April 15th, 2015

Bellarmine honors basketball, dance teams

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Paul Najjar

Senior Writer

Bellarmine honors basketball, dance teams

It was a day to celebrate excellence for two Bellarmine University athletic teams. University President Dr. Joseph J. McGowan and athletic director Scott Wiegandt presided over the celebration of the men’s basketball Final Four team as well as the dance team, which brought home the Division II National Dance Alliance’s top honor in the “Dance Team Performance” category.

Students, faculty, staff and fans packed the Brown Activities Center/Joseph P. Clayton Hall to honor the great achievements of both squads. Call it one final group hug for a collection of talent that will long be remembered in Knights history.

“I’ll quote Ted Hesburgh (former president of Notre Dame University): ‘We strive for excellence in all we do’,” President McGowan said of the outstanding performances of both teams.

Wiegandt cited several notable performances across the athletic spectrum including softball pitcher Ally Foster’s scoreless innings streak and numerous accolades across the board for cross country and track runners.

The men’s basketball team won 31 games and advanced to its third Final Four in the past five years. Head coach Scott Davenport, who recently signed a contract extension that will keep him on the sideline at Knights Hall until 2020, as usual  spoke from his heart, tearing up a few times as he introduced the four seniors who led the team.

“There are emotional paychecks we cash in life and the perfect scenario came at the end of the Indianapolis game (Midwest Regional final at Knights Hall) when I could pull all of the seniors out one at a time for you all, the GREATEST fans in the world to give them one last cheer in their last game ever at Knights Hall,” Davenport said. “That was special. And that hug from the last guy here to speak (Jake Thelen), I’ll cash that emotional paycheck in a lifetime. That’s why you coach every single day.”

Seniors Corbin Maynard, Josh Sewell, Chris Whitehead and Thelen each gave brief remarks, but all expressing gratitude for the support they received from the coaching staff, fans and the university throughout their time with the team.

The dance team head coach Janine Klutka remarked about her team’s success: “I just want to thank you all for your support this year. It’s been a wild ride, but I knew from the very beginning you could see that this was a very talented and special group of young women and that they could accomplish great things.”

After the formal recognition ceremony, team members mingled and took pictures with the fans and reminisced about the past year and what’s ahead. True excellence from teams that will have their seasons etched in our memories for many years to come. 


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