2013-14 Stories of the Year (No. 1): Seven earn Athlete of the Year honors
MEQUON, Wis. - The 2013-14 athletic year at Concordia University Wisconsin saw many inspirational moments by student-athletes and countless victories on a variety of levels. The initial list of top stories was long, but was eventually narrowed after several difficult decisions (honorable mention and top five).
The list was compiled by the Athletic Communications Department and a committee of coaches, and like all lists is subject to debate. The list of top stories will be revealed over the next six weeks with a story being released each Tuesday.
Seven Falcons earn conference Athlete of the Year honors
The 2013-14 season saw several strong individual performances by Concordia University Wisconsin student-athletes. Several individual records were set and CUW had many athletes earn All-Conference recognition in their respective sports.
Among those All-Conference selections were seven athletes who were chosen as a conference Athlete of the Year for their efforts this past season. Those seven athletes combined to be the number one story of the year for Concordia University Wisconsin during the 2013-14 athletics season.
Sean Ambrocio, Wrestling
Ambrocio (San Antonio, Texas) entered the 2014 Northern Wrestling Association Tournament as the heavy favorite in the 125-pound bracket as the two-time defending champion. The junior grappler did not disappoint as he rolled to another championship at the NWA Tournament.
Not only did Ambrocio win his weight bracket, but he also earned his first NWA Outstanding Wrestler award for his efforts. In his two matches, Ambrocio recorded a pin in just eight seconds, one off the program record, and then won by technical fall, 22-5.
He used the momentum built at the NWA Tournament and carried it on to regionals and eventually the NCAA Division III Championships. Ambrocio finished eighth at nationals, earning All-American honors for the first time in his career. In addition, he was also named Co-CUW Male Athlete of the Year for the 2013-14 athletics season.
Austin Damaschke, Football
Damaschke (Bristol, Wis.), the other Co-CUW Male Athlete of the Year from 2013-14, was dominant on the gridiron for the Falcons in 2013. The junior gunslinger set several school and conference records in helping lead CUW to a perfect 6-0 NACC record and a spot in the NCAA Playoffs.
Damaschke tore up the NACC, leading the conference with 3,171 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and a 62.8 completion percentage. He also ran for 61 yards per contest and scampered into the end zone 12 times.
In addition to being named NACC Offensive Player of the Year, Damaschke was chosen as the WFCA Private College Player of the Year for the second straight season and was a finalist for the Gagliardi Trophy, awarded to the Most Outstanding Player in all of NCAA Division III.
Martin Hinze, Indoor Track & Field
Hinze (Bourbonnais, Ill.) was named the NACC Indoor Track Athlete of the Meet at the conference championship held on March 1. The senior competed in three events, winning two of those and adding a runner-up finish in helping the Falcons finish third as a team.
Hinze won the 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter runs, including posting a personal-best time of 15:28.9 in the 5,000. His winning time in the 3,000-meter run was 8:56.35.
The senior then added a second-place finish in the mile, finishing the day with 28 points for the Falcons. He was just edged out in the mile by Matt Meyers of Aurora as Meyers clocked in at 4:27.99, while Hinze posted a 4:28.05.
Katie Luethe, Women's Basketball
Luethe (Oshkosh, Wis.) capped off her impressive four-year career for the CUW Women's Basketball program by being named the NACC Player of the Year after leading the Falcons to a 22-5 overall record, including a 17-3 mark in conference play.
The senior, who finished her career with 1,439 points, ranking fifth all-time in the NACC, averaged 13.6 points per game during her senior season. She scored in double figures in 21 of the team's 27 games during the season.
Luethe also pulled down 7.4 rebounds per game to lead the Falcons and had 714 career rebounds. She was a three-time First Team All-Conference selection, and was also named the NACC Freshman of the Year during the 2010-11 season.
Jacob Pope, Men's Soccer
Pope (Muskego, Wis.) also capped off a brilliant career this season by being named the NACC Defensive Player of the Year. The senior dominated the pitch and played a key part in the Falcons strong defensive efforts, while adding offense to the team with seven assists.
Pope was also named First-Team All-NACC for a fourth straight season, impressive considering he switched positions multiple times throughout his career. Whether playing at forward or defense, he also made an impact on the pitch.
The 2013 season also saw Pope bring home several other accolades. The senior was named the State Defensive Player of the Year, while also being named First Team All-Central Region. It was the third time in his career that he was selected to an All-Region team. He finished his career with 42 points, scoring 15 goals and adding 12 assists.
Nina Puch, Women's Golf
Puch (Des Plaines, Ill.) entered the 2013 NACC Championship with high expectations after finishing as the runner-up her freshman season. The sophomore did not disappoint, capturing her first NACC title at the event held October 5-7.
Puch was tied for the lead after a weather-shortened opening round, firing a 42. She then went on the post the lowest scores in both the second (80) and third (83) rounds to capture the individual championship. Puch won the event by 15 strokes.
Her efforts helped lead the CUW Women's Golf team to a second straight NACC Championship. The Falcons won the event by 18 strokes over Northwestern (Minn.) and advanced to the Division III NCAA Championship for the second straight season.
Sammi Reiter, Women's Lacrosse
Reiter (Stillwater, Minn.) spent most of the 2014 Lacrosse season scoring goals and breaking CUW records. The 2014 CUW Female Athlete of the Year was also chosen as the Midwest Women's Lacrosse Conference Player of the Year after a dominant junior campaign.
Reiter scored 70 goals in 2014, which ranked 15th in all of Division III. She set program records for points (89), goals (70), game-winning goals (three), shots attempted (116), shots on goal (100) and free-position goals (16).
Reiter also set several game records, including scoring eight goals in an April 15 win over North Central College. She brought her career points total up to 165 as she continues to rewrite to CUW record books, where she sits atop the career leaderboard in several offensive categories. Reiter also led the Falcons to a program-best 12-5 record this spring.
Honorable Mention: Lacrosse breaks nearly every record
No. 5: Women's Golf continues recent success
No. 4: Baseball makes run to NACC title game
No. 3: Wrestling sends three to nationals
No. 2: Football advances to NCAA playoffs