The 2023 gymnastics season was a magical one, as the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh capped competition with a second consecutive national championship.
The Titans were welcomed home with a police escort as a contingent of fans, alumni, UWO employees and members of the Bolt Band turned out at Kolf Sports Center following the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) meet March 25 at Winona State University.
Coach Lauren Karnitz ’06, ’12 MSE, described the finish to the season as an “amazing experience” and said emotions swelled as the Titans were named champions for a second straight year.
The team scored 192.525 points—the third-highest overall finish in program history—for their sixth overall championship victory and fourth NCGA win.
The championship came in dramatic fashion with solid results on the balance beam—a piece of difficult apparatus and the last event of the day. First-year Titan Lydia Hayden of Broomfield, Colorado, kept her nerves in check to complete a stellar performance and secure the championship.
“I just know how hard they worked for me all year,” Karnitz reflected. “It’s not easy to keep yourself at that level all year.”
A loss earlier in the year to UW-La Crosse prompted some changes— focus on some details—that helped the team later in the season.
At the championship, the team “got in their own bubble,” she said, and stayed calm.
“We knew the magnitude of the meet,” Karnitz said.
Emily Buffington, junior from Huntersville, North Carolina; Hayden; Mia Lucero, sophomore of Bolingbrook, Illinois; Reanna McGibboney, sophomore of Chester Springs, Pennsylvannia; and Trinity Sawyer, senior from Alpharetta, Georgia; earned All-American medals after placing first through eighth in the events.
The Titans made news with a strong campaign, but the National Collegiate Athletic Association Regional Softball Championship slipped away as the Titans fell 1-0 to Concordia University Wisconsin May 20.
The team had the best start in school history, due in part to dominant pitching from Maddie Fink, senior from Stevens Point, and Sydney Nemetz, a sophomore from Marinette.
The Titans finished the season at 36-9, tying the school record set in 2007 for the most wins.
Abby Garceau, a sophomore of Mishicot; Nemetz; and Hannah Ritter, a senior from Marengo, Illinois, were named to the all-regional tournament team for their performances at the NCAA regional championship in Oshkosh. Ritter set the UWO record for all-time career hits, with 207.
Fink, Sophie Wery, a sophomore from Seymour, Ritter and Brianna Davis were named to National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III all-region teams.
Wery was an NCAA/Rawlings Division III Gold Glove winner. Titan pitchers held a top 10 earned run average (ERA), leading the nation in ERA in March and April.
Six Titans earned all-conference honors, with five first team honorees; four earned all-region second team honors; while three earned academic all-district honors.
UWO finished the season at 25-15 as the fourth-seeded Titans were eliminated from the WIAC tournament with losses May 12 to the second- and third-seeded teams at host UW-Stevens Point.
Matt Scherrman, a senior shortstop from Wheaton, Illinois, was named to the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings All-America Third Team as part of the opening ceremony of the NCAA Division III College World Series in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In addition, he was named to the ABCA All-Defensive Region Nine Team and received D3baseball.com All-America Third Team honors.
Scherrman and pitcher LJ Waco, a senior from Cary, Illinois, represented UWO on D3baseball.com All-Region Nine First Team. Both were named to the ABCA All-Region Nine First Team.
Track and field
UWO track and field teams concluded competition May 27 at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Rochester, New York, with eight All-America honors.
Cyna Madigan, a sophomore from Rosendale, took third in the women’s 800-meter final in 2:10:35, after qualifying with a personal record of 2:09:79.
Other top finishers were Jonathan Wilburn, a senior from Evanston, Illinois, who finished fourth and was among five competitors who broke the triple jump facility record; and the men’s 4×100-meter relay squad that finished fourth. Wilburn captured his fourth outdoor All-America, eighth overall.
Londyn Little, a sophomore from Columbia, Illinois, earned All-America honors in the 4×100-meter relay and 200-meter dash.
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