MOORHEAD, Minn. (10/08/19)---Concordia will induct its youngest class ever into the Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday, Oct. 12 as part of the annual Homecoming Week celebration. All six former amazing student/athletes had an unbelievable amount of success for the Cobbers in the middle 2000's.
Baseball All-Region performer Derek Dormanen ’03, football All-Region award winner Derek Flann '03, MIAC MVP volleyball player Jessica (Walden) Heckman '05, women's basketball All-American Mandy Pearson '05, national champion diver Annie (Cullen) Peterson '06 and football Gagliardi Award finalist Jordan Talge '05. All six earned top awards in the MIAC and all six led their teams to conference and national success. The six will receive the top athletic honor presented by the college.
The six will receive their honor at the annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 5 p.m. in the Barry Auditorium in the Grant Center on Concordia’s campus.
The six former outstanding athletes all had careers of distinction at Concordia, went on to earn MIAC accolades and also receive national honors during their time at Concordia.
Derek Dormanen ’03 – Baseball
A Minnesota all-state pitcher at Menahga High School, Derek Dormanen completed a dominating senior season for the Cobber baseball team in 2003. He was named to the All-MIAC and the All-Region teams for the third consecutive season, and he was the overwhelming choice for MIAC Most Valuable Player as the league’s most outstanding player. At the conclusion of his four-year career, Dormanen was ranked either first or second in nine of thirteen all-time statistical categories for the Cobbers, including batting average, runs scored, complete games pitched and games saved.
In 2003 Dormanen also became only the fourth player in the illustrious history of Cobber baseball to earn NCAA Division III All-American honors. A third baseman and top relief pitcher, Dormanen compiled at .366 batting average and set a school record with nine saves. As a junior in 2002, he demonstrated his batting skills by leading the MIAC in hitting with a .500 average.
He would go on to sign a contract to play professional baseball with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks in the Northern League. He appeared in 179 games for the RedHawks in portions of five seasons, helping the team win two Northern League championships. A consummate utility player, Dormanen played at every position except center field in his professional career.
He lives in Fargo where he works for a leading company in service, sales and support of petroleum equipment in the Upper Midwest.
Derek Flann ’03 – Football
During his playing career from 1999 to 2002, Derek Flann was the most dominating lineman in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. His statistics include 147 total tackles and 14.5 quarterback sacks. But what stood out the most about Flann was his intimidating presence on the defensive line. His ability to shed blockers and disrupt the opposing team’s offense led him to be the overwhelming choice of conference coaches to receive the Mike Stam Award as the MIAC’s most outstanding lineman in his senior season.
Flann’s playing career was steady climb of achievement — he was the Cobber freshman Most Valuable Player in 1999; in 2000 he earned All-MIAC Academic team honors; in 2001 he was named to the MIAC All-Conference second team; and in 2002 he earned All-MIAC first team and Football Gazette All-Region team honors. Flann was then chosen by the American Football Coaches Association as one of 40 NCAA Division III players to play for Team USA in the 2002 Aztec Bowl in Torreon, Mexico, where he recovered a fumble on the final play of the game to preserve a 15-9 USA victory.
After completing a degree in social studies education, Flann became an educator and coach. Over a 10 year span as head coach at Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, Minn., his football teams won three conference championships and appeared in two state tournaments. He is currently head football coach, activities director and community education director at BOLD High School in Olivia, Minn. Flann additionally serves his community as a volunteer coach for youth baseball, football and basketball. He and his wife, former Cobber athlete Erin (Gunderson) ’02, are the parents of three children, Owen, Emmitt and Kaitlyn.
Jessica (Walden) Heckman ’05 – Volleyball
Jessica (Walden) Heckman concluded her record setting Cobber volleyball career in 2004 with a long string of honors. She became the first player in program history to earn the MIAC Most Valuable Player award and the first to be named a CoSIDA Academic All-American. These honors were followed by winning a prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, one of only 56 awards given to college student-athletes nationwide. She also earned MIAC All-Conference honors in three straight season and was voted to the All-Region team by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. In recognition of her 4.0 GPA in biology, she was named to both the CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team and the CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team.
Heckman was an integral part of Cobber teams that won consecutive MIAC tournament championships and advanced to the NCAA tournament. She set school records for assists in a career, assists in a season and assists in a match. She strung together three 1,000-plus assist seasons and finished with 4,513 total assists. She was respected by her teammates as a self-motivated player with high expectations who led by example. She was one of those rare athletes who made everyone around her better and lifted their level of play on the court.
She went on to earn a doctor of optometry degree from Pacific University College of Optometry. Heckman currently is vice president of clinical affairs and optometric residency director at Chu Vision Institute in Bloomington, Minn. Her community service includes participating in eye care mission trips to the Philippines and Myanmar, and helping teach Sunday school at her church. She and her husband, Micah Heckman ’04, are the parents of three children, Drew, Celia and Miles, and live in Savage, Minn.
Mandy Pearson ’05 – Women’s Basketball
Mandy Pearson is one of the most prolific players in the storied history of Cobber women’s basketball. As a point guard, Pearson was a coach on the floor who could single-handedly take over a game with precision passing and clutch shooting. After her senior season in 2005, she was named to the NCAA Division III All-America team, the D3hoops All-America Second Team, and the D3hoops All-Region First team. She was a 3-time selection to the All-MIAC team, and in recognition of her outstanding overall play, was twice voted MIAC Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005. She was the first Cobber to achieve 1,000 points and 500 assists, finishing her career with 1,346 points and 640 assists. Pearson also earned All-MIAC honors playing fast pitch softball, leading the Cobbers in hits and runs scored.
In 2007 Pearson became the head coach of the St. Mary’s University women’s basketball team. Under her guidance, Saint Mary’s quickly moved up the ranks of MIAC teams culminating in the MIAC regular-season championship and a spot in the NCAA Tournament in the 2013-14 season. In nine seasons, Pearson led the Cardinals to national rankings while twice earning MIAC Coach of the Year honors.
Pearson was named head women’s coach at the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2015 and once again proved her ability to turn a program around when the Bulldogs became NSIC tournament champions in 2019. In addition to increasing the team’s win totals, Pearson’s ingenuity has made the Bulldogs into one of the best defensive teams in NCAA Division II.
She is a prominent participant at basketball camps and clinics, and is actively involved in a number of charitable and community volunteer activities in Duluth.
Annie (Cullen) Peterson ’06 - Women's Swimming and Diving
Annie (Cullen) Peterson became the first Cobber athlete to win a national championship in swimming and diving when she won the 2006 NCAA Division III 1-meter diving competition. She set a national record with 455.20 points on her final dive at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. That season she was named MIAC Diver of the Year after capturing first place in both the 1-meter and 3-meter diving competitions at the conference meet.
A versatile athlete who won letters in gymnastics, soccer, track and academics at Moorhead High School, Cullen only began diving during her sophomore season at Concordia. She placed sixth at the 2004 MIAC meet in the 1-meter event. In her junior season, she earned MIAC Diver of the Year honors after winning the 3-meter diving championship and finishing second in the 1-meter competition. In her record-setting senior season, she was named to the NCAA DIII All-America Swimming and Diving team in 1-meter diving and Honorable Mention in 3-meter diving.
After graduating with a degree in math and accounting, Peterson became a certified public accountant. She is currently a senior director and trader at Winslow Capital Management in Minneapolis. She and her husband, Adam Peterson ’07, are the parents of twin boys Henry and Charlie, daughter Zoey and a baby due in November. They are avid supporters of their children’s sports activities and financially support many charitable organizations in Burnsville, Minn.
Jordan Talge ’05 – Football
After being one of the top recruits for the Cobber football program from Moorhead High School, Jordan Talge became one of the most honored athletes in Concordia history. Talge embodied all the attributes of a model scholar-athlete. After a record-setting senior season in 2004, and in addition to a host of All-MIAC awards, he was named a finalist for the Gagliardi Trophy which honors the top player in NCAA Division III. He was the first player in Cobber history to be a finalist for the top honor. He was also an CoSIDA Academic All-American and a recipient of a prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship — one of only 28 male athletes recognized nationally. Talge was also named to the D3football All-American First Team, the Football Gazette All-American First Team and the Associated Press Little All-American team, composed of players from all NCAA Division II and III, and NAIA football teams. On the field, he made big plays at crucial times in the biggest games. His Cobber teammates showed their high esteem for Talge by twice electing him team captain.
After completing a degree in economics and political science, Talge was a legislative assistant to Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman in Washington, D.C., frequently traveling the world on government business. He used his NCAA scholarship to study at the University of Washington Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Washington Law Review, graduated Order of the Coif, and received the Dean’s Medal as the most outstanding graduate in 2011. He served a clerkship for Judge Richard C. Tallman on the U.S. Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit before joining a leading commercial litigation law firm in Seattle. Most recently he became associate general counsel for Seattle University.
Talge and his wife, Karen (Scheeler) ’05, are the parents of three girls, Lillian Cecilia and identical twins Hattie Pearl and Alice Paulette. Talge’s volunteer activities include serving on the St. Catherine Parish School Commission, and as a YMCA circle leader. His family are fixtures at Concordia alumni events, proudly leading Cobbers in the annual Syttende Mai parade in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.