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UVU baseball: the UVU baseball team to be honored by MS Society

By Clint Burgi

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Sept. 6 2012 3:17 p.m. MDT

The 2012 UVU baseball team is named the MS Society's Team of the Year. The team will be recognized at the Dinner of Champions on Wednesday, Sept. 12.

Shane Truskolaski, UVU Athletics

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OREM – The National MS Society Utah-Southern Idaho Chapter will honor the Utah Valley University baseball team as its 2012 Team of the Year at the 34th Annual Dinner of Champions. The gala event will be held Wednesday, Sept. 12, at La Caille Restaurant in Salt Lake City.

“We are honored to recognize the UVU baseball team and celebrate their success,” said Becky Lyttle, chapter vice president of community development. “We all draw inspiration from watching champions reach their goals and know we all can reach higher whether it’s in sports, our community or finding a cure for multiple sclerosis.”

The 2012 Wolverine baseball team experienced unprecedented success for a team at Utah Valley, a program in just its ninth season of NCAA Division I competition. The University’s first-ever national ranking, a 32-game winning streak and the top winning percentage in the nation highlight the team’s accomplishments.

“This is an extraordinary honor for our baseball program and Utah Valley University,” UVU Director of Athletics Mike Jacobsen said. “To be recognized by the National MS Society along with so many other praiseworthy recipients is wonderful.”

The program made national headlines when the Wolverines went without a loss for nearly two months, coming just two wins shy of matching the NCAA record for consecutive wins. It was a feat that hadn’t been accomplished since 1999.

Coach Eric Madsen’s club also entered the national rankings for the first time on May 7 and stayed there for the rest of the season after going undefeated in the Great West Conference – a perfect 28-0 – and winning its third straight conference regular season and tournament titles.

The Wolverines led the nation in several offensive categories and were led by a senior-heavy lineup that included consensus All-American Goose Kallunki, who led the nation in RBIs and was among the NCAA leaders in batting, slugging and home runs. He earned first-team All-America honors and was one of three finalists for the Dick Howser Trophy, the Heisman Trophy of college baseball. Seniors Austin Heaps and Billy Burgess also received third-team All-American honors.

UVU freshman volleyball player Bailey Farris, who was named Ms. Volleyball by the Deseret News out of Morgan High School, will also be honored as the Female High School Athlete of the Year.

The annual dinner honors champions in three areas: the community, in Utah sports and those living with MS – each one exemplifying the core values and traits of a true champion.

Multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, interrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and the body. Every 50 minutes in the United States, someone is newly diagnosed with the disease. Utah has one of the highest incidence rates in the country. It is believed one in 300 is affected. Learn more about MS and how you can get involved by visiting the National MS Society Utah-Southern Idaho Chapter's website.

Clint Burgi is the assistant athletic director for sports information at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.

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