Among several St. Thomas highlights of the past week was Coach Steve Fritz winning his 25th MIAC men's basketball championship.
Fritz' Tommies went 4-0 over the final eight days of the season -- with doublle-digit wins against four playoff qualifiers or hopefuls -- to share the conference crown with Carleton. It was Fritz' 16th regular-season championship to go with his nine playoff titles.
The 16 regular-season championships rank second in conference men’s hoops history behind Hamline legend Joe Hutton, who won 19 titles in 34 seasons from 1931-65.
In honor of Fritz' 25 championship, here are 25 fast February facts from the Tommie sports world.
--St. Thomas reached 1,498 all-time men’s basketball wins with Saturday’s 72-61 victory at St. John’s. The 1,498 rank the Tommies fourth among Division III programs behind Wittenberg (1,626 all-time wins), Wooster (1,553) and Illinois Wesleyan (1,500).
--The Tommie men, who are home this Friday night for an MIAC semifinal playoff game, are 12-2 in their last 14 postseason games played on campus.
--Friday will mark the 15th career postseason game in football and basketball for senior Brady Ervin.
--In Saturday’s win in Collegeville, St. Thomas had 11 turnovers and just 19 points in the first half, then had no turnovers and 53 points in the second half.
-- Tyler Nicolai’s seven 3-pointers at St. John’s were a career best. They were the most by a Tommie since Bryan Schnettler sank eight in each meeting against Bethel as a senior in 2005-06. The seven also matched the most made in any MIAC men’s game over the last four seasons.
--The Tommies have trailed in the second half in 12 of their 22 victories.
--Fritz' teams are 28-1 in Saturday games over the last three seasons –- the lone loss to Washington (Mo.) in the 2009 NCAA playoff quarterfinals.
--St. Thomas’ senior class is 98-13 in its four-year men’s hoops era, including a combined 34-0 record vs. St. John’s, St. Mary’s, Augsburg and Bethel.
--St. Thomas has won conference team titles thus far in 2010-11 in football, volleyball, men’s basketball and women’s basketball, placed second in men’s hockey and men’s swimming and diving, and sits in second place in women's hockey.
--Over the last four seasons, the Tommie men’s and women’s basketball teams have saved the best for last with a combined 50-9 record in February games.
--Over the last four seasons, the UST women are 48-3 when they hold teams under 60 points.
--The Tommie women received votes in this week’sD3hoops.com national poll for the first time this season. Coach Ruth Sinn’s team has won 22 of its last 26 games against MIAC opponents.
PHOTO: Carolyn Dienhart (3) (Thomas Whisenand photo)
--On Jan. 24, the Tommie women fell two games behind first-place St. Ben’s with nine games to play in the MIAC race. St. Thomas went 8-1 thereafter, and the Blazers went only 4-5.
--The UST women have qualified for the postseason for the 24th time in 25 seasons.
--Since 1980-81, the Tommie women are 30-1 on Senior Days (last regular-season home games).
--The reigning MIAC Player of the Week, Tommie junior Sarah Smith, tied a school record with her 10-of-10 shooting game last week at Hamline. Smith has made 35-of-42 shots (83%) over her last five games.
--Thus far in the first season in competitions in the new Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex, UST volleyball, basketball and tennis teams are a combined 34-4. The volleyball and basketball teams each won or shared conference championships.
--The Tommie men’s swimming and diving team used points from 20 athletes -– including 17 underclassmen -- in its second-place finish at the MIAC Championships. Sophomore Sam Rauchwarter broke his own school records in the 200 and 500 freestyles.
--In her four career MIAC Swimming Championship meets, Becca Ney posted 11 individual and relay victories. Sophomore teammate Katie Bromback broke her own school records last weekend in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes.
PHOTO: Freshman Ben Henrickson at the MIAC meet (Greg Smith photo)
--Tennis’ Terry Peck will coach his 600th college match in April. His UST men and women’s teams have home duals next Sunday against St. Scholastica and will look to cap off an unbeaten February.
--Three Tommie runners –- junior Mike Hutton (600), junior Ben Sathre (mile) and freshman Emily Van Heel (400) -- broke school indoor track and field records last weekend. St. Thomas has seven men’s and one women’s performance that have met the NCAA provisional qualifying standards for next month’s NCAA Indoor Championships, including three by sophomore Eyo Ekpo.
--This season’s Gopher-Tommie baseball game set for April 13 is now scheduled to be played at the U of M’s Siebert Field at 3:05 p.m., not at Target Field at 6:35 p.m. as originally hoped.
--The Tommie softball team opens its 2011 season March 4-5-6 with games in the Rosemount Dome. Tommie baseball starts its season with two games April 6 in St. Louis.
--In four seasons under Coach Tom Palkowski, the St. Thomas women's hockey team has allowed two or less goals in 82 of 102 games.
--Senior men's hockey captain Andrew Kappers has scored 10 goals and five assists in his last 10 games. Kappers will play in his 12th career postseason game this Saturday (hockey, baseball) when the Toms host Concordia-Moorhead in the MIAC playoff semifinals.