Ten former University of Chicago athletes were listed on the UAA 25th Anniversary Teams for men’s and women’s basketball last week in honor of the conference’s silver anniversary.
“We decided that one of the ways of marking the anniversary would be to name an All-Association team in each sport as part of our anniversary celebrations, but also to recognize the achievements of the student-athletes throughout our history,” Dick Rasmussen, executive secretary of the UAA, said.
The women’s basketball anniversary team included 1990 UAA Player of the Year Kristin Maschka, 2012 Jostens Trophy winner Taylor Simpson, Nofi Mojidi, Korry Schwanz, and 2012 UAA Player of the Year Morgan Herrick, four of whom played in the last eight years. The men’s basketball honorees were four-time UAA Player of the Year Derek Reich, Aaron Horne, Rusty Loyd, 2008 UAA Player of the Year Nate Hainje, and 1999 UAA Player of the Year Andy Strommen.
The teams were comprised of student-athletes who had either been named Player of the Year or had accumulated five or more points, with two points given for recognition on the All-Association first teams, and one point for recognition on second teams.
“They were some of the reasons why those teams were competitive. The program has taken off in the last eight years so that’s a credit to them, and to their ability to come in and not only impact the Chicago program but to put us on the map nationally,” women’s basketball head coach Carissa Sain Knoche said.
Knoche praised many of the women’s personal and athletic attributes, including Mojidi’s athleticism which was “hard to beat in the UAA,” Schwanz’s exceptional shooting record and leadership, Herrick and Simpson’s teamwork, and Maschka’s athletic skills that led to her breaking multiple records throughout her career.
Mike McGrath, who has served as the men’s basketball head coach for 21 of the 25 years of the UAA’s existence, said of the men’s honorees, “They were constant competitors, leaders, and very, very good basketball players. It’s a pretty tough group of five guys.”
Rasmussen further noted the players’ abilities to successfully balance both the academic and athletic aspects of their lives.
“[They were] very dedicated to their sport. They have exceptional athletic talents, and they have a tremendous work ethic. It’s reflected in a lot of different ways. It’s reflected in their commitment to their sport but also in their commitment to their work in the classroom as their first priority.”
The anniversary teams also highlight the staying power of the conference. “The fact that it has stuck around and made some priorities to keep it is a pretty big deal,” Knoche said. “That’s maybe something else the Silver Anniversary speaks to—the continued success of the league.”