, Carrie Hofstetter, knows the emotions the young player felt as she too is a part of the 1,000 point club for the Broncos. Hofstetter accumulated a career scoring total of 1,508 points and putting her eighth on the all-time scoring list.

“There’s been a lot of great players here and theres not a ton of 1,000 point members, so that puts her in a group of players that have accomplished a lot and it’s a program that will all of the success, the 1,000 point club means something,” said Hofstetter. We play in one of the toughest conferences in the country, if not the toughest, so when you attain that goal of 1,000 points in this conference especially theres a lot of weight to that and a lot of meaning to it. It’s a huge accomplishment for her and a huge accomplishment for our team. I always say individual awards are also team awards because someone had to get her the ball to score those points.”

When Bruckman began her journey to 1,000 points, she didn’t expect to see much time on the court because of her year. However, the guard from Roseland, Neb. found herself on the hardwood more than planned.

“Coming into the Bronco program as a freshman, I really did not think I would play, but when I did it was a great feeling being out there on the court with my teammates. I do remember my first game ever here and I’ll never forget it. I remember being extremely nervous and excited all at the same time,” said Bruckman.

When Hofstetter arrived on campus last season to take over the program, she inherited a strong roster, including Bruckman. Even though Hofstetter has only been able to coach Bruckman for two years, the change in her game has impacted the team greatly.

“In the two years that I’ve coached her she’s just turned into such a versatile player and can score in so many ways that she’s a tough matchup for anybody. She posts up well, she can hit the three, shoot perimeter shots off the dribble and she obviously is a great offensive rebounder so she’s able to finish shots. She’s just an amazingly versatile and highly competitive kid,” said Hofstetter.

Bruckman recognizes the impact that her head coach has had on her game and has also seen her game become more well-rounded under the leadership of Hofstetter.

“My game has evolved tremendously since my freshman year. Coach Hofstetter is one of the best coaches I have ever had and she has improved my game so much, especially defensively. My teammates have also given me the confidence to improve and have made me the player I am today,” said Bruckman.

The HC women’s team earned a No. 2 seed in the national tournament and defeated No. 7 Union (Ken.) on Wednesday. They take on No. 3 Indiana Wesleyan tonight at 7 p.m. in Sioux City, Iowa. Win or lose, this will be Bruckman’s last time in a Bronco uniform and will miss the team in only positive ways.

“The thing I will miss the most is the people. The reason I enjoy basketball so much is because of my teammates. I just can’t imagine not seeing them every day. It’s going to be different. I just want to go out there [at nationals] and to play my best to help my team, but the team’s goal is to come home with some hardware,” said Bruckman.

Hofstetter and the rest of the returning Broncos will miss the impact that Bruckman has had on the team and the leadership that she brought to the program the past four years.

“She’s highly competitive so if she’s frustrated or she’s determined, you’re going to see those things; she kind of wears them on her sleeve. That’s something that’s infectious,” said Hofstetter. “I always say that highly emotional kids have other players feed off of that. It’s one of those things that you’re going to miss, but you hope there’s other players on the team that can step into that role.”

Broncos run to nationals: Broncos set four school records in championship

Last week, the HC track and field team traveled to Geneva, Ohio, for the indoor track and field nationals, the highest stage for the collegiate sport. The Broncos sent 17 athletes who earned the honors to compete at the national level. The meet stretched the span of three days, and there the Broncos competed against the NAIA’s best athletes, and some came out as All-Americans.

After day one, the Broncos named three All-Americans in the weight throw, in which seven throwers had qualified for the national tournament. Tyler Rathke finished third in the weight throw with a throw of 19.45 meters while Justin Roberts finished eighth with a throw of 17.79 meters. Jennifer Maag threw for 17.23 meters to finish seventh in the weight throw.

“It was pretty cool. I didn’t do as well as I would have liked, but I’m another All-American and that’s all I really came here for is to get an All-American and try to throw better,” Roberts said. “I got some team points, and I got to watch my teammate have a great throw to finish in the top three and it was great to see that, I’m real happy for him.”

The women’s 4×400 meter relay team, which consisted of Michelle Leichleter, Ali Johnson, Courtney Mills and Porche Parnell, broke the school record with a time of 3:55.64. Johnson was the only freshman on the 4×400 team.

“I think I was most nervous about being the only freshman on the 4×400 team,” Johnson said. “I just wanted to make sure I stayed with the pack and did good for the upperclassmen, especially since the other ones are all juniors, and I just wanted to do good for them.”

Not every athlete got the experience of placing amongst the nations’ All-Americans, but they still competed well at the meet. Nick Horton broke the school record in the 3000-meter race walk with a time of 14:48 and finished in ninth place, one place off from being named an All-American. Lauren Shomaker ran eight seconds off her own school record in the 5K to finish sixth in her heat with a time of 17:49. Audrey Gaspers also competed well in the pentathlon, which included the events 60 hurdles, the high jump, long jump, shot put and  800-meter run.

“It was up and down,” said Ryan Mahoney, head coach. “We’ve had some other things that I would hope would have been a little bit better today, but that’s part of athletics, you’re going to have some good and you’re going to have some bad.”

By the end of the Indoor National Championships, Maag won the shot put with a throw of 50’2.5”, a new school record. 

Mills finished second in the triple jump with a distance of 17.87 meters to also be named an All-American. Roberts finished second in shot put with a school record of 17.87 meters for his second All-American honors of the meet.

The Broncos set four school records overall at the NAIA indoor national championship meet. The Broncos will now turn their attention to the outdoor season beginning with the Bronco Invite, which will begin on March 29, at the Hastings College track and field complex. 

Broncos break away from Bulldogs in second half

Hastings College’s Cami Bruckman goes up a jump shot against Union College’s Jennifer Thomas. Hastings went on to defeat Union 79-64.

Hastings College’s Cami Bruckman goes up a jump shot against Union College’s Jennifer Thomas. Hastings went on to defeat Union 79-64.

Photos by Brianna Turek

The Hastings College Broncos took the court for the sixth game of the championship, facing off against the Union College Lady Bulldogs to win the first-round game 79-64.  The Broncos came into the championship with a 26-5 overall record, 16-4 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC), to take a second-seed position.  In contrast, the Bulldogs ended their season 24-8 overall, also with a 16-4 conference record in the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC).  The Bulldogs entered the championship as a seventh-seed team.

“We’ve talked a lot lately about other kids stepping up and being threats on the floor,” said Carrie Hofstetter, Broncos’ head coach.  “We have a lot of kids that can score the ball—Abby Jackson, Shanelle Farmer, Frankie Petersen, Hallie Samuelson—those kids can all score the ball.  That was something that we stressed and emphasized after the Concordia loss—everybody can be a threat.”

The Broncos and the Bulldogs traded points back and forth throughout the first half, neither team leading by more than a five-point margin. Senior Amber Taylor led the Bulldogs with 16 points, and teammate Lydia Nash contributed another seven to the Bulldogs halftime total of 34 points.  Jennifer Thomas grabbed five of the Bulldogs’ 19 rebounds.  Senior Frankie Petersen led the Broncos with 10 points, followed by teammates Jamie Van Kirk and Cami Bruckman with eight and six, respectively.  Bruckman also contributed 10 rebounds to the team’s 25 at the half.  The half ended in favor of Union College, 34-32.

“The first half was a little bit of a struggle, partly because I think we were taking tougher shots than we needed to,” Hofstetter said.

Hastings began the second half with a 5-0 run, but Union fought back to tie the score again only two minutes in.  The Broncos surged ahead to keep a minimum of a five-point lead on the Bulldogs for the remainder of the game.  The Broncos forced a total 16 turnovers throughout the game.

Union’s Taylor led the night with a total of 26 points, but Hastings’ Bruckman, Petersen and Van Kirk put up 22, 17 and 16 points, combined for 55 of the Broncos’ 79 total points.  Petersen hit a career high on what could have possibly been the final game of her life.

“In the back of your head, you know this could be the last game of your—my—life, competitively, but I never thought we were going to lose at all.  I was always confident in my team and I knew we were going to bounce back even though we had a slow start,” Petersen said.  “I’m not really the one who scores all the points a lot.  I just kind of rebound and do whatever my team needs me to do, so I guess they needed me to do this tonight.”

Petersen is confident in her team’s preparation for the next round, ready for her opposition.

“Just playing in the GPAC conference gets us prepared for these kind of games.  There’s four teams from the GPAC here, so we think we’ve been prepared that way,” Petersen said.  “We work really hard in the summer; it’s pretty much a year-round gig.  Coach [Hofstetter] has us prepared really well.  We scouted [Union] pretty well but now it’s tougher; [we] don’t have as much time to scout.  The toughest teams will make it the furthest.”

The Broncos will move on to the second round, where they will play the winner of the Indiana Wesleyan University and Oklahoma Wesleyan game on Friday at 7 p.m.

Hastings College’s Frankie Peterson’s layup is blocked by Union College’s Lydia Nash.

Hastings College’s Frankie Peterson’s layup is blocked by Union College’s Lydia Nash.

Hastings College’s Abby Jackson goes against three Union College players for the basketball.

Hastings College’s Abby Jackson goes against three Union College players for the basketball.

Union College’s Amber Taylor tries to make her away around Hastings College’s Autumn Zenon.

Union College’s Amber Taylor tries to make her away around Hastings College’s Autumn Zenon.

Union College guard Amber Taylor attempts a layup against Hastings College. Taylor scored a total of 26 points to lead both teams in points.

Union College guard Amber Taylor attempts a layup against Hastings College. Taylor scored a total of 26 points to lead both teams in points.

Van Kirk Provides Spark to Broncos


Jamie Van Kirk Provides Spark to Broncos

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As the Hastings College women’s basketball team prepares for the National Championship, being held this week in Sioux City, Iowa, one might be quick to forget the struggles the team had a year ago finishing with a 15-16 overall record. So what has sparked the Broncos success this season? One could argue that the addition of Jamie Van Kirk has turned the Broncos around. The junior from nearby Sutton, Nebraska played two seasons at North Dakota State before deciding to come home.

While Jamie averaged over 8 points per game for the Bison, she has exploded for over 18 points per game for the Broncos this season. While learning a new system took some time, Jamie quickly adjusted to the role Coach Carrie Hofstetter placed her in.

In her first season with the Broncos, Van Kirk was named 1st Team All-Conference in the GPAC. While she is proud of the accomplishment, she gives a lot of the credit to her teammates.

Van Kirk and the rest of the Hastings College Broncos will look to bring home the championship banner as they face Union College of Kentucky in the first round of the national tournament on Wednesday at 5:15.