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  March 6, 1998 Concordian | Cobber Sports
Hockey | Swimming | Wrestling | Men's BB | Women's BB 

Wrestling Nicholas and Reiff head to nationals  

Senior Shawn Nicholas and junior Nathan Reiff earned wild card invitations to the Division III National Championship Meet at Upper Iowa after their performances at the MIAC Championship at St. Thomas on Feb. 28. The national championship meet will be held today and tomorrow in Waterloo, Iowa. 

Concordia tallied 22.5 points and finished 5th at the MIAC Championship. Augsburg crowned eight champs and tallied 140 points to top runner-up St. John's (98) by 42 points and win its twelfth consecutive MIAC team title. St. Olaf (62) and St. Thomas (34.5) placed ahead of Concordia. Carleton finished last with 13 points.  Nicholas finished second at 134, losing to Jamie Larkin, Augsburg, 1-0 in the championship match. 

Reiff took third after he lost in the semi-finals to John Newman of St. John's, eventual champion and the meets Outstanding Wrestler.  Nicholas heads to the national championship meet with a 9-13 record. Reiff's record is 16-6. 

March 6, 1998 Concordian | Cobber Sports
Hockey | Swimming | Wrestling | Men's BB | Women's BB 

Swimming   Letnes misses nationals by hundredths of a second 

Erika Mikkelson 
TheConcordian 
 
Freshman Shana Letnes swam to a first-place finish in the 100 breaststroke at the MIAC Women's Swimming and Diving Meet at St. Johns Feb. 19-21.  Letnes finished the race in 1:08.16.  Letnes finished 0.17 seconds short of earning a spot at the NCAA national meet. The qualifying time is 1:07.99.  Letnes also placed fourth in the 200 breaststroke in 2:29.99. 

Concordia finished the season with a sixth-place finish at the 10-team meet. St. Ben's took first place with 787 points, followed by St. Olaf, 743, and Carleton, 491. Concordia tallied 275 total points in the three-day event. 

Senior Erika Halvorsen placed fourth in the 1-meter diving, scoring 320.90, and in 3-meter diving, scoring 346.55.  Freshman Carrie Bunger earned a fourth-place finish in the 1650 freestyle in 18:22.98, and a sixth-place finish in the 200 freestyle in 2:01.05. Sophomore Janey Hill placed eighth in the 1650 freestyle in 18:51.73.  Concordia's team also placed in the upper-half in five relays: 200-yard freestyle  7th, senior Lindsey Bailey, freshman Anna Berg, junior Jill Backman, Bunger, 1:46.37.  400-yard medley relay  6th, Bailey, Letnes, freshman Lacy Wallace, Bunger, 4:19.88.  200 medley relay  7th, Wallace, Letnes, senior Becky Howard, Bailey, 2:00.46.  800 free relay  7th, Hill, Backman, Berg, Bunger, 8:33.40.  400 free relay  5th, Bailey, Hill, Berg, Bunger, 3:50.66. 
 

March 6, 1998 Concordian | Cobber Sports
Hockey | Swimming | Wrestling | Men's BB | Women's BB | 

Hockey  Cobbers fall to Augsburg in final series 

Tim Hanson 
TheConcordian 
 

Concordia's hockey team lost both games to Augsburg Friday and Saturday. The Cobbers ended their season 10-14-1 overall and in sixth place in the MIAC conference with a record of 7-8-1. 

In the first game Friday the Cobbers lost 4-2. The Cobbers loss Friday night eliminated them from the MIAC playoff race. The Cobbers had plenty of opportunities, getting 40 shots on goal, but they couldn't get them in the net.  "In a nutshell, Augsburg's goaltender, Ryan McIntosh, was outstanding. He was brilliant Friday and better Saturday, while playing only half of the game," said Steve Baumgartner, head coach. "Sometimes you run into a hot goaltender, and we happen to do that more often than not." 

"We wanted to play tough defensively, and I think we did that for the most part. We were going at their net pretty hard. We were throwing everything except the kitchen sink at McIntosh, and he was stopping them," said Baumgartner

Augsburg scored two goals in the first period to put the Auggies up 2-0. In the second  period Augsburg got another goal, increasing their lead to 3-0, before the Cobbers got on the board. Senior Greg Salvevold scored a power play goal at 11:56. 

In the third period Augsburg added to their lead with another goal. Senior Josh Arnold closed the game to two with a goal.  "I thought we outplayed them. Talking to the Augsburg's coach after the game Saturday morning, the difference in the game was Ryan," said Baumgartner

In the second game the Cobbers gave up seven unanswered goals and lost to Augsburg 8-2.  "On Saturday we were more offensively minded. We were just going to open it up and have fun in our last game," said Baumgartner. "Maybe we weren't as focused as we could have been, but we just wanted the last game to be fun for all the seniors. It is the last time for most of our seniors to play competitive hockey. They have meant a lot to this team. The four of them have been great leaders." 

Senior goaltender Peter Hamilton  was in goal for both of the games against Augsburg. "It was Pete's last series. He has done a good job for us. He has been a great leader as well. I really thought he deserved to start," said Baumgartner

Scorers for the Cobbers were sophomore Bryan Knutson in the first period at 8:57 and junior Brock Blikre at 12:55 in the third period.  According to Baumgartner the team is one or two defensemen away and five or six forwards away from being a contending team. 

"We are looking at bringing anywhere from 15-20 players in [next year], and hopefully about eight of them will end up being starters next year," said Baumgartner. "I am very happy with the way things went, but I think for us to get over the hump we are a couple of guys short. It is our job as coaches to find those players so we can be as good as we can." 
 
March 6, 1998 Concordian | Cobber Sports
Hockey | Swimming | Wrestling | Men's BB | Women's BB 

Men's Basketball  Cobbers fight to the end 
 
Kristen Young 
TheConcordian 

Concordia bounced back from a 43-22 halftime deficit to Bethel in the final men's basketball game of the season Saturday, Feb. 21 and outscored Bethel 43-36.  But despite the second-half Cobber comeback, Bethel closed out the game with a 9-2 scoring run and earned a 79-65 victory. 

"We came out a little bit flat in the first half," said senior Brian Kjesbo. "In the second half, we worked harder and came together." 

A layup by freshman Nick Killoran, just before the three-minute mark, moved the score to 63-70 and cut Bethel's lead to seven points - the smallest lead of the game. "But we weren't able to overcome the lead we gave them in the first half," Kjesbo said. 

Junior Brian Kesselring led Concordia with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Mike Wrobel also grabbed 10 rebounds.  Concordia finished the season with a 3-21 record overall, 2-18 in the MIAC. 

"The season didn't come out the way we wanted in terms of wins and losses," said Kjesbo. "But we were a tight group, and we never gave up." 

Head coach Duane Siverson said frustration mounted several times during the season, but the team chemistry and unity of players kept the team's spirits high.  "This team had the best chemistry I've ever seen," said Siverson. "The players really enjoyed playing and really enjoyed each other." 

Siverson believes this season - especially playing time and travel experience - was good preparation for younger players. "It usually takes a year to adjust to the way the season goes," said Siverson. "There's really no substitute for the wealth of knowledge and experience [younger players] gained. Those barriers shouldn't be a factor next year." 

According to Kesselring, there are five spots on varsity up for grabs next season.  "[To prepare for next season] we'll try to get everybody working hard on weights," he said. Whoever works hardest will get a spot." 

This year's team worked hard, and according to Siverson, part of the problem was that most of the players were on the same level. The motivation was to play, not necessarily to win.  "You have to be focused on competing to win," said Siverson. "The players were happy about playing instead of competing to win. That's a fine line we didn't focus on." 

But as the season progressed and the losses added up, the building frustration didn't get in the way of the teams camaraderie, chemistry or motivation to finish out the season. 

"When we lost playoff hopes, it was never a chore [to keep playing]," said Kesselring. "We're out there because we like to play the game." 

March 6, 1998 Concordian | Cobber Sports
Hockey | Swimming | Wrestling | Men's BB | Women's BB 

Women's Basketball   Concordia women tally three more wins 
Cobber women wrap up their 19-6 season with victories over Bethel, St. Mary's and Hamline 

 Tim Hanson 
TheConcordian 
 
The women's basketball team hosted Hamline for their season finale Saturday. The Cobbers played well in their last game of the season, winning 82-46. Concordia finished the season 19-6 overall and third in the MIAC conference at 17-5. 

The last NCAA Division III poll of the season on February 23 had Concordia ranked seventh in the West Region Poll.  "We won 10 of our last 11 and finished 19-6. We had a great year," said Kathy Wall, head coach. "The kids had a great year. They worked hard and we got better, and it was really fun this year." 

The Cobbers missed the playoffs for the second season in a row. However, this year only 48 teams got invited to the big dance instead of the usual 64 teams. "It was disappointing that we didn't make the playoffs, but overall it has been a success. It has been a real joy to play for Concordia this year," said junior Heidi Schwichtenberg.  "We had a 19-6 record, and you can't argue with that," she added. "We would have liked to have beaten Moorhead State earlier in the year, but it has been a good season." 

Senior Leah Sonstelie had 19 points to finish her career with 1,061 points and 543 rebounds. Sonstelie is now the eleventh- best Cobber in history, both in points and in rebounds for her career. 

Sonstelie was named MIAC player of the week on Feb. 24th. Sonstelie was the 15th player to reach the 1,000 point mark when she helped the Cobbers beat Augsburg last week, 66-63. In the first half the Cobbers got off to a quick start as they put together a 10-0 run in the first two and a half minutes of play. The Cobbers successfully rebounded the ball on defense and caused 25 turnovers for Hamline. 

Concordia's offense got going for the first time in several games with good ball movement. Concordia also used the shot clock to get a clear look at the basket. 

The Cobbers were also hitting the three-point shot in the first half with 4-6 from three-point range.  Concordia used the half-court pressure to keep Hamline's offense off balance. They boxed out for the rebounds and controlled the tempo of the game, unlike the game at Bethel.  Concordia led at half time, 40-18.  In the second half the Cobbers came out of the locker room and showed the  same success that they did in the first half. The defense had 35 defense rebounds in the game. The Cobbers continued to have controlled ball movement on offense but cooled down, shooting 1-9, from the three-point line in the second half. 

It was an emotional moment for Sonstelie when she fouled out of the game with 4:23 left in the second half. The crowd cheered one last time as a tearful Sonstelie left the court and was embraced by her teammates on the sidelines. 

In earlier action over break, Concordia won 68-58 at St. Mary's on Feb. 25. The Cobbers came back from a deficit in the second half to come away with the win.  Sonstelie had 19 points, and sophomore Brandi Myers had 18 points. Sixteen of Myers points came in the second half to lead the comeback.  In the second half the Cobbers used the clock and got the inside shot. The Cobbers also capitalized on free throw shooting in the last two minutes of play. 

St. Mary's tried to use the full court press but were not fast enough to make it work against the Cobbers. Concordia used half court defense to shut down St. Marys' offense in the second half. 

The Cobbers pulled out a 64-61 victory in the last few minutes of play against Bethel on Feb. 21. Concordia struggled against Bethel and needed a strong second half to overcome Bethels aggressive style of play.  Bethel used the full court press and an up-tempo offense, similar to the one St. Thomas used against the Cobbers.  The Cobbers had trouble getting the inside shot off and also had several costly turnovers.  The lead see-sawed several times as the Cobbers went into the locker room down 30-31. In the second half the Cobbers continued to have problems getting the offense going and had trouble with Bethel's transition game. The Cobbers shot successfully from the free throw line in the last minute to help them get back in the game.  The small crowd of Concordia fans were nervous near the end as the Cobbers rallied late in the second half to come back from an eight-point deficit and pull out the 64-61 victory in the closing seconds.