By Andrew Festa
Athletes of the year
Two of Incarnate Word’s top honors for 2009-10 were awarded to basketball stars. Pierce Caldwell was named Male Athlete of the Year, and Nia Torru won Female Athlete of the Year.
Caldwell finished his college career as UIW’s all-time leader in 3-pointers (263) and free-throw percentage (.873) and second-leading scorer (1,873). He was an honorable mention All-American by Division II Bulletin for the second consecutive season, Heartland Conference Player of the Year for the third straight season and Heartland tournament MVP for the second year in a row.
Torru was named a Division II Bulletin honorable mention All-American and Heartland Player of the Year for the second straight year. She leaves as UIW’s top women’s scorer with 1,778 points.
Caldwell and Torru both were Daktronics All-South Central Region second team selections.
Shayn Weidner became the first runner to win Student-Athlete of the Year since the award was first presented following the 1999 season. The senior mathematics major boasted a 3.95 cumulative GPA and was chosen as an academic All-American for the second time by the national coaches association. He won the Heartland cross-country individual title and was named conference runner of the year in the fall. Also a track star, he holds UIW indoor records for the 3,000- and 5,000-meters and outdoor marks for the 5,000-meters and 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Swimming and diving
After finishing 11th at the Division II national championships last season, the men took second place at nationals in March in Canton, Ohio. Freshman Conrado Chede’s national championship in the 500-yard freestyle continued UIW’s string of success in the event. Aliaksandr Yatsko had won the past two years.
The men’s and women’s teams claimed Rocky Mountain Conference titles for the second year in a row. The women garnered their best finish in school history by finishing 11th at nationals with Tamiris Nascimento’s second-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle.
Incarnate Word will host the 2011 Division II national championships.
Another successful season ended with a third-place finish at the U.S. National Synchronized Swimming Championships in April in Huntersville, N.C. UIW also won its sixth consecutive title at the South Collegiate Regional Championships in Gainesville, Fla., and tied for third place at the Collegiate National Championships in Palo Alto, Calif.
The Cardinals finished 23-7, claiming a second consecutive Heartland tournament championship in March. Junior Eric Stewart hit the title-clinching shot in the final seconds as UIW beat St. Mary’s 65-63. UIW scored a 106-103 overtime victory in their semifinal game against Dallas Baptist. Incarnate Word reached the South Central Regional tournament for the second year in a row.
The women’s team lost to St. Mary’s 61-46 in the Heartland title game to finish 20-9.
The women won the Heartland conference in the fall to earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Division II Women’s Soccer Championships. UIW hosted first- and second-round games, but the Cardinals fell in the second round to St. Edward’s. Junior forward Sarah Hernandez – who was named Heartland Co-Player of the Year, first team all-region (by two groups) and first team all-conference – led the squad to a 15-3-3 finish. Junior Maggie Schrader won conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Senior defender Jamie Scope led the men to a 9-7-3 record (7-3 in conference), while earning All-South Central Region and third team All-America honors from the national coaches association. The regional award is his third. He also was named first team all-conference and Heartland Defensive Player of the Year. Senior Troy Thompson led the team in scoring and goals and was named the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year.
The Cardinals’ season looked in trouble as they lost to UT-Permian Basin in the first round of the Heartland Conference tournament. They needed to win four games in a row to claim the title, and that’s just what they did. By defeating St. Mary’s and St. Edward’s, UIW earned the right to play Permian Basin again. With 4-3 and 13-9 victories, the Cardinals won the championship and advanced to the NCAA Division II South Central Regional Tournament in Warrensburg, Mo.
Fourth-seeded UIW won its first two games at regionals in May. After two days of rainouts, the Cardinals’ season ended with an 18-7 loss to Central Missouri and a 9-4 loss to Abilene Christian in a semifinal game that started after midnight and ended after 3 a.m. The Cardinals (42-18) set a school record for wins.
Relief pitcher Alfredo Caballero, the Heartland tournament MVP, was one of 38 national semifinalists for the Tino Martinez Division II Player of the Year award. The senior, who led the conference with a 1.26 ERA, was one of seven Cardinals to make first team all-conference. Sophomore starting pitcher Kirk Jewasko was named Heartland Pitcher of the Year, first team all-conference, first team All-South Central Region (by two organizations) and Daktronics second team Division II All-America.
The women’s team won the Heartland title and nearly reached the national tournament. The fourth-seeded Cardinals lost in the regional finals to top seed Abilene Christian and finished 16-5. Erica Engberg tallied 14 singles victories in her senior season, giving her a total of 55 to tie 1990-1993 UIW record holder Veronica Gonzales.
Francisco Segura led the men to the regional finals in May, and their 15-5 record was close to UIW’s best (15-4 in 1993). Segura was named Heartland Senior of the Year and all-conference. The team reached the conference tournament finals in April.
The women’s team earned All-Academic honors from the national coaches association for its team GPA of 3.59 and its trip to regionals, where the Cardinals finished 14th of 21. Marie Troufflard finished 13 of 143 runners at regionals and was named Heartland Freshman of the Year, all-region and all-conference. The team took second at the conference meet.
Behind Weidner’s individual title, the men won the conference title for the second year in a row and advanced to the South Central Region championships in November in Abilene, where UIW placed 12th of 19 teams.
With a second-place showing in April’s Heartland Conference Championships in Edmond, Okla., the women’s team wrapped up their best finish since joining the conference. UIW won the Dustdevil Shootout, hosted by Texas A&M International, in February. The men’s team finished seventh in the conference championships.
Track and field
Long jumper Lauren Pratt leaped 5.86 meters at UIW’s Last Chance meet and qualified for the Division II National Track and Field Championships in May in Charlotte, N.C.
Get ready for the six home games of the 2010 season – the team’s first as a member of the Lone Star Conference – by visiting www.uiwcardinaltickets.com, www.cardinalathletics.com or calling (210) 829-6048 to buy tickets. The first home game is Aug. 28 against Langston State (Okla.).