University teams boast one of most successful years in decades The University's intercollegiate athletic teams have enjoyed their best year in decades, with stellar performances by teams in several sports. The football team celebrated its best season in nearly a century, the softball team captured its first-ever league title, the men's basketball team marked its best season in 35 years and the baseball team is poised for its most victorious season in its 103-year history. Several individual athletes turned in notable performances as well.
"This competitive success reflects the commitment to intercollegiate athletics that the University has made over the last several years," said Tom Weingartner, Associate Professor and Chairman of Physical Education & Athletics. "This commitment has allowed us to recruit and appoint quality faculty coaches who have reinvigorated our programs. This, in turn, has allowed the coaches to attract and recruit strong student-athletes."
Here are the highlights of this year.
Baseball nearing all-time victory mark
In the final week of the season, Chicago has a chance to claim its most successful season in the program's 103-year history. With their current mark of 21-11-1 and two games left in the season, the Maroons have tied and are poised to surpass the 1904 mark of 21-8-1. With its current record, Chicago has already ensured its second consecutive winning season.
At the UAA Championship Tournament in early March, the Maroons posted a 2-2-1 record which was its best ever at the annual round-robin event.
Third-year third baseman Mark Mosier earned All-UAA first-team honors for the second straight year and was joined on the All-UAA Team by second-year catcher Jaired Stallard and first-year second baseman Geoff Campen, both second-team picks. Mosier is enjoying an outstanding season thus far, bidding to become the first Chicago player to hit .400 since 1990. Through 28 games, he is batting .444 with 32 runs batted in.
Best football season in 90 years
Led by first-team All-American and University Athletic Association (UAA) Player of the Year Derrick Brooms, the Maroons finished with an 8-2 record in 1995, marking the program's most wins since the 1905 season. A fourth-year wide receiver and kick-return specialist, Brooms led the NCAA Division III in kickoff return average (35.2) and returned three kicks for touchdowns, one short of the NCAA season record. He finished his career holding or sharing 20 Chicago football records. Following the season, Brooms was named to the Hewlett-Packard All-America Team as a first-team selection. He was also chosen the UAA's top offensive player for the second straight year.
Chicago placed 18 players on the All-UAA Team, including seven first-team selections. On offense, fourth-year center Dan O'Brien and third-year tight end Frank Walch joined Brooms on the All-UAA first team. Fourth-year defensive end Dan Crookston and third-year cornerback Drew Christ made the first team on defense, while Brooms (kick returner) and Christ (kicker) were also chosen to the first team as special-team performers.
Brooms, O'Brien and Crookston headed the Chicago senior class, which finished its collective career as the most successful class in the program's modern era.
Softball team wins UAA title
With a 6-0 mark at the UAA Championship Tournament in March, the Maroons captured their first-ever league softball title. After winning its first three games by a combined score of 36-7, Chicago edged defending champion Brandeis University 5-4. Chicago then won its final two games -- including a 7-3 win over Brandeis -- to maintain its unblemished record.
Third-year pitcher Michelle Rizzo was named the UAA's Most Valuable Player after winning all four of her starts. She threw 25 innings and posted an outstanding 0.56 earned run average. Rizzo, who struck out 21 hitters in 25 innings, threw a two-hit shutout against Case Western Reserve University and a three-hitter against New York University.
Three other Chicago players -- third-year outfielder Catherine Moran, second-year catcher Danielle Hari and second-year third baseman Jennifer Wu -- joined Rizzo on the All-UAA Team as first-team selections.
Best season for men's basketball since 1960-61
Featuring a roster of 11 underclassmen, Chicago's men's basketball team posted an 18-7 overall record this winter, marking the program's most successful season since 1960-61. Chicago, which was predicted to finish last in the UAA's pre-season poll of coaches, finished in second place with a 14-4 record in conference play. Coming just two years after a 3-22 campaign, the Maroons' success accounted for an eighth-place ranking in the final regular-season regional rankings.
Three players garnered All-UAA honors after the season, including first-team selection Aaron Horne, a second-year guard. Horne, a two-time All-UAA honoree, was the Maroons' leading scorer with 16.2 points per game. Second-year guard Rusty Loyd and first-year forward Craig Kelleher joined Horne on the All-UAA Team, Loyd on the second team and Kelleher as an honorable-mention pick.
Following the season, Head Coach Pat Cunningham and Assistant Coach Mike McGrath were honored by the league's coaches as the UAA's Coaching Staff of the Year. Individual All-Americans in swimming, wrestling
Third-year swimmer Margaret Pizer and second-year wrestler Neal Rodak both earned All-America honors in their respective sports during the winter.
At the 1996 NCAA Division III Championship, Pizer finished 16th in the 400-meter individual medley with a time of 4:44.23 to earn honorable-mention recognition. Pizer is Chicago's first All-America swimmer since 1991 and the fifth since 1988.
Rodak won three of five matches to capture eighth place at the 1996 NCAA Division III Championship. Unseeded at 118 pounds, Rodak won his first match 9-5 before falling to the fourth seed by a 6-2 decision. He then moved to the consolation bracket, where he posted 3-1 and 10-4 wins before dropping his final match to the eventual third-place finisher. Rodak is Chicago's 16th All-America wrestler since 1984.
Fourth straight 10-win season for women's soccer
With an 11-5-2 record, the Maroons team celebrated its fourth straight 10-win season this past fall. Since 1992, Chicago has compiled a combined record of 47-18-6, including a UAA title in 1994. Several players earned post-season recognition, including third-year defender Molly Gesler, who was named to the All-West Region and All-UAA first teams.
Individual UAA champions in track
Several Chicago athletes won individual titles at the UAA indoor and outdoor track-and-field championships. In the men's division, fourth-year Derrick Brooms won the 55-meter (indoor) and 100-meter (outdoor) dashes, while second-year Phil Duszczyk finished first in the 35-pound weight throw (indoor). Second-year Shahla Bolbolan led the women with three UAA titles. Bolbolan, an indoor All-American in the shot put a year ago, was the conference's top performer in the shot put (indoor and outdoor) and the discus (outdoor). Third-year Courtney Bell won her first career league title by taking first place in the 20-pound weight throw (indoor).