Morningside inducted four former athletes and its undefeated 2008-09 NAIA II National Championship women’s basketball team into the M-Club Hall of Fame during Saturday’s Homecoming 2016 festivities..
Morningside inducted former standout athletes Dani Gass, Chris Johnson, Ken Stripling, and Dan Travaille into the M-Club Hall of Fame as part of its Homecoming 2016 festivities on Saturday, Oct. 1.
In addition to the four athletes, the college’s 2008-2009 undefeated NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship team will also be inducted into the M-Club Hall of Fame.
Gass, a 2009 Morningside graduate, is the only three-time NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball First-Team All-American in Morningside history as well as the only four-time first-team All-Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) performer in the history of the program. She was the 2006 GPAC Freshman of the Year and the 2009 GPAC Player of the Year. Gass was named the 2009 NAIA Division II National Player of the Year after she helped lead the Mustangs to the NAIA II National Championship with a perfect 38-0 record. Morningside had a 121-22 record and won four GPAC regular season championships during her career. The Mustangs won the GPAC crown with perfect 18-0 records in her junior and senior seasons.
Gass finished her career as the fourth leading scorer and second leading rebounder in Morningside history with 1802 career points and 1094 career rebounds to become only the second player in school history to mass over 1000 career points and 1000 career rebounds. She graduated with a school-record 451 career steals, ranked second with 686 career assists, and made a school-record 716 free throws during her career. Gass averaged 12.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 3.2 steals per game over her Morningside career. She led the Mustangs in rebounding and assists in all four seasons of her career.
Gass averaged 11.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 3.7 steals per game in her 2008-09 NAIA II National Player of the Year season. She finished second in the nation with 141 steals and third with 203 assists. Gass had 10 double-doubles, including a 24-point, 12-rebound performance to lead Morningside to a 68-63 victory against Hastings College in the NAIA II National Championship Game.
Gass made an immediate impact when she averaged 12.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 3.2 steals per game as a freshman. She averaged a career-high 14.6 points per game as a sophomore and a career-high 8.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game as a junior.
Johnson, a 2006 graduate, was a four-year starter for Morningside’s men’s soccer team and the most decorated player in the program’s history as a three-time first-team All-GPAC performer and a two-time NAIA All-Region and NAIA honorable mention All-America selection. He is the all-time leading scorer in Morningside men’s soccer history with career totals of 62 goals, 36 assists, and 160 points as well as the Mustangs’ all-time leader with 15 career game winning goals. Johnson’s school record totals are 28 goals and 73 points higher than anyone else in school history. Johnson is also Morningside’s all-time leading scorer in post-season play with five goals, four assists, and 14 points.
Johnson was the Mustangs’ leading scorer in all four seasons of his career, starting as a freshman when he tallied 15 goals and a school-record 12 assists for 42 points to help lead Morningside to a 14-6 record and a school-record .700 winning percentage. Johnson earned first-team All-GPAC honors for the first time as a sophomore when he had school-record totals of 18 goals, 12 assists, and 48 points. He also set the Mustangs’ single-game scoring record with two goals and three assists for nine points in an 8-2 win against the University of Mary.
He earned first-team All-GPAC, first-team NAIA All-Region IV, and NAIA honorable mention All-America laurels as a junior when he tallied 13 goals and eight assists for 34 points for a Morningside team that finished 15-8 to set a school record for wins in a season and finished 9-2 in the GPAC to share the league championship with Hastings and Northwestern College. Johnson was also a NAIA honorable mention All-American as well as the GPAC and NAIA Region III Player of the Year as a senior when he tallied 16 goals and four assists for 36 points.
Stripling, a 1960 graduate, was a two-sport athlete as a forward for Morningside’s men’s basketball team and a pitcher for the baseball team.
Stripling was the all-time leading scorer in Morningside men’s basketball history at the time of his graduation with 912 points to go along with 467 rebounds over his three-year career. Stripling, who averaged 14.5 points and 7.4 rebounds per game during his career, played during an era when freshmen were not allowed to compete at the varsity level. He earned first-team All-North Central Conference (NCC) honors as a junior and senior, averaging a career-high 18.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game as a junior and 15.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game as a senior. His 425 points and 18.5-point scoring average during his 1958-59 junior campaign were the second highest totals in Morningside history at the time.
In baseball, Stripling was the ace pitcher for the 1960 Morningside team that had a 15-6 record, won the NCC with a perfect 6-0 record, and was the only team in Morningside history to compete in the NAIA World Series. Stripling was the 1960 NCC leader with 38 strikeouts and in pitching victories with a 5-0 record.
Travaille, a 1966 graduate, was one of Morningside’s most successful track & field athletes. Travaille was a four-time NCC champion in the sprints and was Morningside’s record holder with times of 9.6 seconds in the 100-yard dash and 21.4 seconds in the 220-yard dash.
He won back-to-back NCC titles in the 100-yard dash at the 1964 and 1965 NCC Outdoor Track & Field Championships with winning times of 9.8 seconds in 1964 and 10.2 seconds in 1965. He was also the 1965 NCC Outdoor champion in the 220-yard dash when he clocked a winning time of 22.0 seconds.
Travaille’s other NCC title came at the 1965 NCC Indoor Track & Field Championships when he ran a time of 6.4 seconds to win the 60-yard dash.
Morningside’s 2008-09 women’s basketball team defeated GPAC rival Hastings 68-63 in the NAIA Division II National Tournament Championship Game to cap a perfect 38-0 season. The team is one of only three in history to capture the NAIA II national crown with an undefeated record.
Morningside broke eight school records and tied another during the season. One of the Mustangs’ most impressive performances came in a 99-44 victory against Nebraska Wesleyan University on Jan. 3 when they shot a sizzling 64.2 percent from the field to set a school record. The Mustangs outscored their opposition by roughly 18 points per game with a scoring average of 78.5 points per game and a defensive scoring average of 60.7 ppg.
Jamie Sale was named the NAIA II Women’s Basketball National Coach of the Year and the GPAC Coach of the Year after he led the Mustangs to their fifth consecutive GPAC regular season championship and their third national title in a six-year span. Senior guard Dani Gass was named the NAIA II National Player of the Year and was joined on the NAIA II All-America First Team by senior guard Autumn Bartel. Gass led the Mustangs with averages of 7.6 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 3.7 steals per game and was the Mustangs’ leading rebounder in 21 of their 38 games. Bartel led the Mustangs in scoring with a 15.2-point average and was their leading scorer in 20 of their 38 contests. Gass and Bartel finished their careers as the fourth and fifth leading scorers in Morningside history with 1802 and 1731 career points, respectively.
In addition to being named to the All-GPAC First Team, Gass was named the GPAC Player of the Year and Bartel was named the GPAC Defensive Player of the Year. They were joined on the All-GPAC Second Team by teammates Laura Nelson and Brittany Williamson, while Leslie Foral received honorable mention All-GPAC recognition. Nelson was the NAIA II national leader with 125 3-point field goals en route to an 11.7-point scoring average. Nelson made a school-record 10 3-point field goals on her way to a 30-point performance for the Mustangs’ highest scoring total of the season in a 94-71 win against Dakota State. Williamson was the Mustangs’ second leading scorer and rebounder with averages of 12.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.
Roni Miller was the top scorer and rebounder off a deep Morningside bench that also included Kayla Weerheim, Katie Sponder, MacKenzi Mendlik, Erica Luetje, Sarah Culp, Jahde Hammer, Emily Christen, Brittany Alfredson, Nicole Van Heek, and Cara Anderson.
Sale’s assistant coach for the 2008-09 season was Jill Bodammer.