February 2, 2009

Today’s Carthage bids farewell to the most decorated class in school history. These five young men have tallied twenty-two CCIW titles, seven CCIW Open and Championship records, nine All-American certificates, and seven Academic All-American awards. As much of an impact as they’ve left on conference, pool and school record boards, they’ve also made a significant contribution to the ethic and culture of Carthage swimming and we’d like to recognize them briefly here today.

We begin with one of the most accomplished butterfliers in conference history – Bryce Davis. In his career thus far, Bryce is a twelve-time CCIW Champion and two-time NCAA Qualifier. As a freshman, he earned All-American recognition as a part of the 200 Freestyle Relay and last qualified individually in the 50, 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly. A month prior, Bryce established CCIW Championship records in all three events en route to being named the conference Most Valuable Performer. Bryce is also the 2006 Carthage Captain’s Biathalon Champion. A deep thinker, Bryce is a double major in philosophy and psychology and two-time member of the Carthage athletic director’s honor roll. In the history of the CCIW three men have won the 100 fly three times – next month Bryce could become the first to win the event four times. Ladies and gentlemen, Bryce Davis.

Next we celebrate Chris Steenrod. As a freshman Chris was not selected as a scorer to the a very deep conference team. Still, he posted times that would have scored. Since then, the Freeport, Illinois native has developed a valuable contributor having reached the conference finals on five different occasions. Chris has proven one of the most versatile performers in Carthage history – he ranks among Carthage all-time Top-25 list in six different events including the 1650 where he currently ranks 13th – ten spots ahead of his father Dave Steenrod. Chris was named a member of this year’s homecoming court – something big brother Andy couldn’t match. A psychology major, Chris has twice been named to the Carthage dean’s list and is a three-time member of the Carthage athletic director’s honor roll. Ladies and gentlemen, Chris Steenrod.

Our third senior, Bryan Pelka will graduate this spring as the greatest distance swimmer in CCIW history and why not – nobody has ever been faster in the 1000 or 1650 freestyle. Bryan is a two-time honorable mention All-American in the mile. On the conference level he has won three individual events and finalled nine different times. His academic resume is as impressive as his performance in the pool. He is a three time CSCAA Academic All-American and two-time CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Second Team All-Academic honoree. He was the 2007 CCIW “Jack Swartz All-Academic Award Winner” and will soon be nominated for a NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. Ladies and gentlemen, Bryan Pelka

Andy Bax leaves us as one of Carthage’s most valuable and consistent sprinters. No swimmer has split under 21.0 seconds more times than Andy has in his time here and he will likely be remembered as one of the best sprint breaststrokers in school history. Andy is an eight-time CCIW Finallist and five-time CCIW Champion, including an individual win in the 50-freestyle. Andy has achieved five different NCAA consideration times and last season was recognized by the College Coaches Association as an Academic All-American. A double major in elementary and special education, Andy is a three-time member of the Carthage athletic director’s honor roll, member of the dean’s list and, along with Chris was a member of the homecoming court. Ladies & gentlemen, Andy Bax.

Our final senior today is Stephen Schranck. Nationally, Stephen has garnered more attention than any other swimmer in Carthage history. He has earned All-American or Honorable Mention All-American recognition on six different occasions – the second most in school history. On the conference level, Stephen won four individual and six relay titles in spite of often swimming off events for the team. In fact, in 2007 failed to win a single individual CCIW title, but was still recognized by Carthage as its Athlete of the Year. A double major in accounting and business administration, Stephen is a three-time CSCAA Academic All-American and has swum the 14th fastest 200 breaststroke in NCAA History. Ladies & gentlemen, Stephen Schranck.



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