St. Thomas athletic facilities see more progress in 2017

St. Thomas athletic facilities see more progress in 2017

The University of St. Thomas' latest athletics facilities upgrades occurred in summer 2017 and made dramatic improvements for the varsity sports of track and field, baseball and football, as well as club sports, intramurals and student/staff/faculty use.

St. Thomas invested in several major projects on its north campus:

  • resurfaced its eight-lane outdoor track with an attractive splash of purple and grey;
  • installed new field turf on Palmer Field in O'Shaughnessy Stadium;
  • installed new infield turf for baseball at Koch Diamond;
  • moved and expanded its baseball hitting cages and dugouts;
  • and moved its shot-put venue to a site up near the baseball field, behind the stadium video board.

 

These 2017 improvements continue a wave of facility upgrades that have helped elevate St. Thomas athletics into the top tier of their Division III peers.

In the last seven years alone, St. Thomas opened the $52 million Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex with state-of-the-art facilities for swimming and diving; basketball and volleyball; track and field; tennis; baseball; softball; golf; sports medicine; weight training and recreation; club sports and fitness classes; as well as expanded offices, locker rooms and meeting rooms.

All of the indoor and outdoor spaces also boast state-of-the-art Daktronics video display boards with an ability to show races, replays and results on 500-inch screens.

Tommie soccer and softball teams had new field turf installed in 2013 on their home venue (South Field) on the south campus. Locker room and sports medicine space was added nearby in a renovated McCarthy Gym.

Tommie hockey is starting its 15th season at Saint Thomas Ice Arena in Mendota Heights. Both the UST men's and women's locker rooms there underwent major upgrades in 2015.

 

St. Thomas Men's Track and Field

St. Thomas Men's Track and Field has won the MIAC indoor team championship all 33 seasons it has been held. The Toms have captured the outdoor team title 30 of the last 35 seasons and nine of the last 10 years. St. Thomas individuals or relay units own MIAC all-time records in 14 of the 22 events outdoors. The combined indoor and outdoor team titles for St. Thomas sits at 68 out of 129 total tournaments. That is triple the total championships of the next closest program (Macalester, 22).

The St. Thomas men have regularly enjoyed success at the national level. In the 33 seasons that NCAA Division III has held indoor championship meets, the Tommies have claimed eight top-five team finishes, including the 1985 national team championship. They also have won nearly 100 All-America honors indoors, with 10 individual champs and 10 NCAA runners-up.

St. Thomas crowned two NCAA champions in 2011-12 -- cross country victor Ben Sathre, and 800 indoor champion Mike Hutton. Sathre took second in 2010 and first in 2011. Hutton eventually lowered his career best in the 800 to 1:48.42, not far off the Olympic Trials qualifying standard. 

Coach Steve Mathre has named NCAA Region Coach of the Year five times in the last 11 years. St. Thomas placed fifth at the 2012 indoor NCAA meet; third in the 2009 NCAA outdoor meet; and fifth at outdoor nationals in 2008. The 2009 team became the first Minnesota men's college or university team to win a relay at nationals (4x100 and 4x400).

Either the Tommie men or women had a relay team reach the finals at outdoor nationals for 33 consecutive seasons until 2015.

In 43 years of NCAA Division III outdoor championships, St. Thomas teams are perennial top-20 placewinners and posted 11 consecutive top-10 finishes from 1983-93. The Tommies have earned outdoor track All-America honors more than 150 times, with 17 NCAA champions and 15 runners-up. The Tommies have placed in the top five in the 4x400 relay seven times since 2000.

St. Thomas Men's Track and Field has won the MIAC indoor team championship all 33 seasons it has been held. The Toms have captured the outdoor team title 30 of the last 35 seasons and nine of the last 10 years. St. Thomas individuals or relay units own MIAC all-time records in 14 of the 22 events outdoors. The combined indoor and outdoor team titles for St. Thomas sits at 68 out of 129 total tournaments. That is triple the total championships of the next closest program (Macalester, 22).

Tommie men and women tracksters have received 20 CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in the last 19 years.

 

St. Thomas Women's Track and Field


Joe Sweeney was selected National Coach of the Year in 1995. In his 36-year tenure at St. Thomas, his teams have won 79 of the 101 possible MIAC team championships in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track.

In the last 31 seasons, St. Thomas teams have had 15 top-10 NCAA Division III team finishes. In that span, Tommie tracksters have also won 17 individual national championships and 100-plus All-America honors. In the last 12 years alone, Tommie women's athletes have won seven individual and three relay championships at nationals.

The Tommies' 1997 outdoor 4x100 relay team is the only women's unit from any Minnesota college ever to win an NCAA relay championship. UST had either a men's or women's relay team advance into the finals at nationals for 33 years in a row until the streak ended in 2015.

The Tommie women won their 13th consecutive MIAC outdoor team title -- and 31st in the last 33 years -- in 2017. St. Thomas also won its 18th consecutive team title in indoor track and field in 2017 to give it a 30 of 33 run of all-time MIAC crowns. 
They've swept the conference indoor and outdoor track championships 29 times and have claimed 63 of the 69 indoor/outdoor championships contested.

St. Thomas is the lone program to win an MIAC triple crown -- team titles in cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field in the same school year. St. Thomas did it 1991-92, 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2016-17.

Tommie men and women tracksters have received 20 CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in the last 19 years.