PLU jumps to NCAA Division III
Along with six other Northwest Conference* schools, PLU has moved from the NAIA to NCAA Division III, effective this season. The three remaining NWC schools are in varying stages of NAIA-to-NCAA III transition.
Membership in the NCAA is much less expensive than in the NAIA, and the former pays a larger proportion of team expenses. Also tipping the scales in the NCAA's favor is greater perceived prestige in intercollegiate sports.
*On Aug. 1, 1998, the Northwest Conference of Independent Colleges voted to shorten its name to the Northwest Conference. The NWC includes five Washington schools (PLU, University of Puget Sound, Whitworth College, Whitman College and Seattle University) and five Oregon schools (Lewis and Clark College, Pacific University, George Fox University, Linfield College and Willamette University).
Lute football team heads to the playoffs
On Nov. 14, PLU clinched a spot in the NCAA Division III playoffs with a 26-6 win at the University of Puget Sound - the Lutes' 11th straight victory over the Loggers. At Scene press time, the Lutes were headed to St. John's of Minnesota for a Nov. 21 first-round meeting.
PLU scores top-10 finish on Sears Directors' Cup list
PLU, which in 1996 won the first Sears Directors' Cup national sports trophy presented to an NAIA institution, finished in a three-way tie for eighth place in the 1998 cup standings.
Former Lute rower strikes silver at world championships|
Sarah Jones 'XX helped the US women's eight bring home a second-place finish from the World Cup Rowing Championships held in September 1998 in Cologne, Germany. Jones added this medal to her other high finishes in the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Munich, Germany, earlier in 1998. Jones began rowing in 1992 with the PLU men's crew.
New wrestling coaches named
The Lutes' new men on the mats are head coach John Aiken '98 and assistant coach Anders Blomgren. They replace Brian Peterson and Jay Jackson, respectively.
Aiken spent last season as one of PLU's top wrestlers, compiling a 38-10 record, ending his All-America career with a second-place finish at 150 at NAIA Nationals.
Blomgren served as assistant coach last season at his alma mater, Simon Fraser (Burnaby, BC). During his career there, the team finished fifth in nationals each year. Blomgren is a 1996 All-American at 134.
Men's hoopsters welcome new assistant coaches
Daniel Picha and Ronald Rasmus have joined the PLU men's basketball staff as assistant coaches. Bruce Haroldson, head coach, and Sean Kelly, assistant coach, round out the four-man crew.
Picha, a teacher at Puyallup High School and family farmer, was assistant coach at Northwestern University and DePaul University, where the team went to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division I national tournament. Rasmus, a writer/editor for Lycos, Inc., was assistant coach at St. Olaf and Earlham colleges.