Gene's Blog: Impressive win totals for Toms in 2011-12
June 15, 2012
Junior Will DeBerg helped Tommie men's hoops share the MIAC championship. (Greg Smith photo)
Here’s another testament to the high level of success Tommie athletics enjoyed in 2011-12. Out of 1,000 NCAA institutions at all three divisions, St. Thomas was the lone one to record 12 or more football victories; 30 or more volleyball wins; 30-plus victories in both baseball and softball; and 20 or more wins in both men’s and women’s basketball.
Just one other school in the country met those victory numbers: NAIA member St. Xavier (Ill.).
UST won or shared conference crowns and was nationally ranked in each of those six sports. Football went 13-1; volleyball closed at 32-5; women’s basketball finished 31-2; men’s basketball had a 22-7 record; baseball posted a 41-10 mark; and softball finished 38-9.
The Tommies’ combined on-campus record in those six sports was a remarkable 61-2. Both of those losses came in men’s hoops (10-2 home record), including a 69-68 loss to Bethel on a buzzer-beater basket.
There's also this feat achieved in 2011-12: St. Thomas was the lone Division III institution to win or share conference championships in the five men’s sports of football, basketball, baseball, hockey and swimming.
Amherst (Mass.) won in four of those five in the NESCAC. Amherst, Christopher Newport (Va.) and Trinity (Tex.) were the only other three in D-III to win their conference titles in football, men’s hoops and baseball.
You may recall that in 2010-11, St. Thomas was the lone NCAA Division III institution to win conference titles in football, men's basketball and baseball. That accomplishment is more difficult than it would seem. Gustavus accomplished that triple in 1937-38, but no other MIAC school did it over the next 63 years.
UST teams also won men’s conference crowns in golf, and indoor and outdoor track and field. The total of eight men’s championships set a conference record. St. Thomas won seven men’s MIAC championships at least twice before (1985-86 and 1948-49, the famed Cigar Bowl year).
Here are a few more interesting stats: UST teams went 10-0 on campus in postseason play in football, volleyball and basketball.
The Tommies' overall NCAA playoff record in football, volleyball, basketball, softball, baseball and men's hockey was 19-9. St. Thomas teams lost to the eventual NCAA champion in five of those seven sports.
Add in UST's record in its nine sports which made the conference playoffs (volleyball, basketball, tennis, hockey, softball, baseball), and the Tommies' combined postseason record was 32-17.
Hutton Climbs List
Mike Hutton’s 1:48.42 time for 800 meters clocked Wednesday in Indianapolis is believed to be the fastest time thus far in 2012 by a Division III runner. That time moved the recent St. Thomas graduate into sixth place on the all-time D-III list for 800 meters.
Hutton fell short of making the cutoff for next week’s Olympic Trials, but UST coach Pete Wareham noted that Wednesday’s 800-meter race was held without a “rabbit” pace runner to give the runners their best chance at a fast time.
“Mike said they arrived at the starting line and learned that there was no rabbit to set the pace for the first 400,” Wareham said. “The worst part is they had no advance notice and no time to prepare a strategy.”
Minneapolis Washburn qualified for this year’s Class 2A state baseball tournament but was eliminated with Thursday’s 1-0 loss to Proctor. This marked the Millers’ first trip to state baseball since 1994, when Tommie head coach Chris Olean was a junior standout for Washburn and helped beat Osseo in the district finals.
Olean recalls losing a close game at state to eventual champion Henry Sibley. That champion Sibley team included future Tommie players Mike Wilfahrt, Dan Novak and Brad Sheperd.
When Eastview High of Apple Valley won the Minnesota boys’ state championship in lacrosse two weeks ago, it marked the first boys’ state crown in the school’s 15-year history.
The Lightning has come close before. Just ask former UST hoops standout B.J. Viau, now an assistant coach on John Tauer’s Tommie staff. In one of the wildest finishes in Minnesota history, Viau’s Eastview team lost to Hopkins in two overtimes in the 2005 state championship game. Eastview led by two points in OT when Blake Hoffarber nailed the tying shot from a sitting position on the court. Hopkins went on to win in the next overtime.
The play ultimately was awarded a national ESPY Award by ESPN: Click here to watch:
Viau’s senior year at UST was equally as memorable as that senior season at Eastview. He helped the Tommies to a 30-0 start before they fell to eventual NCAA champion Washington (Mo.) in the national quarterfinals. Viau and his teammates had two especially sweet home victories that season: They rallied from 14 points down in the final 8:00 to edge Bethel, 75-72, to help preserve a rare 20-0 MIAC finish; and in the final game played at Schoenecker Arena they edged UW-Stevens Point in the NCAA playoffs, 55-52.