Fall sports follow-up

Coaches weigh in on season


Morgan Guenther

Freshman Will MacCudden pushes to the finish line of the Tom Hoffman Invitational that was held in Whitewater Sept. 18, 2021.

Parker Olsen, Sports Editor

The 2021 fall sports season was filled with success for many UW-Whitewater teams. Each of the fall sports were unable to compete in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic so, all teams were particularly excited to get back into competition. The football team’s season came to an end as they were upended in the national semifinal and many other Warhawk fall sports have been making appearances on the national stage and ended with strong seasons as well. 

Men’s Cross Country

A season to remember. The Warhawk men’s runners had their highest finish, 2nd place, in the WIAC Championship since 1999. They took first place at the NCAA North Regional meet, a first for the program, and matched the highest finish in school history at the National Championships meet. The team was led by the WIAC coaching staff of the year, as well as by the WIAC Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year David Fassbender, the first Warhawk to win this title. Fassbender, a senior, was the team’s first WIAC individual champion since 2004 as well as the first ever regional individual champion, to cap off the season the three time All-American finished 6th at the nationals meet. Chrisitan Patzka and WIAC Newcomer of the Year Gunner Schlender, both freshman, joined Fassbender as All-Americans, finishing 23rd and 26th respectively at the national meet.

Head coach Jeff Miller reflected on the team’s remarkable season:

“The team had the most consistent and successful season in over 50 years! They won four meets and were second in two others. The team’s lowest finish was 5th place at the National Championship Meet. Winning the Regional Title was the first in school history. David Fassbender led the team finishing 1st in five races during the season. He became the first cross country runner to earn three All-American honors in school history as well as the first individual Regional Champion. Christian Patzka and Gunner Schlender also earned All-American honors providing a strong 1-2-3 punch. Justin Krause and Kyle Neuroth joined the three All-Americans, gaining All-WIAC Honors and All-Region Honors. Having a similar season, plus winning the WIAC title and placing in the top 4 at the national meet, is the goal for next year.”


The Warhawks finished the season as conference runners up in both the regular season and conference tournament losing only to UW-Eau Claire, who would go on to win the national title. The team’s record of 27-3 is the team’s highest winning percentage since the 2005 national championship team. 20 of their 27 wins were sweeps. The team was looking at a deep run in the NCAA tournament however they were knocked out in the second round of the NCAA Regional by Otterbein (OH). The team was filled with high achieving athletes. Morgan Jensen, the WIAC Defensive Player of the Year, Erin McNeil, Jenna Weinfurt and Morgan Wardall earned first team All-WIAC. Wardall, a middle hitter, earned first team All-Region honors while Jensen and KellyAnn Sotitos were honorable mentions. Wardall, a senior with a 3.9 gpa majoring in communication with an emphasis in public relations and a minor in general management, was first team Academic All-District. Her hitting percentage of .350, 82 blocks, 199 kills and 44 digs earned her Second Team All-America.

Men’s Soccer

The 2021 men’s soccer season was the team’s first in the Coast to Coast Athletic Conference, the team made it to the semifinals of the conference tournament. Finishing the season 15-6-1, the team was led by four All-Conference players. Freshman forward Jacob Mouille, and senior defender Evan Donini earned 1st team honors while senior midfielder Steven Wright and senior goalkeeper Jake King received 2nd team honors. Mouille was second in the conference for both goals, with eight, and points, 20.

Head coach Tony Guinn reflected on the team’s season:

“It was a great season, we won 15 out of our 21 games, 80% of our games were on the road, I could not be any prouder. We do the best we can to represent our school on the field and in the classroom. The team returns many players, with transfers and incoming talent this will be a very difficult team to make in the fall.”

Women’s Soccer

Finishing 13-7 the team bowed out in the first round of the WIAC tournament, losing to UW-Eau Claire after having finished 3rd in the WIAC regular season. The season was highlighted by a seven game win streak during which they only allowed three goals while netting 23 goals of their own. The team had four All-WIAC players. Anna Boyd, a senior, became just the second Warhawk women’s soccer player to achieve All-WIAC accolades four times. Senior Anna Brodjian led the conference in goals with 12, five of which were game winners. Sophomore Olivia May also received All-WIAC honors, as did the senior Katy Kusswurm, a biology major, who also was given the award for the Judy Kruckman Scholar-Athlete for women’s soccer. Anna Boyd was recognized for the second consecutive year as a first team Academic All-American, she holds a 3.96 gpa and majors in elementary education. Carli Nehls, a junior, is the team’s WIAC All-Sportsmanship Team.

Here is what head coach Ryan Quamme had to say about the season:

While we are disappointed with the final result, a loss in the WIAC Tournament quarterfinals, I’m thrilled with the way that our student-athletes carried themselves through a pandemic over the last two years and put together a winning season in 2021. Katy Kusswurm was named WIAC Judy Kruckman Scholar-Athlete, giving an individual in our program this distinction as the conference’s top scholar-athlete in women’s soccer for the eighth time in the last nine years. Four of our players were named to the all-conference team, and three of them were selected all-region. I’d also like to mention the commitment and dedication of Anna Boyd, Anna Brodjian and Katy Kusswurm, who adjusted on the fly to stay for an additional year to complete their fourth year of eligibility. I’m excited about the future of the program and can’t wait to work with the team again soon.”

Women’s Cross Country

The young team spent the season gaining experience. The roster, which only boasts three juniors and no seniors, was riddled with injuries. Paige Fassbender, a sophomore, had the best finish on the team at the WIAC Championship where she finished 33rd. The team finished 6th at the WIAC Championship. The freshman Ari De La Cerda had the team’s best finish at the NCAA North Regional, earning 51st. The squad got 22nd at the North Regional.

Jeff Miller, head coach of the team, reflected on the team’s season:

“The women’s team started off the season with three very strong performances, finishing 1st at the UW-Platteville Gender Meet, 4th of 13 at the Tom Hoffman Invitational and 12th of 27 at the Blugold Invitational. We then lost a few runners due to injuries and illnesses that hurt our ability to see more improvement. The women were able to finish 6th in the WIAC which was the same place we had two years ago so we were happy with that result. Our top runner was Ari De La Cerda, she was closely followed by Paige Fassbender as our #2 runner. Our #3 runner Roxanne Temple came on very strong at the end of the season and finished just 10 seconds behind Paige in our last meet. These three will provide very solid front running for us next fall. Our goal is to improve on this year’s conference and regional places with the goal of trying to get an individual qualifier to the national meet.”

Whitewater sports stuck to their motto, powered by tradition, and part of that tradition is winning. UWW fall sports have been able to maintain their stature as having some of the top sports programs in the country. Despite having skipped a year of competition due to the pandemic, nearly every Warhawk fall sport had similar or better results in this 2021 season than in their previous season in 2019.