The Badger State’s “other” title town

 

 

May 7, 2014

By Kevin Cunningham

People are familiar with the phrase, “Title Town” here in Wisconsin. When looking over the 2013-14 school year, championships upon championships were won in the Badger State’s “other” title town: UW-Whitewater.

Starting with basketball, take a look at what each of the four recognized teams on campus have accomplished. In men’s basketball, head coach Pat Miller led the Warhawks to their second title in the past three seasons. In 2012, the team differed greatly than this past year’s team.

CunninghamWEB
Kevin Cunningham

Miller guided a team that many felt didn’t have a superstar on it, much unlike the 2012 squad had in All-American center Chris Davis. The 2013-14 group had a mix of guards and size inside, but the team’s calling card was its defense.

Big shots were made time and time again in the team’s run to a title, most notably, Quardell Young’s game-winning layup with 0.9 seconds remaining in the national championship.

In men’s wheelchair basketball, head coach Jeremy Lade led the team to a national championship and the team’s fourth in six years. The ’Hawks defeated the University of Texas-Arlington Mavericks, 55-54, in another game-winning shot, this time by Derrick Bisnett with five seconds remaining.

On the women’s side of things, head coach Keri Carollo led what many considered at the beginning of the season an undersized Warhawks team to its second-consecutive Final Four appearance and a third-place finish.

Once the final whistle blew, senior guards Mary Merg and Kaitlyn Thill finished No. 1 and No. 4, respectively, on UW-Whitewater’s all-time career scoring list.

In women’s wheelchair basketball, the Warhawks took home another national championship, proving to be their third-straight. The team defeated the University of Alabama Crimson Tide, 69-54, to claim its crown once again.

In the championship game, field goal percentages told the story, as the ’Hawks outshot the Crimson Tide 50 percent to 38.5 percent from the floor and 40 percent to 8.5 percent from beyond the arc.

Moving from the hardwood to the gymnastics mats, head coach Jennifer Regan secured the team its third-consecutive national championship this past season. The team had six girls receive All-American honors once it was all said and done.

The Warhawks’ national championship team total score of 193.025 marked the highest score ever given to a Division-III gymnastics team. Freshman Katie Fiorilli finished her first season as a ’Hawk competing in a D-I Regional in Minnesota. Fiorilli became the first Warhawk to compete outright in a D-I Regional, going against the best of the best gymnasts in the country.

UW-Whitewater has won five national championships at this point in the 2013-14 school year, and the football team became a part of that on Dec. 20, in Salem, Va., after defeating what many consider now a rival in Mount Union, 52-14.

The title marked the Warhawks’ fourth championship in five years, all coming against the Purple Raiders.

As the 38-point routing indicates, the team’s offense and defense were firing on all cylinders in its biggest game of the season. Quarterback Matt Behrendt finished with 40 touchdowns to only one interception on the season after completing 65.7 percent of his 460 passing attempts. The defense was no slouch either, as it never allowed an opponent to score more than 17 points in a game.

UW-Whitewater’s five national championships to this point are second-best when it comes to titles won by a single university in an academic school year. Stanford University holds the all-time record, with six championships in one year.

As many Wisconsinites know, “Title Town” is referenced to Green Bay. Looking back on this school year, becoming the second title town in the state only seems necessary.

One term that doesn’t seem too big a stretch either is commonly being called, “Ring U.”

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