College notes: Hecker skis at nationals and Vargas noted for tennis play among others

• Jeremy Hecker, College of St. Scholastica junior nordic skier and Andover graduate teamed with Saints freshman Paul Schommer to represent the Duluth-based college at its first-ever NCAA Skiiing Championships appearance. Hecker placed 16th in the 10 kilometer freestyle race March 7 (26 minutes, 43.2 seconds) and 36th in th 20 km classic mass start event March 9 at the Bohart Ranch Cross Country Ski Center hosted by Montana State University in Bozman.
Schommer finished 15th in the 10 km freestyle and 18th in the 20 km classic mass start.
The two finished outside of All-American status by 1:01 in the combined totals.

• Taylor Auman, Concordia University junior golfer and Coon Rapids graduate, tied for 15th place overall, 21 stroke behind the leader at the first meet of the season, The Classic Club Invitationalin Palm Dessert, California, March 7-8. The Golden Bears finished fourth place in the field of nine teams, 30 strokes behind invite champion Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Auman carded rounds of 86 and 85 strokes to post the second best finish for the Golden Bears as junior Laura Petterson placed sixth, six strokes better than Auman.

• Katie Ward, UW-Eau Claire junior hockey player was named to to the NCHA All-Academic Team. She recorded three goals and four points while playing in all 27 games this season.

• Jessica Englund, Bethany Lutheran College senior women’s basketball forward and  was named to the UMAC First Team All-Conference. Englund finished fourth in the league in scoring (18.2 ppg) and was the leading rebounder with more than 11 rebounds per game. She was also sixth in blocks and ninth in field goal percentage (.441). Bethany’s season came to an end in the UMAC semifinals with a 69-60 loss to No. 1 seed Martin Luther Feb. 22.

• Allcia Vargas, St. Benedict freshman tennis player and Coon Rapids graduate was named MIAC Tennis Athlete-of-the-Week, which was released March 13. The freshman went 3-1 in her singles matches during the Blazers spring break trip to California. She began with a loss at No. 5 singles before winning three straight matches. Her first win at No. 5 singles came against Cal Lutheran 7-6, 6-1 to tie the team score 4-4 before the Blazers lost 5-4. She added a 6-3, 6-3 win at No. 2 singles to beat Northwestern (Iowa) 8-1 and finished with a 6-3, 7-6 win at No. 6 singles in St. Benedicts only win against Claremont. She is 5-1 overall and 1-0 in MIAC competition.

• Northwestern College freshmen outfielders, Ashley Krantz (Andover graduate) and Lindsay Deans (St. Francis graduate) began the 2012 season 3-8 with several games in Clermont, Florida.

• David Flavin, Concordia University freshman and Anoka graduate finished 22nd overall (91-82) in The Classic Club Invitational in Pal Dessert, California, March 7-8. His second round 82 was 13th best but he lost a position from his 21st place performance in the first round.  Concordia University finished second, 13 strokes behind champion Minnesota State University, Mankato and two strokes ahead of St. Cloud State University.

• Jimmy Linn, St. Scholastica senior runner and Anoka graduate was third in the 800-meter run in 4:45.60 at the UMAC Indoor Championships in Duluth Feb. 25. • Christopher Doran, St. Scholastica junior hurdler finished second in the 60-meter hurdles in 8.96 seconds.

• Brett Tester, St. Scholastica junior forward and Andover graduate continues to receive honors including First Team UMAC honors for second straight year. He averaged 17.0 points per game/ 17.6 in conference action which is third best this season, second in rebounds (7.2) third in field goal percentage (.515) and third in minutes played (32.8). He also became the 10th Saints player to reach the 1,000 career points mark and ended the season with 1,159 career points, which is eighth all-time. He was also named to the CoSIDA/ Capital One Academic All-America Team which was announced Feb. 21 for his 4.0 grade-point-average. The Accounting and Finance major has made the Dean’s List every semester.

• Taylor Hall, Bethel University junior forward and Blaine graduate was named to the MIAC Men’s Basketball All-Conference team. Hall led the team in scoring (16.5 per game) with a 50.2 shooting percentage, fourth best in the league. He also averaged 6.4 rebounds per game for ninth best in the league. He finished the season with 52 assists, 28 steals and 26 blocks in 24 games. The Royals lost to St. Thomas in the conference semifinals 74-64 Feb. 24. Hall finish with 25 points, eight rebounds and two steals after a strong start with 10 first-half points (3-8 from the field, 4-4 from the free throw line).

• Cory Polta, Augsburg College senior forward and Spring Lake Park graduate was named to the MIAC Men’s Basketball All-Conference Honorable Mention and Sportsmanship teams. Polta averaged 11 points and seven rebounds per game while leading the team with 40 blocked shots, 14 steals and 31 assists. His 126 career blocks is second best on the all-time school rankings, 11th in field-goal percentage (.513), 12th in rebounds (578) and 22nd in career scoring (904).

• Andy Grzesiak-Grimm, Augsburg College senior post and St. Francis graduate was named to his fourth all-conference honor and second straight MIAC All-Conference team. He was named to the MIAC All-First Year team in 2008-09 and honorable mention selections as a sophomore and junior. He averaged nearly a double-double per game (15.2 points and 9.7 rebounds per game) with 14 blocks, 21 steals and 50 assists. Grzesiak-Grimm led the MIAC in rebounding and seventh in scoring in overall games. He ranked first in conference-only games (10.1), seventh in scoring (15.7) and 10th in field-goal percentage (.543). He was the 18th player in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau, finishing 12th with 1,151 points and sixth in career rebounds with 723. He is one of four players to record 1,000 career points and 700 career rebounds. His .570 field-goal percentage is fourth best for the Auggies and 80 blocked shots is fifth best.

• Courtney Nelson, St. Olaf freshman defenseman and Spring Lake Park graduate had three assists in 25 regular season games for the Oles who finished 9-13-4 overall and 9-7-2 in the MIAC.

• Sam Ubl, St. Olaf freshman goaltender and Anoka graduate posted a 5-2-3 record in 13 games with a .906 saves percentage and 2.91 goals against average. She was 5-0-2 in MIAC games with a .900 saves percentage and 2.42 goals against average.

• St. Catherine senior defenseman Bridget Braastad, a Blaine graduate, was named to the MIAC Sportsmanship Team. Braastad collected three points (two assists) in 15 games with one power play goal and game winner. She finished her career with 19 points (11 assists) in 88 games for the Wildcats.

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