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The Risk Takers

Head Coach Mike Donnelly called his recruiting class of 1998 the "risk-takers." Rather than choose a football program that had a recent history of success, they decided to join a program that had won one game the previous year and four the previous four seasons.
The risk proved to be a good one. The 17 football players who stayed with the team through their senior year saw a dramatic turnaround. The Mules won 27 games during their four years, appeared in the post-season twice and tied for the Centennial Conference championship in 2001.
The football players weren't alone. Five student athletes stepped into a baseball program that had set a school record for losses (27 in 1998) and left one that set a school record for wins (21 in 2002). The wrestling team went from having six members to qualifying nearly as many (four) for the national championships. Softball didn't make the post-season from 1994 to 1998; it did four times in the last four years, winning two CC championships.
And so, the 50 or so athletes who gathered at the Senior Sports Banquet on April 30 celebrated not just a year in which Muhlenberg athletic teams combined to win more than 65 percent of their contests, but also four years of progress. They also took time to reflect on their past, present and future.
By the Class of 2002
(Compiled by Mike Falk, Bill Cwieka '02 and Emily Gargula '04)
What was the best thing about being a Muhlenberg athlete? 
Being given the opportunity to play a varsity sport at a very prestigious college.
Michael Stankowitz, Football
Helping me manage my time, being recognized on campus as a scholar athlete and, most importantly, having the opportunity to work with an amazing group of committed and talented women.
Melissa Eicken, Field Hockey
The nickname of a stubborn Mule.
Kamali Roberts, Football
What was your greatest victory
as a Muhlenberg athlete?

Beating Franklin & Marshall on their home court in the 2001 Centennial Conference playoffs.
Michael Barletta, Basketball
The victory over Moravian my sophomore year. It represented a new tide in Muhlenberg football with the same old tradition.
Nick Tranguch, Football
What about your athletic experience will you remember the most and why?
I will remember the people (my teammates and coaches) who have inspired me to be a better person athletically, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
Elizabeth Kostelnick, Softball
Mark Lesko scoring over 1,000 points in his career and becoming an All-American.
Bill Cwieka, Basketball
If you had another year to play, what would you do differently and why?
Nothing. The past four years have been the best of my life and the field hockey team has had a lot to do with that. I will treasure the memories forever!
Reina Tyson, Field Hockey
Work harder in the summer and fall, and avoid all injuries!
Greg Frein, Baseball

What about your athletic experience will you miss the most and why?
Being around all of my teammates. Without them, my time here would have been very difficult.
Mark Lesko, Basketball
If you could relive a moment from your Muhlenberg athletic career, what would it be and why?
I would relive this season's doubleheader with Moravian. We were definitely the underdog because of all the injuries that we had. However, we played with heart and intensity and won.
Angela Tyson, Softball

What will you remember most about your coaches and why?
The fact that they pushed you until you hated them, but they still were there as friends.
Chuck Rohllf, Track & Field

What will you take with you from your athletic experience at Muhlenberg?
An appreciation for the game. You have to love the game to play Division III sports, because there are not as many perks as in Division I.
Ryan White, Baseball
I now know I can do anything I put my mind to.
Kristin Tylenda, Cross Country/Track & Field

 
What do you plan on doing next year?
Attending Temple Dental School.
Amy Yalch, Field Hockey and Jenn Risley, Basketball
Working as an auditor at Deloitte & Touche
Elizabeth Kostelnick, Softball
[Working at the] Public Relations Council for the American Embassy in Berlin.
John Slokovitz, Wrestling
Attending the Physician Assistant program at Arcadia University.
Teresa Lunardi, Lacrosse
Working for the Disney Corporation.
Kristy Miles, Cross Country
2nd Lieutenant in United States Marine Corps.
David Jenning, Wrestling
Moving to California to pursue a career as a sports anchor or work at a T.V. station.
Reina Tyson, Field Hockey
Attending graduate school for behavioral neuroscience.
Ryan White, Baseball



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