A year full of wins, losses, new faces and new accomplishments; those were just some of the things that went along with Utah Valley sports in 2019. There were many highs that outweighed the lows for UVU athletics in the last year, quite possibly one of the most successful years ever all around throughout UVU athletics.
From the hardwood to the mats, from the pitch to the diamond, along with a game-changing press conference, here are the top five UVU athletics moments of 2019:
5. Paxton Schultz became the highest drafted UVU baseball player ever in 14th round
Back in June of 2019, Major League Baseball held its annual First-Year Player Draft located in Secaucus, New Jersey. After the few days of the draft had gone by, UVU baseball junior starting pitcher Paxton Schultz got a phone call from the Milwaukee Brewers organization during the 14th round of the draft.
Schultz hung up the phone realizing a life-long dream had just come true, being an MLB draft pick — but what he didn’t yet realize was he was now the highest drafted UVU baseball player ever. Schultz spent the rest of the year with the Rocky Mountain Vibes, a rookie-advanced minor league affiliate of the Brewers.
4. UVU lures Mark ‘Mad dog’ Madsen away from the NBA
In March of 2019, UVU men’s basketball had just wrapped up their most successful season in program history, going 25-10 overall and 12-4 in the WAC. They had the No. 2 seed in the WAC tournament, had the WAC Player of the Year and WAC Freshman of the Year, and made it to the second round of the College Basketball Invitational.
Things were looking up for UVU basketball and head coach Mark Pope, until just a few weeks later when he departed for crosstown-rival Brigham Young University.
UVU was then in a major head coaching search, trying to find someone to match the level of what Pope was able to do during his tenure. Enter the Mad Dog. The Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Mark Madsen interviewed for the job and it became evident to all involved in the hiring process he was the man for the job.
Madsen boasts quite the resume, with numerous accolades from his playing days and coaching experience from many different levels. He’s played in the NBA, been an assistant coach at the college level, been a head coach in the NBA’s D-League and been an assistant coach to some all-time great players with the LA Lakers. Now, he’s doing things his way with Wolverine basketball.
3. UVU announces doTERRA donation with large sum going towards athletics
UVU held a press conference to announce a whopping $17.7 million donation from doTERRA on Sept. 27. The donation is the second-largest in school history. While the donations will be spread out over several departments on campus, a large sum is going towards athletic programs and will be spread out over 10 years.
The portion going towards athletics will include funding for a new student-athlete academic and wellness center, as well as several locations receiving doTERRA’s name including the doTERRA Field at UCCU Ballpark, doTERRA Performance Center in the Lockhart Arena and doTERRA Wolverine Training Dome. There will also be scholarships, new gear and doTERRA products for athletes.
2. Blake Frischknecht sets single-season goals scored record
During the 2019 campaign, senior forward Blake Frischknecht was on an absolute offensive tear. At one point, Frischknecht scored seven goals in seven games and it became evident that it was only a matter of time before the single-season scoring record would be his.
Finally, on Oct. 31, against his hometown University of Nevada-Las Vegas Rebels, Frischknecht scored goal number 10 on the season, breaking a tie with Skyler Milne and Paul Hoffmeister for the single-season record.
Frischknecht would push the single-season record to 13 goals as he netted a brace on senior day against Air Force and scored a penalty kick in the opening WAC tournament game against University of Missouri-Kansas City. He was also named the WAC Offensive Player of the Year with his 13 total goals to go along with one assist.
1. Demetrius Romero becomes UVU’s first Big 12 Champion
UVU wrestling had a very dominant 2018-2019 season as a whole, but had no bigger moment than on March 10, when Demetrius Romero became the first Big 12 champion in UVU history.
Romero won the 165-pound championship and had already booked his ticket to the NCAA championships the previous night. He won the championship match in sudden-victory, and had to come from behind to do so.
On that day in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Romero helped to put UVU on nationwide notice and into the history books.
There are always more than five memorable moments each year when it comes to sports with so many games and events consistently happening day in and day out, along with all the news surrounding them. So, here are five more moments that just missed the cut:
- Jake Toolson was named WAC Player of the Year and Wyatt Lowell was named WAC Freshman of the Year
- Men’s soccer advanced to the WAC Championship in Colorado
- Women’s soccer advanced to the WAC Championship in Seattle
- Men’s basketball held claim to the second-longest active home winning streak in the nation in January
- Wrestling sent a record six grapplers to nationals in Pittsburgh
Now in a new year, and a new decade, UVU athletics will look to continue excellence in all aspects from academics to the court and the field. Be on the lookout for more memorable moments in the year 2020 with all things Wolverine athletics.