Tigers jump into top 25, add fourth recruit

Jason Christensen

Jason Christensen

MITCHELL, S.D. – Tuesday was a big day for the Dakota Wesleyan University women’s basketball team.

The Tigers made the jump into the top 25 of the NAIA Division II Top 25 Coaches’ Poll for the first time since the 2003-04 season and head coach Jason Christensen announced the signing of a fourth local standout for the 2013-14 season. Parkston High School senior McKenzie Weidenbach signed recently and will join the team starting in the fall of 2013.

Dakota Wesleyan, which is 14-4 overall, landed at No. 24 in this week’s poll, which was released Tuesday afternoon. The last time the Tigers were in the top 25 was the final poll of the 2003-04 season when they received the No. 7 ranking. Dakota Wesleyan is currently on a six-game winning streak and has won eight of its last 10 games. Its only two losses were to top-ranked Concordia University and No. 3 Morningside.

The Tigers play in a top-25 matchup Wednesday, Jan. 9, when they travel to Orange City, Iowa, to take on No. 10 Northwestern College. The Red Raiders are 12-4 overall and both Northwestern and DWU have 6-3 records in the Great Plains Athletic Conference. The Red Raiders have won seven of their last eight games, with their only loss a two-point defeat to Concordia on Jan. 2.

Weidenbach, a 5-foot-8 guard/forward combo from Parkston, signed recently to join the Tigers for the 2013-14 season, Christensen announced. She is a five-time letter winner and three-year starter for the Trojans, and has helped Parkston to a 106-17 record in the last five years, including a runner-up finish at the Class A state tournament in 2012. In her three years starting, Weidenbach – the daughter of DWU assistant men’s basketball coach Tim Weidenbach – averages nine points, three rebounds and two assists per game. She plays for the Dakota Schoolers summer basketball program and is a member of the National Honor Society.

“McKenzie has been a valuable member of a highly successful Parkston High School team, as well as a Dakota Schoolers AAU program that consistently competes at a high level,” Christensen said. “She is a proven winner and that is a quality we look for when recruiting.”

Weidenbach joins current Parkston teammate Erica Herrold as one of the Tigers’ four recruits for 2013-14. Mitchell’s Kristin Sabers and Hanson High School’s Kendra Cheeseman have also signed.