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Tuesday Talk: Fourteen crowns fuel another all-sport sweep

Tuesday Talk: Fourteen crowns fuel another all-sport sweep

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

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St. Thomas swept the MIAC men's and women's all-sport races for 2017-18 -- its 11th consecutive sweep of both genders.

Points are awarded for each sport for conference regular-season finishes, with 12 given for a women's title, and a 11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale for remaining places, and 11 points for a men's championship, and 10-9-8-7-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 for places two through 11.

The St. Thomas women matched its massive 36-point winning margin it recorded in 2016-17, both years topping runner-up Gustavus. UST women's teams recorded top-three finishes in all 11 sports, with seven team championships, and scored 118.5 points.

The Tommie men claimed a narrow victory over St. John's. St. Thomas closed with 95.5 points, while St. John's finished with 93. UST's victory in outdoor track and field and SJU's third-place finish let it hold off the Johnnies by a mere 2.5 points.

St. Thomas won or shared 14 conference team crowns in 2017-18: football, volleyball, men's golf and men's soccer in the fall; men's hockey, men's and women's swim-dive, men's and women's indoor track and field, women's hockey and women's basketball last winter; and spring champions in softball and men's and women's outdoor track and field.

Tommie teams also captured three of the 11 MIAC playoff team championships: men's soccer, women's basketball and softball. 

In the last 18 years alone, Tommie teams have captured a league-best 185 of a possible 396 conference regular-season titles.

 

St. Thomas' MIAC Regular-Season Titles/Last 18 Years

2017-18: 14 (seven men, seven women)

2016-17: 15 (eight men, seven women)

2015-16: 14 (six men, nine women)

2014-15: 9 (five men, four women)

2013-14: 11 (five men, six women)

2012-13: 10 (six men, four women)

2011-12: 13 (eight men, five women)

2010-11: 9 (four men, five women)

2009-10: 9 (five men, four women)

2008-09: 9 (four men, five women)

2007-08: 11 (four men, seven women)

2006-07: 8 (three men, five women)

2005-06: 10 (five men, five women)

2004-05: 6 (two men, four women)

2003-04: 8 (four men, four women)

2002-03: 10 (four men, six women)

2001-02: 11 (five men, six women)

2000-01: 8 (four men, four women)

 

Women's Stat of the Week

Saturday evening in Northfield, 38-year St. Thomas coach Joe Sweeney claimed his 82nd MIAC team championship out of a possible 108 in the sports of cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field.

 

Men's Stat of the Week

Senior All-America Connor O'Neill placed in five events and scored 28 points, led by his victory in the pole vault (15-9) to help UST claim their sveenth consecutive MIAC Outdoor team title. In his seven career MIAC championship meets indoors and outdoors, O'Neill contributed 155 points -- with 28 top-eight placings in various events -- to help UST win all seven team titles.

   

Spring Streak Talk
 
  • Tommie Women's Track and Field has won 14 consecutive MIAC outdoor team championships, and 31 of the last 33.
  • Women's coach Joe Sweeney has won 28 consecutive indoor or outdoor team championships.
  • Tommie Men's Track and Field has won seven consecutive MIAC outdoor team championships, and 31 of the last 36.
  • Tommie Softball is in the NCAA Super Regional round for the second year in a row and fourth time in five years.
  • Tommie Softball is in the NCAA Playoffs for the 14th consecutive season.
  • Tommie Softball made the MIAC Playoffs for the 14th time in the 14-year history of the format and the 13th time as top seed.
  • Tommie Softball has secured the program's 19 consecutive 30-win season.
  • Tommie Baseball reached the MIAC Playoffs for the 19th time in the 19-year history of the format.
  • Tommie Baseball secured the program's 25th consecutive top-four MIAC finish.
  • St. Thomas Women's Tennis has won 20 consecutive matches at the University of Minnesota Baseline courts.
  • St. Thomas Women's Tennis has recorded five consecutive 15-win seasons.
 
 
Poll Talk
 
Eleven Tommie teams are currently nationally ranked or finished their fall/winter season nationally ranked:
  • Women's Basketball (7th/7th, tied for ninth place in nation)
  • Football (4th/4th, tied for fifth place in nation);
  • Men's Soccer (6th, tied for fifth place in nation);
  • Men's Golf (4th/1st);
  • Softball (7th);
  • Women's Hockey (10th/10th);
  • Women's Swim-Dive (18th, placed 27th in nation);
  • Men's Swim-Dive (17th, placed 39th in nation);
  • Volleyball (25th, tied for 33rd place in nation);
  • Women's Golf (26th GolfStat);
  • Women's Cross Country (30th, placed 22nd in nation);
  • Women's Indoor Track and Field (placed 32nd in nation)
  • Women's Outdoor Track and Field (41st computer ranking);
  • Men's Outdoor Track and Field (44th computer ranking).

 

Track and Field

St. Thomas pulled away on Saturday to claim team crowns in the men's and women's divisions at the two-day 2018 MIAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Carleton. The Tommies have swept the men's and women's outdoor team titles for seven consecutive years.

Coach Steve Mathre's men scored in 18 of 22 events with top-eight places from 26 individuals. The Toms had eight wins and three runner-up places. UST scored 198.5 points to top runner-up Carleton by 60.5 points.

Coach Joe Sweeney's women scored in 19 of 22 events with top-eight places from 29 individuals. The Toms had six wins and five runner-up places. UST scored 186.5 points to top runner-up Carleton by 83.5 points.

Senior Katie Murray won the 100 dash in 12.11 and the 200 in 24.74, both MIAC outdoor meet records. Both times are ranked in the top 16 in Division III. She also anchored the winning 4x100 relay in 48.0.

The Tommies will send a small contingent of men and women to UW-La Crosse this Thursday for a Last Chance qualifying meet. La Crosse will also play host the Division III national meet May 24-26.

Nationally, St. Thomas has 13 women individual performances ranked in the top 55 in Division III outdoor track and field:

  • Grace Bordson is second in the high jump (5-7 1-4);
  • Hannah Helstad is No. 16 in the 800 (2:12.36);
  • Laura Eischens is ranked No. 20 in the heptathlon (4433 points) and 25th in the javelin (133-10)
  • Ali Glassbrenner is 21st in the 1,500 (4:34.16);
  • Mallory Adamson is 25th in the 400 hurdles (62.51);
  • Kendall Novak is 41st in the pole vault (11-7 3-4) and Jalia Anderson is 51st (11-4 1-4);
  • Katie Murray is 12th in the 200 (24.72) and 16th in the 100 (12.11);
  • Brielle Bierman is 27th in the 100 hurdles (14.65) and 52nd in the 400 hurdles (64.08);
  • Melissa Marsh is 52nd in the 10,000 (37:37.92).

St. Thomas has 13 individual performances ranked in the top 60 nationally in Division III outdoor track and field:

  • Eric Holst (fifth, 197-10) and Austin Jochum (43rd, 174-8) are ranked in the hammer;
  • Preston Huddleston (ninth, 6446 points) and Evan Teynor (59th, 5547) are ranked in the decathlon;
  • Holst is 39th in the discus (156-9);
  • Connor O'Neill is 10th in the pole vault (16-2 3-4);
  • Parker Rosenau is 35th in the steeplechase (9:19.34);
  • David Danhauer is 56th in the shot put (50-4 3-4);
  • Conor White is 57th in the long jump (22-9 3-4);
  • Chris Mueller is 51st in the 400 dash (48.74);
  • Karl Wachter is 46th in the 1,500 (3:54.75);
  • Luke VanZuilen is 55th in the triple jump (46-0 3-4);
  • Jake Kelly is 48th in the high jump (6-6 1-4).

  

Softball

No. 7-ranked Tommie Softball (38-6 overall) has won eight in a row and 34 of its last 37 games after a 3-0 run through last weekend's regional tournament at South Field. The Toms topped Northwestern 9-1; beat UW-Oshkosh 7-3; and edged Central 1-0, the latter on Hayley Dunning's second no-hitter in 14 days.

Next up is a May 18-19 Super Regional against No. 16-ranked Luther. The Tommies are seeded better, but are unable to host the games due to graduation ceremonies on their campus. The games are set for 4 p.m. on Friday, and 1 p.m. on Saturday in Decorah, Iowa. A second Saturday game will be played at 3:30 if needed in the best of three series.

UST is 9-2 this season in games decided in extra innings or by one run, and 27-0 in games when it hold opponents to three or less runs.

The Tommies improved to 75-49 all-time in the NCAA tourney with its latest three victories. Coach John Tschida's teams is in the Super Regional round for the fourth time in five seasons.

The Tommies have seven starters batting .325 or better: Chase Shortly (.398), Melissa Barry (.397), Elise Barnes (.371), Dana Connelly (.357), Sammy Hogan (.344), Jenna Beeso (.328) and Sam Birling (.323).

St. Thomas ranks in the top 20 in Division III in two categories: sixth in fielding percentage at .975, and 15th in stolen bases. The Tommie fielders have only committed 33 errors in 44 games to 89 for opponents. UST also has 97 steals to 19 for opponents.

UST relies less on strikeouts than most elite teams. It ranks second nationally with 430 assists on putouts (ground outs, force plays, tag outs, dropped third strikes). Barnes at third base (136) and Rachel Suter at shortstop (115) have combined for 251 assists on defense.

 

Baseball

Tommie Baseball lost one-run games to Bethel (5-4) and St. John's (2-1) -- both on tie-breaking runs in the final inning -- and finished 2-2 in the MIAC Playoffs to close the season. They tied for third in the conference and recorded a top-four MIAC finish for the 25th consecutive season.

The Toms (20-18) lost 10 games by two or less runs. They scored only 33 runs in their 18 losses.
 
Coach Chris Olean's squad played the fourth toughest schedule in Division III, and posted a 3-6 record against three opponents that reached the NCAA playoffs.
 
The Tommies' 3.01 earned-run average is 11th best in Division III, and included a 2.50 ERA by their top nine pitchers. They also rank No. 3 nationally in strikeout-to-walk ratio at a near 4-to-1 clip.
 
St. Thomas had 15 seniors, led by multi-year starters Ryan Zimmerman and Drew Molin on the mound, plus infielders Jake Smith, Zach Gottfredsen and Hunter Hart.
 
In 161 career games, Smith reached base 265 times via hit, walk or HBP; he had a .330 BA, 189 hits, 133 runs, 96 RBI, 57 walks, 29 doubles, 13 triples, 12 HRs, 19 HBP and 24 steals.
 
In 160 career games, Gottfredsen had a .304 BA, 175 hits, 95 runs, 56 RBI, 36 walks, 28 doubles, two triples, eight HRs, 22 SBs.
 
In 114 career games, senior Hunter Hart hits .282 and had 100 hits, 58 runs, 84 RBI, 58 walks, 19 doubles, 11 HRs, 10 SFs, five HBP.
 
In 43 career pitching appearances, senior Ryan Zimmerman had a 3.04 ERA, 16-8 W-L, one save, eight CG, 203 Ks, 74 BB in 181 IP.
 
In 36 career appearances, senior Drew Molin had a 3.00 ERA, 15-5 W-L, five CG, 155 Ks, 30 BB in 156 IP.
 
 
Golf
 
Their top two players didn't have their best days, but the Tommie men still managed a 303 team score Tuesday in the opening day of the NCAA Championships in Greensboro, N.C.
 
A weather delay ended up halting play later in the afternoon. Eighteen teams will finish their rounds at 8 a.m., then all 42 teams will start round two at 11 a.m.
 
Owen Nowicki recorded 16 pars and two bogeys to lead the St. Thomas pack at 74. Shane Sienko birdied four of his last six holes and shot 75. Riley Gannon shot 76, and Emmet Herb and Pete Sienko each shot 78.
 
Low team scores weren't abundant in the 42-team field, thus the Toms expect to move up from 20th place when the other teams finsh their rounds on a challenging course. The Toms will look to improve a notch to secure a top-15 standings through Wednesday's round and make the cut intio Thursday and Friday.
 
 
On the women's side, senior Emily Thul tied for 27th out of 130 players in her final college tournament last week at the NCAA Championships.