A Good Day to Be a Beaver
Personal, team and conference marks were made by several Bluffton spring sports athletes.
Softball makes HCAC tourney finals
Bluffton’s softball team reached the finals of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament for the first time since the current four-team format was adopted in 2007.
The Beavers were second in the HCAC during the regular season with a 12-4 record, and their runner-up finish in the conference tournament pushed their final overall record to 26-16. The 26 wins are tied for the second-most in program history.
Bluffton, which has qualified for the tournament in each of Heather Bruder’s eight seasons as head coach, set school records for team batting average (.330), hits (381), RBI (212), total bases (511) and runs (251).
The team also had its first all-Central Region selections in five years in Jessica Kuzara—Bluffton’s first player named to the first team in 10 years—and third-teamer Ariana Muffo. They were first-team all-HCAC as well, along with fellow junior Brittany Baker.
Kuzara, Baker and another junior, Emily Kolezynski were also members of the conference’s all-academic softball team for the second straight year, and Kuzara added first-team all-district academic honors.
Track has three HCAC champions
Three Bluffton track and field athletes brought back four individual titles from the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference meet.
Jeff Parker won the men’s javelin for the third straight year with a top throw of 176-6, while Trey Everett took both the men’s high jump (6-8) and long jump (22-2.25) en route to earning honors both as freshman male and male field athlete of the year in the HCAC. On the women’s side, another freshman, Terrill Webb, won the pole vault with a personal-, Bluffton- and conference meet-record mark of 11-6.25.
Webb later reset her personal and school record, at 11-10, as did Parker in the javelin, at 191-4.
Four other school records were also set during the outdoor season, including those in the men’s and women’s 1,500 meters by freshmen Jack Fisher (4:01.97) and Anna Hairston (4:59.52). Breaking marks that had stood since 1983 and ’84, respectively, were senior Martin Russ in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase (10:02.55) and sophomore Colin McCloskey in the men’s 10,000 meters (33:07.59).
Webb, Hickey lead baseball honorees
Senior Tim Webb and freshman Luke Hickey were awarded for their efforts in leading the baseball Beavers to their second straight 21-win season, setting a team record for the most conference wins all-time. The 2013 and 14 seasons were the first back-to-back winning seasons in 25 years.
Both Webb and Hickey were named first-team all-Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference and third-team all-Mideast Region—just the third time Bluffton has claimed two all-region selections in the same year from the American Baseball Coaches Association. Hickey was also chosen as HCAC Freshman of the Year.
Webb, who graduated last month with a degree in health, physical education and recreation, was honored for his work in the classroom as well. He was named first-team academic all-district, then added third-team academic all-America honors from the College Sports Information Directors of America. He is the first Bluffton baseball player, and the fourth Bluffton athlete overall, to be an academic all-American.
Webb was a three-time academic all-HCAC selection, as was teammate and fellow senior Ben Roeschley. Representing the baseball team on the academic all-conference list for the second straight year were juniors Jeff Roth and Brad Schlabach.