Eli Vogel in a game against Crown on Feb. 20. Vogel led the ‘Jackets with 16.8 PPG.
Photo by Holden Law

The Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) has announced the All-Conference teams for the 2020-2021 basketball season, and the Yellowjackets secured seven total spots between the men’s and women’s teams. Even though both teams finished under .500 for their respective seasons, they had players who stepped up and were acknowledged for their achievements.

Two sophomores stepped up as leaders for Superior this season, as Mason Ackley and Eli Vogel were both given the nod for second-team honors.

Vogel led the Jackets this season with 16.8 points per game. A volume shooter, he had an efficient season behind the arc, cashing in the second-best three point percentage in the UMAC at 43.9% on three attempts a game. A career-best 28 points were scored by the sophomore on a Feb. 24 game against Martin Luther.

After being named to the honorable mention team a year ago, Ackley showed improvement this season and was named to the All-UMAC second team. Ackley’s scoring stayed consistent, averaging 10.8 points per game while shooting 48.2%. After nearly doubling his assist numbers, he finished third in the conference with an average of 4.3 assists per game and just over two turnovers a game.

J’Vaun Walker got the nod as the only freshman named to the All-Defense team after leading the conference in steals. Walker came to UWS during a tough time for athletics but was not rusty on the defensive end and even helped offensively, pouring in 12.3 points per game on an outstanding 52% clip in his first season with the Yellowjackets.

The women’s team was also led by two sophomore selections as Kaija Davies brought home the All-Second team honors with 12.5 points per game and 6.3 rebounds. Davies was also the only player on the team to average more than one block throughout the season for the ‘Jackets. Davies had a career night against St. Scholastica on March 1, posting a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds.

Sophomore guard Kaelyn Christianson was named to the honorable mention team after leading the women’s team in scoring with an average of 14.4 per game, enough to rank 9th in the conference. She was also top ten in free throw percentage and threes per game, with 69.8% and 1.6, respectively.

Ellie Leadstrom was the lone senior on this year’s squad, and, just as she has her whole career, she led the Yellowjackets defensively and got recognized for it by making the All-Defensive team. Leadstrom had a career season, rebounding the ball an average of 6.4 times on a nightly basis. Her rebounding average was enough to put her at eighth in the conference. She also finished eighth in steals.

Leadstrom and junior guard Carter Brown were both given UMAC sportsmanship awards as the representatives for UW-Superior. Brown returned this season after an injury and only played in only four games, but he was a leader and role model to the young team.

Getting these athletes back to action was both a rewarding and exciting experience. Despite the sub-.500 record for both teams, they are both looking forward to the future to utilize the great collection of young players who were recognized this season.