In a season that was a roller coaster of ups and downs, the senior-led men's basketball team hit its stride just in time to win the Centennial Conference title and earn its second straight berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
With just one week left in the regular season, the Bullets found themselves mired in a 2-6 slump that had dropped them to fourth place in the Centennial Conference standings. To make matters worse, the top two teams in the conference – Franklin & Marshall and McDaniel – represented the Bullets final two opponents of the season, making even a conference playoff bid a challenge. But head coach George Petrie's squad won both games to not only clinch a playoff spot, but also finish in third place, avoiding the first-round playoff game between the fourth- and fifth-place teams.
One week after playing McDaniel in the regular season finale – a hard-fought 53-48 Gettysburg victory – the Bullets faced the Green Terror one week later in the Centennial Conference semifinals at tournament host Franklin & Marshall. But this time it was all Gettysburg, as the Bullets cruised to a 79-58 victory, setting up a date with F&M in the tournament championship game.
Enter Dan Capkin.
Known throughout his career as one of the top long-range shooters in the conference, the senior guard saved his best for last, ripping the nets for a Centennial Conference tournament record and career-high eight three-pointers - one shy of the school record. He finished with 26 points as the Bullets won 73-65, giving the program its third Centennial Conference title. But it marked the first conference championship for the senior class, completing a remarkable run in which it finished with the most wins (71) over a four-year stretch in school history. Although the team lost to Wooster in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, it hardly put a damper on another banner season. Video
The women's swimming team has captured 25 conference championships, but its 2009 Centennial Conference title may have been its most thrilling.
Head coach Mike Rawleigh's squad won on the final event of the meet, the 400-freestyle relay - as the Bullets prevailed by the smallest margin of victory (23.5) in Centennial Conference women's swimming championship meet history.
Leading by just 14.5 points heading into the deciding event, the Bullets won both the "A" and "B" finals. After the "B" team of sophomore Susannah Ferrer, junior Patrice Boucher, junior Alex Newman, and junior Keira Heath won its race in 3:42.23 to finish ninth overall, the "A" squad of senior Caitlin Reilly, senior Demery Close, senior Emilie Youmans, and sophomore Maggie Mulderrig posted a dominating performance, crushing both the school and conference record by winning in a NCAA Division III championship "B" cut time of 3:34.47.
The title was the third in as many years for Gettysburg's senior class, though it could have been its fourth had the 2006 championship not been cancelled on the final day due to air quality concerns.
Individually, the Bullets enjoyed an outstanding meet, winning five events (Keira Heath - 400-IM, 1,650-freestyle; 200 freestyle relay, 800 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay), recording eight NCAA "B" cut times (Maggie Mulderrig - 50-freestyle, 100-freestyle; Emilie Youmans - 100-backstroke; Keira Heath - 400 IM, 500-freestyle, 1,650-freestyle; 200 freestyle relay, 400-freestyle relay), breaking four school records (Emilie Youmans - 100-backstroke; Keira Heath - 400-IM, 200-freestytle relay; 400-freestyle relay), and setting two conference meet records (Keira Heath - 400-IM, 400-freestyle relay).
Senior Andrew Goldstein put the finishing touches on an outstanding career at Gettysburg, winning his third straight 157-pound title at the Centennial Conference Championships. In honor of his perfect 21-0 record heading into the meet, Goldstein was named the CC Wrestler of the Year, becoming just the second Bullet in school history to win the award. He went on to finish 24-2 for the season and although he lost both of his matches at the NCAA Division III Championships, he concluded his career ranked third on Gettysburg's all-time wins list with a record of 100-19.
The women's team wasn't the only Gettysburg squad setting records in the pool this winter. The men's team, which placed third at the Centennial Conference Championships, broke four school records, and sophomore Brian Kaehler had a hand in every one of them. Kaehler set individual records in both the 100-breaststroke and 200-breaststroke, and he helped the 200-medley and 400-medley relays teams establish new Gettysburg standards as well. In addition, sophomore Adam Taft won his second straight conference title in the 200-backstroke, recording a NCAA "B" cut time in the process.
On the track, indoor school records were set by junior Vanessa Pabon in the triple jump as well as sophomore Clay Reynolds in the mile and the men's distance medley relay team. Pabon, who won the Centennial Conference triple jump title, was also a NCAA provisional qualifier in the event, but she just missed the final cut, as her best jump was only three-quarters of an inch behind the final qualifier.
Not many second-place basketball teams are left out of their conference playoffs, but that's exactly what happened to Gettysburg's women's squad this winter, due to a logjam at the top of the Centennial Conference standings. The Bullets finished the regular season in a five-way tie for second place in the conference, but only the top-five finishers make the playoffs. Unfortunately for Gettysburg, a tiebreaking procedure left the Bullets on the outside looking in despite a season in which it finished 14-11 and 11-7 in the conference.
Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.
Posted: Mon, 16 Mar 2009
Next on your reading list
Share this story: