Since I’ve been a St. Thomas student, the sports that have garnered the most fan interest have been football, men’s basketball, baseball and volleyball.
It’s not surprising.
The Tommie football team has had the best two-year turnaround in Division III football the past two seasons. The St. Thomas basketball team has had one losing season in 28 years. The baseball team won the national championship two seasons ago, and the volleyball team has won five MIAC regular-season championships in the last eight years.
But there are other successful sports, varsity and club, that don’t necessarily get the same recognition. Here are some Tommie teams that I believe deserve some attention:
The Tommies are back-to-back Division II national champions in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association, a national organization comprised of non-NCAA college lacrosse programs. To put it in perspective, the 2010 Division I national championship is the University of Michigan Wolverines. Although lacrosse is a club sport at St. Thomas, the teams play their home games at Palmer Field. The Tommies have made national tournament appearances every year since 2006, and two Tommie players, senior Joey Costello and former Tommie Derek Michalski, were invited to compete in the club division of a world championship tournament last summer in Manchester, England.
The St. Thomas Blue Ox, another club team, was the 2009 Division III champion. In 2010, rule changes and successful fundraising allowed the team to travel to Chicago for its second stint in the Division III national tournament. The Blue Ox won all three games, allowing only three total points, and earned the right to play this fall as one of the final four teams competing for the Division III national title.
Note: If you ask me, dance is a sport. Its season starts in mid-July and ends in March. It involves athleticism, finesse and technical skill. And the competitions are aired on ESPN.
At St. Thomas, this sport has a recent history of excellence. The dance team has been nationally ranked since 2004 and has placed third or higher in every competition since then. The team won the Universal Dance Association National Championships in jazz in 2006, 2008 and 2010 in Orlando, Fla. This season, St. Thomas already has one first-place finish. The team performs for St. Thomas athletic events, pep rallies and other university events, while competing in regional and national competitions throughout the year.
Men’s and women’s track and field
St. Thomas is the premiere school in the MIAC for track and field. The men’s team has won the MIAC indoor championships every single year its been held – 26 years in a row. The team also has won the outdoor championships 22 out of 26 years. The women’s team has had 13 top-10 finishes in Division III in the last 22 years, including winning both the MIAC indoor and outdoor championships in eight of the past nine seasons.
Miles Trump can be reached at email@example.com.