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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


UCM’s Winter National Athletic Champions Honored

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (March 26, 2015) – A celebration that included food provided by Sodexo and presentations of local and state resolutions took place Wednesday, March 25 in honor of the winter national athletic championship teams at the University of Central Missouri.

Pep Rally in March 2015

Warrensburg Mayor Donna DeFrain,left, presents a resolution from the Warrensburg City Council to members of the NCAA Division II National Championship Jennies Track and Field Team, left to right, Madison Smith, Brittany Kallenberger, Erika Kinsey, and Heavin Warner, during a pep rally March 25 in the Multipurpose Building.

The pep rally in the Multipurpose Building recognized the NCAA Division II National Championship Jennies Indoor Track and Field Team and NCAA II National Champion Mules Wrestler Frank Cagnina. In addition to remarks made by UCM President Charles Ambrose, Athletic Director Jerry Hughes and Jennies Track and Field Coach Kip Janvrin, the gathering of UCM athletes, coaches and fans included presentations by Missouri Senator David Pearce and Warrensburg Mayor Donna DeFrain. Both of them read excerpts from their resolutions, and DeFrain also presented Warrensburg commemorative city coins to Cagnina and Jennies national champion team members Madison Smith, Brittany Kallenberger, Erika Kinsey, and Heavin Warner.  Although he could not attend, Rep. Denny Hoskins, House speaker pro tem, provided a resolution from the Missouri House of Representatives honoring UCM’s winter champions.

Pearce commended the student athletes on their accomplishment, noting the hard work that goes into winning a national championship.

“Honors like this don’t happen overnight. There are no overnight successes in athletics. There’s no overnight success in true accomplishment,” he told the group. “It took years and years of dedication and hard work to be where these student athletes are here tonight, and the Missouri Senate couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Hughes pointed out there are over 500 student athletics at the university, “and all of you do an outstanding job in the classroom, on the athletic field or court. But the group behind me has excelled to a level nationally that no one can say they are better than.”

Hughes also talked about the value of team leadership, and the example that has been set through the national championships. He added that Cagnina, only the second Mule wrestler in history to win two national championships, persevered despite a knee injury.

“Many of you may not know it, but Frank competed the last half of the season with a torn ACL. That’s a true sign of a real competitor,” he told the crowd.

Ambrose also praised the success of the student athletes, saying, “We really appreciate who you are and what you are all about. We also know how hard it is to win an NCAA National Championship. That just doesn’t happen without great coaches and athletic staff to support you.”

“If you think about all the great student athletes and championships that have happened at the university, we have had very few teams that have accomplished what the Jennies Indoor Track and Field Team has accomplished this season,” he said.

Ambrose also cited the winning-attitude demonstrated by Cagnina. He noted, “This season, you were a symbol of courage. Not only did you work hard and compete hard, but you did it with some physical limitations.”

Janvin said “Kirk (Pederson) and I have been here since the late ‘80s, and one of the things we noticed is that excellence is expected. We were expected to have great teams, great students, great people in every sport we have here, and I feel like we have finally done our part.”

Below is a summary of accomplishments by the Jennies Indoor Track and Field Team and Mules Wrestler Frank Cagnina, which led to their national titles.

Jennies Indoor Track and Field
Coached by Kip Janvrin and Kirk Pedersen, the Jennies Indoor Track and Field team captured the 2015 NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championship on March 13-14 in Birmingham, Ala., becoming the first UCM team to earn an NCAA Team Championship in Jennies Track and Field history

The Jennies had four athletes combine for two individual national championships and seven All-America honors. Erika Kinsey won two individual national titles in the high jump and triple jump and earned a third All-America honor in the long jump;  Madison Smith earned All-America honors in the pentathlon and high jump; Heavin Warner earned All-America honors in the weight throw; Brittany Kallenberger earned All-America honors in the pole vault;  and Zoe Sharplin was a national qualifier in the pentathlon.

Frank Cagnina – Mules Wrestling
Coached by Justin Ensign, Frank Cagnina captured his second straight national championship at 149 pounds as he beat Terrel Wilbourn of Lindenwood University 5-2 in the national finals March 14 in St. Louis. He helped lead the Mules to their best-ever finish at the national tournament with an 11th place team finish.

Cagnina becomes just the second Central Missouri wrestler in history to win multiple national championships. He finished his senior season 24-1 overall and he finished 63-3 in his two-year career. His .955 career winning percentage is the best all-time at UCM.