Tuesday Talk: Sophomores surge for CC teams

Tuesday Talk: Sophomores surge for CC teams
Tuesday Talk is a weekly news and notes feature of Tommiesports.com

On Sept. 9, 2016, Katie Breuckman ran her first college cross country race, in River Falls, Wis. The freshman was the Tommies' No. 12 runner on the sunny Friday, placing 36th overall in a time of 25:45.

She averaged 6:55 per mile over the mostly flat 6,000-meter course (3.66 miles).

On Sept. 9, 2017, Breuckman ran the first CC race of her sophomore season, in Decorah, Iowa. On this crisp September morning, the Andover, Minn., native was the Tommies' No. 1 runner, and third collegiate finisher, clocking 19:22 and leading the Tommies to the team crown at the Luther Invite.

She averaged 6:13 per mile over the hilly 5,000-meter course (3.10 miles).

Coach Joe Sweeney graduated three steady seniors that over the last three seasons were fixtures at or near the top of his lineup. A few of Joe's veteran runners are coming off injuries, but thanks to Breuckman and a contingent of young Tommies, No. 17-ranked UST didn't miss a beat. 

In all, nine St. Thomas runners finished in the top 22, separated by just 63 seconds. Seven are in their first or second season of college running.

Breuckman was among four freshmen to place in the top 10, followed by Sara Ness (19:27), Jenny Launder (19:48) and Becca Wilkin (19:49).

Finishing between 11th and 22nd place were junior Bridget Schmitt (19:51), freshman Carly Scheuerman (19:56), senior Jenny Walz (20:03), junior Amber Matzoll (20:16), and sophomore Molly Clarke (20:25).

Breuckman's improvement won't surprise her hometown friends. A Chemistry major and A-student at UST, she was ranked second in her class academically at Andover High, and was that's school's Athena Award recipient. She competed in two state meets in both nordic skiing and cross country for the Huskies. 

Another young gun, newcomer Scheuerman, started her prep career as a sprinter and hurdler. She set school records at St. Croix Prep in the open 400 plus the 4x200 and 4x400 relays. Scheuerman's hometown is St. Mary's Point, population 370, along the St. Croix River near Afton.


Men's Cross Country

Karl Wachter can match Katie Breuckman's one-year improvement curve. The sophomore from Shakopee, Minn., was the Tommie Men's No. 1 finisher last Friday night in Moorhead and helped UST place third at the MSU Moorhead Twilight. Wächter on Tuesday was named MIAC Men's Cross Country Athlete of the Week.

In his transition to college running in fall 2016, Wachter had some usual freshman ups and downs. He was the Toms' No. 6 runner at Carleton and No. 8 runner in Ohio, and was the Tommies' No. 12 runner on two other occasions. In his last cross country race he was No. 17 runner at the 11-team conference meet. He posted a 94th-place finish at the hilly, 8,000-meter (4.97-mile) MIAC course at St. Paul's Como Park.

In his debut race of 2017, Wachter took fourth overall in a 6,000-meter time of 18:53 -- a 3:09 per 1K average. He was the third collegian finisher, 10 seconds behind two Division II athletes.

Wachter and fellow sophomores Spencer Urick, George McGivern and Scott Helstad plus freshman Carl Kozlowski give Coach Pete Wareham five first or second-year runners currently in his top 10. Urick was the Toms' third finisher Friday in Moorhead.

The Tommies will compete Sept. 23 at the Williams (Mass.) Invite.


Women's Soccer
The Tommies' shutout wins over UW-River Falls, St. Scholastica and St. Mary's in a five-day span let Sheila McGill move to the top of the coaching victory list for UST Women's Soccer. McGill (114-60-21 in 11 seasons) passed Joe Kryschyshen, who won 111 games during the 1980s and 1990s.
McGill has guided the Toms to back-to-back conference titles and nine consecutive winning records in MIAC play.
St. Thomas set a school record with 15 shutouts last season. With new goalkeepers in 2017, UST has not allowed a goal in four of its five games to date. Offensive balance has been a plus: Eight different Tommies have combined to score the 10 goals.
Junior Mallory DeBoom's overtime goal won Friday's contest at River Falls, 1-0. St. Thomas is 26-0-2 in games on her career when DeBoom scores a goal or an assist. DeBoom also has 13 career game-winning goals.
UST (4-0-1 overall, 1-0 MIAC) has only trailed for 18:38 on the clock this season -- early in the first half of an eventual 2-2 against UW-La Crosse. The Toms have built a 46-6 advantage in corner kicks in five games, and have outscored opponents 8-1 in the second half and overtime.
Men's Soccer
Senior Christian Elliehausen has earned a reputation as a clutch contributor for Tommie Men's Soccer. His header in the 87th minute Saturday night found the back of the next and lifted the Toms to a 2-1 road defeat of Ohio Wesleyan. No. 11-ranked UST lost 2-0 on Friday to Capital (Ohio).
As a freshman Elliehausen scored the tying goal in the 81st minute and the winning goal in overtime in a late-season defeat of Augsburg. Last season, he scored two postseason goals. He also assisted on a Tony Kuplic overtime goal that sent St. Thomas past Redlands into the national semifinals.
He has 10 goals in 60 career games, and the Toms have won their last 12 games when he scores an assist or goal.
Elliehausen, whose hometown of Campbellsport, Wis., has 1,983 residents, attended high school at Milwaukee Marquette. 
Senior transfer Justin Oliver had the tying goal in the second half at Ohio Wesleyan. Oliver has collected five goals in five games and sits tied for 10th in goals in Division III.
Poll Talk
St. Thomas has five teams now ranked in the top 25 in Division III:
  • Tommie Football is at No. 10;
  • Men's Soccer is at No. 11;
  • Men's Golf is at No. 24;
  • Women's Cross Country is at No. 17.
  • Volleyball joined the national poll at No. 23. 



St. Thomas (7-1) takes a seven-match win streak into Wednesday's road contest at Concordia-Moorhead. It's the conference opener for both teams. Coach Thanh Pham's team has a record of 21-1 in sets since dropping a season-opening match 3-0 to Pacific Lutheran.

Senior Whitney Lloyd leads all MIAC players in solo blocks (31) and hitting percentage (.314). But balance has been the rule so far:

  • five different Toms have at least one double-digit kill performance in the last five matches;
  • four different UST players have made all-tournament teams in the first two weeks of the season;
  • Pham used 17 players last weekend in the Augsburg tourney.

When the unranked Tommies topped No. 2-ranked Northwestern-St. Paul last Friday at the Augsburg Invite (28-26, 25-23, 25-21), it was the highest ranked team the program has beaten in five seasons. The previous top-2 upset was more memorable: No. 1-ranked Calvin took a 2-0 lead over Pham's team in the 2012 NCAA championship match before St. Thomas roared back for a 3-2 victory to claim the national championship.

The Toms also beat No. 16-ranked UW-La Crosse, 3-0.



St. Thomas (1-1) opens MIAC play Saturday at Carleton. Kickoff is 1:10 p.m. in Northfield at historic Laird Stadium. The Toms are coming off a 25-22 road loss at UW-Stout, a game that was tied 14-14 at halftime.

Over the last seven seasons, St. Thomas Football is 67-0 in games when it leads at halftime, but just 3-10 in games when it is tied or trails.

Sophomore Emitt Peisert opened the Stout game with a 65-yard kickoff return to set up the Tommies' first touchdown. Peisert is averaging 42 yards on four career kickoff returns.



The Tommie women placed seventh of 20 teams last weekend at the Wartburg (Iowa) tournament. They will compete next weekend in Lake City at the D3 Classic.

Senior Emily Thul shot 75 on Sunday and finished at 153 for the weekend to tie for 10th place. It was the 16th career round of 76 or better for Thul.

The St. Thomas men compete next weekend at the St. John's Fall Invite.