Tuesday Talk: Many share heavy lifting in T&F sweep

Nathan Lodermeier photo
Nathan Lodermeier photo

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


What's that quote? Many hands make light work.

That sure sounds like a testimonial for St. Thomas Track and Field.

More than 60 Tommie men and women athletes competed in various events last weekend at Macalester's Leonard Center in the 2018 MIAC Indoor Championships, and 49 scored points. That depth helped extend impressive St. Thomas team title streaks.

Coach Steve Mathre's men's team made it 34 crowns in the 34 years the meet has been held as it outscored runner-up Carleton by a 168-123 margin. St. Thomas only won three events -- none in track races -- but had eight runners-up, scored in 17 of 20 events, and used points from 25 different athletes. 

Coach Joe Sweeney's women's team won the program's 19th consecutive title and 31st in 34 years. UST scored 171.5 points and topped runner-up Bethel (88) and 10 other teams. St. Thomas had five victories, scored in 18 of 20 events, and used points from 25 different athletes.

This marks the 81st conference team championship of a possible 106 in cross country or indoor and outdoor track for 38th-year St. Thomas coach Joe Sweeney. That includes 31 of the 34 women's indoor conference meets contested and 33 of 36 outdoor crowns.

In his 23-year tenure as Tommie head coach, Steve Mathre now has guided his squads to 40 of a possible 45 team championships indoors and outdoors.

Looking forward, the Tommie men will gain senior All-America Connor O'Neill when outdoor track and field begins in April. The fifth-year senior took a medical redshirt back in the 2015 outdoor season.

Senior sprinter/jumper Katie Murray had a hand in 36 points for the women. Junior jumpers Conor White and Nick Spann hand a hand in 49 points over seven events.

This marks the 40th consecutive school year that St. Thomas has won at least one MIAC team championship in men's or women's cross country or track and field.




Lucky Number 7

The Tommie Track and Field sweep gives St. Thomas seven of a possible eight MIAC team championships on the winter season.

Tommie teams have won or shared 11 of 16 fall and winter regular-season conference team crowns thus far in 2017-18. That includes six of the eight men's team titles.

Over the last four years, St. Thomas has had a particularly impressive run with winter sports. Tommie teams have won or shared 27 of the 32 conference regular-season championships and eight of 16 MIAC playoff titles in indoor track, swim-dive, hockey and basketball.

St. Thomas has climbed to a league-best 424 conference regular-season titles heading into spring.


Women's Stat of the Week

St. Thomas has opened up an 18.5-point lead over Gustavus in the 2017-18 Women's MIAC All-Sport race, with three spring events to go.

The Tommies have swept the women's and men's all-sport crowns each of the last 10 seasons.


Men's Stat of the Week

St. Thomas holds a seven-point lead over St. John's in the 2017-18 Men's MIAC All-Sport race, with three spring events remaining.

The Tommies have swept the women's and men's all-sport crowns each of the last 10 seasons.


Streak Talk
Since Jan. 13, Tommie hockey and women's basketball teams are a combined 30-3-3.
Since Nov. 17, Tommie Women's Basketball and Women's Hockey have a combined 31-0-5 record against conference opponents.
St. Thomas Women's Hoops will likely bring a 54-game victory streak against conference opponents into next season.
The Tommie women also have a 29-game road win streak dating back to the 2015-16 season -- the third longest in all of NCAA basketball (men or women).
The Tommies -- 169-16 against MIAC foes since January 2010 -- have won 36 consecutive February games over four seasons. They also have won 30 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 conference opponents in their last 16 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 71-26-7 record, with 10 of those losses to nationally-ranked teams. That included a 26-6-4 record in January.
Thirteen Tommie teams are currently nationally ranked or finished their fall season nationally ranked:
  • Women's Basketball (6th/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);
  • Women's Swim-Dive (18th);
  • Men's Swim-Dive (17th);
  • 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 send a few athletes on Saturday to the Wartburg Qualifier in Waverly, Iowa. This is the last weekend in track and field to establish times and marks for the NCAA Indoor meet set for March 9-10 in Birmingham, Ala.

Eight Tommie men are ranked in the top 40 nationally indoors:

Ten Tommie women are ranked in the top 40 nationally indoors:

  • The distance medley relay team of Hannah Helstad, Brielle Bierman, Jenny Walz and Ali Glassbrenner is ranked sixth;
  • Kendall Novak is No. 15 in the pole vault;
  • Katie Murray is 14th in the 200 and 22nd in the 60 dash;
  • Glassbrenner and Walz rank 18th and 27th in the mile;
  • Grace Bordson is 21st in the high jump;
  • Helstad is 31st in the 800;
  • the 4x400 relay is 35th;
  • Laura Eischens in 35th in the decathlon;



St. Thomas opens its 2018 season this weekend in Tucson, Ariz., at the NFCA Leadoff Classic, with six tough tests.

Coach John Tschida's Tommies will face six teams over three days -- No. 10-ranked Texas Lutheran (38-6 last season); No. 18 Moravian (36-6); No. 19 Berry (40-4); No. 23-UW-Oshkosh (33-13); Linfield (32-10); and Coe (31-11).

UST's late-season 2017 lineup featured just two seniors among with six sophomores and a freshman. 

The Tommies are among nine teams receiving votes just out of the NFCA preseason top 25. Expected to lead this season are juniors Melissa Barry, Chase ShortlyDana ConnellyJenna BeesoJenna Bromen and Rachel Suter, plus sophomore Elise Barnes, and senior pitcher Sammy Hogan.

The Tommies made the eight-team Division III World Series in 2016 (43-8 finish), and lost in the Division III Super Regional finals in 2017 (37-11).

Tschida starts his 23rd season as a college head coach, including the last 18 at St. Thomas. His teams have 893 overall victories at St. Mary's and St. Thomas, and he is on pace as early as March to become one of just 30 active NCAA softball coaches to reach 900 victories.

His Tommie teams have won 14 of 17 MIAC regular-season titles and 12 of 14 conference playoff crowns. His UST squads have won 35 or more games in each of the last 14 seasons.


Men's Basketball

Fifth-seed St. Thomas (14-12 overall) lost on the road last Wednesday to eventual MIAC playoff champ Augsburg in the first round of the conference tournament, 67-55. The Tommies had a 12-year streak of NCAA tournament appearances end this season.

Senior Ryan Boll was among six players voted first-team All-MIAC. In 104 career games, Boll was a three-year starter and scored in double figures 40 times. He contributed 875 points, 477 rebounds, 121 assists and 40 blocks. He started all 33 games on Tommies' NCAA champion team in 2016-17.

Eight of the Tommies' 12 defeats this winter came against teams that reached the Division III playoffs, including three losses by seven or less points.

The Toms lost four of their last five games -- all to NCAA playoff teams -- while averaging just 57 points a game. In their 14 wins, the Tommies averaged 85.5 points, but in their 12 losses, they averaged just 65.3 points.


Women's Basketball

St. Thomas (25-2 overall) will play host to a competitive four-team pod this weekend at Schoenecker Arena in the first weekend of the 64-team NCAA playoffs. The Tommies take an 18-game win streak into Friday's 8 p.m., clash against Chapman (Calif.) (23-4). The 5:30 game here pits No. 10-ranked Chicago (23-2) against Wisconsin Lutheran (24-2).

Tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for students each day. Friday's winners play Saturday at 7 p.m., with that winner advancing to the Sweet Sixteen round March 9.

St. Thomas is in the NCAA women's hoops playoffs for the 25th year, all in the last 35 seasons, with a 49-24 all-time record. Coach Ruth Sinn's team went 31-1 and tied for third in the nation last year. After a 1-1 start this season, the Tommies have won 24 of their last 25. This year's St. Thomas team has a 6-1 record against four playoff-bound, 20-win teams. The Toms lost their second game of the season to No. 5-ranked Bowdoin but beat George Fox; won both times against St. Ben's; and went 3-0 vs. Gustavus.

St. Thomas, which allows under 53 points a game, ranks in the top eight nationally in all three shooting categories -- field-goal (46.8%), free-throw (76.6%) and 3-point field goal proficiency (38.3%).

The No. 6-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, and first to claim seven MIAC consecutive playoff championships.

UST is allowing less than 50 points a game during its current 18-game win streak.


Men's Hockey

St. Thomas (16-9-1 overall) dropped a 4-3 overtime decision to Gustavus last Saturday in the conference playoff semifinals to close its season. The Tommies had a winning streak end at 15 in games when they score three or more goals.

Sophomores Brett Gravelle and Johnny Panvica shared the team scoring lead with 30 points each. The pair joined junior Cullen Willox to combine for 40 of the team's 81 goals.

The Toms graduate just two seniors -- All-America goalie Benjamin Myers and defenseman Brian LeBlanc.


Women's Hockey

No. 8-ranked St. Thomas had eight players who received All-MIAC mention, led by conference Player of the Year Allison Borgstrom.

She led a 6-3-6 finish for the MIAC co-champion team as she scored eight goals and 18 assists during a season-closing 13-game unbeaten streak (8-0-5). Borgstrom finished this season with 37 points in 25 games, including 13 multi-point performances. She scored a career-high 15 goals with two game-winners and her first-ever hat trick in her final season of competition.

Borgstrom closed at No. 10 on the school's career scoring chart with 75 goals in 110 games, and was part of five MIAC regular-season or playoff championships for St. Thomas in her four-year era.


Women's Tennis

St. Thomas (6-0 overall, 4-0 MIAC) topped Macalester and St. Ben's last weekend, both at the U of M Gopher Baseline courts. Senior Jenna Zimmerman went 4-0 on the weekend and surpassed 100 career dual wins (now 104-19).

Sophomore twins Taylor and Paige McLeod are off to an equally impressive winning clip. Taylor is 20-4 in singles, while Paige is 12-2, Together in doubles, the McLeod sisters are 24-3.

St. Thomas resumes its schedule March 9 at St. Mary's.


Men's Tennis

St. Thomas (2-1 overall, 0-1 MIAC) was off conference play last weekend and held a scrimmage against the Minnesota Gopher club team.

The Tommies play Friday against Macalester at the U of M Gopher Baseline courts, and face Carleton on Sunday afternoon in Lakeville.