Season in Review - The Viking Top 10 from 2013-14

Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 2:26 pm | Author: Mark Potts, Sports Information Director
With another athletic season in the record books, it's time to look back on some of the best moments and accomplishments from the 2013-14 season at VCSU.

10. Viking Athletics "By The Numbers"
It's impossible to sum up the accomplishments of the 2013-14 VCSU athletic season in one paragraph, but here's a quick look at the numbers from Viking athletics in the past year. 75 NSAA Scholar-Athletes. 19 NAIA Scholar-Athletes. 26 All-Conference Players. 7 major conference awards (Player of Year/MVP/Coach of Year). 3 All-Americans. 3 Conference/Region team championships. 2 National Championship appearances.

9. Viking baseball opens conference tournament with dramatic win
Valley City State University delivered a memorable victory in the opening round of the NSAA/Frontier Conference Baseball Tournament this May in Valley City. Drama, excitement, controversy and clutch performances - this game had them all.

After trailing Dakota State 7-2 in the fifth inning, the Viking baseball team battled back in front of a large home crowd. Trailing 7-6 and down to their last strike, Brady Anderson's double to left-center scored pinch runner Derek Elliott all the way from first to tie the game at 7-7. The Vikings eventually earned an 8-7 extra-inning victory when Nate Bagby delivered a two-out walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th. Anderson and Bagby's big hits made a winner out of Chip Rosales, who pitched seven scoreless innings in relief.

8. Ost, Sorenson finish 1-2 as Men's golf wins Mystics Invite
The Viking men's golf team had several strong showings during the fall season, but were dominant at the Sept. 3 Bismarck State Mystic Open. Teammates Shane Ost (72) and Ben Sorenson (73) finished first and second at the meet, leading VCSU to it's only team championship of the season. The Vikings' team total of 307 was tops in the six-team field. Ost's individual victory was one of two medalist honors won by VCSU golfers in the fall. Teammate Jake Richels also picked up a victory later in the season at the Cougar Invite.

7. Meland shatters school record, qualifies for Nationals
Sophomore thrower Jessica Meland shattered a school record and earned her spot at the NAIA National Track and Field Championships with one memorable throw on April 18. At the Northern State Open in Aberdeen, S.D., Meland uncorked a throw of 50.29 meters (165 feet) in the hammer throw. It shattered her old school record by more than 5 meters and qualified her for nationals at the highest qualifying standard. Meland went on to place 24th at the national meet.

6. Softball's Lehner, Baseball's Anderson both named Player of the Year
The Viking softball and baseball teams cleaned up the postseason hardware in the North Star Athletic Association this spring. Brittany Lehner (softball) and Brady Anderson (baseball) were both named Player of the Year in the North Star Athletic Association.

Lehner led the regular season conference champion Vikings with a .382 batting average. She knocked out six home runs and drove in 27 runs. She also had a .629 slugging percentage and a .409 on-base percentage. Anderson led the conference with a .443 batting average. He tallied 23 extra-base hits, including three home runs, and drove in 38 runs. He had a .506 on-base percentage and a .678 slugging percentage, was named the NAIA National Player of the Week on April 1, and was named an NAIA Honorable Mention All-American.

5. Viking standouts cap careers, earn place in record books
Throughout the 2013-14 season, a handful of Viking seniors crashed the VCSU record books and cemented their place as some of the best to ever play their respective sports at VCSU. A trio of seniors, who started together on campus back in August 2010, wrapped up memorable Viking careers with big years.

Middle hitter Aurissa Martens climbed the volleyball ladder all season as she finished 8th all-time in kills and 3rd in blocks. Brittany Lehner surpassed 1,000 career points in women's basketball and kept going as she finished 4th all-time in scoring, 6th in rebounds and 2nd in career shooting percentage. Like Lehner, Aaron Duske surpassed 1,000 career points for the men's basketball team and climbed all the way up to seventh all time with 1,375 points. The trio will be remember for their immediate impact and steady play since their freshmen seasons, and their memorable senior seasons, which were their best statistical years at VCSU.

4. Softball team ends conference drought
First-year head coach Elle Fracker and her softball squad ended a 24-year drought this spring when they earned the regular season conference championship in the North Star Athletic Association. After starting the conference schedule 0-2, the Vikings won their next 10 games to claim the conference championship with a 10-2 record. It was the program's first conference championship since 1990. The clinching victories came in an April 26 doubleheader sweep of Dakota State by scores of 5-1 and 10-6. Fracker was named NSAA Coach of the Year and first baseman Brittany Lehner was named NSAA Player of the Year.

3. Football team wins 3rd straight conference title
For the third straight season, the Viking football program and head coach Dennis McCulloch earned a conference championship. The 28th in program history, the 2013 championship came with a 3-1 record in the North Star Athletic Association. VCSU shared the conference championship with University of Jamestown. The Vikings clinched their share of the title with a dominating 37-12 win over Mayville State on Nov. 9. It is the fifth conference championship under McCulloch, who was named NSAA Coach of the Year. Linebacker Jake Thurston was named NSAA Most Valuable Senior, and running back Derek Elliott was named NSAA MVP Offense.

2. Cross Country qualifies for National Meet
Head coach Ken Frenette and the men's cross country team set a preseason goal of ending the program's national qualifying drought. In October, that goal was accomplished when VCSU dominated and won an NAIA Regional meet in Kansas to earn a spot at the NAIA Championships. Five VCSU runners finished in the top seven as they blew away the competition at the national qualifier, which featured teams from the NSAA and the Midlands Conference. It was the first time since 1986 that Viking cross country had qualified for nationals, and signified the program was back to a competitive state after being restarted in 2010. VCSU went on to place 32nd at nationals. Frenette was named the NSAA/MCAC Regional Coach of the Year.

1. Derek Elliott rushes into school history
Of all the big moments and memories from 2013-14, the one that probably stands out the most to fans is the stunning year Derek Elliott had on the football field. A Valley City native, Elliott broke or tied 13 school records as he posted the best season ever by a VCSU running back. Elliott garnered conference and national accolades after rushing for 1,873 yards and scoring 23 total touchdowns in just 10 games. Elliott rushed for more than 260 yards in three different games, and also scored four or more touchdowns in three different games. He was named Offensive MVP in the NSAA and was voted NAIA 1st Team All American.

He set new school records for single-season rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, total touchdowns, all purpose yards and rushing yards per game. He holds the career records for rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and all-purpose yards. Elliott also tied the the single-game record for rushing yards and total touchdowns, and broke the record for single game rushing touchdowns and points in a game. He leaves VCSU with 15 school records in his name. Elliott will be remembered as one of the best to ever wear a Viking uniform, while his 2013 season will go down in the record books as the best season ever by a VCSU running back and will be memorable for many years to come.