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A season to shout about

With help from sharpshooting engineering students, the men’s basketball team made history.

Spartans win in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Photo by Steve Frommell, UW-Oshkosh Athletics 

A remarkable season for the Spartan men’s basketball team ended March 11 with an overtime loss to the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in a packed Horsburgh Gym — but, oh, what a run. 

The boys in blue and white had reached the sectional semifinals of the Division III NCAA tournament — the Sweet 16 — for the first time in school history. With the help of sharpshooting science and engineering students, they created one of the greatest stories in the history of CWRU sports. 

People noticed. The success of true scholar athletes attracted fans and media attention. Terry Pluto, the popular sports columnist for The Plain Dealer, twice published columns about the talent and resolve of players focused on academics while playing basketball at a high level. He told his readers how there were no movies on the team bus to tournament games in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, as players had to study. 

Even CWRU’s sleepy fans came alive. They crowded Horsburgh Gym in the Veale Athletic Center for the Sweet 16 game. Many alumni came back to cheer on the team, which had a way of winning in dramatic fashion. 

The overtime loss ended a dream season, but the accomplishments will echo 

for years. After not playing at all last year due to Covid-19, here’s what the 2021-2022 Spartans achieved: 

The team ended the season with a record of 20-7 

The 20 wins are a program best, as are the eight wins in the UAA 

The team finished second in the conference, also a program best 

It’s the first CWRU team to reach the NCAA Tournament and the first to earn postseason wins (two) 

Three graduate transfer students elevated an already solid team, but undergraduate STEM majors played big roles. Ryan Newton scored 38 points in two tournament games off the bench, leading his team to the Sweet 16. He’s expected to graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. 

Forward Cole Frilling, a mechanical and aerospace engineering major, averaged 16 points a game. A junior, he’s expected to play a starring role again next year. 

Also eligible to return will be junior Josh Levy (computer science) sophomore Daniel Florey (mechanical engineering); and freshmen Luke Gensler (electrical engineering) and Umar Rashid (computer science). 

So next year may be another season to shout about. 

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