Looking Back: A year in Omaha athletics

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Mitch Hahn playing against Purdue Fort Wayne in the Maverick’s Summit League Semifinal win. Photo courtesy of Inertia

Jack Hoover
Sports Editor

There was no shortage of excitement this year from Omaha athletics. 

From start to finish, the 2018-19 season treated Mavericks fans of all sports to a number of thrilling games and moments that will be remembered for years to come. History was made this year, there was heartbreak and there was everything in between. 

Now, with most Omaha sports being finished, or finishing up, we can look back at some of the most memorable events of the athletic season. There was plenty to choose from this year. Not all the best moments could fit in here, as there was plenty to choose from, but here are some of the standouts. 

Omaha Men’s Basketball Fights for Summit League Crown 

The 2018-19 season was filled with incredible moments for Omaha men’s basketball that it’s hard to pick just one special moment. There were all sorts of crazy comebacks and show-stopping buzzer beaters this year. To pick any one moment to would seem to do an injustice to any of the other moments. It’s really the season as a whole that stands out as being so special. 

Before the season kicked off, no one really expected men’s basketball to have the season they had this year. After all, the program had finished an uninspiring 9-22 last year. Yet thanks to the outstanding play of players such as seniors Mitch Hahn and Zach Jackson, Omaha basketball played its’ way to one of the best ever seasons with a record of 21-11. While the team had a heartbreaking loss to North Dakota State in the finals of the Summit League tournament, the run this season seemed to still inspire a fan base, as well as a city.  

Omaha Women’s Soccer Run to the Summit League Title Game 

The Omaha women’s soccer team had never before made it to the Division I postseason prior to this year. Coming into this season, the Mavericks were picked to finish near the bottom of the Summit League, so at first didn’t appear that things would be any different. The Mavericks proved all their doubters wrong, however, and went on a fantastic end-of-year run to make their first postseason appearance ever. 

The fun didn’t end there, though. As heavy underdogs against the No. 1 seed South Dakota State, the Mavericks proved they were a force to be reckoned with as they pulled off the 3-1 upset, courtesy of the program’s first Division i hat trick from Bailey Cascio. While Omaha did fall just short in the finals against the University of Denver, the team showed this season they had arrived and were ready to compete against the best on the Division I stage. 

Omaha Baseball Starts Conference Play 12-0 

The theme of team’s playing above expectations this year seems to continue with the Omaha baseball team. Again, this is an Omaha team that was picked to finish near the bottom of the Summit League at the beginning of the season. Now, while the season is still ongoing, it looks like that will not be the case 

The Mavericks currently sit in first place in the Summit League with a four-game lead on the next team behind them. The lead the Mavericks have built up is all due to the 12game undefeated start Omaha had to conference play. 

While there is still plenty to play for this season, Omaha baseball has already exceeded all expectations as it is. It will be interesting to see how far this team can go. 

Stephanie Ahrens Sets New School Record in High Jump 

There were no low expectations for Stephanie Ahrens coming into this year. In fact, expectations were high in both literal and figurative ways. 

Coming into the 2018-19 track season, Ahrens was already the school record holder in the high jump. In her final season though, this was her chance to really leave her mark on the Omaha program. And that she did. 

With a jump of 6-0’.5’’, Ahrens was the first Maverick athlete ever to jump over 6 feet. Overall, Ahrens capped off her season with a second trip to the NCAA championships and her second overall All-American honors. With these honors, you can expect Ahrens’ name will be in UNO record books.  

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