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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Who to Watch: Northwestern athletes primed for breakout seasons

Illustration by Angeli Mittal
With conference and national accolades up for grabs in each of NU’s 19 varsity squads, here’s four Cats carrying breakout potential.

The past year provided several banner moments throughout Northwestern athletics. 

Women’s soccer shot up the national rankings, field hockey clawed its way back to a second consecutive national championship appearance, men’s basketball stunned then-No. 1 Purdue and punched its ticket to the Big Dance, fencing trounced No. 1 Notre Dame in Ryan Fieldhouse, softball won a regular season and Big Ten Tournament title and lacrosse cut down the nets in Cary, North Carolina as national champions.

These feats, among many others, wouldn’t have been possible without the stars donning purple and white. New sensations soared to sky-scraping summits, sidelined superstars returned to the limelight and each Wildcat worked relentlessly to improve their respective programs.

With conference and national accolades up for grabs in each of NU’s 19 varsity squads, here’s four Cats carrying breakout potential.


Men’s basketball: junior Brooks Barnhizer

Following the departure of Chase Audige and Robbie Beran, Barnhizer will become a crucial mainstay in coach Chris Collins’ starting lineup, where he could play either guard or forward.

Although he logged just 82 minutes in his freshman season, Barnhizer’s role swiftly gained steam throughout his second year in Evanston. The 6-foot-6-inch guard excelled as the Cats’ sixth man, stuffing stat sheets down the stretch and stymying opposing shooters in the process.

Barnhizer played a pivotal role in NU’s historic 2022-23 campaign, helping the team weather the storm of a grueling Big Ten slate. 

While he tallied just 7.6 points per game last season, the Indiana native will carry a much heavier load this winter in hopes of a second consecutive March Madness appearance.


Women’s soccer: sophomore Caterina Regazzoni 

Regazzoni shone throughout her first season, starting in each of her 22 appearances. The FC Zurich product registered three goals and three assists in her debut campaign, earning Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors.

The midfielder played all 90 minutes in all but two starts, handing coach Michael Moynihan a central piece to build around. Her technical ability and collected presence on the ball helped the Cats end the season ranked No. 11.

With Rowan Lapi heading to Happy Valley this fall as a graduate transfer, Regazzoni will step into an elevated role, carrying a season of collegiate experience under her belt.  

While she may be a known commodity in conference play, Regazzoni carries potential for national prominence. She and her veteran teammates must buy into a winning mentality from the jump for a shot at another NCAA tournament run.


Field hockey and lacrosse: graduate student Lindsey Frank

NCAA Division I athletics are often described as a full-time job. Student athletes spend countless hours studying film, training and maintaining peak performance for long stretches of the year — on top of academic requirements. 

Frank took it to the next level at Richmond, starring for three seasons on the field hockey squad and electrifying the Atlantic 10 for four years in lacrosse. Now, a joint effort between field hockey coach Tracey Fuchs and lacrosse coach Kelly Amonte Hiller convinced the former Spider to trade in her threads and become a Wildcat.

Listed as a midfielder in both sports, Frank tallied eight goals and five assists in 18 starts for Richmond’s field hockey program last fall. She garnered first team all-conference honors, notching a career-high 21 points.

Then, Frank stepped back onto the lacrosse field, where she took no prisoners. In 21 games, she scored a Richmond-record 67 goals and 23 assists. She also scooped 33 ground balls and collected 74 draw controls. 

With Amonte Hiller adding another All-American to her national championship winning team, Frank will benefit from playing alongside 2023 Tewaaraton winner Izzy Scane and fellow finalist Erin Coykendall. Every move Amonte Hiller makes in the transfer portal serves a purpose — and Frank proves no different.


Men’s golf: sophomore Daniel Svärd

While entering the collegiate ranks is a major adjustment to most students who march through the arch, Svärd hit the ground running on the links, immediately showcasing his potential in the team’s tournament slate.

Despite his early success, few expected Svärd’s late April accolade.

In a weather-shortened Big Ten Championship at Galloway National Golf Club, Svärd claimed a share of the individual title, tallying a three-under scorecard. His sharp shooting and composure on the greens helped NU achieve a runner-up finish.

With longtime star David Nyfjäll graduating out of the program, coach David Inglis now looks to Svärd to consistently top leaderboards and push the team to the next level. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @jakeepste1n

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