Category Archives: Sports

Swider reflects on legacy on and off the field

By Cassidy Thornburg

12.13.19

Head football Coach Mike Swider, following a 12-1 final season record and 24 years of leading the Thunder football program, announced his retirement on Tuesday. Coach Swider played football at Wheaton College and graduated in 1977. He served as the defensive coordinator for 11 seasons immediately following, then took over as head coach. In his tenure with the program, Coach Swider led the Thunder to nine CCIW championships, ten NCAA Division III playoff appearances and 140 total conference game wins.

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Extra point ends Thunder playoff run

By Cassidy Thornburg

12.13.19

Twelve consecutive wins, spring ball, summer offseason plans, fall practices and Monday film sessions all came to a halt in the final seconds of play as the Thunder football team fell 34- 33 to St. John’s (Minn.) in the DIII Quarterfinals on Saturday, Dec. 7.

“That one is going to hurt for a long time, but I’ll tell you this, nobody can question how tough these guys are,” Coach Mike Swider said during a post-game press conference. “Nobody can question how they’ve endured. We came up a play short. It’s just hard to swallow.”

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Six steps to winning Wheaton’s first ever Division III football championship

By Cassidy Thornburg

12.6.19

1. Win the conference with a perfect record

Coach Mike Swider’s Gatorade shower, covertly deployed by seniors Caden Sigler and Spencer Rowland, celebrated the Thunder football team’s 58-0 win over the Elmhurst Bluejays on Nov. 16. This victory capped off their undefeated season and punched their ticket to the playoffs.

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Sports bring Gerze siblings together

By Cassidy Thornburg

12.6.19

“Let’s go, Gerze,” Nate Gerze yelled to his younger sister Audrey Gerze as she jumped up to spike the ball during one of her volleyball matches at King Arena.

“I try to be super loud and be an embarrassing brother. It’s fun to see her do well. I’m so proud of her, how hard she works.” Nate, who plays linebacker for the Wheaton football team, said that despite his busy schedule, he tries to make it to as many volleyball games as he can.

“It really means a lot to me, and he knows that,” Audrey said. “I don’t usually hear him in the stands, but I don’t doubt that he cheers for me. He will send photos of my games in our family group chat, too.”

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Wrestling coach praises team’s pluck, camaraderie

By Cassidy Thornburg

12.6.19

Since Coach Jim Gruenwald took over Wheaton Wrestling in 2009, the program has grown from just a few athletes to 24, relocated to its own complex and welcomed three new assistant coaches. As the wrestling season gets underway, the Record sat down with Coach Gruenwald to talk about life both on the mat and off.

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Soccer shootout ends NCAA championship hopes

By Amelia Sniffin

12.6.19

Although the Wheaton Women’s Soccer team faced numerous injuries throughout the 2019 season, the 6th-ranked Thunder battled their way to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA postseason tournament, where they lost to the University of St. Thomas in a shootout.

The Thunder’s impressive 18-1-1 record at the time and 21st conference title allowed Wheaton to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament. They were led by Head Coach Pete Felske, recently named CCIW Coach of the Year for the 13th time.

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After Francis, men’s team regroups

By Cassidy Thornburg

11.15.19

The words “Thunder Struck” decorated orange t-shirts worn by fans in the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum last March 15. During Wheaton College’s spring break, rows of fans still managed to make it out to the “Summit City” to support the Wheaton Men’s Basketball team in the final four round of the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament — their first visit since the 1950’s. To get them to the final four, senior guard Aston Francis broke two records. He scored a season-high 62 points to break the Division III Tournament single game scoring record. Then, he scored a total of 1,052 points, to reach another benchmark — the Division III single season scoring record. In the end, the Thunder lost in the semi-final round to the tournament champions, UW-Oshkosh.

As the Thunder turn the page and enter a new season, they are doing so without some key players, including Francis — the 2019 winner of the Jostens Trophy and the Bevo Francis Award. But Head Coach Mike Schauer is adapting his game plan to match his roster.

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Women’s basketball looks to defend title

By Cassidy Thornburg

11.15.19

After claiming their fourth conference title in the past five years, the Wheaton Women’s Basketball team is looking to continue their streak in the 2019-20 season. Here are some storylines to keep your eye on as the season unfolds.

“Defense wins games”

Head Coach Kent Madsen emphasizes daily at practice the importance of protecting the basket. Last year the Thunder led the conference in scoring defense. The Thunder held their competitors to 32.5 field goal percentage (FG%), averaged nine blocked shots a game — another conference high — and swiped the glass more than most of the teams in their conference, averaging about 30 defensive rebounds a game. However, since last year the Thunder have lost 6’2” forward Devin Kyler, who excelled in blocking and defensive rebounds.

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No regrets: Tyler Sigler looks back on his head-spinning summer

By Cassidy Thornburg

11.9.19

This past summer, former Thunder defensive-back Tyler Sigler practiced through training camp and signed a preseason contract with the Arizona Cardinals. During his four preseason games, Sigler recorded nine total tackles and had a notable pick off against the Chargers, returning it for 52 yards. Sigler, who was cut from the Cardinals’ regular season roster, joined the Wheaton Thunder Sports Network live broadcast during a Thunder football home game for a quick interview to share about his summer with the Cardinals. Here are our five key takeaways.

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Cross country teams head into final stretch

By Amelia Sniffin

11.9.19

Women’s Race

Last Saturday, the Wheaton Women’s Cross Country team traveled to Rock Island, Ill. to compete in the 2019 CCIW Conference Championship. Despite remarkably cold temperatures, the Thunder took first place, capturing the program’s fourth straight conference title.

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