The McKendrean Magazine for McKendree Univeristy - Winter 2023

Bearcats Unleashed


Three men’s water polo players were named to the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches Division II Men’s Varsity All-America Team, including junior Breno Tebet from Sao Paulo, Brazil (first team), graduate student Josh Carlson from New Lenox, Ill. and senior Nico Rodriguez from Bogota, Colombia (honorable mentions).



Scholar All-American & All-District Teams

Redshirt junior Jacob Bachman from Eureka, Ill. was named a College Sports Communicators (CSC) Division II Academic All-American first team honoree for football. Jacob, along with Turner Pullen, redshirt senior Kenny Thomason from Mahomet, Ill., redshirt junior Tyler Siever from Carlyle, Ill., redshirt sophomore Josh Bleich from Melvin, Ill., and sophomores Kaleb Barry from Kirkwood, Mo., Billy Doyle IV from Lockport, Ill. and Jordan Sprycha from Oak Lawn, Ill. were named CSC Academic All-District Team honorees for football.

Women’s soccer garnered six CSC nods, including seniors Morgan Bova from Troy, Mo., Allison Frederking from Weldon Springs, Mo., Elizabeth Goldstein from Florissant, Mo. and Abby Tucker from Wentzville, Mo., and juniors Destiny Johnson from Maryville, Ill. and Reagan Mauch from Columbia, Ill. Women’s volleyball had four All-District selections, including senior Claire Diercks from Highland, Ill., and juniors Brianna Binder from Littleton, Colo., Lauren McCurley from Troy, Ill. and Colleen Preusser from St. Charles, Mo.



National & Regional Highlights


GLVC Conference Players of the Year

Anna Stiffler - Offensive Player of the Year

Women's soccer junior forward Anna Stiffler from O'Fallon, Mo. was named the GLVC Offensive Player of the Year. She ranked atop a multitude of categories in the GLVC, leading in points (27), points per game (1.50), goals (13), goals per game (0.72), and game-winners (6 / 0.33 per game).

Turner Pullen - Offensive Player of the Year

Redshirt junior quarterback Turner Pullen from Shelbyville, Ill. capped off his collegiate career by being named the GLVC Offensive Player of the Year. He led the league in passing yards (3,541), completions (329), attempts (469), completion percentage (70.1 percent), passing touchdowns (30), points responsible for (216) and total offense (341.0). In addition, he led all Division II quarterbacks in both total offense (341.0) and completions per game (29.91).

Bass Fishing

Strike King Bassmaster College Series National Championship on Sept. 2-4.

Eight Bearcats qualified for the Bassmaster National Championships, including fifth-year seniors Tyler Christy ’22 from Bolingbrook, Ill. and Trey Schroeder from Crestwood, Mo.; seniors Bailey Bleser from Burlington, Wis. and Trey Budach from Morris, Ill.; juniors Colton Hill from Patoka, Ill. and Harmon Marien from Eagle River, Wis.; and sophomores Kyle Hopping from Lake St. Louis, Mo. and Jaxson Freeman from Loda, Ill. Tyler and Trey finished third and earned a spot in the nationally televised College Classic Bracket Finals at Greenwood Lake in Greenwood, S.C. on Sept. 30-Oct. 3. Tyler advanced to the semifinals with a 7-10 catch on day one, before falling short on day two to finish in third place.

2022 Major League Fishing (MLF) School of the Year Race.

After strong appearances at three regional tournaments and an Open event, the McKendree bass fishing team earned the MLF Central Conference Team of the Year title with a total of 1,747 points and finished in second place in the National School of The Year competition.

Illinois State Championships held at Lake Egypt in Marion, Ill. on Oct. 23.

Jaxson Freeman and sophomore Maxwell Trotter from Decatur, Ill. won the state title with two bass weighing 6.63lbs. Trey Schroeder and sophomore Lane Stephens from Talala, Okla. finished in second place.


Senior men’s bowler Jorge Rodriguez from Yauco, Puerto Rico was the top finisher with 1,489 pins at the Midwest Collegiate Bowling Championships. Daniel Chin from Daly City, Calif. was the top finisher with 1,339 pins at the Columbia 300 Western Shootout and 1,161 pins at the Boilermaker Classic. The men’s team amassed a total of 8,698 pins at the Boilermaker Classic on Oct. 30 to also bring home the team title. The women’s bowling team won the MOTIV Ladyjack Classic with a 12-2 record and a total pinfall of 15,230 on Nov. 13 and the 2022 National Collegiate Team Match Games with a total pinfall of 10,461 on Nov. 20.


Two football players were nominated for National Player of the Year awards. Turner Pullen was a candidate for the 2022 Harlon Hill Trophy for the NCAA Division II College Football Player of the Year. Kenny Thomason was a candidate for the 2022 Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award by the Manheim Touchdown Club.


The men’s golf team closed out the fall season with three tournament titles at the Bearcat Dual Gender Tournament at Far Oaks Golf Club in Caseyville, Ill., the Midwest Regional at Panther Creek Country Club in Springfield, Ill., and the Kentucky Wesleyan Fall Invitational at The Pearl Club in Owensboro, Ky. Sophomore men’s golfer Fabian Wennerlof from Onsala, Sweden tied for first place at the Midwest Regional Tournament with a 210 for 54 holes. Sophomore women’s golfer Imogen Rafferty from Derbyshire, England won medalist honors with a 235 for 54 holes at the Bearcat Dual Gender Tournament.


The men’s and women’s powerlifting teams placed second and third respectively at the Midwest Collegiate Regional. Four Bearcats won their weight classes, including sophomore Jake Waltzer (75kg) from Elkton, Md., with a combined total of 650kg; first-year Dawson Stebbins (90kg) from Swartz Creek, Mich., with a combined total of 630kg; first-year Steven Singleton (100kg) from Nashville, Tenn., with a combined total of 685kg; and junior Kailee Carr (56kg) from St. Peters, Mo., with a combined total of 332.5kg.


The women’s soccer team closed out the regular season with a program-first unbeaten record and qualified for their sixth straight NCAA Midwest Regional Tournament, where they lost in the first round to Cedarville University. Three players were named to both the 2022 D2CCA All- Midwest Region and United Soccer Coaches' All-Midwest Region Teams, including Anna Stiffler (first teams), Morgan Bova from Troy, Mo. (first and second team), and Allison Frederking from Weldon Springs, Mo. (second teams).


Sophomore men’s swimmer Jackson Lustig from Milwaukee, Wis. set the third all-time fastest time of 1:42.14 in the 200 butterfly for NCAA DII at the Mizzou Invite in November. During the fall, he was named the PNC GLVC Men’s Swimming and Diving Athlete of the Week three times.


Senior Ryan Fung from Miami, Fla. and sophomore Tomas Leston from Buenos Aires, Argentina won the Flight ‘C’ Doubles title at the Intercollegiate Team Association (ITA) Midwest Regional Championships. Two men’s doubles teams won their respective flights championships at the Southwest Baptist Invitational. Ryan and Tomas earned an 8-5 win in the “B” Doubles Draw final. Senior Leonardo Frederico from Tijucas-Santa Cantrina, Brazil and first-year Benedek Szombathelyi from Budapest, Hungary earned an 8-2 win in the “A” Doubles Draw final. Senior women’s tennis player Manuela Barriga from Bogota, Colombia claimed the “A” Singles Draw title with a 3-0 record.

Men’s Volleyball

Sophomore Kevin Schuele from Aurora, Ill. and first-year Robert Nardoni from Sierra Madre, Calif. competed at the USA Volleyball Beach Collegiate Challenge, at Stevenson University in Owings Mills, Md. in September.

Men’s Water Polo

The men’s varsity water polo team finished seventh at the 2022 Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference (MAWPC) Regional Championships in the Bronx, N.Y. The men’s club water polo team won the Missouri Valley Division Club Championship title and made a return trip to the 2022 National Collegiate Club Championships, where they finished in eighth place.



Athletic Staff & Coaching News

Brandi (Branka) Kordelewski ’13 was hired as the first-ever Assistant Athletic Director for Development. She is responsible for promoting and advancing McKendree Athletics to the broader community and increasing Bearcat Club membership and philanthropic gifts.

Amanda Howett was hired as an Assistant Athletic Director and Senior Women’s Compliance Officer. She comes to McKendree after spending nearly two years as the director of athletics at Penn State Shenango in Sharon, Pa.

Other new athletic hires include Cameron Conner, manager of event and game operations; Connie Henss-Nunn, athletic business manager; and Nick Staely, Division 3 head men’s hockey coach.





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