Several St. Thomas teams have key conference games and meets this weekend as the battle for MIAC title contention heats up.
The No. 2-ranked St. Thomas baseball team faces Bethel in a doubleheader Saturday, April 28, at home. The Tommies (26-4 overall, 14-0 MIAC) are on a 17-game winning streak, their longest since 1997, and have won 24 straight home games. St. Thomas has also swept 13 consecutive conference doubleheaders since April 2011.
Junior pitcher Dylan Thomas said while the ranking is great, it “doesn’t matter” to the team.
“All that matters is how we play at the end of the year, and we are focusing on our game now so we can be the best team in the end,” Thomas said.
The St. Thomas softball team (30-6 overall, 17-1 MIAC) takes on St. Benedict in a doubleheader Saturday at home. The No. 18-ranked Tommies have a 30-game winning streak at home and share the top spot in the conference standings with Gustavus. With the regular season ending this weekend, freshman pitcher Kendra Bowe thinks her team is peaking at the right time.
“We want to play to the best of our ability each day and keep moving forward,” Bowe said. “We’re really focusing on coming together so that everyone is clicking and at the top of their game.”
Track and field
Several members from both the men’s and women’s track and field teams will compete at the Drake Relays this weekend, one of the most famous track and field meets in the nation. High school, college and professional athletes from all over the country come to race in Des Moines, Iowa.
Senior captain Traci Pastoors said she can’t wait to see how her team measures up to the competition.
“It’s very exciting and a little intimidating competing against schools from across the nation,” Pastoors said. “There is just something special about running on that big blue track.”
The St. Thomas men’s golf team placed third out of 16 teams Monday in Gustavus’ Bobby Krig Invitational. Freshman Alex Kapraun led all Tommie golfers, shooting a 71 and tying for second place among 69 individuals. The team will compete this weekend at the St. John’s Invitational; its last major conference tournament.
Junior Michael Mortensen said that while the team’s goal is to win the tournament, each player has to strive to work out the kinks in his own game and eliminate mental mistakes before nationals in May.
“Winning this weekend would be great, but more importantly we need to prepare our game for making an eventual run at the national title,” Mortensen said.
The St. Thomas women’s golf team finished first last weekend at the Bethel Invitational. St. Thomas took the team championship over five other teams, beating second-place Bethel by 57 strokes.
Freshman Katie Kruchten earned medalist honors out of the 37 athletes and three other Tommies placed in the top 10. The golf team will compete in the Carleton Invitational this weekend.
Junior Cassy Norton said her team played well last weekend and hopes for a similar outcome this weekend.
“There will be better competition this weekend, but I think we’ll put together some good rounds,” Norton said.
The St. Thomas men’s tennis team (10-4 overall, 6-2 MIAC) closes out regular-season play Friday, April 27, at Carleton. The Tommies have dropped consecutive conference matches coming into Friday, losing 9-0 to Gustavus and 7-2 to St. Olaf.
Senior Peter Wright said his team is fired up to face Carleton, a team St. Thomas lost to last season.
“Beating them this weekend would give us huge momentum going into the playoffs at Gustavus next weekend,” Wright said. “We know we can take them; it just depends how hungry we are in Northfield tomorrow.”
Hayley Schnell can be reached at email@example.com.