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College athletes from our area are plentiful

Claire Van Dyk of New Richmond (3) is one of the top players for the Bryant University women’s volleyball team.

Our area has been blessed with a number of outstanding athletes who have gone on to compete successfully at the collegiate level.

We plan to do periodic updates on how these athletes are faring in their college sports. Here is the first update.

Claire Van Dyk

Van Dyk is one of the leaders of the women’s volleyball team at Bryant University. Van Dyk, a sophomore, set personal records in two straight matches last week. In a five-game win over Holy Cross, she set new personal best on the defensive end with 19 digs while tying a career mark on offense that she set just two days ago with a match-leading 21 kills.

Bryant has an extremely young team, playing mainly freshmen and sophomores. Bryant started the season 2-15, but has won four of its past five matches. Bryant is 3-2 in the Northeast Conference following a pair of wins last week.

Van Dyk leads the team with 145 kills and most team points. She is also second on the team in digs and aces. She has made two all-tournament teams this season, including at the Oregon Ducks Tournament, where Bryant faced Oregon and Ohio State, which are both ranked in the top 25 Division 1 teams in the nation. Van Dyk has already gone into Bryant’s 500 Club for going over the 500-kill mark in her career.

Bryan Witzmann

Witzmann and the South Dakota State football team raised its season record to 4-3 with a 38-14 win over Western Illinois University on Saturday. Witzmann is in his fourth season as the starting left tackle for SDSU. The Jackrabbits have had an exceptionally tough schedule this fall, including losses to Nebraska and North Dakota State.

Cody Taubman

Taubman has been one of the defensive standouts for the UW-Eau Claire football team. Through the Blugolds’ first four games, Taubman ranked fourth on the team with 21 tackles. The NRHS graduate recorded two interceptions in those games to lead the team. He also notched a team high with four passes defended from his outside linebacker position.

UW-RF football

Somerset could almost field its own team, with six former Spartans playing on the UW-River Falls football team. Robbie Flom is back as a starting wide receiver for the Falcons after missing two games with an injury. Flom is an all-purpose offensive weapon for the Falcons. He’s rushed eight times for 46 yards in two games, has four pass receptions and is the team’s kickoff and punt returner.

Isaac Neumann has started every game this season at linebacker for the Falcons. He was the team’s defensive player of the week in the recent game against Stevens Point, recording 10 tackles.

Freshman Tyler Ledbeter is another former Spartan making an impact on defense. He’s recorded two interceptions and 19 tackles from his cornerback position in his first four college games.

Reggie Larson has been splitting time at one of the guard positions for the Falcons. He’s currently dealing with a back injury and will miss the next week or two.

Derrek Tarter is playing defensive end for the Falcons, playing approximately 20 snaps per game. Jared Buchanan is a freshman linebacker who was the Falcons’ special teams player of the week in the 35-34 loss to Simpson College.

Rocky Larson is a student coach for the Falcons. He’s in his fourth year as a member of the team’s defensive coaching staff.

Kaycie Anderson

Anderson has become the second former New Richmond girls soccer player to play collegiately, following in Laura Troftgruben’s footsteps. Anderson is a freshman on the St. Thomas University team. She has seen action in five of the Tommies’ first 11 games.

Jeremy Kelly

Jeremy Kelly is using his redshirt option this year, sitting out the season with the North Dakota State University football team. Kelly transferred to NDSU this year after being an all-conference offensive lineman at Minnesota-Crookston the past two years.

Rylie Berger

Berger, a 2012 New Richmond High School graduate, has made the UW-Stevens Point dance team for the second straight year. The dance team performs at home football games, basketball games and various other sporting events. The dance team consists of 12-18 team members and performs pom and jazz routines throughout the season. The team not only performs at UW-Stevens Point events, but also in state and national competitions.

Ontario “Tia” Belter

Belter is a sophomore running cross country at Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee. She was named to the 2013 South Atlantic Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll, which is a projection of the all-conference runners for the season. So far this fall, Belter has been the second runner for the Railsplitters. She finished ninth overall in the Berea College Invitational. Belter was a member of the SAC all-freshman team last year.

Dylan Rivard

Dylan Rivard has been named captain of the men’s track team at UW-Parkside. Rivard is a junior mid-distance runner for the Rangers.

A.J. Wallace

Wallace moved to defensive line this year for the Minnesota-Crookston football team and has made an immediate impact. Wallace had 15 tackles in the Golden Eagles’ first five games. The redshirt sophomore is one of a handful of Wisconsin natives on the Crookston roster. Crookston’s starting quarterback is Kyle Larson of Clayton.

Cross Country

A number of local athletes are running collegiate cross country. Here is a list of those not already profiled.

Brett Johnson, St. Croix Central: UW-Milwaukee

Bailey Matthys, New Richmond: UW-Stevens Point

Derrek Pedersen, St. Croix Central: UW-River Falls

Anna Langer, St. Croix Central: UW-River Falls

Monica Emerson, Somerset: UW-Eau Claire

Alex Charbonneau, New Richmond: St. John’s

Anne Frank, New Richmond: St. Benedict’s 

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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