December 22, 2023
On Campus

Continuing The Tradition

Wittenberg Intercollegiate Teams & Athletes Carried On Winning Tradition In 2023

In 2023, Wittenberg University student-athletes enjoyed a great deal of success, including a variety of team and individual accomplishments. As we prepare to flip the calendar to an even more promising 2024, let's take a look back at some of best and brightest from 2023.

Breakthrough On The Hardwood

Led by first-year head coach Melissa Kolbe '99, Wittenberg women's basketball exceeded expectations in the 2022-23 season. Featuring a starting lineup comprised entirely of underclassmen, the Tigers defeated preseason North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) favorite and five-time defending champion DePauw on January 7.

After losing the return game on DePauw's home floor on January 25, the Tigers got back to work and rode a wave of momentum to eight straight victories to compile a 13-1 league record. Wittenberg and DePauw tied for first place in the final regular season standings, the Tigers' first NCAC title since 2010. The Tigers finished the season with a 21-5 overall record.

Wittenberg claimed 2023 NCAC Coaching Staff of the Year honors, the ninth coaching award in program history. In addition to Kolbe, the Tigers were led by assistant coaches Jenna Bluemlein and Lexxus Graham.

Dominant Performance

Wittenberg women's track and field didn't just break through in 2023, the Tigers set new standards for the program with their collective and individual performances. It all started with a tremendous performance during the indoor season that culminated with the program's first NCAC Indoor title since 1997.

The Tigers amassed 190 points during the indoor championship event to run away from second-place Ohio Wesleyan by 87 points. En route to the second NCAC Indoor championship in program history, Wittenberg nearly swept the individual awards as Haleigh Willison earned Sprint Athlete of the Year honors, Sydney Khosla earned Distance Athlete of the Year, and Ella Webster picked up Newcomer of the Year honors.

After earning NCAC Coaching Staff of the Year honors in the 2022 cross country season, Head Coach Paris Hilliard and his leadership group picked up more accolades with 2023 NCAC Indoor Track & Field Coaching Staff of the Year honors.

Two track and field Tigers advanced to the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships. For the Tiger women, Julissa Williams finished 15th in the high jump. For the Tiger men, Zeke Bennett finished 19th in the 400 meters.

Setting The Stage

Led by second-year Head Coach Nathan Matthews '19, Wittenberg men's volleyball reached new heights in 2023 with a first-place finish in the Midwest Collegiate Volleyball League (MCVL) regular season standings.

The Tigers caught fire in the second half of the campaign, ripping off nine wins in their last 10 regular season matches to finish in a first-place tie with Mount Union. Making their MCVL Tournament debut, the Tigers were defeated in the semifinals by Baldwin Wallace, 3-1, to finish with a 19-10 overall record.

Eli Halverson and Tom Supan both earned first-team All-MCVL honors following the season, with Halverson added Rookie of the Year honors as well. Matthews was also celebrated for his achievements with MCVL Coach of the Year honors.

Shining On The Diamond

It was a big year for Wittenberg baseball as the Tigers broke multiple school records, ranked among the best in all of NCAA Division III in numerous offensive statistical categories, and reached the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Tournament title game.

After finishing second in the NCAC regular season standings with a program-best 14-2 record, the Tigers advanced to the league tourney title game and finished the campaign with a program-best overall record of 32-10.

A host of Tigers claimed postseason awards, including a program-best four named first-team All-NCAC. In addition, Wittenberg was named NCAC Coaching Staff of the Year. Led by Head Coach Brian McGee, the Tigers established a new program standard with a 15-game win streak during the season, and Wittenberg posted a league-best .358 batting average across 38 regular season contests. McGee’s staff, including Mitchell Griffiths, Zach Ullom, Chris McKee, Trey Richardson, and Nick Wagner, guided Wittenberg to a season that produced a batting average of .353, on-base percentage of .452, 533 hits, 115 doubles, 413 runs, and 37 double plays, all of which ranked in the top 20 nationally.

Finishing With Flair

Wittenberg women's track and field capped a truly historic 2022-23 season as the Tigers secured a rare triple crown by winning the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) outdoor championship. The Tigers easily lapped the competition, much as they had at the league's 2022 cross country meet and 2023 indoor event, as they piled up 216 points across the two-day meet.

Individually, Wittenberg brought home three of the four major awards, including NCAC Coaching Staff of the Year for Head Coach Paris Hilliard and assistant coaches Brandon Litz, Jessi Juarez, Josh Lynch, and Alexia Page-Boyd. That honor finished off a triple crown of awards for Hilliard and his staff as well after they won the same award at the cross country and indoor track competitions.

Meghan Frazier earned two individual wins and contributed to two winning relays in the meet, earning her NCAC Women's Sprint/Hurdles Athlete of the Year honors. Sydney Khosla earned 2023 Women's Distance/Middle Distance Athlete of the Year honors after earning a victory and breaking a meet record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. And Tymeerah De'Armond earned Newcomer of the Year honors after winning the 400 meter and running a leg of a winning relay as well.

Khosla also qualified for the NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships, where she not only broke her own school record, but she turned in one of the fastest times in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in NCAA Division III history. Khosla just missed becoming the fourth individual track and field national champion in school history, finishing second in the steeplechase by a narrow margin.

Back On Top

After a two-year hiatus, Wittenberg men's golf team returned to the top of the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) standings in 2023. It was the 12th league championship in program history and the first since a 10-year run ended following the 2019 season.

The Tigers led wire-to-wire in the NCAC Championships, finishing with a record-breaking 54-hole total of 864 (290-291-283). Matthew Mattioli became the 10th player in program history to earn the Bob Nye Award as the NCAC medalist, JF Aber became the seventh player in program history to earn the Dick Gordin Award as the NCAC Player of the Year, and Head Coach David Wetterich and his staff were named NCAC Men's Golf Coaching Staff of the Year.

As the winner of the NCAC, Wittenberg advanced to the NCAA Division III Championships. The Tigers finished 13th with a four-round score of 1185 (292, 290, 313, 290), led by Mattioli in 21st place individually.

Rolling On

At the 2023 North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) cross country championships, Wittenberg maintained its momentum from the previous year with another women's team title and the best men's finish in 25 years.

Wittenberg women's cross country won its second straight NCAC title, led by Sydney Khosla, who claimed her first individual league championship. It was a 1-2-3 sweep for the Tigers as Khosla was followed closely by Ella Webster and Megan Keys.

On the men's side, the Tigers placed third as a team, highlighted by an individual crown won by Conor Kolka, who won the race by 25 seconds. Five Tigers earned conference honors in recognition of their tremendous performances, including Conor Kolka and Sydney Khosla as the NCAC Runners of the Year, and the Tiger coaching staff, led by Paris Hilliard and Chris Marco, earned Women's Coaching Staff of the Year.

At the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional, Webster and Kolka continued to excel, both turning in top-10 finishes to earn berths in the national championship meet. At the NCAA Division III Championships, both Webster and Kolka earned top-100 finishes.

Bouncing Back

Coming off a disappointing 2022 season, Wittenberg women's soccer was picked to finish in the middle of the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) pack in 2023. Thanks to a five-game win streak to conclude the regular season, the Tigers more than exceeded expectations by claiming a share of the 2023 NCAC title.

After finishing the season with an overall record of 7-7-5, Wittenberg earned NCAC Coaching Staff of the Year honors for the third time in program history. Led by Head Coach
Katie Robinson and assisted by Austin Blair and Goalkeeper Coach Chuck Crawford, Wittenberg won its fifth regular season NCAC title in program history with a 5-1-1 mark in league play.

Stunning Rally

Left for dead after losing six of their first seven games to start the 2023 season, Wittenberg women's volleyball spent six weeks slowly putting the pieces together for what turned out to be a most unlikely championship run. The Tigers completed the comeback in dramatic fashion, stunning top-seeded DePauw with a five-point, game-ending burst to capture a 3-2 win and the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Tournament championship.

The win was Wittenberg's ninth straight, including wins over Denison, Ohio Wesleyan, and DePauw in the NCAC Tournament, and it earned the Tigers a berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Tigers finished 16-14 overall after dropping a hard-fought 3-1 decision to Trinity (TX) in the first round of the national competition.

Wittenberg's NCAC Tournament title was the 27th in program history, and the NCAA Division III Tournament berth was the 28th all-time for the Tigers, including 27 in a row.

What's next for the Tigers? Big things, for sure. #TigerUp

Ryan Maurer
Ryan Maurer
Associate Director of Athletics for Communications, Web Strategy & Content

About Wittenberg

Wittenberg's curriculum has centered on the liberal arts as an education that develops the individual's capacity to think, read, and communicate with precision, understanding, and imagination. We are dedicated to active, engaged learning in the core disciplines of the arts and sciences and in pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. Known for the quality of our faculty and their teaching, Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any four-year institution in the state. The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in community service, sustainability, and intercollegiate athletics. Located among the beautiful rolling hills and hollows of Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg offers more than 100 majors, minors and special programs, enviable student-faculty research opportunities, a unique student success center, service and study options close to home and abroad, a stellar athletics tradition, and successful career preparation.

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