Tuesday Talk: Swim-Dive sends 12 to nationals

Tuesday Talk: Swim-Dive sends 12 to nationals

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

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Tommie Swim-Dive will send five seniors among 12 athletes to the 2018 NCAA Division III Championships March 21-24 in Indianapolis.

Seven Tommie women will compete in three relays -- the 200 and 400 free and the 400 medley with senior Tiana Molitor, sophomore Kirsten Nelson and juniors Haley Cassens, Alex Howard, Melissa Rose, Kate Smarjesse and Katelyn Strauss. All three Tommie women's relays are seeded between 15-20.

It will be the first national meet for Nelson, second for Cassens, third for Howard, Rose, Smarjesse and Strauss, and fourth for Molitor.

The St. Thomas men will have senior diver Andrew Grabowski competing in his first national meet; senior Bailey Biwer in the 100 fly; and the 200 free relay team of Biwer plus first-time NCAA meet performers in senior Charles Hynes, junior Tom Negaard and sophomore Hunter Nielson. That Tommie relay is seeded seventh nationally.

Biwer, competing in his third national meet, is seeded fourth in the 100 fly. Grabowski took fourth on the one-meter board last Saturday at the regional meet to qualify.
 
 

  

Women's Stat of the Week

St. Thomas has two women's head coaches approaching rare victory milestones:

  • Ruth Sinn goes into this weekend's NCAA women's basketball tournament Sweet 16 round in Iowa with a 299-80 record over 13 seasons guiding the Tommies.
  • Softball's John Tschida has 896 wins in 23 seasons at St. Mary's (five seasons) and St. Thomas (18 seasons). 

 

Men's Stat of the Week

St. Thomas' Eric Holst finished the 2017 indoor track and field season as a sophomore ranked 105th in Division III in the weight throw at 51-4 1-4.

This winter, Holst is ranked No. 4 nationally with a best of 63-0 as he heads into the March 9-10 NCAA Indoor Championships.

  

Streak Talk
 
Since Jan. 13, Tommie hockey and women's basketball teams have posted a combined record of 32-3-3. 

Since Nov. 17, Tommie Women's Basketball and Women's Hockey have a combined 33-0-5 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 have a combined 73-26-7 record, with 10 of those losses to nationally-ranked teams. That included a 26-6-4 record in January.
 
Twelve 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/17th);
  • Softball (20th);
  • Women's Hockey (8th/8th);
  • Women's Swim-Dive (18th);
  • Men's Swim-Dive (17th);
  • 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 Track and Field has two men and four women selected for the 2018 NCAA Division III Indoor Championships, set for this Friday and Saturday in Birmingham, Ala.

 

Juniors Eric Holst (fourth seed, weight throw) and Conor White (14th seed, long jump) will compete for Coach Steve Mathre's team. The MIAC will send one relay team and 13 individuals.

Two UST men fell a bit short of qualifying -- senior Austin Jochum in the weight throw (seeded 18th nationally) and senior Prestin Huddleston in the heptathlon (seeded 15th).

Seniors Katie Murray (fourth seed, 200) and Ali Glassbrenner (10th seed, mile), plus juniors Grace Bordson (11th seed, high jump) and Kendall Novak (15th seed, pole vault) qualified for Coach Joe Sweeney's women's team. 

 

Softball

St. Thomas went 3-3 in Arizona to start its 2018 season. Coach John Tschida's team beat top-20 teams Moravian (4-2) and UW-Oshkosh (11-6) and handed Linfield its only loss in six games (11-6). The Toms also lost 4-2 to No. 9-ranked Texas Lutheran. In today's national rankings, the Tommies moved in at No. 20.

On the weekend, the Tommie offense scored 38 runs and averaged 10 base runners a game but were hurt by 28 walks issued and 10 defensive errors as it allowed 48 runs.

Sophomore Elise Barnes had four multiple-hit games and led the Tommies by batting .555 with 10 hits, while Chase Shortly and Jenna Beeso each had eight hits. Barnes has had a hit, walk or an RBI in each of her last 42 games dating back to March 2017.

Shortly drove in eight runs and hit a pair of clutch seventh-inning home runs -- including a tie-breaking solo shot that let UST edge Moravian.

St. Thomas is scheduled to play eight games in Florida March 24-29.

 

Baseball

Weather permitting, No. 17-ranked St. Thomas is scheduled to play 19 games in March from downtown Minneapolis to Iowa to Florida and back on campus.

The Toms started the season Tuesday with a 2-0 loss to UW-La Crosse. In game two, a time limit halted the game with UST leading 2-1 in the fifth inning. That seven-inning game likely will be completed at a later date. La Crosse was region runner-up last season and a top-five national finisher in 2015 and 2016. It has averaged 35 wins over the last three seasons.

St. Thomas' starting pitchers, senior Ryan Zimmerman (seven innings) and junior Henry DeCaster (four innings), combined to strikeout 15 with two earned runs and five hits in 11 innings.

Last season, Tommie pitchers struck out 381 batters in 374 innings. In 2016, UST hurlers fanned 303 in 314 innings.

  

Women's Basketball

St. Thomas (27-2 overall) has advanced to play in the NCAA tournament Sweet 16 round for the sixth time in seven years.

No. 2- ranked and unbeaten Wartburg will be the host team in Waverly, Iowa. The Tommies will meet unranked East Texas Baptist (24-6) Friday at 5:30 p.m., while No. 7-ranked Trine (Ind.) (26-3) faces Wartburg (29-0) at 8 p.m.

Friday's winners play Saturday at 7 p.m., with that winner advancing to the Final Four round set for March 16-17 in Rochester, Minn.

East Texas Baptist finished just 3-22 last season but has upset the No. 16 and No. 19 teams so far this postseason.

St. Thomas is in the NCAA women's hoops playoffs for the 25th season, all in the last 35 years, with a 51-24 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 26 of their last 27, and has an 8-1 record against six playoff-qualifying, 20-win teams.

St. Thomas, which allows under 53 points a game, ranks in the top five nationally in all three shooting categories -- field-goal (third, 47.0%), free-throw (fifth, 77.8%) and 3-point field goal proficiency (fifth, 38.4%).

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.

St. Thomas is allowing just 50 points a game during its current 20-game win streak.

 

Women's Tennis

St. Thomas (6-0 overall, 4-0 MIAC) plays Friday March 9 at St. Mary's in a conference match.

The Tommies have outscored six opponents 51-3, including an 18-0 run through doubles.

Sophomores Taylor and Paige McLeod and freshman Catherine Lindsay are all unbeaten in singles and doubles.

 

Men's Tennis

St. Thomas (2-3 overall, 0-3 MIAC) dropped conference matches to Macalester (7-2) and Carleton (9-0) last weekend. Next up is a Friday competition at St. Mary's.

Zach LeVene and Jordan Schenck won three-set battles at Nos. 5-6 singles against Macalester.