Tommie Sports - General News

Gene's Blog: Newcomers show promise

September 02, 2008

Player pic
Greg Morse is a talented freshman QB. (Greg Smith photo)

One of the fun aspects of a new athletic year is the chance to evaluate newcomers to Tommie sports teams.

In general, freshmen face adjustments to a game that's much faster and more complex, and features bigger and stronger opponents than in high school. Most athletes show glimpses of their potential as they adjust to college and their new environment, and a few break into the lineup. Transfer students usually have a somewhat smoother transition and certainly help fill in a team's depth.

Here's an early look at a few fall 2008 new Tommies, a group expected to make an immediate impact:

--Football: Gopher transfer Tommy Becker will be fun to watch at linebacker, and four other D-II transfers will play extensively. At least two freshmen skill players, QB Greg Morse and WR Fritz Waldvogel, jump out for their athleticism. Look for more than a dozen of Glenn Caruso's recruiting class to start or play key roles.

--Men's Soccer: Freshman Mike Hutton scored a goal and an assist in his first college game, and it will be fun to watch him develop. Sophomore defender Colin White looks good in purple and white after playing his freshman year at St. John's.

--Volleyball: Division I transfer Lauren Wagner of Fairfield will make her presence felt on an otherwise experienced Tommie team.

--Women's Soccer: Division I transfer Kirsten Player action picMoran of Southern Methodist scored a goal in her first college game. The Texas native is one of 11 promising new players for Coach Sheila McGill.

--Women's Golf: Division I transfer Chelsa Dooley of Cincinnati, will help the Tommies as they look to return to the NCAA Championships. The Willmar native averaged 80.1 over 27 rounds as a freshman at Cincy in 2005-06 and was ranked first in the state with a 73.3 average as a prep senior in 2005.

--Women's Cross Country: Three Wisconsin freshmen, led by state runner-up Emma Spoon of Verona, will help UST's depth.

--Men's Cross Country: Coach Pete Wareham has several freshmen with promising credentials. Freshman Ben Sathre of Chaska was the first newcomer in last week's timed run vs. Macalester.

--Men's Golf: The Tommies have a few talented freshmen bidding for top-five spots. Sophomore Sean Barrett, the state meet medalist as a senior at Mahtomedi High, was the football placekicker last season and will play fall golf for the first time in college.

In a few weeks, we'll check back with updates -- and see who else adds their names to the above unofficial honor roll.

Odds & Ends

More odds and ends as we approach the first big weekend of the new school year:

Classes start Wednesday at St. Thomas, and the latest 1,300 freshmen -- the UST Class of 2012 -- are ready to begin their academic careers.

If you drive past Summit and Cretin Avenues, from now until Thanksgiving break, you can't miss the Crowd picactivity, from morning until nightfall. Students are spilling over sidewalks when classes change, and cars are jamming parking lots and adjacent streets. Athletes are keeping the weight room and track full, and walkers and joggers are beating a path along Summit or down to the river road.

Three Tommie teams are competing nearby this weekend :

--Men's soccer (1-0) plays Friday (4 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.) at home on the South Campus field.

--Volleyball (3-1) plays four matches this Friday and Saturday, just a few miles away at Augsburg's tournament. UST plays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Friday, then plays again twice on Saturday.

--The weekend's marquee event will be the football team's 1 p.m. season-opening game Saturday vs. Macalester at O'Shaughnessy Stadium. A pregame barbeque will be held next to the field for students. It's also Neighborhood Day and Take A Kid to the Game Day. If you can't make it in person, a live webcast can be accessed here:

Baseball Notes

Several past and present members of the Tommie baseball team competed in the Minnesota state Logoamatuer tournament, which concluded last weekend. All-American catcher Matt Pexa, who completed his career last May, played on the St. Patrick team that reached the state semifinals in Class B. St. Patrick -- population 12 -- is located near Pexa's hometown of New Prague. In Class C, junior 1B Tom Wippler helped his hometown Sauk Rapids team to second place.

The Class A winner, St. Louis Park, included ex-Tommie player or coaches Byan Edstrom, Casey Garven, Neil Koepcke, Craig Benson and Chris Johnson. Mike Moran played on the A runner-up Green Mill team. Ex-Tommie Sean Lindstrom pitched for the St. Paul Shamrocks as they eliminated defending state champ Minnetonka Millers before losing. Mike Kimlinger and Josh Howard also played for the Shamrocks.

Ex-Tommie All-American Chris Olean, now a UST assistant coach, pitched Miesville into the final six in Class B before the Mudhens were eliminated.

Coach Dennis Denning will start his fall practices and tryouts this week. For those counting, that's only 23 weeks until Feb. 1 practices start...

Gene McGivern

Sports information director Gene McGivern is working in his 18th season at St. Thomas and 24th in the MIAC. He blogs periodically on various topics regarding the Tommies, the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) and Division III sports.

If you have comments or questions, e-mail Gene at