It was another excellent year for sports at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and, as a way of wrapping up the year, here are the honors for the 2014-2015 seasons.
Team of the Year: Men’s Basketball
This honor is no surprise since the men’s basketball team won the national championship on March 31, defeating Augustana 70-54 in Salem, Virginia. It is the fourth national championship for the men’s basketball program and the second for head coach Bob Semling. Semling received many Coach of the Year awards, including the National Association of Basketball Coaches UPS Division III Coach of the Year. UWSP was led with a strong core of players of seniors Alex Richard, Joe Ritchay, Jordan Lutz, Austin Ryf and juniors Stephen Pelkofer and Sean McGann. Richard, Ritchay, and Ryf were all named All-WIAC First team, and Ryf was named the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
Male Athlete of the Year: Kevin Gibson, Men’s Hockey
In his final season at UWSP, Gibson contributed to an incredible season for the Pointers, helping the team get to consecutive Frozen Fours. He was named the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year and led all defenseman with 32 points. Gibson was also a CCM First Team-All American and a finalist for Division III National Player of the Year after averaging the most points per game by a defenseman with 1.03. After the season, Gibson signed a professional deal with the Tulsa Oilers of the East Coast Hockey League. He ended his UWSP career with 83 points in 117 games.
Female Athlete of the Year: Janna Beilke-Skoug, Women’s Hockey
As goalie for the women’s hockey team, Beilke-Skoug was arguably the team’s best and most important player. Beilke-Skoug was named a CCM First Team All-American after being named to the second team her junior season. Beilke-Skoug played the most minutes out of any goalie in the nation and ranked in the top ten nationally with four shutouts. She was also named WIAC Player of the Year leading the conference in saves. She finished her UWSP career as the all-time saves leader.
Breakout Athlete of the Year: Lauren Anklam, Women’s Basketball
In her sophomore season, Anklam led the Pointers with her scoring average of ten points per game and scoring double-digits in 12 of her 20 games. Ranking in the top-15 for scoring, assists and steals in the WIAC, Anklam was named to the First-Team All WIAC. Anklam was also named to the D3hoops.com All-Central Region Third Team.
Play of the Year: Alex Richard buzzer beater over UW-Oshkosh
On January 24, in the Quandt Gymnasium, UWSP was tied 66-66 with UW-Oshkosh. During overtime, after a missed layup by the Titans, Richard got the ball and hit a half-court shot to win the game as the buzzer rang. One of the loudest roars ever heard in the Quandt roared loud as Richard and the team celebrated by the student section. This play was also a turning point for the Pointers as the team would go on to lose only one more game during the year on the way to a national championship.
Game of the Year: Football vs North Central
This year the UWSP football team had one of its better seasons in recent memory, and this game was the high point of the year. On September 29, UWSP defeated the fifth-ranked North Central Cardinals during homecoming weekend and the annual Pink Game. UWSP was a second-half team all season, and they continued that trend for the game after being down 24-16 in the second half as the Pointers scored 16 unanswered points for the 34-27 win. The defense led the way with four interceptions and three fourth-down stops, including the final one with 1:30 remaining, to seal the upset. Quarterback Kyle Larson powered the offense through the air throwing over 300 yards for the first time with two touchdowns.