Three for the Ages
Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 points in a game and Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak are two records that may never be broken. This season at Nebraska Wesleyan, a trio of seniors also set marks in their sports that are sure to stand on top of the NWU record books for quite a while.
Anyone who saw Shea Rasmussen (’12) run the court at Snyder Arena will remember her outstanding range. The guard from Longmont, Colo., seemed a threat from anywhere inside of half-court. And she wasn’t afraid to pull the trigger. Her 199 made 3-pointers are 37 more than her closest NWU competitor. She finished third on the all-time charts with 1,292 career points despite missing 16 games as a freshman with a foot injury.
As a senior, Rasmussen was one of the top women in the highly competitive Great Plains Athletic Conference; league coaches voted her a first team All-GPAC performer. She was also the women’s basketball program’s first NAIA II honorable mention All-American.
“Very few saw the countless hours of shooting and working on her game that made Shea our first All-American,” Head Coach Eric Jensen said. “This work ethic garnered the respect of GPAC coaches like no other player I’ve coached.”
If Rasmussen played basketball like a sharpshooter, Dani Bryant (’12) played softball like a thief. By the time her bat made contact, this scorchingly fast left-handed slap hitter was already outside the batter’s box and well on her way to first.
From there, Bryant gave catchers ulcers, pilfering base after base. She finished her sophomore season third in the country in stolen bases and was leading the nation her junior year when a season-ending knee injury intervened.
Hindered by a cumbersome knee brace her senior year, Bryant still stole 16 bases to rank second in the GPAC.
The outfielder from Lincoln closed her career with 104 stolen bases, an even 50 more than any other player in school history. The four-time All-GPAC selection ranks fourth in career hits (151) and her .358 batting average is sixth.
Coach Butch McLaren called her career production outstanding. “Dani’s leadership ability is also something that should be recognized,” McClaren added. “She was bold and demonstrated courage on a regular basis.” When you’re the best thief to ever play at University Place Park, boldness comes with the territory.
Josh Ostrom (’12) of Fremont, Neb., became NWU baseball’s Cal Ripken, starting every game of his college career: a record 150 games. Ostrom’s starts record is all the more impressive considering that he served in NWU’s pitching rotation and as shortstop. Just hours after pitching, when most men would be reaching for ice and aspirin, Ostrom was often reaching for line drives and turning double plays as shortstop.
Many pitchers’ success on the mound comes at the expense of their performance at the plate. Not so for Ostrom, who cracked NWU’s top 10 for career RBIs (106, eighth) and career ERA (3.54, fifth). Ostrom also shattered the school record for career defensive assists with 325.
An elbow injury kept Ostrom off the mound as a sophomore, but he played through the pain at shortstop.
NWU baseball coach Bill Fagler knew he had something special the day Josh Ostrom showed up. “Josh was a starter as soon as he walked in to practice at NWU,” said Head Coach Bill Fagler. “He exuded confidence and showed that by how he played and carried himself…. It will be hard for me not to pencil Josh’s name on the lineup card next season.”
Rasmussen, Bryant and Ostrom leave NWU with a combined 11 All-Conference awards, All-Region and All-America honors and five school records. These accomplishments alone are impressive enough. But these marks don’t touch on their academic performance.
All three of these record setters were also named 2012 Academic All-Americans, carrying on Nebraska Wesleyan’s tradition of academic and athletic excellence. NWU now ranks eighth among all institutions with 127 Academic All-America Awards, 17 of which were earned this year alone.
Comfortable at the topRasmussen, Bryant and Ostrom’s NWU records will be difficult to touch. Here are some of the school records they hold and their closest competitors.
NWU women’s basketball
|1. Shea Rasmussen (’12)||199|
|2. Brenda Straight (’92)||162|
|1. Dani Bryant (’12)||104|
|2. Diane Humphrey (’89)||54|
|1. Josh Ostrom (’12)||150|
|2. Josh Replogle (’06)||144|