Fall sports preview: Coyotes ready to get rolling
Written by Beau Grant, Jacob Simpson on August 28, 2023
By Jacob Simpson and Beau Grant / Co-Sports Editors
Fall sports is right around the corner at Kansas Wesleyan University, and athletic director Miguel Paredes opened up about what his expectations are for fall sports athletes on the field and in the classroom.
“They’re set high, number one,” Paredes said about KWU winning the 2022 commissioners cup, “Let’s just not win it back to back, lets win four straight years and keep it consistent.” Paredes mentioned the recipe to success for KWU to win in the fall, “We need to challenge them to be the best on a consistent level, on a consistent basis and at a high level.” Paredes credits the city of Salina as a reason why KWU is so different than other schools in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, “You drive around, and you don’t see signs supporting KU or K-State, you see Kansas Wesleyan,” says Paredes. He says the students that go to the game are a factor in the success of sports,
“I think they understand the importance of creating a college gameday environment”.
Paredes, being a former football coach, knows the importance that academics has on performance on the field, “The way you prepare for a game should be the way you prepare for class” says Paredes. Kansas Wesleyan’s football team had a 2.89 team GPA in 2022, which is something that Paredes had never seen. Paredes says, “I want athletics to be known as not just good on the field but also great in the classroom.”
Dave Toelle is the longtime Sports Information Director for Kansas Wesleyan University sports. He may know more about the KWU sports teams than anyone else in Salina. Toelle recently got a new promotion at Kansas Wesleyan titled, “Associate Athletic Director for Athletic Communications.”
Now for those that enjoy hearing his iconic voice over stadium speakers throughout the University don’t worry, he’s not going anywhere. In fact Toelle will still be doing much of the same things he did before including his PA announcing. The benefits of his new position however will mean that Toelle will have more control over the Universities sports facilities as well as the day to day operations throughout the athletic department.
“It will be kind of interesting to see how they come together, they’ll have a lot of new players,” said Toelle when asked about what he expects from the KCAC defending champs this upcoming season. Toelle says that despite the heavy losses from last year’s graduating class, he believes head coach Jessica Biegert and her staff have brought in plenty of talent between freshman
and transfers for the lady Coyotes to be able to compete at a high level this season. Toelle of course has been to the first few preseason scrimmages and says the team looks good and ready to defend their title. The Coyotes went 29-7 last season and capped it off with a KCAC championship title.
Football has been a staple of Coyote success for many years, with head coach Matt Myers entering his second season as the Coyotes head coach.
“Football I think will be right at the top” says Toelle when asked about the upcoming season. The KCAC will have two divisions this season with the Coyotes being in the Bissell Division. Toelle expects the Coyotes to continue their success under Coach Myers and finish at the top of the Bissell division with a trip to an NAIA playoff game come mid November. The Coyotes finished 8-3 last season.
The boys will be looking for a big bounce back season after going 2-14-1 a year ago, and it all starts with the new hiring of head coach Bruce Palmbaum. Coach Palmbaum has a history of turning programs around in the right direction and he looks to do the same here at Kansas Wesleyan University. The Coyotes will open up their season at home on August 28th against Oklahoma Panhandle State University. They will then have four more non-conference games before being thrown into the fire of the battle tested KCAC conference. Coach Palmbaum looks to turn around the Coyotes this season and get them back on the winning side of things.
Women’s soccer season is off and running, the Coyotes opened up the season with a hard fought 4-1 loss against Concordia University on August 23. The Coyotes, despite the loss, took a lot of good things out of the match. The girls are under new direction this season with the hiring of head coach Joe Schwartz. With a new system in place, the Coyotes are still making a few in-game adjustments compared to the previous system they have run in years past. The Coyotes still have five non conference games before they jump into KCAC play, in other words, they have time to get the new system from prominent head coach, coach Schawrtz before the road to a KCAC Championship begins. The Lady Coyotes will be back in action August 28th against Oklahoma Panhandle State University before heading on the road to face College of Saint Mary Nebraska on September 2nd.
The Golf teams are headed by Coleman Houk. Houk has been in the program since 2015, was named head coach of men in 2020 and took over both programs in early 2022. The men’s golf team has 24 golfers on the roster for 2023. Safe to say there will be plenty of depth of a team who ranked as high as #10 in the nation last year and will be looking for a KCAC conference tournament trophy. Key returners include Jackson Malone (SO/Frisco, Texas) who was named a 3rd team NAIA All American as a freshman. Ethan Vikander (Senior/Aberdeen, South Dakota) will be returning to lead the Coyotes push. The senior was named KCAC golfer of the week last year. Other notables include Tyler Tarvin (JR/North Richland Hills, Texas) and Adam Vigars (Junior/Princeton, Illinois).
The women finished 2nd in the KCAC championships last year, 12 shots behind Bethany. The team was ranked as high as #23 in the nation last year and three all KCAC selections with two of those three returning. Abby Donovan (JR/Concordia) and Hannah Hart (SR/Ventura, California) were respectively named first and second team all KCAC. Other notable returns that will help lead the push to KCAC championship include, Chaney Littell (SO/Winfield) who finished 17th in KCAC play, Thalia Ramirez (Senior/Kansas City, Kansas) and Skylar Smallwood (SO/Henryetta, Oklahoma).
There is a lot of new with the Kansas Wesleyan bowling team, starting with new coach Herb Halinski. Halinski coached the McPherson High School bowling teams for the last 17 years. He will be joined by Kansas Wesleyan alum, Gabe Serrano, who was a member of the inaugural team and will serve as interim head coach for the 22-23 season. The men’s team was the #11 seed in NAIA Men’s Bowling Championship last year, earning that seed by winning the NAIA Unaffiliated Grouping Championship. They are returning three 2022 KCAC scholar athletes in, Jackson Penny (JR/Shawnee), Taylor Wiley (SR/San Antonio, Texas) and Seth Baratz (JR/Edmond, Oklahoma).
The women’s team reached the final day of the NAIA National Championship last year and will be looking to build more on that success in 2023. The women’s team, also led by Halinkski, is returning one all KCAC selectee in Kara Thompson (JR, Rio Rancho, New Mexico),who was previously named a KCAC scholar athlete. Both teams will be looking for underclassmen to step up and put-up big numbers in 2023. Under new leadership, the Coyote bowling teams are set up for major success in 2023.