Thursday, July 15, 2021

We Are D3


written by STEVE ULRICH
your must-read briefing on what's driving the day in NCAA Division III

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1. We Are D3


We Are D3 TBT (@WeAreD3TBT) | Twitter

by Carmine Carcieri, ESPN

"After a smaller 2020 event that featured a 24-team bracket and a bubble because of the coronavirus pandemic, The Basketball Tournament is officially back in 2021 with a full 64-team field competing for the $1 million winner-take-all prize.

The tournament will be spread across four separate regions for the early rounds and will conclude with the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals in Dayton, Ohio, starting on July 31. With the full bracket unveiled, we break down every squad before the single-elimination event starts on July 16 on ESPN Networks."

Division III has a team in the field for the third time, aptly named We Are D3. In two previous TBT’s, D3 has put real scares into Sons of Westwood (UCLA Alumni) and Boeheim’s Army (Syracuse Alumni) in both alumni squad’s hometowns. 

The squad takes on Challenge ALS in its first round game in Wichita at 7 p.m. on Friday night and the game can be seen on ESPN. Ironically, D'Vontay Friga, a 2020 graduate of Mount Union, is a member of Team Challenge ALS

  • Fenton Bradley, Western Connecticut
  • Daquan Brooks, Western Connecticut
  • Eric Demers, Gordon
  • Adam Fravert, UW-Oshkosh
  • Riley Hayes, Catholic
  • Mike Pierre, Southern Vermont
  • Brady Rose, Illinois Wesleyan
  • Daniel Rosenbaum, Pomona-Pitzer
  • DaVaughn Rucker, Washington, Mo.
  • Ty Sabin, Ripon

>> Team Page

"There are three Players of the Year in the TBT, but none are on the We Are D3 team. Jeff Gibbs is once again playing for 2019 champs, Carmen's Crew. Nate West is playing for the Murray State Alumni team (the Overlooked), and University of Rochester's John DiBartolomeo is playing for Aaron Toomey and Matt Goldsmith on The Nerd Team (along with TCNJ's Randy Walko and Amherst's Willy Workman). Jordan Dehm of Peoria All-Stars played at Eureka." - courtesy of

>> Read More About The Tournament



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2. Kelly Anderson Diercks

Kelly Anderson Diercks is the director of athletics at the College of Saint Benedict. She has had a rapid ascent up the ladder in Division III administration, starting as an intern and then assistant director with the MIAC. We caught up with her and asked about her path.

When did you first become interested in athletics? 

"My dad was a high school wrestling coach, so I've been around athletics as long as I can remember. When I went to college, my intention was to pursue the K-12 teaching/coaching track, however, I found college athletics and higher education and really feel this is where I am called to be."

What (or who) inspired you to pursue athletics as a professional career? 

"When I started in college athletics, I was fortunate to have three outstanding and strong female mentors. These women encouraged, guided and mentored me in a way I will be forever grateful for. I would not be where I am today without their support."

What impact did the Ethnic Minority and Women's Internship Grant have for you? 

"The EMWI grant program significantly launched my career. The opportunity to have a paid, two-year experience with a built-in mentoring component and professional development support - I don't know of another program like it. I believe the NCAA support for this program, as well as their other grant programs, is playing a critical role in launching administrative careers for women and minorities."

Biggest difference between working on a campus and for a conference (MIAC or MLC/MWLC). 

"The biggest difference I see between the conference office and being on a campus is the interaction with students. I have learned so much from my experiences in a conference office (from governance to compliance to championships), but there is something incredibly special about watching a first-year student come in and over the course of their time at our institution really find out who they are and who they want to be in the world." 

>> The Complete Playbook Interview


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3.  New-Look CCIW

The College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) is excited to unveil a bold, revitalized identity to kick off the 2021-22 academic year.

The CCIW partnered with New Jersey-based Skye Design Studios (SDS), a national leader in sport branding, to develop a modernized look for the conference. With the help of SDS, the conference now has a new logo system - composed of core, sport-specific, and member-specific marks - a designated font family, and updated color scheme that introduces 'CCIW Blue' to the original black and steel gray palette.

>> What They're Saying: “This brand unveiling comes at a great time for the conference and its member institutions. We just completed our 75th year, and as we come out of this pandemic it is the perfect opportunity to celebrate a new chapter for the CCIW. It was important to maintain a tie to our rich history while also establishing an exciting and meaningful identity driven by our mission and core values." - Maureen Harty, Executive Director

>> Complete Story


4.  The "A" Team

The College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) has released its 2020-21 Academic All-America volleyball and football teams.

College of Saint Benedict senior Hunter Weiss was named the Academic All-America® Team Member of the Year award for Division III volleyball. The Shakopee, Minnesota native recently graduated from St. Benedict with a 4.0 cumulative GPA. A two-time AVCA All-American, she was the 2019 MIAC and Central Region Player of the Year.

The nine members of the first team have an average GPA of 3.94

First Team

  • Natalie Aston, Johns Hopkins
  • Jacqueline Baughman, Trine
  • Courtney Berry, Washington and Lee
  • Elizabeth Chu, Stevens
  • Allison Eikenberry, Cornell
  • Emma Griffith, Chicago
  • Sydney Portale, Susquehanna
  • Hunter Weiss, Saint Benedict
  • Julia Wood, Aurora
>> Complete Team

Mary Hardin-Baylor senior OL Steven Sellers was named the Academic All-America® Team Member of the Year award for Division III football.

A two-time All-American, Sellers graduated in May as a management and economics double-major with a 4.0 GPA. He anchored the Cru’s offensive line at center and started 31 of the team’s 33 games over the last three seasons. UMHB went 32-1 during that span with three American Southwest Conference (ASC) championships and the 2018 NCAA Division III national title.
The 25 members of the first team combine for a 3.81 GPA.

First Team
  • Gavin Zimbelman, Aurora, QB
  • Luke Bikulege, Carnegie Mellon, RB
  • Brock Martin, Ohio Northern, RB
  • Cody Gustafson, Grove City, WR
  • Ryan Hubley, Johns Hopkins, WR
  • Jack Massie, Shenandoah, TE
  • Nathan Basinger, MIT, OL
  • Ryan Ehrets, Union, OL
  • Dee Gose, Case Western, OL
  • Tyler Howerton, Hampden-Sydney, OL
  • Steven Sellers, Mary Hardin-Baylor, OL
  • Juan Ocampo, Texas Lutheran, K
  • Lou Duh, WPI, DL
  • Andrew Frailer, Washington and Lee, DL
  • Jackson Ross, Chicago, DL
  • Travis Swanson, Linfield, DL
  • Travis Johnston, Case Western, LB
  • Mitch O'Hara, Mount Union, LB
  • Ben Wong, North Central, Ill., LB
  • Jake Beesley, North Central, Ill., DB
  • Macauley Kilbane, Johns Hopkins, DB
  • Sean Knight, Carnegie Mellon, DB
  • Andrew Whitaker, Washington, Mo., DB
  • Caleb Brake, Grove City, P
  • Will Hurley, Washington, Mo., ST

>> Complete Team


5.  Comings and Goings


6. 1 Summer Thing

Photo: Claus Bjørn Larsen/Ritzau Scanpix via Getty Images

This sand sculpture under construction in the small seaside town of Blokhus, Denmark, weighs nearly 5,000 tons and towers 66 feet high.

You know you will think about this on Saturday and Sunday if you are at the beach. 

Open Mailbox with Raised Flag on Apple iOS 14.2 Thanks for starting your day with us. Have a great weekend.

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