Editor's Note: Starting July 7 and running through the rest of the month, Tommiesports.com will highlight 25 memorable events from St. Thomas' successful 2017-18 athletics year
Something old, something new
St. Thomas athletics has been somewhat predictable, in a positive way, especially over the last decade.
The Tommies have swept the conference all-sport titles for both genders for 11 years running. They've also remained in the top five percent of all Division III institutions with perennial top-25 finishes in the Directors Cup national all-sport standings.
Last school year, however, produced a few twists on the sports scene for the Purple and Grey:
- For the first time in more than 100 years, the Tommie-Johnnie rivalry football game was played at an outdoor location other than SJU's field in Collegeville or on UST's campus at O'Shaughnessy Stadium. The Sept. 23 clash was the first football game played in Target Field and drew a Division III-record crowd of 37,355. The schools played a few football games in the Metrodome in the 1990s, but last played outdoors off campus in the early 1900s at Lexington Park and once at Hamline's Norton Field.
- Tommie Women's Swim-Dive cruised to an MIAC team crown... without Emma Paulson. The three-time national champion graduated in May 2017 after leading UST's first two women's championships in program history, in 2016 and 2017.
- Tommie Men's Soccer repeated as conference champion and claimed the first back-to-back titles for the UST program in 39 seasons. It also marked the first time since the MIAC soccer playoffs debuted in 2003 that one men's program won back-to-back solo championships in both the regular season and playoffs.
- UST spring teams endured some of the area's worst weather in several decades, including a 17-inch mid-April snowfall. Tommie Baseball was especially hard hit as its played just once in a 22-day span at one point. It only played six of its 38 games on its home field, the fewest in at least 25 years. Tommie Softball had to play five of its first six MIAC doubleheaders indoors in dome fields stretched from Plymouth to Rochester.
- Ted Lauer debuted as head coach in Tommie Men's Tennis and competed with a young lineup with just one returning starter. Four UST matches ended in 5-4 scores.
- Tommie Football competed in its 113th varsity season, but for the first time played a game in the state of Texas, a 24-10 NCAA playoff loss to defending NCAA champion Mary Hardin-Baylor.
- On the way to winning an NCAA championship in the hammer throw, junior Eric Holst broke two 25-year-old St. Thomas track and field records (indoor weight throw, hammer).
- In three different soccer contests, twin brothers Justin and Tyler Oliver both scored goals. In a victory at St. John's, the twins each assisted on the other brother's goal.
Previous July Rewind stories: