2010 PLU Athletic Hall of Fame
THE 2010 PACIFIC LUTHERAN ATHLETIC HALL OF FAME CLASS, consisting of three national championship teams and three outstanding athletes who wore the black and gold, will be the 21st in the hall’s history.
The list of inductees includes the NAIA national championship women’s soccer teams of 1988, 1989 and 1991; Jason Thiel (football, and track and field); Mike Simmons (men’s swimming); and Ted Carlson (men’s tennis). The induction dinner is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8, in Olson Auditorium. Tickets may be purchased by calling the PLU athletic department at 253-535-7352.
Jason Thiel: Football 1991-94 and Track and Field 1991-94
Jason Thiel was arguably one of the greatest defensive linemen to play football at PLU, and he also placed himself among the best in the Track and Field record books. Thiel amassed remarkable stats as a defensive tackle, and as a star hammer thrower and shot putter. Thiel started in 27 of the 29 games that he played during his PLU football career, accruing 22 sacks, with 13 coming in his sophomore season.
Thiel was a two-time Mt. Rainier League All-Star (1992, ’93) and a member of the Columbia Football Association championship teams of 1992, ’93 and ’94. He earned honorable mention All-America honors in the 1993 season, and with six tackles, two quarterback sacks, and a fumble recovery, he was named the Defensive MVP in PLU’s 50-20 NAIA championship game win over Westminster. He was off to a similarly impressive 1994 campaign when he suffered a career-ending ankle injury early in the 1994 season.
When Thiel wasn’t throwing opposing quarterbacks to the ground, he was throwing shot puts and hammers all the way to the national championships. As a star of the PLU track and field team, Thiel progressively increased his impact over the three years he participated. Moving from 14th nationally (151-9) his freshman year (1991) in the hammer throw, Jason then went on to seventh- and third-place finishes in the following two years. With a mark of 188-5 in 1993, Thiel claimed third place at the national championships and also took home a First Team All-America honor.
Mike Simmons: Men’s Swimming 1995-1999
For several decades, PLU swimming was the toast of the NAIA, with a plethora of All-Americans and individual national champions. Beginning in his freshman year of 1995, Mike won the NAIA national championship in the 100-yard breaststroke in a blazing 57.90 seconds, shattering the previous school record. Simmons earned All-America honors in both the 100- and 200-meter breaststrokes.
The following year, Simmons placed fifth in the 200-meter breaststroke and sixth in the 100-meter breaststroke. Mike’s junior year proved to be his most prolific and fastest at PLU. Breaking his own school record in the 100-meter breaststroke, Simmons once again won the NAIA national championship with a time of 57.46. At the same meet, Simmons placed third in the 200-meter breaststroke (2:05.43) and 12th in the 200-yard individual medley (1:59.58). These outstanding feats earned Simmons another All-America honor.
In the fall of 1998, PLU transitioned from NAIA to NCAA Division III, marking a stark change in the qualifying times for swimmers nationwide. Simmons qualified and placed in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke events at the Division III meet in 1999, making him the only PLU swimmer to date to compete in an NCAA Division III championships. With a 10th-place finish in the 100 breaststroke and a 16th-place finish in the 200 breaststroke, Simmons firmly planted himself among the best swimmers to ever grace the PLU pool.
Ted Carlson: Men’s Tennis 1971-1974
Heading into the 1971 tennis season, PLU men’s tennis had yet to make a mark at the regional level, let alone establish a national presence. This changed with Ted Carlson. Carlson was the number-one singles player all four years at PLU, amassing a record of 50-17, and a 33-13 mark as the regular number-one doubles participant. In his sophomore season of 1972, Carlson and teammate Dave Knodel won the NAIA district doubles championship.
The next year, Carlson won both the conference and district singles championships and, as a result, became the first PLU men’s tennis player to play at the NAIA national championship tournament. “In so many ways Ted was the pioneer for what we would consider the ‘modern era’ of PLU tennis,” said Carlson’s former coach, Mike Benson. To cap off a remarkable and trailblazing career at PLU, Carlson won both the singles and doubles championships at the NAIA District I meet, once again making it to the NAIA national tournament, before bowing out in the second round.
Women’s Soccer: 1988 NAIA National Champions
Pacific Lutheran University has been blessed with several teams that have completely outshined and dominated competition nationally. Few, though, have equaled the successes reached by the 1988 women’s soccer team, finishing the season with a 21-2-0 record. Led by four-time All-American Sonya Brandt and her 29 goals and Wendy Johnson’s 15 assists, this team stormed through opposition to claim the NAIA national title. A staunch defense, anchored by keeper Gail Stenzel, kept opponents to a 0.51 goals per game average.
Along the way, the PLU women brought home Northwest Conference of Intercollegiate Colleges, NAIA District I title, and NAIA West Region titles. The 1988 team still holds the highest winning percentage in team history (.913), making its successes even more valuable in historical significance. Asserting their will over opposing teams, the Lute women netted a staggering 83 goals for the season while allowing their opponents only 10. During the national tournament, the Lutes scored 10 goals while only giving up just two. This team was the first of five consecutive women’s soccer teams to reach the NAIA national title game, starting a dynasty that would never be forgotten in PLU history.
Team members: Cathy Ayres, Sonya Brandt, Kirsten Brown, Laura Dutt, Tina Corsi, Karin Gimler, Robyn Heft, Wendy Johnson, Patti Lirette, Dianne Moran, Sheri Noah, Sharon O’Donnell, Jenny Phillips, Lori Ratko, Shari Rider, Sue Schroeder, Sue Shinafelt, Gail Stenzel, Heidi Van Shaik, Kate Wheeler. Head coach Colleen Hacker, assistant coach Stacy Waterworth.
Women’s Soccer: 1989 NAIA National Champions
Following the success of the 1988 national championship team, the women’s soccer team of a year later equaled, and in some respects, surpassed its predecessor. The 1989 team won every possible championship put in front of them, amassing a final record of 22-2-2 en route to their second successive NAIA national championship. Kate Wheeler led the team in defense, holding a 0.28 goals against average with an amazing 19 shutouts.
In the attacking front, PLU was led by three All-Americans, with Wendy Johnson earning NAIA first team recognition, and both Karin Gilmer and Shari Rider on the second team. As the catalysts of the team, these women led the Lutes through their competition and set the team record for highest number of wins (22) and tying for fewest losses in a single season (2). The 1989 team also holds the PLU women’s soccer record for most consecutive games without a loss (23). The Lutes demonstrated their utter dominance of opponents by scoring 80 goals in the season, including 16 each by Wendy Johnson and Laura Dutt.
Team members: Shannon Arnim, Kirsten Brown, Tina Corsi, Laura Dutt, Karin Gilmer, Krista Hallock, Robyn Heft, Linda Hollandsworth, Wendy Johnson, Cheryl Kragness, Sheri Noah, Kim Peccia, Jodi Pfaender, Jenny Phillips, Julie Priest, Shari Rider, Mary Rink, Sue Shinafelt, Jill Straughan, Kate Wheeler. Head coach Colleen Hacker, assistant coach Stacy Waterworth.
Women’s Soccer: 1991 NAIA National Champions
After a disappointing loss in the 1990 NAIA national championship game, the PLU women’s soccer program wanted redemption. It took them just one year to do so, winning the title in 1991 with a final overall record of 18-2-4. “On the day that we came in second last year, the members of this team very quietly and very determinedly dedicated themselves to this season,” said head coach Colleen Hacker.
Winning the championship match 4-0 over Missouri Valley, the 1991 team laid to rest any speculation that they had lost the dynastic stature they had built over the past four seasons. The Lute women also placed four players on the all-tournament team (Cheryl Kragness, Wendy Johnson, Shari Rider, and Mary Rink). The team demonstrated this drive by outscoring opponents 68-12 during the season and holding a 0.47 goals against average. The Lutes also placed three players on the NAIA All- American Team, with Wendy Johnson and Shari Rider making the first team, and Brenda Lichtenwalter earning second team honors. Cheryl Kragness led the Lutes in points, scoring 18 goals and adding 11 assists. The team would end the year in a familiar place – atop the national standings.
Team members: Kim Alexander, Keri Allen, Shannon Arnim, Kirsten Brown, Rowena Fish, Robyn Heft, Wendy Johnson, Cheryl Kragness, Asta Kvitne, Missy Law, Jennie Lee, Gina Mobley, Shawn Moody, Dianne Moran, Jodi Pfaender, Shari Rider, Mary Rink, Jill Straughan. Head coach Colleen Hacker, assistant coaches Stacy Waterworth and Kat Conner.