Thunder Winter Season Roundup

Men’s basketball

The men’s basketball season is off and running as the Thunder began their season 4-2. The Thunder finished 1-1 at the Heidelberg Alumni Tournament, dropping the opening game by three points. The team rebounded by sweeping the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association/Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Challenge in convincing fashion, defeating Earlham and Manchester by a combined 44 points. For his efforts in the two games, Scott Rogers was named the MIAA Player of the Week after shooting 76 percent from the field (13 of 17) and 92 percent from the free throw line (11 of 12). On Dec. 1, the Thunder hosted fifth-ranked North Central (Ill.) in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Game of the Week as voted on by fans on the Division III Facebook page. Even though the Thunder fell 64-47, the fan support was through the roof, including the student section that made the game a "white out". The squad will host two games during holiday break, including its MIAA opener Jan. 3 against Kalamazoo, while also traveling to Otterbein University for a tournament.

Women’s basketball

The season couldn’t have started any better for the women’s basketball team as it won the Betty Abgott Invitational hosted by Buffalo State. The Thunder defeated Alvernia University, 64-58, in the first round and then host Buffalo State in the championship, 64-56. During the final game, Haley Killingbeck knocked down seven three-pointers in the game, just one shy of tying a school record set by Mindy Tilford in 2005. It is also tied for the second most by a Division III player this season. The women dropped their opening conference game to Olivet, but in the game Sydney Spragg came just two points away from also tying a school record set by Jill Reed in 1990, as she finished with 38 points on the night. The women will play four games at home during Christmas break while also traveling down to Fort Wayne to participate in a tournament at Indiana Tech.


The wrestling squad began its season with three nationally ranked athletes, including the top-ranked wrestler at the 157 weight class in two-time All-American Elias Larson. Joining him are fellow national qualifier Ryan Pieper, ranked sixth at 174, and 17th-ranked Brandon Preston in the 125 class.

The squad opened its season at the Michigan State Open where they faced 29 other teams, including 16 Division I schools. Larson picked up a win over a wrestler from Bucknell while newcomer Jon Blanton pulled out a victory over a wrestler from Ohio State. The following week, Pieper put on a performance at the Comet Duals as he went 2-1 in matches, knocking off the 14th-ranked wrestler before falling to the reigning national champion. Pieper followed that performance by winning the Indiana Little State Tournament. He went 4-0, outscoring his opponents by a combined score of 45-6. Also at the tournament, Mack Green and Nick Ader each placed third in the 197 and 133 weight classes, respectively.

Football wrap–up

The Thunder football team closed out its season on a three-game winning streak to finish the year 7-3 for their sixth straight winning season. And, they finished second in the MIAA with a 5-1 record. Winning six of their final seven games, the Thunder took down Hope, Olivet and Alma, scoring at least 35 points in all three games. JaVontae Hence was named MIAA Special Teams Player of the Week for his game against Hope where he returned two kickoffs for 129 yards, including an 82-yard touchdown, and caught nine passes for 175 yards, including an MIAA-record tying 93-yard touchdown catch that broke the game open in the third quarter. Blaek Combs was named MIAA Defensive Player of the week for his performance in Trine’s 49-21 victory over Olivet when he blocked a punt and recovered a bad snap on another punt attempt for a touchdown.

Soccer, football players earn honors

Men′s soccer player Andre Hilson was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All–Central Region Third Team. This marks the third consecutive year the Thunder have had a player named All–Region.

Four Trine University football players earned All–North Region honors led by MIAA Offensive Player of the Year JaVontae Hence. Trine′s four honorees were more than the other six Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association schools combined. Hence was the only MIAA offensive player to be named to the second team as the senior earned honors as a returner. Earning third team honors were kicker Tyler Keck, guard Andrew Webster and two–time honoree cornerback Myron Puryear.

The post–season honors continued to roll in for the football team as Beyond Sports Network (BSN) named Hence and Keck NCAA Division III All–Americans. Hence was the only player from the MIAA to be named to the second team as he earned honors as an Athlete for his performances as a receiver and a returner while Keck earned third team honors.

MIAA Honors

The fall season was not only outstanding for teams, but for Trine’s individual athletes as well. In all, 19 Thunder student-athletes earned All-MIAA honors for the fall season.

The men’s golf team had three honorees, the most for all conference schools, in Pat Wolcott, Graham Bennett and Nolan Eli. Wolcott finished third overall in the conference leaderboard with a 75.2 stroke average. Wolcott was the first Trine player since Terence Clingaman in 2010 to be named All-MIAA First Team and 10th overall for Trine. Eli and Bennett earned All-MIAA Second Team honors finishing ninth and tied for 10th in the conference, respectively. It marked the fourth time in school history that at least three Trine golfers have been named All-MIAA, the others came in 2004-2006. Trine has had an All-MIAA player each season since joining the MIAA in 2004.

For the second straight season, the Trine volleyball team had two players named All-MIAA as Betsy Irwin and Carly Searles were honored by the conference. Irwin was named to the All-MIAA First Team for the third straight season after being named the conference Freshman of the Year and a second team honoree in her first season. Irwin finished her four-year career as Trine’s all-time leader in kills with 1,468. Searles was named to the All-MIAA Second Team after showing she can be an all-around threat for the Thunder, finishing the year with 20 double-doubles and two triple-doubles on the year.

For the first time since joining the conference in 2004, the men’s soccer team had a player named First Team in back-to-back years. Andre Hilson was named All-MIAA First Team while freshman J.J. Murray was named to the second team. Hilson earned his first all-conference honors after finishing the conference season fourth with 20 points (9 goals, 2 assists). His 9 goals in conference play tied him with two others for the MIAA lead along with sharing the conference lead with four game-winning goals. Murray was one of only two freshmen named to either the first or second team and is the first Trine player to earn All-MIAA honors in his first season. Murray started 18 games on the year, collecting two goals and two assists.

The football squad wrapped up the fall accolades as it garnered 12 All-Conference honors. In addition, wide receiver/return specialist JaVontae Hence was named the Offensive Most Valuable Player and wide receiver Mario Brown was named the Pete Schmidt Memorial Scholar-Athlete Award winner.

Hence was also honored as All-MIAA First Team as both a wide receiver and return specialist, joining quarterback Ryan Hargraves, left tackle Taylor Sprague, left guard Andrew Webster, defensive end Louis Danesi, outside linebacker Caleb Nitz, cornerback Myron Puryear and kicker Tyler Keck. The nine first team honors were three more than anyone other school.

Named to the All-MIAA Second Team were right tackle Kenny Kill, and safeties Blaek Combs and Tyler Guzy.

Hence was honored for the third straight year, after earning first team honors in 2011 and second team honors in 2010. Puryear also earned first team all-conference honors for the second straight season.

Calling all former athletes and coaches!

The athletic department needs your help. We are working on a records archive system for every sport we offer at Trine, but are missing a lot of information, especially prior to 2000.

If you have any old schedules, media guides, records, statistics, yearbooks, etc., please contact sports information director Brian Alden at

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