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Case Western Reserve University senior Jacob Burke, a running back on the football team, and senior Danielle Kulpins, a runner on the women’s cross country team, have been named the Spartan Club Athletes of the Week for their performance’s this past weekend.
Burke matched his own program record with four touchdown runs during the team’s home-opening 42-10 win over Grove City College in Cleveland, Ohio on Saturdaynight. Burke carried the ball 24 times for 104 yards in the game, scoring on a one-yard run in the first quarter, a four-yard run in the second quarter, a 12-yard run in the third quarter, and another one-yard run in the fourth quarter. He became the first player in program history to rush for four touchdowns in a game twice over a career, and it was the fifth-time overall in program history that a Spartan runner has accomplished the feat. Burke has run for a total of 160 yards and five touchdowns through his first two games this season. With Saturday’s win, the 18th-ranked Spartans improved to 2-0 on the year.
Kulpins led the Spartans to a second-place finish in the team standings at the Allegheny Classic on Saturday. Kulpins completed the three-mile course in a time of 18:19 to finish fourth out of 126 total runners in the event. It was the third time through as many meets this season that she has been the team’s top finisher.
The Spartan Club Athletes of the Week are selected by the CWRU Department of Athletics each Monday, based on their performance during the previous week of competition.
Honorable Mention: Alex Besl (men’s soccer) recorded his first multiple-goal game of his career, helping the Spartans top Marietta College 2-1 on Saturday afternoon. Besl evened the score at 1-1 with a goal in the 12th minute and then delivered the game-winning goal in the 74th minute of play via an assist from freshman Maximillian Klemm. He led all Spartans in the contest with seven shots, including four on goal. Besl currently ranks tied for fifth in the University Athletic Association with three goals and also tied for fifth with 18 shots.
Haley Sims (volleyball) led the Spartans to a 3-1 record this past week. Sims recorded a .310 hitting percentage for the week, notching 33 kills (2.54 per set) and a team-best eight total blocks (including two solo). During a 3-1 win over St. Lawrence on Friday, Sims tallied 13 kills and two total blocks (one solo). Sims .350 hitting percentage for the season currently ranks third among all University Athletic Association players.
Faith Ellis (volleyball) helped the Spartans post a 3-1 record during the past week of play. Ellis led the team with 76 assists (5.43 per set) and 21 digs (1.50 per set) during the four matches. She tallied a team-high 22 assists during the 3-1 win over St. Lawrence on Friday night. Her 7.05 assists per set for the season currently ranks third in the UAA.
Ian Henderson (football) helped lead the 17th-ranked Spartans’ defense to a 42-10 win over Grove City College in Cleveland, Ohio on Saturday. Henderson led all Spartan players with eight tackles (two solo and six assisted), while recording one sack and 1.5 total tackles for a loss, and forcing a pair of fumbles. His effort helped the Spartans’ defense hold Grove City scoreless in the second half of the game, and limit the Wolverines to just 238 total yards of offense on Saturday.
Sam Merriman (men’s cross country) was the team’s top finisher at the Allegheny Classic on Saturday. Merriman placed eighth among the field of 133 runners in the four-mile race with a time of 20:29. It marked the first time through three meets this season that the 2016 All-American has been the team’s top finisher. His finish helped the Spartans place fourth out of 11 teams at the meet.
Vivi Vemula (men’s tennis) won his singles flight against entirely Division I competition at the 2017 Western & Southern Collegiate Invitational this past weekend. Vemula won the fifth singles flight, defeating Northern Kentucky’s Nicholas Elleman 6-1, 6-1 in the quarterfinals, Xavier’s Matthew Graft 6-2, 4-6, 11-9 in the semifinals, and Xavier’s Michael Lee 6-4, 6-1 in the finals. Vemula also advanced to the quarterfinals of the third doubles draw at the event with partner Siddharth Rajupet. Overall for the weekend, he was 3-1 in singles matches and 1-2 in doubles contests, improving to 5-1 in singles play and 3-2 in doubles action.
2017 Spartan Club Athletes of the Week:
September 5th: Justin Phan (football) & Elle Zadina (women’s soccer)
September 11th: Zachary Senft (men’s soccer) & Karley King (volleyball)
September 18th: Jacob Burke (football) & Danielle Kulpins (women’s cross country)