UIndy Athletics has tied its school record by finishing fifth in NCAA Division II in the 2011–12 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup final standings. The Greyhounds are by far the top team from the conference, 23 spots ahead of Northern Kentucky. This is the third time in school history UIndy has finished among the top five programs in the country (2008–09, 1996–97), including the second time in the last four seasons. This marks the ninth time in the last 10 seasons that UIndy was ranked in the top 20. The Greyhounds are also consistently the top athletic program in the state. This is the fourth time in the last five seasons that UIndy is the highest-ranked Indiana athletic program.
UIndy finished the year with 673.75 points, just 8.25 points behind fourth-place Augustana (S.D.). Grand Canyon (Ariz.) took the overall title this season, followed by Grand Valley State (Mich.) and Ashland (Ohio). UIndy’s success is even more impressive considering that three of the top five finishers were from the Midwest Region, making it the most competitive in NCAA Division II.
The Greyhounds had nine top-20 finishes: baseball (7), men’s indoor track and field (8), women’s golf (9), women’s volleyball (9), men’s golf (11), men’s outdoor track and field (11), women’s swimming and diving (11), men’s swimming and diving (12) and men’s basketball (17); wrestling (28), softball (33), and women’s basketball (33) rounded out the scoring.
Men’s athletic programs scored points in the maximum seven sports, while the women took points in five.
GLVC All-Sports Trophy, too
UIndy has also earned the 2011–12 Great Lakes Valley Conference All-Sports Trophy. The Greyhounds totaled 167.5 points in the GLVC’s 17 championship sports behind a UIndy-record seven conference championships. UIndy outscored second-place Northern Kentucky by 11.5 points and third-place Bellarmine by 26.5 points. This is the fourth GLVC All-Sports Trophy for UIndy and the first since the 2002–03 season. The Greyhounds won the first conference all-sports award in 1978–79 and won again in 1994–95.
The successes for UIndy started in the fall with the volleyball team taking its third conference championship with a thrilling five-set win in the tournament championship match. The second title came in the winter with the men’s indoor track and field team winning its third consecutive conference title in the event hosted by Wisconsin-Parkside. The big points for UIndy started to come in the spring as the Hounds finished the season by sweeping the last five championships to be contested.
The run started with an April doubleheader as the softball team defeated Illinois Springfield in the finals in Peoria, while women’s golf completed a seven-shot comeback to win the championship in Waterloo, Ill. For the third year in a row, the men’s and women’s outdoor track and field teams were double winners at the GLVC Championships at St. Joseph’s College in May. The final UIndy points came in Evansville, as the baseball team bounced back from losing its tournament opener to win five in a row and knock off Northern Kentucky in the finals.
UIndy’s athletics prospects are good on the heels of earning the Great Lakes Valley Conference All-Sports Trophy. For example, the Greyhounds were a unanimous preseason No. 1 as ranked by coaches on the eve of the first-ever GLVC football season this fall.
Winning in the classroom
The Great Lakes Valley Conference announced its 2011–12 Academic All-GLVC selections, with the University of Indianapolis topping the 16-school league with 158 honorees. UIndy was one of only four institutions with more than 150 Academic All-GLVC winners. Two Greyhound athletic teams led their particular sport, with women’s track & field garnering 30 honorees and women’s soccer earning 22. Combined with its 58 GLIAC (Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) All-Academic selections in football and men’s and women’s swimming & diving, and seven others tabbed by the NCAA Division II Wrestling Coaches Association, UIndy tallied a grand total of 216 student-athletes on all-academic honor rolls for the 2011–12 season.
Among those 158 honorees, UIndy had 14 student-athletes who earned the GLVC Council of Presidents’ Academic Excellence Award. The recipients of the GLVC Council of Presidents’ Academic Excellence Award exemplify the outstanding student-athletes in the GLVC. The honorees have exhausted eligibility in the intercollegiate sport in which they participated and maintained at a least a 3.5 grade point average throughout their academic careers. Student-athletes must have competed in the GLVC for a minimum of two years and completed 96 credit hours. They can earn the distinguished honor only once. The Greyhounds’ honorees were Tyler Norton (baseball), Taku Chapman, Tom McGuire (men’s soccer), Pete Wilson (men’s tennis), Hannah Kelzer (volleyball), Darin Pinnick (women’s golf), Libby Anderl, Morgan Binder, Kellie Donnelly, Kelsey Wendholt (women’s soccer), Alena Perez-Majul, Meghan Teunis (women’s tennis), Rachel Robertson, and Hillary Wenning (women’s track and field).
The baseball team had an amazing run as it collected the highest NCAA finish of any UIndy athletic program during the 2011–12 season. The Greyhounds didn’t drop a game during regional play as they used a 9-6 extra-inning victory against Rockhurst to win the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional and advance to the Division II College World Series for the first time since 2000.
The Greyhounds defeated Rockhurst twice, along with Lewis and Wayne State in the regional in Ypsilanti, Mich. Junior Ryan Wides, who had three hits in the championship game, finished the tourney 10-for-17 (.588) at the plate and was named the Midwest Regional MVP. Catcher Brandon Stevens, shortstop Mike Page, third baseman Tyler O’Daniel, designated hitter Scott Mourey, and pitcher Donovan Drake also made the all-tournament team.
The postseason run for UIndy started in Evansville with the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament. After dropping the first game of the tournament, the Greyhounds faced an elimination game for the rest of the tournament. The pressure didn’t faze the Crimson and Grey, which rattled off five wins in a row to take the GLVC trophy for the first time since 2001. The run featured Phil Wheeler’s no-hitter against Rockhurst that ended up being featured on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” Top 10 Plays. The junior struck out 11 to notch the first UIndy no-hitter since 1995.
After the season, pitchers Drake and JaVaun West both inked contracts with teams in the independent Frontier League, with Drake joining the Windy City Thunderbolts and West catching on with the Gateway Grizzlies. After three starts with the Thunderbolts, Drake was signed to a contract by the Atlanta Braves organization and reported to the Danville Braves, the parent club’s Advanced Rookie-level team.
—Matt Holmes, Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations
Photo: Matt Royer, one of the winners of the Dr. Robert M. Brooker Most Valuable Athlete award. Photo by Jim Burgess