Winter sports at Loras put together a successful season


Loras College continues to remain competitive on a national scale in athletics. Women’s basketball, Men’s Basketball, Wrestling and Swimming & Diving each sit on the top half of the IIAC as winter sports come to a close.

The Women’s Basketball team finished with a 12-2 IIAC record, clinching the title for the first time since the 2002-03 season. Loras was able to rattle off ten straight wins that spanned from January 8 to February 8. Coach Justin Heinzen relied on several key players to help clinch the IIAC title. Seniors Katie Langmeier (’14) (Cuba City, Wis.), Lauren Byrne (’14) (DePere, Wis.), and Katie Wheeler (’14) (Glenview, Ill.) combined to average 24 points and 18 rebounds in conference play per game. Loras relied on contributions from other key players like Katlin Phillips (’16) (Hinckley, Ill.), Victoria May (’14) (Port Byron, Ill.), Kathleen Cabrera (’17) (Gilbert, Ariz.), and Lori Obendorf (’16) (Naperville, Ill.) to help give the Duhawks a good mix of both frontcourt and backcourt play. Langmeier was selected as female athlete of the week three times in the season and Phillips received the same honor once. Loras will look to build on their success in the IIAC tournament this week.

Men’s Basketball finished the season third in the conference and ended up with an 8-6 record in IIAC action. The Duhawks created some memorable moments throughout the season. Loras faced a daunting non-conference schedule which included #5 Wheaton and #2 Illinois-Wesleyan in the same week. Loras was able to win both games in thrilling fashion and make some noise on a national scale. In IIAC competition, the Duhawks handed University of Dubuque two loses in the cross town rivalry, one coming by way of a buzzer beater from Nathaniel Smith (’15) (Lincoln, Ill.). Head coach Greg Gorton relied on a trio of senior leaders that included Ryan Coon (’14) (Clive, Iowa), Alex Cline (’14) (East Peoria, Ill.), and Josh Bruns (’14) (Vernon Hills, Ill.), who helped lead the program in the 2013-14 season. Mirko Grcic (’16) (Lake Zurich, Ill.) was named the IIAC player of the week once this year and Smith was able to earn a spot on the D3 Hoops Team of the week.

Loras College wrestling had a stellar season on the mat as well. The Duhawks went 11-10 this season in dual matches, finishing third in the IIAC, beating Luther in their final match. Loras’ schedule consisted of a trip to Nashville, Tenn., and an invite to the Natonal Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) National Duel in Des Moines, Iowa. As a team, Loras is ranked #15 nationally by the NWCA.  Currently the Duhawks have three individuals ranked in the top 10 nationally: Matt Holmes (’14) (Lindenhurst, Ill.) is ranked #9 at the 141 weight class, Steve DeWitt (’16) (Sterling, Ill.) at 157 is ranked #3, and James Buss (’16) (Chicago, Ill.), at 285, is ranked #4. On March 1st, the Duhawks hosted one of six regional wrestling meets to determine national qualifiers.  Three Loras wrestlers qualified (Matt Holmes at 133, Steven DeWitt at 157 and James Buss at 285), each placing 2nd in their respective weight classes.  They will compete at the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships in Cedar Rapids, IA at the US Cellular Center on March 14-15.
Swimming and Diving had a successful year in the IIAC and national competition. Loras men’s swimming and diving team finished with a 6-1, (3-0) record for the season. The team beat Luther for the first time since the 2004 season, which meant a clean sweep against IIAC competition in the 2013-14 season.  Also, the men finished fourth at the Liberal Arts Championships, surpassing the fifth place finish from last year. Individually for the men, John Maevski (’16) (Elk Grove Village, Ill.) was able to qualify for nationals with his qualifying dives. He posted his top score of the season coming at the Liberal Arts Championships with a 487.50 and finished 2nd place at the competition. As the first swimmer since the 2004 season to compete at nationals for the Duhawks, Maveski  placed fourth in the 1m diving championships and sevent  in the 3m diving championships. The Loras College women’s swimming and diving team ended the season 6-2, (2-1). The women’s team also placed fourth at the Liberal Arts Championships. The Duhawks were able to break several records at the competition, which included the 400 medley relay, 200 medley relay, and 800 free relay.

As the spring sports of baseball, softball, lacrosse and track & field start to turn up the action, check out for all the latest updates. Also, be sure to follow us on facebook and twitter for information about all sports at Loras College.

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