This past weekend was a busy one for Bluffton athletics as the fall sports concluded and the winter sports began. The cross country, volleyball, and football teams finished their 2014 campaigns in championship competitions while both basketball squads started their push toward championship runs of their own.
Cross country runners competed in the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship which was hosted by Wilmington College. Though none of the Beavers qualified for a spot in the NCAA Championship you have to like the fact that a team with no seniors on the roster is gaining valuable experience which will certainly help them going forward.
The volleyball team fell in straight sets to the seventh-ranked Washington University Bears in the First Round of the 2014 NCAA Division III St. Louis Regional (which was on the Bears’ home court). With just one senior graduating the volleyball team’s future is also quite bright as they add much-needed experience to the obviously talented roster.
2014 HCAC MVP Mackenzie McFarlin
Sophomore Mackenzie McFarlin was named the 2014 HCAC MVP complimenting her HCAC Tournament MVP award quite nicely. Juniors Jenny Brown, Sara Roth and Kendra Parmenter received First Team HCAC honors for their efforts during the campaign. Head coach Steve Yarnell also took home some hardware this season as he was elected HCAC Coach of the Year by the other coaches in the conference.
The women’s basketball team was also in St. Louis. They played two games in the Webster Tip-off Classic, losing the opener to Spalding University on Saturday night, and then winning the second game against the host Webster University on Sunday. They’ll play their first home game of the season this Saturday as Wooster comes to the Sommer Center.
The men’s basketball team welcomed Kalamazoo on Saturday evening, grabbing an exciting first victory. An onslaught of three-pointers and sound free-throw shooting propelled the Beavers to their impressive win. They’ll travel to Naperville, Ill. this weekend for two games in the North Central Tip-Off Tourney.
Not to diminish any of the aforementioned accomplishments, but the biggest news from the past weekend came from Dwight Salzman Stadium where the Beavers stomped the Defiance Yellow Jackets to keep The Hammer in Bluffton for the fifth consecutive season. The 44-23 final score doesn’t accurately reflect the type of game this was. The Beavers dominated their arch-rivals from the first drive of the game until the clock hit zero.
Senior quarterback Nick Sheehan set a school-record with five touchdown passes. Four of the five were caught by senior receiver Jack Tomlinson, who, by doing so, also set a school-record.
Congratulations to the twenty seniors who ended their collegiate football careers in grand fashion and have no idea what it’s like to lose to Defiance.
Jack Tomlinson became the only receiver in Bluffton history to catch four touchdown passes in a single game.
Last weekend officially flipped the sporting calendar from fall to winter and four inches of snow were dumped on us to drive home that fact.
So, get out your cold weather clothing, and when you see them around campus, be sure to congratulate fall athletes on their accomplishments and wish winter athletes luck in their upcoming competitions.