In a perfect world, we would produce a new Bison Illustrated every week, but it’s just not possible… for now. A lot has happened since the great Amy Anderson graced the cover of last April’s BI. Softball had another sensational season as well as numerous track and field athletes earning national recognition. Here’s the recap of the Bison spring sports, while we were away…
33-16 (17-1); Lost in the Summit League Tournament Championship
- Star Watch: Senior, Whitney Johnson: 23-9, 1.75 ERA, 265 Ks, 8.6 K/7 innings, Two no-hitters, Ten Shut Outs, Summit League Pitcher of the Year, NFCA All-Midwest Region Second Team
- Breakout Athlete: Junior Catcher, Jenina Ortega – All-Summit League First Team, .328 batting average, seven homeruns, 28 RBI’s.
- Who is the new gal? Second baseman, Cheyenne Garcia and Catcher, Alyssa Reina — Both started in every game for the Bison. Garcia led the team in runs scored (34) Reina was second on team in homeruns (8).
It has truly been amazing how great the Bison softball program has been over the past decade. Coming into the 2013 season, the Bison rattled off four-straight NCAA Regional appearances including a Super Regional appearance back in 2009. The great success is attributed to the great coaching and the great players that have come through NDSU.
One of these great players is pitcher Whitney Johnson. Since her freshman year, Johnson has been nearly unhittable. Twice this past spring she was unhittable, throwing a no-hitter against South Dakota State and Radford. Johnson has been the key to success for the Bison during her four-year career. Of the 134 wins the Bison have accumulated over the past four years, Johnson has won 85 of them. The ace pitcher came into this season with a new role — being the leader on a very young softball team. In the final Summit League championship game, five players in the Bison starting lineup were true freshmen including electric lead-off hitter Alyssa Reina. The youth was ultimately their demise in the Summit League Championship against IPFW, but the future is bright as the softball program will look to capture the League title next year.
26-27 (11-13); Lost in Summit League Tournament Championship.
- Star Watch: Senior, John Straka – 8-2, 1.67 ERA, 90 Ks, 7.5 K/9 innings, Six Complete games, Three Shut-outs, Drafted in the 32nd Round by the Texas Rangers.
- Breakout Athlete: Junior Outfielder, Kyle Kleinendorst – .333 batting average, eleven doubles, 30 RBI’s, First Team All-Summit League.
- Who is the new guy? Infielder Jon Hechtner – Started 46 games his freshman year, .259 batting average, 31 runs scored, First Team All-Summit League.
Coming off a 40-win season, the expectations for the Bison baseball team were reasonably lofty. Missing vital seniors from a season ago, the Bison lineup stumbled out of the gates from the get go. Cold bats and bipolar Fargo weather made the beginning of the season a frustrating one for the Bison and left many fans shaking their heads, believing last season would never be replicated. However, led by power arms in the starting rotation and experience in the bullpen, they did bounce back. The Bison won five of their last six games of the regular season to earn the number three-seed in the Summit League tournament. Back-to-back complete game shut-outs propelled the Bison into the Summit League Championship game for the second year in-a-row and the once lost season was shaping up to be a memorable one. Two heart-breaking losses later and the Bison’s season ended one win away from a championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA Regional.
Men’s and Women’s Track & Field:
Men’s – Summit League Outdoor Champions. Qualified Six for the NCAA Preliminary Meet.
Women’s – Summit League Indoor and Outdoor Champions. Qualified Ten for the NCAA Preliminary Meet.
- Men’s Star Watch: Senior Thrower, Casey Orgon – 2013 Summit League Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year, Three-time Summit League Hammer Throw Champion, Bison Hammer Throw Record Holder at 65.98 meters.
- Women’s Star Watch: Pole Vault Senior, Leslie Brost – Placed 18th at the NCAA Championships. Vaulted her personal best at the NDSU Tune-up meet vaulting 4.27 meters.
- Men’s Breakout Athlete: Junior Multi-Event, Andy Lillejord – Summit League’s 2013 Indoor Field Athlete of the Year, Placed seventh in the NCAA Championships in the Heptathlon, broke school record by 132 points by scoring 5,793 points at NCAA Championship meet.
- Women’s Breakout Athlete: Junior Sprinter, Deborah John – Her 13.24 broke school record in the 100 meter hurdles at the Trinidad and Tobago Championships. A part of the 4×100 relay team that broke the school record running a 45.46 at the Summit League Championships.
- Who is the new guy? Sophomore Sprinter, Jerome Begin – NCAA Division I West Preliminary Round participant, personal record 52.41 in the 400 meter hurdles, personal record 14.82 in 110 meter hurdles.
- Who is the new gal? Freshman Thrower, Sierra Rosenau – Qualified for the NCAA West Preliminary Meet. Broke the school record in the javelin with a mark of 150 feet and one inch at the Cobber Twilight Meet.
It was more of the same for the Bison Track and Field program last spring. Winning championships, breaking records and qualifying for the NCAA Championship meet is becoming a habit for these great Bison athletes. Most notably, two athletes competed in Eugene, Oregon while representing the Bison. Seniors, Casey Orgon and Leslie Brost competed at the highest level collegiately and did not disappoint. It was Brost’s sixth appearance at the NCAA Championships while Orgon was representing the Bison men for the first time since moving to Division I. With a talented junior class from last year leading the way this upcoming winter, the Bison look poise to continue their success on the track and in the field.
Men’s and Women’s Golf:
Men’s – Finished fifth at the Summit League tournament.
Women’s – Won the Summit League Championship.
- Men’s Star Watch: Senior, Nathan Anderson – Named to the All-Summit League Golf Team. Led the Summit League with the lowest scoring average of 72.23 and broke the school record for average round.
- Women’s Star Watch: Senior, Amy Anderson – Four-time Summit League Female Golfer of the Year, Three-time Summit League Individual Champion, 20 time tournament champion.
- Men’s Breakout Performer: Sophomore, Bill Carlson – Named to the All-Summit League Golf Team, Five top-5 finishes, 73.73-average round, shot a season-low 69 at the Navy Fall Classic.
- Women’s Breakout Performer: Junior, Abby Knutson – Won the Concordia Cobber Open, four top-10 finishes, average round of 79.2.
- Who is the new guy? Freshman, Connor Holland – 76.19-average round, two top-10 finishes, shot a season-low 71 in the second round of the Beu/Mussatto Invitational.
- Who is the new gal? Freshman, Hailey Boner – One top-10 finish, average round of 80.
In the shadow of the greatness that was Amy Anderson, sat a men’s golf team that is on the up-and-up. Led by senior, and brother of the greatest golfer in Bison history, no, Summit League history was Nathan Anderson. Highlighted by his round of 64 in the final round at the Rice Intercollegiate, Anderson played an instrumental role in the development of a team that lost their coach half-way through the season. There is a lot to look forward to on the men’s team, but we shouldn’t forget about the women’s team too. Amy Anderson was the obvious star of the show but behind her were some great golfers chomping at the bit to get their run of recognition.