The UW-Superior men’s and women’s basketball season is right around the corner and the Yellowjackets will rely on upperclassman leadership throughout the season.
The UW-Superior men’s basketball team is trying to win a conference championship for the first time since switching over to the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference in 2015.
The Yellowjackets are coming off one of their best seasons, in 2022-23 they had the second-most wins in school history with a record of 17-10, while making an appearance in their first ever UMAC championship game.
For fifth year senior forward Josef Fahrenholtz, success of the program comes down to leadership from the upperclassman.
“It’s a little different because it feels like I was a freshman just last week. It’s nice having those roles reversed being the oldest guy on the team now, but I am still very happy to be here.
We have an experienced roster with a mix of younger guys and I am excited to see how we all mesh together throughout the year,” said Fahrenholtz.
Entering his seventh season as the head coach, Greg Polkowski knows the experience will only benefit the Yellowjackets in the long run.
“The returners to the program have done a good job of bringing the young guys along; it’s become very natural and awesome to see,” said Polkowski.
The Yellowjackets open the 2023-24 season on the road Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. against Macalester in St. Paul, before returning home for the first time in the Merrill Thompson Classic Friday, Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. against UW-La Crosse in Superior at Mertz Mortorelli Gymnasium.
For the Yellowjacket women’s team a lot of players are returning after they finished third in the UMAC last season.
Another key returner is head coach Emily Carpenter who was an interim coach last year before officially being named the head coach in April.
While only losing two seniors from last season the team is hoping to continue improving as they become more accustomed with each other’s play.
Senior guard Erika Mattson embraces the role of an upperclassman seeking to help lead the team to success.
“We try to lead by example as much as we can, and the younger players latch onto that; we like to mix younger and older players together at practices to get more familiar with one another and it helps improve the team chemistry overall,” said Mattson.
Second year coach Emily Carpenter has only a year of coaching UWS under her belt but as a former Yellowjacket basketball player herself she brings UMAC experience by winning three UMAC regular season championships and two UMAC tournament titles while playing.
She has shown confidence in the core group of players that’ll return with hopes of making a deeper run in the UMAC playoffs. “We made a lot of improvements
last year, especially being picked sixth in the preseason poll and then finishing third for a playoff spot.
We have nine returners so we’re bringing back a good core group of players. We also have a lot of newcomers this year; we’re doing our best to get everyone to mesh together smoothly,” said Carpenter.
The Yellowjackets open the 2023-24 campaign on the road in Chicago, where they face Denison Saturday, Nov. 11 at 6 p.m. The first home game is slated for Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 5:30 p.m. against UW-Stout at Mertz Mortorelli Gymnasium in Superior, Wis.