Although many students spent a lot of time sleeping in at home over winter break, four Macalester sports teams were busy competing to give glory to the institution. The basketball and swimming and diving teams spent all break competing in both conference and non-conference meets and games.
The men’s basketball team struggled during this break, going 1-10 in MIAC play. Although the beginning of the season featured non-conference wins against Occidental and CalTech, the team has struggled in a conference that head coach Tim Whittle calls “the toughest league in the country.” The team’s lone conference win came on January 9 against St. Mary’s. Justin Wasik ’14 led the team with 24 points in their 70-63 win. Wasik was pleased with how the team played in the victory.
“The St. Mary’s win was awesome,” Wasik said. “It was great to get a MIAC win against a team that frankly we should have beat. However, we weren’t satisfied with just that win and we continue to be unsatisfied.”
Many of the team’s conference games following that win were close. The Scots lost to Carleton by 7, Augsburg by 10 and Hamline by 6. There is a feeling that the team is close to making noise in the MIAC.
“I think we have an opportunity as a team and as individuals to show the rest of the league that we are capable of rising to the challenge despite the adversity our team has faced this year,” Sam Marshall ’13 said. “We have seven winnable games left on our schedule and we want to go out there and compete in every one of those games.”
Despite the lack of wins this season, there are definitely bright spots the team can build on for the rest of the season and seasons to come. Dylan Kilgour ’16 has demonstrated a sharp shooting stroke this season, making 42.9 percent of his three-point attempts this season. He is also shooting 90 percent from the free throw line, leading the team in that category.
In addition, Marshall has played extremely well this season, averaging 13.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. He looks to finish his Macalester career on a high note in the team’s remaining six games, all against MIAC opponents.
The team plays against Concordia Moorhead on Feb. 2 at 3:00 p.m. in the Leonard Center.
With the graduation of All-MIAC forward Holly Schiedermayer ’12 and guards Shannon and Jessica Rene ’12, the women’s basketball team has struggled this season, losing 11 straight games in January.
“Having graduated about 80 percent of our scoring from last year, we knew going into the season that we needed new players to step up,” Head Coach Ellen Thompson said.
Several players have stepped up this season. Kyanna Jones ’13 leads a balanced scoring attack, averaging 10.3 points a game. Furthermore, Veronica Jakubovie ’14, Taylor Pike ’14 and Emma Leyden ’14 are all averaging over five points a game.
In their closest defeat, a 84-82 overtime loss versus St. Catherine, guards Erika Weimann ’14, Carmen Whitehead ’14 and Erin Murray ’16 all scored career highs with 19, 16 and 14 points respectively.
The team is hopeful that its newly added full-court press will provide a spark. “This change will force our opponents to play at our tempo and keep them guessing,” said Weimann.
According to Pike, the team remains optimistic.
“At this point it would be easy to just give up and hang our heads,” she said. “Our main goal is to stay positive and just enjoy playing with each other.”
The team hopes to finish the season strong with home games on Feb. 2 versus Concordia-Moorhead, Feb. 6 against St. Mary’s and a Feb. 9 face-off against rival Carleton.
Men’s Swimming and Diving
January has been a month of individual successes and team losses for the men’s swimming and diving team. After competing over the New Year’s holiday in Fort Lauderdale, the Scots suffered losses against St. Olaf and Grinnell.
In their 214-48 defeat versus the Oles, five swimmers garnered third place finishes. Ted Metz ’13 placed in the 200-yard breaststroke and the 200 individual medley. Also placing were Ben Kromash ’16 (1,000 freestyle), Alex Rack ’16 (100 backstroke), Wojciech Michno ’15 (50 free) and Walter Benson ’16 (500 freestyle).
Kromash turned in another noteworthy performance in the 167-72 loss against Grinnell, placing second in the 1650 freestyle and the 200 butterfly.
The Scots return to competition at the MIAC Championships, hosted by the University of Minnesota, from Feb. 14-16. Kromash is excited about the team’s prospects in the 800 free relay in the meet. “I think we have a very good chance at placing in the top five teams in the MIAC,” he said.
Women’s Swimming and Diving
The women’s swimming and diving team competed in five meets over break, defeating Augsburg on two separate occasions. In their first meeting, the Scots were led by first place finishes from Renee Jordan ’14 (1-meter board and 3-meter board), Maggie McKenna ’16 (100 breaststroke and 200 breast), Suzanne Oh ’13 (200 free) and the 200-yard freestyle relay team of Maggie Joyce ’15, Christina Bloom ’16, Alese Halvorson ’15 and Jordan.
Jordan’s first place finish in the 1-meter board and second place finish in the 3-meter board led the Scots in their fifth place showing at the Grinnell Invitational. She was awarded MIAC Swimming and Diving Athlete of the Week for her recent accomplishments.
In the Scots’ second meeting with Augsburg, Jordan continued her school record-breaking campaign in the diving events. She broke the Macalester 3-meter board record in the competition only to improve her mark to 287.15 the following day versus Grinnell. “I knew after I nailed my last dive that I’d beaten it without even looking at the score,” she said.
Coach Beth Whittle is optimistic about her team’s chances in the MIAC Championships on Feb. 14-16.
“One the women’s side, we have a lot of swimmers who have an opportunity to score at the MIAC Championships.” Whittle said. “As a team, we look to improve on our team finishes from the previous MIAC Championships and I feel we have a good opportunity to do so this season if we swim and dive as well as I know they can.”