• Home Sweet Home - South San Antonio High School Student Makes UIW Home
by Wayne Witt
The year 2003-2004 was one of national prominence for Incarnate Word athletic teams and individuals. Six UIW squads advanced to NCAA Division II championship competitions. At the end of their seasons, three teams achieved national rankings.
Men's soccer advanced to the Division II championship tournament and was voted the 10th best team in the nation. UIW's synchronized swimming team competed at the national level and finished fifth in the country.
In the spring, Incarnate Word made considerable athletic noise when the baseball team was invited to the regional tournament and finished third while being voted the nation's 19th best team. This team won a school record 40 games along the way.
Also, the women's tennis team, ranked 23rd in the nation, reached the NCAA Central Regional finals. In men's golf, junior Osvaldo Machado received an invitation to play in the South/Central Super Regional Tournament and finished tied for sixth.
With the Division II national championships set for the final week of May, Incarnate Word, for the first time, sent three athletes to the track and field competition in California. They were pole vaulter Francisco Leon, high jumper Jose Caceres and high jumper Maria Ferrand.
In the Heartland Conference during the year, Cardinals teams brought home three championship - men's soccer, women's soccer, women's tennis - while eight other UIW teams reached post-season tournament positions and six of those eight won their way to the semi-finals. Women's basketball and softball both took one more step and advanced to the tournament finals.
For the sixth consecutive year, the UIW athletic department recognized its Student-Athlete of the Year. Those eligible for this award must have achieved junior or senior status, maintain a 3.5 grade average or better in the classroom and be a significant contributor to his or her team. Eighteen qualified as finalists. The 2004 award was presented, for the second consecutive year, to soccer player Ricardo Lara. He was an All-American on the field of play, and he was an Academic All-American with his 3.91 grade average in the field of mathematics.
Also presented at the end of the year were the Incarnate Word Athletes of the Year, male and female. Lara, for the second year, made it a double when he was the top vote-getter. The Female Athlete of the Year went to junior softball pitcher Jennifer Reed, who was all-region and along the way pitched three
In the Heartland Conference, 34 Incarnate Word student-athletes received recognition as members of the President's Honor Roll for maintaining a cumulative 3.5 grade average or better. Another 39 UIW representatives were on the Heartland Conference Commissioner's Honor Roll with their grade averages of 3.0 to 3.49.
As Scholar All-Americans, Lara was joined this year by six members of the synchronized swimming team - Danielle Kramer, Jennifer Holmquist, Laura Davis, Rachael Simon, Zoe Villarreal, and Rebecca Williams. At the regional level for academics, Lara was joined by fellow soccer player Lubomir Bogdanov and volleyball player Lori Rektorik.
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