Gene's Blog: Balance on display again for Tommies

Near the top of any Points of Pride list for University of St. Thomas Athletics are factoids celebrating our balanced success across all 22 men's and women's sports.


Exhibit A

St. Thomas made it nine top-20 Division III Directors Cup finishes in the last 10 years with a 17th-place finish out of 440 schools for 2016-17.

The Tommies are among just 10 Division III institutions to place in the top 40 (top 10 percent) all 20 years since the format was created.


Exhibit B

Since 2005, 10 different St. Thomas sports programs have reached an NCAA playoff championship or semifinal contest, or placed in the top three at a national championship meet.

In the last five years alone, 11 different Tommie sports programs have had a squad place either 1-2-3-4-5 nationally:

  • Volleyball and Men's Basketball were NCAA champs;
  • Football (twice) was national runner-up;
  • Women's Basketball (twice), Men's Soccer, Baseball and Softball all placed third;
  • Women's Hockey took fourth;
  • Men's Golf, Women's Outdoor Track and Men's Hockey have all tied for fifth in the NCAA.


Exhibit C

Here's something few NCAA institutions at any level can claim since 2015. Over the last two years, each of the 22 Tommie athletic teams have either:

  • qualified a squad into the NCAA postseason (playoffs or NCAA Championship meets);
  • had a NCAA champion relay and an individual national champion (two);
  • had a National Coach of the Year (three) or National Player/Athlete of the Year (three);
  • had an athlete receive All-America or CoSIDA Academic All-America honors.


Exhibit D

In the last 13 years alone, 10 different St. Thomas sports programs have had either a National Coach of the Year or National Player of the Year:

  • Coach Terry Skrypek and goalie Drew Fielding (Men's Hockey);
  • Ben Sathre (Men's CC individual NCAA champion out of 280 runners);
  • Kelly Foley (Volleyball National Freshman of the Year);
  • Coach Glenn Caruso and Offensive POY Jordan Roberts (Football);
  • Emma Paulson (Women's Swim-Dive Honda MVP);
  • Kaitlin Langer (Women's Basketball);
  • Coach John Tschida (Softball);
  • Coach Dennis Denning (Baseball);
  • Coach Steve Fritz and Coach John Tauer (Men's Basketball);
  • Coach Jon Lowery (Men's Soccer).


Exhibit E

In the last three years alone, St. Thomas has won at least one MIAC regular-season team championship in 19 of its 22 sports.

The Tommies set a conference record with 15 MIAC regular-season titles in 2015-16, and matched that record again in 2016-17.

The Toms have swept the men's and women's MIAC All-Sport titles in each of the last 10 years.


Exhibit F

Over the last nine years at St. Thomas, out of 108 total seasons in the 12 traditional team sports of football, volleyball, soccer, basketball, hockey, tennis, baseball and softball, Tommie teams have had 104 winning seasons; one .500 mark; and only three losing seasons.


Exhibit G

In 2016-17, out of 1,000-plus NCAA institutions, just three sent teams to the NCAA playoffs in all eight sports of football, volleyball, soccer, basketball, baseball and softball: St. Thomas, Washington (Mo.) and UW-Whitewater.


Exhibit H

This week St. Thomas received its 100th CoSIDA Academic All-America honor -- all in a 50-year span since 1967 -- as senior swim-dive ace Emma Paulson was a repeat women's at-large honoree. Twenty-one different Tommie sports programs have had an athlete who has been a CoSIDA Academic All-America recipient.



Northwoods Toms

Three Tommie Baseball pitchers are on summer 2017 rosters in the 20-team Northwoods League:

  • Rising senior Ryan Zimmerman is back for year two with the Eau Claire Express. He's off to a 1-0 start with a 3.00 ERA after his first start.
  • Rising junior Henry DeCaster is making his debut with the Duluth Huskies. He's 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA and six strikeouts after his first start.
  • Rising senior Caleb Fernholz is pitching for the Mankato Moon Dogs. He's pitched once thus far in relief.
  • Rising senior Drew Molin was invited to return to pitch for Duluth but instead accepted a summer internship in his academic major.

Tommie coach Chris Olean said Tommie outfielders Jake Smith and Sam Cobbs each have a shot at a short-term call up to a Northwoods team as injuries and vacancies are created.

The Northwoods regular-season schedule started last week and ends Aug. 13.


Gene's Blog is a sports column penned by UST sports information director Gene McGivern. Gene is working in his 23rd season at St. Thomas and 29th overall in the MIAC. He blogs periodically on various topics regarding the Tommies, the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) and Division III sports.

If you have comments or questions, e-mail Gene at [email protected]