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Christensen adds two to coaching staff

Two new faces will be on the sidelines beside Jason Christensen this season.

Christensen, who is entering his fourth year at the helm of the Dakota Wesleyan University women's program, has hired two assistant coaches in Sam Sikkink and Emery native Brad Bartscher.

Bartscher has coached boys' and girls' basketball for 16 years at the youth, junior high and high school levels. He was an assistant for the Bridgewater boys' team and the Bridgewater-Emery boys' team after the schools co-oped. He's coached traveling all-star teams and has been involved with and helped coach Mike Miller's M33M traveling all-star teams.

"With my past experience with traveling teams and being able to related with kids at all ages and having success with them, it's all helped me to higher levels of coaching," Bartscher said. "I like to challenge myself at the highest level I can possibly get into, and I feel that I can help make a difference here."

Christensen said Bartscher's ties in recruiting is going to continue to improve the women's program. The Tigers were 20-11 last season, marking the fourth 20-win season in program history. DWU was also ranked in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches Poll during the season.

"The success of the team played a big part in wanting this position," Barscher said. "Knowing I can come in and help expand that to higher goals and achievements makes me want to get involved.

"Also, being able to work with Christensen and the staff was a huge part in my decision making."

Since Christensen took over the program, Sikkink is the second female to join the staff.

"As a coach, I don't think it matters but for players it does," Christensen said. "Being I coach females, the kids respond to a female better in certain situations."

Sikkink, a Rochester, Minn., native, joins the program as the top assistant after one season as a graduate assistant at the University of Sioux Falls. As a player, Sikkink played at Division III basketball before transferring to the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she played for two seasons. With the Kangaroos, she led the team in three-point percentage and scored 103 points in her senior season.

The two join assistant Adam Schorzmann and student assistant Derrick Dunn.

Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.