By Brian Roe, Sports Writer
Front Roe Seat
ACU men: you had a good year. The Wild-cat men’s track and field team captured the NCAA Divi-sion II nation-al champion-ship.
The ACU football team continued to improve in 2003 and just fell short of the postseason with a 6-4 overall record and a solid 5-3 record in the Lone Star Conference South Division.
Finally, just last week both the men’s baseball team and the men’s tennis team won LSC South Division titles in each respective sport.
But sorry, men, the sporting year of 2003-04 was a year for the Wildcat women. Just take a look at their accomplishments this year …
The ACU volleyball team kicked the year of dominance off spiking its way to a 25-10 overall record. The Wildcats finished second in the LSC South Division and clinched a berth in the Lone Star Confer-ence Post-Season Tourna-ment. Sophomore outside hitter Michelle Bernhardt was named first team all-academic and first team all-LSC South Division.
The ACU women’s cross country team won a third consecutive LSC South Division title, and Yuliya Stashkiv won the women’s individual title. The women missed a chance to run at the national meet but still finished third overall at the regional meet.
The ACU women’s basketball team produced an inspiring season, finishing 19-10 and placing second in the LSC South Division. The Wildcats caught fire under first-year coach Shawna Lavender and made their first post-season appearance since the 1999-2000 season. ACU won its biggest game of the year on Tuesday, March 2 in Moody Coliseum defeating the visiting East Central team 99-67. The Wildcats were two points away from advancing to the LSC championship game before their season ended at the hands of Northeastern State 66-65.
Women’s basketball player senior Melanie Carter completed her brilliant four-year career with the Wildcats with numerous awards. Carter joins former Wildcat all-America players Claudia Schleyer and Jennifer Clarkson as the only ACU basketball players – male or female – to be named first team all-conference four times. Carter finished her career as the third-leading scorer in both ACU and LSC history with 1,962 points and also set both the LSC and ACU career record for field goal percentage. Sophomore Ashley King set a record of her own, tying the NCAA Division II record for most 3-pointers made in a game without a miss, and breaking both the LSC and ACU record.
In women’s track and field junior Katie Eckley set a new Division II outdoor pole-volt record only to have it broken a week later by teammate junior Val Gorter. Gorter’s record mark stood at 13 feet, 3 inches, just one-half inch more than Eckley.
The 2004 season wasn’t kind to the ACU softball team, but junior infielder Katie Bryan enjoyed success, becoming ACU’s all-time leader in career homeruns, single-season homeruns and RBI. This season Bryan belted 12 homeruns and now has 19 career homeruns and 113 career RBI.
Finally, the ACU women’s tennis team dominated the entire season finishing 26-5 in the regular season and won the LSC title last weekend over Northeastern State. The Wildcats, who rank 15th in the nation, dominated the sixth-ranked Lady Reds, 5-0.