Summer sports briefs: What you missed

Legendary Gophers quarterback Sanford “Sandy” Stephens died June 7 of a heart attack. In 1960, Stephens became the first African-American to line-up at quarterback for Minnesota.
Stephens led the Gophers to consecutive Rose Bowl appearances in 1960 and 1961, and the national championship in 1960. Inducted in 1997, Stephens is the only Gophers player in the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.
The 1960 national championship team will be honored at halftime of the Nov. 18 game versus Iowa.

Four Minnesota baseball players were taken in the June amateur draft. Juniors Rick Brosseau (pictured top), Andy Persby and Ben Birk, along with senior Kelly Werner were taken between the 18th and 32nd rounds.
Brosseau and Persby opted to give up their last year of eligibility, while Birk spent the summer rehabilitating his pitching arm.
After signing with the Toronto Blue Jays, Brosseau has since retired. Persby, taken by the Twins, is currently pitching well in the organization’s Florida Instructional League.
Persby’s decision to play professional baseball also affected the Gophers football program. Persby, who saw playing time in 1998 and 1999, was tabbed as a candidate for the starting quarterback position this fall.

Eight Minnesota hockey players, both current and incoming, were taken in June’s NHL Entry Draft. Sophomore Jeff Taffe, selected in the first-round by St. Louis, lead the Gophers contingent which includes current players Matt DeMarchi, and Dan Welch. In addition, incoming freshmen Paul Martin, Troy Riddle, Matt Koalska, Grant Potulny and Joey Martin were also selected.
All but Welch will be with the Gophers this season. Welch is academically ineligible to play with the team this season, and will be attending community college in Omaha, Neb. Welch will also play with the Omaha Lancers of the USHL. He plans to return to the team in 2001-2002. There are now 14 Gophers players whose rights are owned by an NHL franchise.

Redshirt freshman Garrett Lowney earned a spot on the United States Olympic wrestling team. Lowney, a heavyweight for the Gophers will wrestle Greco-Roman style in Sydney.

Former Gophers hockey star Brian Bonin signed with the Minnesota Wild in July. Bonin won the Hobey Baker Award in 1996 after leading the nation in scoring. Bonin was originally drafted in 1992 by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Senior center Kyle Sanden announced his departure from the Gophers basketball program in July, bringing an end to a career hindered by a minor heart condition called vasovagel syncope. In addition, Sanden missed most of last season shoring-up his academic situation.

Freshman grappler Jared Lawrence won a bronze medal at the Junior World Freestyle Championships in Nantes, France. Lawrence wrestled at 157 pounds and helped the U.S. to a second-place finish.

The Gophers volleyball team is setting new program standards for preseason rankings. The spikers, who finished second in the Big Ten last year, have garnered a second-place Big Ten ranking from conference coaches, a No. 10 national ranking from Volleyball Magazine and a No. 11 national ranking in the USA Today/AVCA poll. This trifecta of preseason rankings are the highest ever for the volleyball program.

Senior forward Nadine Muzerall (pictured in middle) was invited to play in the Canadian Hockey Association summer camp taking place in August. Muzerall is the only WCHA-women’s league player invited to the camp, used by the CHA for evaluating players hoping to represent Canada at international tournaments in 2000-2001.
Muzerall led the nation in scoring last season, and the Gophers to the AWCHA national championship.

Senior Aubrey Schmitt (pictured at bottom) competed in the Olympic Trials in July, finishing 13th in the shot put. Schmitt missed an advance to the finals by 9 inches. Schmitt is a three-time All-American and four-time All-Big Ten selection.

For the 25th consecutive academic term, the Gophers women student-athletes compiled a cumulative grade point average at or above 3.00. The last time the department’s GPA was under 3.0 was the fall quarter of 1991.
In addition to success in the classroom, the following women’s teams won Big Ten championships since 1991: gymnastics (1998), soccer (1995, 1997), softball (1999) and swimming (1999, 2000).
In addition, the women’s hockey team won the 1999-2000 AWCHA national championship.

Two-year starting guard Cassie VanderHeyden left the women’s basketball program in August.
VanderHeyden will remain in school and cited personal reasons for her departure.

The USA Hockey Under-20 team captured the gold medal for the second consecutive year at the annual summer challenge tournament. The roster featured five Gophers players, including incoming freshman Troy Riddle, who scored a hat trick and an assist in the championship game against Finland.

Six Gophers women’s hockey players will participate in the 2000 USA Hockey Women’s Festival, Aug. 14-20, in Lake Placid, New York.
Veterans Ronda Curtin, Courtney Kennedy, Erica Killewald, Laura Slominski, Winny Brodt and newcomer Bethany Petersen will compete in a round-robin tournament during August.
The Festival serves as a national-level training and development camp.

Senior golfer Katie Bakken took second place in the Women’s State Amateur tournament in July.
She finished with a three day total of 221, six strokes behind the leader.

— Complied from staff reports and area press releases