Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wockenfus, basketball team join forces to fight spina bifida

The Saint Mary’s men’s basketball team is joining with team alumnus Ryan Wockenfus ’11 in a fundraising effort to help fight spina bifida.

On May 19, Wockenfus, a current member of the SMU Admission staff in Winona, will be participating in the upcoming “Tough Mudder,” a 10-12 mile obstacle course designed by British Special Forces to test athletes’ all-around strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie.

The grueling event will take place in Somerset, Wis., and Wockenfus — whose younger sister, Kaley, was born with spina bifida in 1991 — will be a part of “Team Spina Bifida.”

“This is our chance to support my younger sister, along with all other individuals and families who have been affected by spina bifida,” said Wockenfus, a four-year member of both the SMU men’s basketball and track and field teams.

While Wockenfus will be tackling the “Tough Mudder” — and its underground mud tunnels, fire, ice-water, 12-foot walls and 10,000 volts of electricity — the Cardinal men’s basketball team will be doing its part during their Feb. 4 game against Macalester, beginning at 3 p.m.

The Cardinals will be soliciting pledges based on the Cardinals’ performance against the Scots in the “hustle areas” — offensive rebounds, assists, steals and drawing offensive fouls. (For example, if you pledge 10 cents, and the Cardinals total 11 offensive rebounds, 12 assists and four steals, you would donate $2.70)

For more information, or to make a pledge, contact SMU men’s basketball coaches Todd Landrum ( or Kevin Landrum ( or Ryan Wockenfus ( Pledges will also be accepted any time prior to the game on Feb. 4.

The Cardinals’ support of Wockenfus and his cause is the latest in a long line of partnerships for the men’s basketball team. In 2009, SMU teamed up with the Jimmy V Foundation for cancer awareness; in 2010, they joined forces with SMU alum Suzanne Deranek ’83 to help her make her $2,500 goal to participate in athree-day cancer walk; and last year they kicked off the Relay For Life event held on the SMU campus.