Conant grad Engelbreit begins new phase in her lacrosse career

  • Dani Engelbreit

    Dani Engelbreit

  • Hersey graduate Thomas Platt, right, with his Alabama rugby teammate Caleb Sturm after the Crimson Tide won the Dixieland 7's tournament.

    Hersey graduate Thomas Platt, right, with his Alabama rugby teammate Caleb Sturm after the Crimson Tide won the Dixieland 7's tournament. Submitted photo

 
 
Updated 2/17/2020 6:26 PM

After a stellar career in which she became one of the all time greats in Illinois Wesleyan's women's lacrosse history, Dani Engelbreit is giving back to her program.

The former Conant standout has transitioned from a highly-decorated Titans midfielder to becoming the team's graduate assistant coach in the fall of 2019.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Engelbreit ended her IWU career second in points (231) and goals (160) and third in assists (71).

She is the Titans' all-time leader in ground balls (280), draw controls (353), caused turnovers (137) and free-position goals (32).

She was a first-team all-CCIW player as a senior and junior and was a second-team honoree as a freshman and sophomore.

In 2018 she was chosen as the league's Offensive Player of the Year and five times in her career she was selected as the conference Player of the Week. For three seasons she earned the IWU Most Valuable Defensive Player award and, as a senior, she was a first team all-Great Lakes Region honoree.

She is now beginning the next phase in her sporting career while also earning her master's degree in sports management at Illinois State.

The 2015 Conant graduate is loving every minute of it.

The team begins its season playing in Tennessee this Saturday, and then has a trip to Englewood, FL over spring break.

To end the summer, the Titans have a trip across the pond to England and Wales for more competitive tournament play.

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Engelbreit attributes her passion for coaching and her love of sports to her father and first coach, Ron (who passed away eight years ago), along with her high school coach, Eric Jacobsen, and IWU coach Lindsey Kellar.

"They have taught me so much, I truly appreciate all of them for investing their time, dedication and passion in not only me, but also for my many teammates over the years," Engelbreit said. "Now it's my turn to pay it forward."

The Titans, seeking a third straight College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin championship, are the preseason favorites along with the University of Chicago.

They have been ranked No. 20 in the Top 20 Nike/US Lacrosse Division III Preseason Top 20 poll, which was announced in December. They finished last season with an 18-3 record and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Division III Tournament for the third straight year in a row.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Kuzmanic to Olympics

Former Alabama-Birmingham women's basketball standout Deanna Kuzmanic (Wheeling) is headed to Tokyo in July after qualifying for the 2020 Summer Olympics with the Puerto Rican national team.

"It is such an honor and a blessing to represent Puerto Rico on the national team," Kuzmanic said on the UAB website. "The island has been through so much, most recently the recurring earthquakes that caused severe damage throughout Puerto Rico. This Olympic ticket means much more than basketball, it represents the resilience and fight of Puerto Rico. We are putting Puerto Rico on the map and showing the world the heart of the island."

Kuzmanic appeared in all three games of the qualifying tournament in Bourges, France where the Puerto Rican squad went 1-2 with a 91-89 overtime win over Brazil in the opening game of the tournament. She tallied 17 minutes of action over the three games collecting 3 rebounds.

Puerto Rico punched its ticket to Tokyo after Brazil fell to Australia on the final day of competition.

It is the first time the Puerto Rican women's national team has qualified for the Olympics.

Kuzmanic won a bronze medal last August at the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru with Puerto Rico.

Kuzmanic was a four-year starter at UAB where she earned All-Conference USA honors three times in her career.

The Mount Prospect native ranks 12th in UAB history in scoring and is Top 10 in 12 different categories in UAB history including first in games played (128) and minutes played (4,310) in a career.

She was named a top 30 finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year award back in October where she was the only Division I college basketball player represented among the 30 finalists.

"We are so thrilled for Deanna and the opportunity she has to compete on the world stage in the Tokyo Olympic Games," said UAB women's basketball head coach Randy Norton. "She has always pursued excellence on and off the court and is a tremendous role model for current UAB athletes and everyone she is around. It's great to see her outstanding work ethic and huge heart pay off for her."

The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are set to begin on July 24 and end Aug. 9.

The women's basketball preliminary round will start on July 27 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama City, Japan with a bracket to be determined at a later date.

Rugby

Alabama junior wing Thomas Platt (Hersey) scored the game winning try in the final seconds of the match for the Crimson Tide against Kentucky.

The win against Kentucky gave Alabama the championship for the Dixieland 7's Tournament.

Alabama won matches against South Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi State to qualify for the final match.

Women's basketball

Denver junior Claire Gritt (Hersey) is currently seventh in program history with her 77.5 career free throw percentage.

Her 87.3 percent from the free-throw line is on track to be the third best for a season in Denver history.

Men's swimming

Lewis' freshman Adrian Wlodarz (Elk Grove) was part of the 200-yard free relay team that finished eighth in the "B" Final (1:27.44) in the second day of the GLVC Swimming and Diving Championships in Crawfordsville, IN.

Email Sports Notes items to jleusch@dailyherald.com

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