Spring's action drew even closer as the games were played and another team debuted. First up was the Softball team as they wrapped up their four game slate in Texas to start the week & give themselves an early 3 - 1 record. They followed that up with a few days in Mexico which included games against a couple of the top teams in the nation. Both Arkansas & Washington are ranked in the top 12 yet combined to defeat NDSU by only three runs. They've accomplished enough over the last few years that they should be above moral victories but that is a good way to start the season. They'll come back across the border with a 4 - 4 record but with many more chances to improve on that while we all freeze.
Women's Basketball was the next one to suit up this week with nothing to show for it but questions and negativity. The second of their two games was against their potential opponent, SDSU and it ended with them down 40. A loss against Omaha on Saturday and they'll fall one step further & have to play the #25 ranked team in the country or miss Sioux Falls all together. Bleakness.
On the other hand, the optimism about the men's chance's should be about as high as it gets. Through a barrage of three point shots they overwhelmed Oral Roberts on Thursday & came within a miracle shot of knocking off the Jacks. They'll have a chance to build on the momentum as #2 Omaha comes to town on Saturday for the last regular season game of the season. They're pretty well locked in to the #4 seed in Sioux Falls but closing out in front of the home crowd with a win would lead to a great sendoff!
The Wrestling team already ended their home days with an 8-2 match rout of South Dakota State.
Among the many parts of Saturday was the Track & Field team participating in UND's Tune-Up.
The Baseball team rounded out the week with a California trifecta against Sacramento State. They blasted off in game 1 with a 9-1 win only to crash back to Earth in a Sunday doubleheader that they lost. In the win, seven different batters contributed a run with two a piece coming from Bennett Hostetler & Brock Anderson. It's the kind of offensive balance that would give them a chance in any game, if they can manage to put it together that way consistently.
Unlike NDSU, the Dragons Softball team doesn't have the advantage of warm climates to start the year. Their four games in two days to start the week all went the way of their foes, with the closest being a single run loss against Crookston.
Wednesday also started four days in Sioux Falls by the water folk. Moorhead State's group included a couple of all conference performers but the totality of their effort got them a sixth place finish.
Over that span of days, the Basketball teams also each got a pair of games in as they near the ends of their schedules. First up was St. Cloud then came Duluth. The women continued their run of success, lead by Megan Hintz once again on Friday with 19 & 11 and 18 & 10 on Saturday. The guys on the other hand fell flat in both games to close out the home portion of their schedule.
Saturday also included the Track & Field team going to Grand Forks for the UND Tune-Up while the Tennis team swept their three challengers between Saturday & Sunday.
The transition was lighter for Concordia but they also began the process of moving from the Winter season into Spring. The Basketball teams started the week against Carleton. The guy's kept it close but came up short in the end. The women's game was also a tooth & nail fight that went into bonus time and kept the Knight's winless in the conference. Elizabeth Birkemeyer lead the way with 20 but down the stretch all five of the starters chipped in for the win. They ended the season at home against Gustavus Adolphus but neither was able to send the seniors off with a win. When the games ended and with them the seasons, both were on the wrong side of double digit games. So it'll be yet another retool for the coaches as they continue to search for the way to become competitive in the MIAC.
Beyond Basketball it was a lot of water & ice for the Cobbs. The Aquathletes competed in the conference meet but combined for a bottom half finish to their schedule. Even for that collective, there was a new school record set by current record holder Amy Warren in the 200 individual medley. With the final of the four days of competition being today, not all the results are in but that could change any time now.
Which leaves the icecapaders. Both Hockey teams were bested by Augsburg in all four of the games that they played against each other.
Away from the H20 there was also Tennis getting a win by the men against WI-Superior while the women were downed them and Gustavus Adolphus.
Team Howl went into the all-star break in the worst way possible - winning. As sick as it makes me to root for losing, they're not making the playoffs and even though the Twin Cities are the new Cleveland, the NBA isn't going to give the Wolves the #1 pick. Probably not at all but certainly not with the lowest of odds. It may be time to consider going dark on them until the season it wrapped up. I'll have that answer by next Sunday. For now, they won and don't play again until Friday.
The season is quickly approaching but Friday brought news that could spoil it before they've even taken the field together. In a career advancing move, the skipper has taken a job in the MLB. I would be surprised if there wasn't something negative behind the scenes between Michael Schlacht & the organization but I don't want to speculate or ignore the possibility that it could be that he, like most of us, jumped at the chance of a significant promotion in his career field. I hope it doesn't doom the season but I can't be mad at the guy. Maybe one of the dogged reporters in the area will get a chance to go one on one with him in the coming days. If that happens & it comes across one or more of the wires, I'll pass it along.
High School Sports
With the Winter seasons rapidly approaching their climaxes, there were many games this week. South played at North, Noah Christensen made his last appearance of the regular season at DGF & Davies visited West Fargo. Beyond all the results were the individual accomplishments that continue to rack up. The Forum's doing a great job of tracking the accomplishments of the young men & women in Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo & beyond this year. It's worth checking out!