Tuesday Talk: Swim-Dive continues great ride

Tuesday Talk: Swim-Dive continues great ride

Tuesday Talk is a weekly news and notes feature of Tommiesports.com


St. Thomas closed out its third consecutive men's/women's team title sweep in MIAC Swimming and Diving Saturday night. 

Coach Scott Blanchard's men won St. Thomas' sixth championship in the last nine years. They surpassed 900 points and toppped runner-up Gustavus by 148 points, with 12 swim and two diving titles on the weekend.

The Tommie women won the program's third title in a row as they passed 850 points and posted a 110-point victory over the Gusties. St. Thomas had 11 firsts and nine runner-up places on the weekend.

Senior Bailey Biwer (18 career MIAC relay-individual titles) and junior Katelyn Strauss (15 career MIAC relay-individual titles) were voted MIAC Swimmer of the Year, and senior Andrew Grabowski (seven of eight career MIAC titles) was named MIAC men's Diver of the Year.

The Tommie men were the first St. Thomas swim-dive team since 1951 to win the conference title all four years of their era.

Junior Tom Negaard has been part of 14 top-three finishes over three seasons at the MIACs, including nine firsts in relays or individual events.

St. Thomas has eight relays now seeded in the top 17 nationally:

  • Men 800 Free (6:47.59, 13th) Warren Melton, Max Larson, Adam Boerner, Biwer;
  • Men 200 Medley (1:30.97, 13th) with Negaard, Alexander Robb, Biwer, Charles Hynes;
  • Men 200 Free (1:21.44, 6th) Negaard, Biwer, Hunter Nielsen, Hynes
  • Women 400 Medley (3:50.55, 13th) Kirsten Nelson, Melissa Rose, Katelyn Strauss, Alex Howard
  • Women 200 Medley (1:44.93, 15th) Tiana Molitor, Rose, Haley Cassens, Kate Smarjesse
  • Women 200 Free (1:34.90, 17th) Howard, Molitor, Smarjesse, Strauss
  • Women 400 Free (3:28.74, 9th) Molitor, Strauss, Howard, Smarjesse
  • Women 800 Free (7:40.54, 17th) Howard, Strauss, Kasey Ericson, Smarjesse.


Lucky Number 5

Swim-Dive wins were part of four solo MIAC championships and one co-title secured by St. Thomas on Saturday. Tommie teams have won or shared nine of 14 fall and winter regular-season conference team crowns thus far in 2017-18.

  • Women's Basketball won its fourth championship in a row with an 18-0 league finish; 
  • Men's Hockey rallied from a 3-0 deficit and won 6-5 over Hamline to edge St. John's by one point (34-33) for the championships;
  • Women's Hockey scored a 3-0 win over Hamline and tied for the title with Gustavus. 

St. Thomas has a league-best 422 conference regular-season titles heading into the Feb. 23-24 MIAC Indoor Track and Field Championships for men and women.


Women's Stat of the Week

Tommie Swim-Dive received points from 17 swimmers and one diver, including freshmen Gretchen Behrens and Kasey Ericson.


Men's Stat of the Week

Tommie Swim-Dive received points from 18 swimmers and one diver, including freshmen Adam Boerner, Nate Stone and Sam Larson.


Streak Talk
Since Jan. 13, Tommie hockey and women's basketball teams are a combined 28-2-3.
Since Nov. 17, Tommie Women's Basketball and Women's Hockey have a combined 29-0-5 record in conference play.
St. Thomas Women's Hoops will bring a 52-game victory streak against conference opponents into Thursday night's home playoff game against fifth-seed St. Mary's. The Tommie women also have a 29-game road win streak dating back to the 2015-16 season -- third longest in all of NCAA basketball (men or women).
The Tommies -- 167-16 against MIAC foes since January 2010 -- have won 23 consecutive January games over the last three seasons and 34 consecutive February games over four seasons. They also have won 28 consecutive MIAC home games. They have secured the program's 12th consecutive winning season.
Tommie Women's Hockey went unbeaten in its last 16 MIAC contests (11-0-5). On home ice, the women are unbeaten against MIAC opponents in their last 15 contests (13-0-3). The Toms secured the program's 18th consecutive winning season.
St. Thomas Men's Hoops secured an MIAC playoff spot for the 19th year in a row and 30th season in the last 31. UST also claimed the program's 14th consecutive winning season.
Poll Talk
St. Thomas' four winter hockey and basketball teams are off to a 69-24-7 record, with 10 of those losses to nationally-ranked teams. That included a 26-6-4 record in January.
Sixteen Tommie teams are currently nationally ranked or finished their fall season nationally ranked:
  • Women's Basketball (8th/8th)
  • Football (4th/4th, tied for fifth place in nation);
  • Men's Soccer (6th, tied for fifth place in nation);
  • Men's Golf (4th/4th);
  • Baseball (8th/19th);
  • Women's Hockey (8th/8th);
  • Men's Hockey (15th);
  • Women's Swim-Dive (18th);
  • Men's Swim-Dive (17th);
  • Men's Indoor T&F (30th);
  • Women's Indoor T&F (27th)
  • Men's Indoor T&F (30th);
  • Women's Indoor T&F (27th)
  • Volleyball (25th, tied for 33rd place in nation);
  • Women's Golf (26th, GolfStat);
  • Women's Cross Country (30th, placed 22nd in nation).


M-W Track and Field

St. Thomas will compete at Macalester Friday and Saturday in the MIAC Indoor Track and Field Championships. The men's and women's multi-event -- the first of 20 events for each gender -- will be held Thursday.

The men will attempt to add to a 33-year UST team championship streak, while the women will look to extend a current streak that sits at 18 seasons.

The Tommie men have moved into No. 30 in the national power rankings, with the women up to No. 27.

Junior Eric Holst threw 63-0 in the weight throw and broke a 25-year-old St. Thomas record held by his event coach Pat Ahern, a multiple D-III national champ in the throws. He placed second to a U of M Gopher athlete and beat three other U of M Gopher throwers in the event. Holst's best in the 2017 indoor season was 51-4 1-4. His latest mark ranks a close second nationally in D-III.

St. Thomas clocked the nation's fourth best distance medley relay time Saturday at the U of M Gopher Parents Day meet in Minneapolis. Seniors Jenny Walz, Brielle Bierman, Hannah Helstad (2:15 800) and Ali Glassbrenner (4:59 1600) clocked 11:54, a time that converts to 11:47 for NCAA qualifying purposes.

Junior Kendall Novak had the third best vault out of 20 competitors, behind two U of M Gopher athletes, with a career-best 12-2. That performance ranks first in the conference and tied for 12th in Division III, and ranks No. 2 in program history.


Men's Basketball

Fifth-seed St. Thomas (14-11 overall) travels to play fourth-seed Augsburg on Wednesday (7 p.m.) in the first round of the MIAC playoffs. That winner plays Friday night on the road against either St. Olaf or St. John's.

The Tommies' 11 losses have come against teams with a combined 143-60 won-loss record, with only one loss to a team under .500. UST is 11-1 when it scores 73 or more points.


Women's Basketball

St. Thomas (23-2 overall) has a first-round MIAC playoff bye and opens at home Thursday (7 p.m.) against fifth-seed St. Mary's in the semifinal round of the MIAC playoffs. 

The No. 8-ranked Tommies became the first program in the MIAC's 35-year women's hoops history to win four solo conference titles in a row.

UST is allowing under 49 points a game during its current 16-game win streak.


Men's Hockey

No. 15-ranked St. Thomas (16-8-1 overall) secured a MIAC title and playoff top seed with 4-3 and 6-5 wins over Hamline last weekend. The Toms' last 12 goals have been scored by 11 different players.

The Tommies have won their last 15 games dating back to last season when they score three or more goals.


Women's Hockey

No. 8-ranked St. Thomas (16-3-6 overall) finished its season as conference co-champion after a 3-3 tie and 3-0 win last weekend against previous MIAC leader Hamline. The Toms' six goals came from from six different players.

Coach Tom Palkowski's Tommies closed the year with a 16-game MIAC unbeaten streak (16-0-4). Sophomore Rachel Werdin scored 11 goals over her last eight games.

St. Thomas will not play in the MIAC playoffs or NCAA playoffs as a self-imposed penalty for an alcohol violation by team members uncovered during the 2017 postseason. Tommie seniors Allison Borgstrom, Paige Kittelson, Kaylee Druk, Breanna Mahoney and Erika Bjorkman concluded their careers part of five MIAC regular-season or playoff title teams.


Women's Tennis

St. Thomas (4-0) topped Concordia-Moorhead (9-0) and St. Catherine (8-1) last weekend. Jenna Zimmerman, Caitlin Bakke, Paige and Talor McLeod, and Catherine Lindsey went unbeaten on the weekend.

The Tommie face Macalester and St. Ben's next weekend, both at the U of M Gopher Baseline courts.


Men's Tennis

The Toms dropped a hard-fought 5-4 decision to Concordia-Moorhead last Saturday. Zach LeVene and Jordan Schenck won at third doubles, and Erich Nuss and Nick Vossen bounced back to win the singles matches. Needing to win the two tiebreakers on court, UST only captured one with LeVene to fall one point short.

St. Thomas has a scrimmage Saturday against the Minnesota Gopher club team.