Author: Stephen Nolan

Womens tennis falls 1-8 to Gusties

On April 11, the St. Olaf women’s tennis team traveled to St. Peter, Minn. to take on perennial conference powerhouse Gustavus Adolphus College. Unfortunately for the Oles, the Gusties proved to be too strong, recording an 8-1 victory. It was only the fourth loss this season for the Oles.

St. Olaf, who was looking to hand Gustavus its first conference loss of the season, needed to begin strongly in doubles to give itself a chance of winning the contest. It wasn’t to be, though, as the Gusties recorded 8-4 wins over the pairs of Kristi Kroker ’15 and Margaret Zimmerman ’18, Lisa Hall ’16 and Maya MacGibbon ’16, and Bailey Kent ’16 and Erin McDonald ’18 at the one, two and three doubles positions respectively.

Surrendering a 0-3 lead proved to be too much for the Oles to overcome, as the Gusties claimed five of the six singles matches to take victory. MacGibbon was the only victorious Ole at number three singles, as she claimed a hard-fought 6-3, 7-6 7-5 win. Kroker, at number two singles, lost a lengthy battle, succumbing 6-4, 4-6, 13-11 in an epic matchup. Zimmerman also pushed her opponent at the number four singles slot, narrowly losing the first set 6-7 2-7 before falling 3-6 in the second set.

The loss leaves the Oles at 8-4 overall, with a 4-2 conference record. St. Olaf will be looking to seal a playoff berth in the coming days, with several MIAC meets on the schedule this week. The Oles will play their final home game of the season against University of St. Thomas on April 22 at 4 p.m.

nolans@stolaf.edu

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Ole softball splits games with Royals: Oles fire in game one, cant carry momentum in game two

The St. Olaf softball team took on Bethel University on April 11 in a doubleheader on Mabel Shirley Field. The Oles got off to a flying start capturing the first game 3-2, but they were unable to keep the momentum as the Royals cruised to a 10-1 victory in game two.

The Oles began the game in spectacular fashion, scoring twice in the first inning. The Royals responded with a game-tying run in the fourth inning, leaving the game in a delicate balance. The battle was poised evenly right through until the seventh inning. Jessica Bentley ’18 starred for St. Olaf, hitting an RBI double with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, which allowed Becca Walz ’16 to score. Danielle Collins ’15 pitched all seven innings for the Oles, recording one strike-out along the way.

Despite claiming victory in game one, St. Olaf was unable to stop a Bethel onslaught in game two, as the Royals raced to a comprehensive 10-1 win.

The Oles were led by Afton Wolter ’16 , who batted in Alex Lopez ’18 in the second inning to put the Oles on the board. Nothing could stop the Royals though, as they out-hit the Oles 14-5 on their way to victory.

The Oles also competed in doubleheaders on April 12 and April 14, against Gustavus Adolphus College and Augsburg College respectively. Despite falling 0-5 and 1-5 to the Gusties, the Oles bounced back to record resounding 7-3 and 6-4 wins over the Auggies. St. Olaf currently sits at 11-21 overall, with a 6-8 conference record, good enough for eighth position in the MIAC. St. Olaf, who has several games in the coming week, will play at home for the last time on April 22 against University of St. Thomas.

nolans@stolaf.edu

Photo Credit: ABBY DAVIS/MANITOU MESSENGER

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Basketball falls short in Sweet Sixteen

The last few weeks have been an exciting time for the St. Olaf men’s basketball team. The Oles had been working extremely hard to prepare for the third round of the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship. The team traveled to Rock Island, Ill. to face Marietta College on Friday, March 13.

The Oles had the opportunity to upset the 12th seeded Pioneers, who hail from Marietta, Ohio. Despite leading throughout the contest, the Oles were overcome by the Pioneers, eventually falling by a score of 72-79.

The Oles started the game strongly, taking a 36-29 lead into the half-time break. A strong and intense struggle between the teams then ensued. In total, St. Olaf had 10 turnovers while Marietta had nine.

In the second half, the Pioneers made a comeback and took the lead. St. Olaf led by as many as 12 in the second half, but the Pioneers used a 19-5 run to take a 65-61 lead with 5:12 left. The Oles refused to give up, bringing the lead back to a single point twice in the dying minutes. Unfortunately for the Oles, the Pioneers were able to hold the lead for the remainder of the game. The Oles, who only turned the ball over twice in the first half, were plagued by turnovers in the second as Marietta forced eight in the final 20 minutes.

Despite strong performances from Ben Figini ’16 and Sterling Nielsen ’15, who combined for 32 points, the Oles they fell by a scoreline of 72-79. Austin Majeskie ’17 and Riley Aeikens ’16 also had strong performances with 11 points apiece. Unfortunately, this loss ended St. Olaf’s strong run in the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship.

The NCAA appearance was the second straight for St. Olaf, who fell in the first round of the tournament last season. The Oles’ adventure into the Sweet Sixteen was the first in program history and was accompanied by a team record of 23 wins.

The season in not quite over for Nielsen, who was one of 18 NCAA Division III senior players to be selected to play in the Reese’s Division III College All-Star game. The game will be played on March 21 in Salem, Va. The selection caps a stellar season for Nielsen, who was an All-MIAC, MIAC All-Defensive and D3hoops.com All-West Region second team selection.

Figini was recognized for his strong season, also being named to the D3hoops.com All-West Region second team. Figini led the Oles in scoring 16.9 ppg, rebounding 5.8/game and shot 56.5 percent from the floor.

briche1@stolaf.edu

nolans@stolaf.edu

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St. Olaf races at MIAC Indoor Championship: Oles win several events, send athletes to nationals

The St. Olaf men’s and women’s track and field teams headed to Moorhead, Minn. on March 6-7 to compete in the MIAC Indoor Championships. Both teams performed strongly, with the Ole men finishing in second place and the women in fifth. Both teams qualified several athletes for the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships in Winston-Salem, N.C. on March 13-14.

The St. Olaf men’s team had several champions at the event on day one. Aaron Dunphy ’15 was victorious in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.48. Jake Campbell ’16 defended his 5,000-meter race title with a winning time of 14:40.93 – a new facility record.

Just under a second behind Campbell was runner-up Phil Meyer ’15, with a time of 14:41.85. Finally, Paul Escher ’16 won the mile event in a time of 4:18.05, with teammate Joe Coffey ’17 second in a time of 4:19.45.

The second and final day was also successful for the Ole men, though they were unable to close a four point deficit to the University of St. Thomas to win the event. Grant Wintheiser ’15 won the 3,000-meter event in a new meet record time of 8:25.51. Meyer found himself in second place again with a time of 8:27.68. Kevin Skrip ’16 won the 600-meter race with a time of 1:22.10.

Unfortunately for St. Olaf, the Tommies proved to be too strong once again, winning their 31st consecutive title by a margin of 20 points over the Oles. It was a repeat of last season’s result, when St. Olaf finished behind the Tommies.

Wintheiser, Escher and Campbell will represent the Oles at nationals. The rest of the team will begin preparing for the outdoor season, which will be kicked off on April 11 at the first meet of the season at Hamline University.

The St. Olaf women’s team also had several champions at the MIAC Championships. Dani Larson ’15 won three of five events to win the pentathlon, winning the 60-meter hurdles 9.43, the high jump 5-5.75 and the 800-meter race 2:23.93 to win her second MIAC pentathlon.

Larson won another individual MIAC title in the high jump, clearing 1.66 meters to win the event. She was also a part of the Ole 4×200 meter relay team that took victory in a time of 1:46.88. Larson, Abby Stets ’18, Madison VanWylen ’16 and Lillie Meakim ’18 beat the University of St. Thomas relay team by .7 seconds.

The Oles finished the championships in fifth place, with Larson qualifying for nationls in both the pentathlon and the high jump. The team will resume competition outdoors on April 11 at the Hamline Invite.

nolans@stolaf.edu

Photo Courtesy of St. Olaf College Athletics

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Ole softball falls in back-to-back games

The St. Olaf softball team traveled to Rochester, Minn. on March 6 for a pair of games against the University of Dubuque and Luther College. Unfortunately for the Oles, they were unsuccessful in both encounters, falling 0-14 against the Spartans and 1-12 against the Norse.

In the first game of the evening, St. Olaf took to the field aginst University of Dubuque. Looking to win its first game of the season, St. Olaf had a positive start, with the first run of the game after Brooke Paradise ’17 batted in Alex Lopez ’18 with a grounded out hit towards the Spartans’ shortstop.

However, the Spartans quickly restored parity in the second inning with a run of their own, bring the game back to a 1-1 deadlock. The game took a turn for the worse for the Oles in the third inning, when the Spartans scored seven runs of five hits to effectively take control of the game. Dubuque scored four more runs in their next-at-bat, taking the final game score to 12-1.

In St. Olaf’s second game of the evening, it took on Luther College. Unlike the first game of the evening, the Oles fell behind early, with the Norse scoring three runs in the first inning. The score remained locked at 0-3 throughout the second inning, with the Norse breaking open the game in the third inning, scoring six runs.

Trailing 0-9, it proved to be too monumental a task for the Oles to fight their way back into the game, as the Norse furthered their tally in the fourth and fifth innings by three and two runs respectively, with the Oles falling 0-14.

The losses were valuable for St. Olaf, as it builds towards MIAC competition. The Oles will open conference play against Macalester College in a double-header in St. Paul, Minn. on March 25. Last time the two teams met, it was the Oles who were victorious, recording 7-6 and 9-7 victories in hard-fought clashes.

Opening the season with a win would go a long way in helping the Oles improve on last seasons’ 10th place MIAC finish, where the team finished the conference with a 7-15 record.

St. Olaf will have a chance to prepare for an important match-up with Macalester College with a pair of games against Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa on March 22.

nolans@stolaf.edu

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