Wenger Expects Improvement



By Mark Janssen

More numbers: Yes, going from seven to eight players.

More athletic: “Yes, without question.”

More shooters: “Yes, without question.”

So, a better Manhattan Christian College women’s basketball team this year compared to last year’s 15-12 season, which included a second place 8-1 Midwest Christian College Conference record?

“Yes, I can confidently say that this team can be better than last year,” said Thunder third-year coach Sarah Wenger.

MCC returns three starters from last year, which includes 5-foot-5 junior guard Katherine Wenger, who led the team in scoring with a 15.3 scoring average on 33 percent shooting.

“Katherine is a better player because she is surrounded by better players this year,” said her older sister and coach. “She’s taken the time to advance her skills and the coaching staff has commented how she’s seeing the floor better.”

While a point guard much of last year, this year Wenger will likely see more minutes at the two-guard.

A second returning twin figure scorer is Shelby Jennings, a 5-6 junior. Jennings averaged 12.3 points last year, while 5-7 senior Only Cathemer returns as a 4.9 point per game scorer.

The remaining five players on the team are all freshmen in 5-8 Melissa Fabela, 5-9 Peyton Miller, 5-8 Emmily Springfield, 5-7 Sierra Moore and 5-8 Haleigh Hipsher.

“All of them are showing why they have a place on the team,” said Wenger. “Of the five, Melissa probably stands out as the leader of the class with the way she carries herself on and off the court. She plays with a high confidence level and does a nice job of both finding the open man and shooting it.”

Fabela was a member of the Hugoton (Kansas) Class 3A state championship teams in 2016-17 and 2014-15. Last year Hugoton went a perfect 26-0. Hugoton also placed third at state at the Class 4A-II level in 2015-16. In 72 career games, she averaged 6.8 points.

Of Miller, Wenger says, “She’s athletic enough to play inside, but also can step out and play the three or even the two. She has the inside game, but also the range to shoot from downtown.”

With so many new players, Wenger admits, “If we have a concern it’s the time that it will take to learn how to play together.”

But on the plus side, she quickly adds, “We’re a guard heavy team that is athletic enough that we can get back to playing man-defense.”

And on offense, she adds, “We could have a different high scorer every night if we play unselfish basketball. We have multiple players who are capable of scoring in twin figures.”

The biggest high point to the early season has been practicing in the new Howie’s Activity Center.

“It truly has been a Godsend,” said Wenger. “You feel how much of a blessing it is every time you walk in the gym.”


Wenger played collegiately at Manhattan Christian College from 2011-2014, and now enters her third season as the head women’s basketball coach. She led the then Crusaders to three league titles, two conference tournament crowns, two Regional championships and two national tournament appearances.  In 2013, Wenger MCC placed second at nationals, and in 2014 she was recognized as a second-team All-American. She also earned NCCAA Scholar Athlete honors in 2013 and 2014.

A native of Topeka, Wenger graduated from MCC with an Associates in General Studies in 2014, and from Kansas State University in 2015 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Social Work. Sarah served as an Admissions Counselor at MCC from 2014-2015, and now works in the Student Life department as the Student Development Coordinator.


Katherine Wenger, 5-6, Jr, Topeka, Kansas

Shelby Jennings, 5-6, Soph, Guthrie, Okla.

Emmily Springfield, 5-8, Fr, Memphis, Tenn.

Siera Moore, 5-7, Fr, Olathe, Kansas

Peyton Miller, 5-9, Fr, Tulsa, Okla.

Melissa Fabela, 5-8, Fr, Hugoton, Kansas

Onley Cathemer, 5-7, Sr, Florence, Ariz.

Haleigh Hipsher, 5-8, Fr, Vincennes, Ind.



Oct. 27                    Mid-America Christian (Exhib.), Oklahoma City, Okla.

Nov. 2                      Oklahoma Christian (Exhib.), Edmond, Okla.

Nov. 4                      Southwestern Christian (Exhib.), Bethany, Okla.

Nov. 6                      UNION COLLEGE OF NEBRASKA, MANHATTAN

Nov. 10                   Oklahoma Wesleyan, McPherson, Ks.

Nov. 11                   Grace University, McPherson, Ks.

Nov. 15                   Newman University (Exhib.), Wichita, Ks.

Nov. 17                   Baker University (Exhib.), Baldwin City, Ks.

Nov. 18                   Benedictine University (Exhib.), Baldwin City, Ks.

Nov. 27                   Panhandle State University (Exhib.), Goodwell, Okla.

Dec. 2                      NEBRASKA CHRISTIAN, MANHATTAN

Dec. 5                      BARCLAY COLLEGE, MANHATTAN

Dec. 8                      Dallas Christian College, Dallas, Texas

Dec. 9                      Arlington Baptist College, Arlington, Texas

Dec. 16                   University of Nebraska – Kearney (Exhib.), Kearney, Neb.

Jan. 3                       Dallas Christian College, Kansas, Okla.

Jan. 4                       Kansas Christian College, Kansas, Okla.

Jan. 5                       Toccoa Falls College, Kansas, Okla.

Jan. 12                    Central Christian College of the Bible, Moberly, Mo.

Jan. 15                    Randall University, Moore, Okla.

Jan. 16                    CALVARY UNIVERSITY, MANHATTAN

Jan. 18                    Union College of Nebraska, Lincoln, Neb.


Jan. 27                    RANDALL UNIVERSITY, MANHATTAN

Jan. 30                    Calvary University, Benton, Mo.

Feb. 2                      EMMAUS BIBLE COLLEGE, MANHATTAN


Feb. 6                       Barclay College, Haviland, Ks

Feb. 8                       Ozark Christian College, Joplin, Mo.


Feb. 22-24            Southwest Region Tourney, Joplin, Mo. 

March 8-10          National Tournament, Greenville, SC

MCC Scoreboard

1/19/2019 | Womens Basketball at No. 3 Randall University | L, 72-60 
1/19/2019 | Mens Basketball at Randall University | L, 80-67 
1/18/2019 | Mens Basketball vs. Central Christian College of the Bible | W, 110-91 
1/15/2019 | Womens Basketball at Calvary University | L, 56-50 
1/15/2019 | Mens Basketball at Calvary University | W, 88-71