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Choosing Northwestern’s greatest athlete of all time: Elite Eight

Several chaotic upsets in the Sweet Sixteen made it anyone’s game.

Michigan v Northwestern Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

When I devised this plan to formulate a not-so-serious bracket with 64 of Northwestern’s all-time great athletes, I was not expecting the “political efficacy” of the Inside NU readers, who created big get-out-the-vote campaigns, which ultimately led to a ton of major upsets in the Sweet Sixteen. This round saw some incredibly high voting tallies and some of the favorites knocked out of the tournament, including three one seeds. That being said, let’s get into the matchups for the Elite Eight. Voting ends at 11:00 p.m. CDT Sunday, after the next two episodes of The Last Dance.

Sheridan Region

Both lower-seeded field hockey players prevailed, guaranteeing their program a spot in the Final Four. The recently-named Vice Captain of the European Ryder Cup squad barely lost to Chelsea Armstrong, who notched her second straight close victory in this tournament. Gretchen Scheuermann once again had a high voter turnout, taking out another Wildcat basketball star by a 69-31 margin.

In this regional championship, Armstrong, Northwestern’s all-time leading points and goal-scorer, faces off against Scheuermann, who is one of two ‘Cats to win the Honda Broderick Cup in 1994 as the nation’s top player. Each player has two first-team all-American selections and numerous other individual awards between them. Scheuermann’s vote total exceeded Armstrong’s by nearly 300 in the previous round, so perhaps the odds favor her in their clash.

3. Chelsea Armstrong (FH, 2009-2012) vs. 5. Gretchen Scheuermann (Field Hockey, 1991-1994)


Chelsea Armstrong or Gretchen Scheuermann?

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    Chelsea Armstrong
    (263 votes)
  • 77%
    Gretchen Scheuermann
    (889 votes)
1152 votes total Vote Now

Sherman Region

The Sherman Region was perhaps the least surprising of the bunch. Pat Fitzgerald is officially the last man standing in the competition, handling Billy McKinney by a score of 452 votes to 166 votes. Alexis Prousis continued her Cinderella run, defeating current Indianapolis Colt Anthony Walker Jr. by a margin of 507-to-374.

Prousis has consistently brought out a lot of voters, but Pat Fitzgerald, as Northwestern’s current head football coach and one of its spiritual figureheads, presents an incredibly tough challenge. Nonetheless, the former tennis star has the support from the community to make this one close.

1. Pat Fitzgerald (Football, 1993-1996) vs. 11. Alexis Prousis (Women’s Tennis, 2003-2007)


Pat Fitzgerald or Alexis Prousis

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    Pat Fitzgerald
    (1350 votes)
  • 42%
    Alexis Prousis
    (984 votes)
2334 votes total Vote Now

Orrington Region

Lisa Ishikawa Sliwa pulled off the biggest upset in the tournament thus far, taking down three-sport athlete and favorite Otto Graham by a 59-41 vote. 746 people voted for the softball star, so all credit to whoever is getting the vote out in her corner. She will face Hilary Bowen, the two-seed and former lacrosse star who has four national championship rings in her cabinet. Bowen has not received the same high vote totals, but her impressive resume against Ishikawa’s large fanbase should make this a good one.

2. Hilary Bowen (Women’s Lacrosse, 2006-2009) vs. 4. Lisa Ishikawa Sliwa (Softball, 1984-1987)


Hilary Bowen or Lisa Ishikawa Sliwa?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Hilary Bowen
    (1101 votes)
  • 63%
    Lisa Ishikawa Sliwa
    (1924 votes)
3025 votes total Vote Now

Central Region

Things went wild on Central Street. Kristen Kjellman and Justin Jackson had by far the craziest matchup in the Sweet Sixteen. With nearly 3,000 votes cast, Kjellman squeaked by JJTBC with a 27-vote victory. Insane. With this upset, three of the four one-seeds were eliminated in this round. Much like fellow former tennis player Alexis Prousis, 10-seed Katrina Adams has gone on a Cinderella run of her own, taking down powerhouses Clayton Thorson and Hannah Nielsen on her way to the Sweet Sixteen. With over 3,800 votes cast and 2,146 for Adams, the tennis star advanced to the Elite Eight.

Kjellman and Adams both have large blocks of the community behind them. Expect this one to have high voting tallies for a spot in the Final Four.

5. Kristen Kjellman (WLAX, 2004-2007) vs. 10. Katrina Adams (WTEN, 1984-1987)


Kristen Kjellman or Katrina Adams?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    Kristen Kjellman
    (507 votes)
  • 67%
    Katrina Adams
    (1051 votes)
1558 votes total Vote Now