Members of the national champion men and women’s cross country teams were: (front row, from left) Kristin Oglden, Audrey Golightly, Tasha Ellis, Courtney Allen, Kathrine Anderson, Emily Prestwich, and Stephanie Hart. (Back row, from left) Jeff Davidson, Ryan Jenks, David Woodbury, Ryan Griffeth, Josh Gunn, Joe Bendoski, Jake Puzey, and Coach Doug Stutz.
Cross Country Sweeps Nationals
In mid-November the Ricks women’s team captured a sixth consecutive National Junior College Athletic Association (njcaa) team title and the women’s individual championship was won by sophomore Kristen Ogden of Chico, Calif. The Ricks men’s team captured a second straight team title and freshman Jeff Davidson of Burley, Idaho, won the men’s individual championship. The two team titles, combined with the two individual champions, were a first for the national finals competition.

The women defeated regional foe Utah Valley State College with the fewest points ever for a Ricks team in the national finals, 28, in a sport where the lowest score counts. The men, with 43 points, defeated Central Arizona College. For the women, Ogden’s individual title was the fifth for Ricks runners. For the men, Davidson’s title was only the second ever. The team title was the eighth for the women and the fifth for the men.

Others considered All-Americans at the finals were freshman Audrey Golightly of Preston, Idaho, placing fourth; freshman Tasha Ellis of Hamer, Idaho, seventh; sophomore Courtney Allen of Redmond, Ore., ninth; and freshman Kathrine Anderson of Fruit Heights, Utah, tenth. For the men freshman Ryan Jenks of Blackfoot, Idaho, was fourth; freshman David Woodbury of Idaho Falls, Idaho, eighth; sophomore Ryan Griffeth of Idaho Falls, tenth; and freshman Josh Gunn of Provo, Utah, 20th.

Football Sets Records
Sophomore quarterback Marc Dunn of Brigham City, Utah, became the most honored Ricks football player ever last fall. He was named the njcaa Football Player of the Year on offense. He established an all-time record passing for 4,001 yards in ten regular season games. Dunn broke eight school records. He broke game records for passes completed (34), yards passing (605), and touchdowns (8) , and season records for total offense (4,237 yards), passing (4,351 yards) touchdown passes (42), passes attempted (464) and passes completed (281). Dunn signed with Kansas State following the season.

As a team Ricks established an all-time njcaa team passing record, averaging 437.1 yards per game.

Ricks finished with eight wins and three losses. Although ranked fourth in the annual pre-season poll, Ricks lost the season opener to eventual national champion Glendale, Ariz., and dropped out of the rankings. After winning the next three games by lopsided margins, the Vikings were ranked tenth in late September, but stumbled at Arizona Western in early October. Ricks’ third loss was also on the road, at Snow College. The loss was avenged, however, in the 14th annual Real Dairy Bowl in Pocatello, Idaho, before an enthusiastic crowd of more than 6,000 spectators. Defeating nationally-ranked Snow College 45-14 gave the Vikings a ninth-place ranking.

Individually, in additition to Dunn, sophomore defensive end Josh Rollins of Green River, Wyo., was a njcaa Honorable Mention. First Team league honors went to Dunn, Spencer Nead and Ryan Keele on offense, and Rollins, Aaron Tuioti-Mariner, and Justin Poole on defense. Also honored were Jay Buck, Ben Kofe, John Clark, Ben Holloway, Pat Williams, Newel Matavao, Ben Tanner, Brantley Oakey, Shawn Tidwell, John Denny, Cameron Jensen, Ray Holdcraft, Mike Barney, and Jeremy Redd.

2001 Football Schedule:
(Final season for Ricks football)
Sept. 1 vs. Pima, Ariz., at Rexburg
Sept. 8 vs. Glendale, Ariz., 
at Rexburg
Sept. 15 at Mesa, Ariz.
Sept. 22 vs. Eastern Arizona at Rexburg (Homecoming)
Sept. 29 at Phoenix, Ariz.
Oct. 6 vs. Snow College 
at Rexburg
Oct. 13 at Scottsdale, Ariz.
Oct. 20 at New Mexico Military in Roswell
Oct. 27 vs. Arizona Western
(Final game in Viking Stadium)
Nov. 3 at Dixie State College 
in St. George, Utah
(Final Real Dairy Bowl scheduled 
for Nov. 30 in Pocatello, Idaho)

Women’s Volleyball

At 40-10 on the season, the Lady Vikings were ranked as high as third nationally in late September. Ricks was ousted by eventual national champion Southern Idaho in the regional finals to place tenth in the final season poll. Five of the season’s losses were to the Lady Golden Eagles. 

Sophomore Trisha Pettingill of Idaho Falls, Idaho, was named a First Team All-American. She led the team in sets and serving, and was third in defense. She was also given First Team region honors and was named to the regional all-tourney team.

Others honored were sophomore Brittany Ahlstrom of Mesa, Ariz. (First Team region and all-tourney), sophomore Jessica Jackson of Riverton, Utah (Second Team region), and freshman Malia Koelliker of Las Vegas, Nev. (Honorable Mention region and all-tourney).

For only the second time in its 40 years of competing nationally, the Ricks wrestling team produced two national champions in one season. They were Ashton Buswell, a freshman from Ogden, Utah, who won the 157-pound class, and sophomore Ryan Hansen of Idaho Falls, Idaho, who won as a heavyweight. In 1988 Andy Howington and Mitch Mansfield were both national champions.

In all, and again for only the second time, seven wrestlers placed nationally. The 1992 team was the first.

As a team the wrestlers placed third, only five points behind the second-place team, after having been ranked second throughout the entire season and fifth in the pre-season poll.
Other All-American wrestlers were sophomore Nathan Ploehn of Holladay, Utah (third at 174 pounds); sophomore Travis Marx of Roosevelt, Utah (third at 149 pounds); sophomore Ty Rollins of Newbert, Ore. (fifth at 125 pounds); sophomore Jeremy Lewis of Fallon, Nev. (sixth at 197 pounds); and sophomore Andy Messersmith of Nephi, Utah (seventh at 141 pounds.)

The season was a hallmark for Coach Bob Christensen, completing his 17th season. The 18 dual meet wins are the most ever in a single season. Christensen also won his 200th dual meet during the season.

Men’s Basketball
After a promising 5-0 start in league competition, the Vikings suffered through an eight-game losing streak to finish the season at 17-14. Snow College managed to defeat Ricks three times, the final win coming in the first round of the regional finals, 80-64, in St. George, Utah.
Sophomore guard Marshall Martinsen of Aberdeen, Idaho, and freshman guard Adam Hiatt of Bonners Ferry, Idaho, were regional Honorable Mentions.

Women’s Basketball
With a glittering 26 win and only four-loss season record, the Lady Vikings were upset by the College of Southern Idaho 71-67 in the first round of the regional finals. CSI, coached by alumni Kendall Grant (85), lost to Ricks twice during the regular season, including a 32-point shellacking at Twin Falls.

Ranked as high as seventh-place nationally, Ricks finished the season in 14th place in the nation. The Lady Vikings enjoyed a 14-game win streak and never lost a game in Rexburg. 
Sophomore post player Mandie Little of Independence, Ore., was named to the regional First Team. Sophomore guard Candis Wilcox of Rexburg was a region Second Team choice and freshman guard Sheila Hutchinson of Blackfoot, Idaho, and sophomore forward Lindsey Johnson of Littleton, Colo., were Honorable Mentions. Coach Lori Woodland was named region Coach of the Year.

Academic Championships
Ricks College athletes have once again proven themselves in the classroom as well as on the field of competition. The njcaa announced in mid-March that Ricks College has won Academic National Championships in women’s cross country (3.78 cumulative gpa), men’s cross country (3.47 gpa), and football (3.11 gpa).
Individually, among the athletes with the highest GPA were Kathrine Anderson, Angie Benson and Tasha Ellis of the women’s cross country team with 4.0; Josh Gunn of the men’s cross country team with 3.94; and Pat Williams (3.927) and David Cousins (3.925) of the football team.







Marc Dunn


Trisha Pettingill

Ashton Buswell

Ryan Hansen