Author: Cole Hatzky

St. Olaf sentiments: March 17, 2017

For the past three years I have tracked the comings and goings of numerous groups of wildlife on campus, from flocks of friendly geese to the ungodly large carp that used to lurk the natural land’s waterways by means of subterranean cave systems largely unknown to the average student. Yet even the mighty carp, with his strong tailfins and cold eyes, couldn’t manage to stay long, and the geese, whose presence set the student body into frenzy last spring, disappeared into the unknown without a trace. My theories are many, but I find it suspicious that Regents’ collection of taxidermy continues to host more and more specimens that look strangely similar to creatures that once walked the Hill as our friends. Don’t believe me? Go take a look at the stuffed geese in the science building and tell me their dead smiles aren’t the very same ones that used to smile back at you as you walked to class. And if the geese weren’t snatched up by barbaric biology students, there is no doubt that the birds were used as a substitute for the Ferndale turkey, let alone some of the more meat-heavy soups and stews. As for the carp, I can only assume it died of old age or was used for the Caf’s stickless corndogs (where the sticks disappear is anybody’s guess).

Yet one animal has always maintained a presence on the Hill, and has for the most part thrived beyond expectation: squirrels, often seen digging through our trashcans for scraps. The campus squirrels are seemingly timeless, and their numbers seem to have grown to a point where it is doubtful they can be dethroned from their lofty perch.

But a few months ago this changed with the arrival of a hawk on campus, who made its intentions clear, having devoured copious amounts of squirrel meat in a matter of weeks. When it first arrived, the bird made a spectacle outside Boe Chapel when it feasted on its first victim in broad daylight, much to the delight of the random passerby. This attack, having drawn a crowd of at least 45 individuals, was soon known campus wide, sending shockwaves through our community and affirming my belief that the squirrels’ time here on the Hill is soon to be over. It would appear that one or the other must go, a conclusion most bird experts would agree on, because as it’s well known, hawks, eagles and other raptors, being solitary and often aggressive creatures, give no quarter when it comes to cohabitation with small mammals.

It’s certainly possible to save the squirrels from their imminent downfall, and there is enough evidence to charge the hawk with reckless behavior. In fact, having eaten countless families of squirrels, the hawk sits on a slippery slope when it comes to traditional bird law, for as Charlie Kelley famously concluded, “In bird law, it’s three strikes and you’re out … bye-bye birdie.” Yet regardless of what violations of the law the campus hawk has committed, administration refrains from making any judgements, let alone responses, when it comes to matters such as these. I fear the age of the campus squirrel has come to a sudden and bloody end, heralding the coming of the age of predatory birds. I, for one, will welcome this change with open arms, as the potential benefits of having copious amounts of birds of prey on campus far outweigh the services and comforts brought to us by mere squirrels.

In a few months our furry little friends will be nothing more than old memories, and the trees, instead of being filled with the chattering of woodland critters, will be filled to the brim with the squawks and screeches of raptorial birds.

mess-variety@stolaf.edu

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Zimmerman shines on the court

NAME: Margaret Zimmerman

SPORT: Tennis

HOMETOWN: Racine, Wis.

HIGH SCHOOL: The Prairie High School

MAJOR:Computer Science

TENNIS HISTORY:I started playing in eighth grade after I stopped playing basketball, and after that all I wanted to do was play as much tennis as possible.

PRE-GAME RITUAL: I don’t have any exciting pre-game rituals, but I do stretch a lot!

PUMP-UP SONG: “Remember the Name” by Fort Minor

FAVORITE MOVIE: “Divergent”

FAVORITE TV-SHOW: “Stitchers”

FAVORITE BOOK: “Troubling a Star” by Madeleine L’engle

FAVORITE PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE: Victoria Azarenka

FAVORITE FOOD: My mom’s homemade mac and cheese.

FAVORITE SPORT OTHER THAN TENNIS: I love watching ultimate frisbee.

RANDOM FACT: I own over 200 books and have read them all.

PLANS AFTER ST. OLAF: I want to find a job that will combine my interests in computer science and graphic design.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT AS AN OLE ATHLETE:My most memorable moment was when I beat St. Catherine’s during our play-off match last year. It was the hardest match I have ever played.

BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE RECIEVED: “Believe in yourself no matter what.”

GOALS FOR REST OF THE SEASON: If we play Gustavus or Carleton again in the playoffs I really want to beat them in doubles with my partner, Lisa Hall ’16.

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A Golden State of mind

Any team that has had as much success as the Golden State Warriors generates a lot of buzz and is inevitably compared to the greats that have come and gone before them. In fact, the Warriors’ record-breaking season has created one of the biggest stir-ups in NBA history, not because of controversy, but because the record wasn’t supposed to be up for grabs in the first place.

If anybody were to claim that they were a Golden State fan before the team’s rise to prominence, they would be seen as a blatant band-wagon fan or someone dumb enough to cheer for a team that appeared to have nothing going for it. However, these ‘idiots’ are now the proud followers of the reigning champions and likely contenders for a second consecutive NBA Championship title. Nobody has been as good as the Warriors since Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls, and nobody expected anybody to ever be as good as the Bulls, which is why the Warriors’ record-breaking 73 wins is worth talking about. The Bulls’ 72 wins wasn’t supposed to be broken, because nobody was ever supposed to eclipse the success Jordan and his teammates achieved.

As anybody who is familiar with the critically-acclaimed film Space Jam knows, Jordan is hands down the greatest basketball player to ever grace this earth. Considering that Jordan holds many of the NBA’s individual records (along with the fact that he defeated an entire team of Looney Tunes aliens in “Space Jam”), any thought that another player and team might come along and dethrone him was the talk of crazy men and simpletons. Nonetheless, the unlikely has become reality and is spearheaded by the baby-faced killer Stephen Curry.

As much as I’d like to downplay Curry’s individual success by comparing him to Jordan, a comparison would do Curry’s career no justice. With an ability to break opponents’ ankles at will, along with the range of the beam from the First Order’s Starkiller Base, Curry is a force to be reckoned with. After claiming the title last season, Curry finished this year’s regular season with more than 400 three-pointers. No one else has ever even reached 300. This feat has put the Warriors in position to repeat as NBA champions.

Yes, Jordan has more titles, but considering that Curry is only 28 years old and the Warriors keep adding to their already stellar arsenal of big-name players, the Warriors definitely have the chance to close the title gap, much to the dismay of longtime Bulls fans. And as much as Bulls fans and other naysayers would like to argue that Jordan and his team would easily trounce the Warriors, it is ridiculous to try to compare teams that played in entirely different eras with different playstyles and different attitudes.

The important thing to take away from the Warriors’ record-breaking season is that, for the first time in decades, a team has come along that has a chance to go down as the best team in NBA history. For many, it is difficult to accept the fact that somebody has finally come along and done what many thought was impossible. But in the world of sports, there will always be somebody that will be better, and, against all hopes, records are meant to be broken. So instead of denying the success Golden State has worked to achieve, it is better to sit back and watch as history is made.

hatzky1@stolaf.edu

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Women’s track and field opens outdoor season

The St. Olaf women’s track and field team officially opened its outdoor season on April 9 at the Ashton May Invitational in La Crosse, Wis. The Oles finished with a team score of 37, putting them in ninth place overall.

The Oles came out strong in the middle distance events, with Abby Stets ’18 running a 58.87 in the 400-meter dash, granting her a sixth place spot. A host of runners compete in the 800-meter dash, with Abbey Schnaith ’16 coming in third with a time of 2:24.90. Anna Holten ’17, Choyang Yangkyi ’18 and Jerlie Jensen ’17 also competed in the 800-meter dash, finishing with times of 2:33.33, 2:43.27 and 2:48.11.

Morghen Philippi ’16 led the Oles in the distance events, running a 17:59.89 in the 5000-meter race and finishing runner up in the final standings. Madison Van Wylen ’16 also finished in the runner-up spot, finishing the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:04.84. Van Wylen’s performance granted her MIAC Athlete of the Week honors and the fastest time in the MIAC 400-meter hurdles this season.

Kelsey Weed ’19 and Jane Vezina ’18 rounded out the meet in the javelin throw with distances of 31.17 meters and 17.16 meters.

Despite a ninth-place finish, the meet was the season opener and was a prime opportunity for the Oles to figure out where they are as a team. It was also an opportunity to see if runners are at full strength and to test out relay combinations that may prove to be an important part of the team as the outdoor season gets into full swing. Athletes can now begin to settle into the outdoor season after a long season of indoor competition, and with many Oles still resting and recovering from the indoor season, the women’s team will look to reach the podium when championship season rolls around in May.

The Oles’ next competition will take place at the Concordia Holst Invite in St. Paul, Minn. on April 16.

hatzky1@stolaf.edu

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March Madness displays best and worst of college hoops

Buzzer beaters, blowouts and heartbreak. It’s difficult to think of better words to describe this year’s March Madness tournament which had moments of exhilarating drama – and a few moments of boredom.

The first round saw the rise of mid-major teams and the fall of many powerhouse programs initially predicted to make it to the late rounds, with most brackets busted after only the first few games. Texas, Baylor, California, Arizona, West Virginia, Purdue and Michigan State were all upset in their opening round matchups, all against teams who should have been easy victories.

The first round also saw the rise of Cinderella stories, the most notable being Stephen F. Austin and Northern Iowa. After defeating West Virginia, Austin looked to be a dark horse favorite to advance all the way to the Sweet Sixteen but was foiled by Notre Dame in a closely fought matchup, losing by one point. Northern Iowa caught the attention of the nation after a half-court buzzer beater to defeat heavily favored Texas in the opening round, but squandered a 14-point lead with 45 seconds left in the game against an obviously overrated Texas A&M team.

The field of teams slowly began to lean towards higher-seeded favorites. The Big Ten, Big 12 and ACC fought their way through the second round with relative ease, taking advantage of lower seeded teams that had wreaked havoc in the opening round of play. Traditional powerhouse teams appeared to set the stage for the Sweet Sixteen, with Kansas, Villanova, North Carolina and Virginia leading the pack going into these much anticipated matchups. Yet, despite the excitement built up prior to these later round heavyweight matchups, the games were blowouts. In complete contrast to the opening round, all four of the original top-seeded teams advanced to the Elite Eight. Any hopes for potential upsets were crushed, with the notable exception of a highly underrated Syracuse squad, which came into the tournament as a 10th seed. Syracuse would also go on to defeat top-ranked Virginia, who had previously made quick work of a veteran Iowa State squad with relative ease. Villanova defeated a top-ranked Kansas team that looked like they had never played in a high-stakes game before, and both Indiana and Wisconsin, the only remaining Big Ten teams, were dispatched by the ACC’s North Carolina and Notre Dame.

With the notable exception of Syracuse, the Final Four matchups were very similar to those predicted before the tournament began, with much anticipation for the Oklahoma vs. Villanova matchup, which two different styles of play clash. Yet once again, fans were disappointed. Villanova crushed Oklahoma, winning with a final score of 95-51 and sealing their place in the championship game against North Carolina, who had defeated an undermanned Syracuse squad, 83-66.

Although Villanova entered the game on a roll, the experienced Tar Heels of North Carolina were certainly favored. In contrast to the previous few rounds, the final game was one of the greatest championship games of all time. After North Carolina’s Marcus Page hit a tying three-pointer as time dwindled, the game looked to be heading to overtime. Villanova ran the court quickly and, with hardly a second on the clock, Kris Jenkins sunk a game-winning three-pointer to seal a victory for the Wildcats and cap a March Madness season like no other.

hatzky1@stolaf.edu

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