St. Olaf spring sports preview

It’s once again that confusing time of year when “spring” athletes start competing despite the piles of snow sitting outside Skoglund and winter giving little sign that it is going to let up any time soon. Despite that, the St. Olaf baseball, track and field, softball and tennis teams have already begun, or are about to begin, their 2015 campaigns. The Ole teams are poised for a successful season, hoping to improve on their impressive 2014 efforts.

First, let’s look at the St. Olaf baseball team. The Oles finished the 2014 season with a 20-20 record and a 9-11 record in MIAC play which was good enough for eighth place in the conference. The team suffered a number of close losses, and it appears that it is not far away from gaining a playoff spot. The Oles will open their campaign with a trip to Iowa to play Wartburg College in a double header, before opening its MIAC campaign on March 28 with a home clash against St. John’s University.

The men’s and women’s outdoor track and field teams will be trying to improve on the lofty standards set last season. The men’s team was just edged by the University of St. Thomas last season, finishing second at the MIAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Despite claiming numerous events, such as the 4×400 relay, 4×100 relay, 3000 meter steeplechase, 5,000 meter race, 10,000 meter race and the javelin. Unfortunately, the Oles fell just 13.5 points short of the Tommies, and will be looking to close that slight gap in the coming months. In the women’s track and field event, the Oles finished in fourth place, with wins in the 4×400 relay and the high jump. The team will be returning a number of top performers and are on track to break into the MIAC’s top three in 2015.

Next, the St. Olaf softball team finished the 2014 season in 10th place in the MIAC, with a 7-25 overall record and 7-15 in conference play. The Oles will be boosted by the return of All-MIAC infielder Becca Walz ’16, who hit .347 last year. St. Olaf will begin its home games on April 8 with a doubleheader against Hamline University, in what shapes up to be a crucial stretch of games for the Oles.

And finally, 2015 is shaping up to be a great one for the St. Olaf men’s and women’s tennis teams. The men’s team made an impressive run to the MIAC playoff final last season, falling to conference powerhouse Gustavus Adolphus College 1-8.

The Oles powered past rival Carleton College in the semi-finals to reach the championship game. The St. Olaf women’s team finished sixth in the conference last year, and will be looking to improve on its 6-4 MIAC record last season. The Oles fell in the MIAC quarterfinals 4-5 to College of St. Catherine and will be confident of going further in 2015.

The Spring of 2015 will be full of many great successes for our Oles teams. Hopefully, by the end of May, St. Olaf will have even more conference titles in its repertoire.

nolans@stolaf.edu

Graphic Credit: LOUISA CARROLL/MANITOU MESSENGER

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