Loading

2019-20 in Photos Broncos Find Success in Shortened Athletic Year

While the 2019-20 athletic year was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were many highlights to look back on during the campaign.

Women's soccer interim head coach Sammy Boateng was promoted to head coach in January after guiding the Broncos to third place in the Mid-American Conference with a 6-4-1 league record. Sophomore forward Morgan Otteson tied for the MAC lead in goals scored with eight in conference play and was named First Team All-MAC. She also pulled in regional honors, earning a spot on the United Soccer Coaches Third Team All-Midwest Region squad. Continuing the program's legacy of academic success, Boateng had 10 student-athletes earn Academic All-MAC honors. Senior midfielder Lydia Bajema was a CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District selection, while junior forward Bailey Korhorn and Otteson were MAC Distinguished Scholar Athletes.

WMU cross country had eight runners named to the Academic All-Mid-American Conference team, tied for the third-most honorees in the league.

Senior Brittney Hall wrapped up the 2019 season as she had done all year, pacing the Broncos at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship.

Hall led the Broncos at the MAC Championship and took 17th overall.

Senior men's soccer standout Anthony Bowie achieved the highest academic honor a collegian can earn as he was named the 2019 Academic All-America Team Member of the Year for NCAA Division I men's soccer by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Midfielder Charlie Sharp was named to the College Soccer News All-Freshman Second Team for the 2019 NCAA Division I men's soccer season. Sharp, senior defender Sam Biek and freshman midfielder Brennan Creek were named to the All-MAC First Team for their regular season efforts. Sharp was tabbed the MAC Freshman of the Year, joining defender Reese Richardson as the only Broncos to win the award, with Richardson earning the honor in 2000. With a 1-0 victory at Michigan State and 2-1 win at Michigan, WMU defeated both programs in the same season for the first time in program history.

Highlighted by another victory over Central Michigan, the Bronco football team collected seven wins during the 2019 season. Senior running back LeVante Bellamy was named Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Year and the league’s Vern Smith Leadership Award winner as the MVP. Junior linebacker Treshaun Hayward was tabbed the MAC Defensive Player of the Year. Redshirt senior quarterback Jon Wassink received the Wuerffel Trophy for his commitment to community service combined with his achievements on the field and in the classroom. Wassink was also one of 12 National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athletes.

Western Michigan volleyball senior Kathleen Reilly earned Mid-American Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors while junior Rachel Bontrager was named First Team All-MAC. During the season, Bontrager became the 24th member of WMU's 1,000-kill club and heads into her senior campaign ranking 10th all-time in kills at Western Michigan. Bontrager, Reilly and sophomore Meredith Phillips were named to the Volleyball Academic All-MAC Team.

Redshirt junior Brandon Johnson, freshman Titus Wright and junior Michael Flowers earned All-Mid-American Conference men's basketball honors with Johnson on the third team, Flowers honorable mention and Wright an all-freshman honoree.

Flowers became the 43rd and Johnson became the 44th player in WMU men’s basketball history to score 1,000 career points.

The Broncos finished with five more wins than the previous season and tallied 10 home wins, including a 72-69 victory against MAC West Division leader Northern Illinois, when senior guard Jared Printy knocked down a corner three-pointer with five seconds remaining.

Bronco hockey had secured home ice for the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) playoffs before the postseason was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Led by captain Hugh McGing, WMU finished the season ranked eighth nationally in goals per game (3.47) and fifth in total points (348). McGing was named First Team All-NCHC, becoming the first Bronco in program history to earn a spot on the first team. Six Broncos (Cam Lee, McGing, Austin Rueschhoff, Dawson DiPietro, Mattias Samuelsson and Wade Allison) have signed contracts with NHL teams.

Women's basketball redshirt senior forward Breanna Mobley earned a spot on the All-Mid-American Conference Second Team and redshirt sophomore guard Jordan Walker earned All-MAC Third Team honors. The Broncos collected 10 wins at home for the first time since the 2014-15 season, and just the fourth time since 2003. The No. 5 seed for the MAC Championship, the Broncos defeated No. 12 seed Bowling Green 84-67 in the first round to advance to Cleveland for the quarterfinals at Rocket Mortgage Field House. Western Michigan gained eight more wins during the 2019-20 season than the 2018-19 campaign.

Makiba Batten was named head coach of the track & field and cross country teams in August after six years as an assistant coach at Wayne State University.

Western Michigan wrapped up the indoor track & field season at the 2020 Mid-American Conference Championships, highlighted by senior Erin Dowd taking second overall in the 400-meter dash. Junior Tauja Foreman also scored for the Broncos, placing eighth overall in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.90 seconds.

Dowd was named Second Team All-MAC for her performance. She finished the indoor season finishing no lower than third in any 400-meter race in which she competed.

With a 5-1 Mid-American Conference record, the Bronco gymnastics program claimed the league’s regular season title, marking its second in program history. During the team’s Senior Day meet against Kent State, WMU’s overall score of 196.075 tied for the second best in program history, trailing only a 196.175 against Eastern Michigan on February 20, 2015. The Broncos set the program record for high floor score, tallying a 49.375 versus Kent State, surpassing a 49.300 set against Kent State and UIC in 2004. Western Michigan began the campaign with a 195.275-191.850 victory against Michigan State, marking the program’s third consecutive triumph versus the Spartans.

Western Michigan golf senior Jasmine Chee tied for seventh as the Broncos took 15th at the 2020 Rio Verde Invitational. Bronco freshman Alissa Fish finished a career-best tied for fourth as the WMU golf team took third at the Low Country Invitational. In October, the team claimed the Chippewa Invitational, shooting a 313 to finish with a two-round total of 613 (+37).

Bronco baseball earned an 8-5 victory at Southern California, picking up the program’s first win over a Pac-12 school since 1989, when WMU defeated USC in the NCAA Midwest Regional. Junior outfielder Blake Dunn was one of 55 players named to the preseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List, becoming the first Bronco in school history to be named to the Golden Spikes Award Watch List, and just the sixth player in Mid-American Conference history to make the list. The Broncos led the MAC in runs scored (129) and runs per game (8.6) while finishing 12th nationally in runs per game and stolen bases per game (2.33).  Individually, Connor Charping topped the league and finished second nationally in runs scored per game (1.58).

The Broncos owned a 6-6 mark in women's tennis and were primed to start Mid-American Conference competition prior to the COVID-19 pandemic canceling the remainder of the campaign.

WMU was led by sophomore Femke Tjon-a-Joe, who was 6-5 at the No. 1 singles position.

Junior Valerie Riegraf had won seven consecutive matches prior to the end of the season and was 7-1 in dual competition.

Freshman Lindsey Zieglar was a staple in the middle of the Bronco lineup, posting a 10-2 record in dual matches and 3-1 mark on court two.

The Broncos held an 11-5 record and 1-0 Mid-American Conference mark in men's tennis before the remainder of the campaign was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the second consecutive season, Jannik Opitz was tabbed the program’s team MVP and singles player of the year. Opitz, a senior co-captain, earned his 200th career victory with a 6-3 win at No. 1 doubles at Yale with sophomore Peter Kuszynski.

Western Michigan softball defeated No. 22 Arizona State 9-7 in Tempe on February 8. The victory over the Sun Devils marked the Broncos' first versus a ranked foe since May 1, 2018, and their first against ASU since 1994. WMU now has three ranked wins since the start of the 2018 campaign. The Broncos had played 21 games before the season was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Junior Sydney Stefanick had led the Bronco offense with a .364 batting average and paced the pitching staff with three wins and a 4.83 ERA. Senior Kaylen Glenfield was having an exceptional final season with a .339 batting average and team-high six doubles.

We don't know when we'll be back in action, but we know we miss all of you! Thanks for your continued support. Go Broncos!

Credits:

Ashley Huss, WMU Athletics