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Community Corner: A year of great Pioneers
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Thank you to everyone in Platteville and the surrounding communities for your support of UW–Platteville athletics. Your support was helpful to our success this past fall and will be important throughout the rest of the winter season.

Last month, the men’s soccer team and football team finished with one of their best seasons in school history. The men’s soccer team made its second trip to the Division III NCAA Championship Tournament and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history. Head coach Enzo Fuschino guided the Pioneers to a program best 15 wins and was named National Soccer Coaches Association of America North Region, Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletics Conference and Wisconsin State Coach of the Year. Forward Brandon Chmiel and midfielder Chris Brown, both seniors, and goalkeeper Ian Christensen and defender Michael Prudisch, both juniors, all earned NSCAA all-region, all-WIAC and all-state honors.

The football team finished the year 8–2, a record that hasn’t been matched since 1976. The team played in front of the largest crowds they’ve had in decades, with Pioneer Stadium recording more than 21,000 fans as the Pioneers rose to as high as 12th in the nation.

The Pioneers garnered a program record 15 all-conference honorees. Two Pioneers accomplished feats that haven’t been accomplished in decades. Defensive lineman Corey Marks became the third Pioneer to earn three-straight first team all-WIAC honors, while defensive back Ryan McWethy became the third Pioneer to earn American Coaches Association All-American honors and the first Pioneer since Mike Hintz in 1986.

Our student–athletes’ success starts in the classroom. They realize that academics are their first priority and understand the importance of studying and working hard, both inside and outside the classroom. In addition to this, student athletes are deeply committed to athletics and make time for strenuous training, practices and games.

These students’ engagement in athletics has helped them succeed at their academics. In fact, student–athletes have had a higher GPA than the general student body for 12 straight years. This past spring, 11 student–athletes were named to the Chancellor’s list by earning 4.0 GPAs. In addition, 181 student–athletes made the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Scholastic Honor Roll as well as the school’s Gabe Miller Academic Honor Roll for having a GPA above 3.00 during the 2011–12 school year.

The winter season is in full swing, with the men’s basketball team sitting second in the WIAC standings, women’s basketball team holding a perfect 3–0 record in the friendly confines of Bo Ryan Court, and the wrestling team getting its first conference win earlier this month against UW–Eau Claire.

All of UW–Platteville’s student athletes and coaches are appreciative of the support the Platteville community and the surrounding communities have shown at our athletic events. Your enthusiasm is instrumental in helping our athletes experience success.

You, the fans, help make every day a great day to be a Pioneer.

The Community Corner is a weekly column of opinion written by guest columnists UW–Platteville Chancellor Dennis Shields; Platteville School District Superintendent Connie Valenza; Chamber Director Kathy Kopp; Main Street Program Director Jack Luedtke; Common Council President Mike Dalecki, Platteville Recreation Coordinator Jordan Burress, State Rep. Travis Tranel, Platteville City Manager Larry Bierke and Police Chief Doug McKinley.