Its time for winter at St. Olaf

We’re heading into mid-November at St. Olaf and there’s still no snow on the ground. Sure, it’s a little cold and nobody is stopping to enjoy the blistering winds, but the fact that we can still see the grass is kind of a novelty. Don’t let that fool you, though – it’s time for our winter sports athletes to compete. Mark your calendar for these must-watch winter sporting events.

First, let’s take a look at the St. Olaf men’s and women’s hockey teams. The Ole men finished third in 2013-14 and will return with a great deal of talent on this year’s roster. All-MIAC forward Peter Lindblad ’16 scored 15 goals last year and will be looking to improve on his impressive tally. However, the team will have to overcome the loss of Dan Cecka ’14, who led the team in points 31 and goals 18 last season. Dec. 12 looms for the Oles, as they face off against Gustavus Adolphus College in Northfield. The St. Olaf women’s hockey team will attempt to bounce back from a seventh place finish in 2013-14. The team will be boosted by the return of Devyn Hotho ’15, who scored two goals and registered five assists last season. Goalies Sam Ubl ’15 and Cassie Alexander ’17 will also bolster the Oles’ chances of making the playoffs. St. Olaf will clash with Saint Mary’s University on Jan. 30 in Northfield, in a contest that will be crucial to St. Olaf improving its MIAC position.

The St. Olaf men’s basketball team had a magnificent season in 2013-14, winning the MIAC Championship with a huge victory over University of St. Thomas in the final. The title was the first basketball championship of any kind since the St. Olaf men shared the MIAC regular season title in 1988-89. As St. Olaf looks to defend its title, the team will be led by Sterling Nielsen ’15 and Justin Pahl ’16, who combined for 36 points in last year’s championship game. The Tommies will be looking for revenge in a monumental encounter on Jan. 21, hosted on Bob Gelle Court. The St. Olaf women’s team also performed strongly last season. The Oles were bounced from the MIAC playoffs by Bethel University in a tense affair, after finishing the regular season in fifth place. Guard Kim Cerjan ’16 will return after earning All-MIAC honors in 2013-14. Cerjan led the team in points and set a school single-season record with 58 three-pointers. St. Olaf will clash with Carleton College in an important game on Dec. 13 at home – a game that starts a run of home games for the Oles.

Similarly, the St. Olaf men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams will have a good chance of achieving great things this season. The Ole men finished in second place in the MIAC Championships last season, led by Grant Wintheiser ’15, who broke records in the 3,000 meter and the mile events last season. The team will attempt to topple the Tommies on March 7-8 in Collegeville, Minn. The Ole women performed well last season, finishing in fourth position. The Oles recorded a victory in the 4×400 meter relay and will hope to replicate its strong efforts this season. The MIAC Indoor Championships will be hosted in Moorhead, Minn. on March 6-7.

Last but not least, the St. Olaf men’s swimming and diving team will be attempting to defend its MIAC title from 12 months ago. Not only did St. Olaf dominate the MIAC Championships, but it finished in 14th position at the NCAA Division III Championships. The Ole women’s swimming and diving team finished third in 2013-14 and will be looking to topple champions Gustavus Adolphus College on Feb. 19-21.

Be sure to get out and support your Oles at any of the home events in the coming months. Let’s hope for more MIAC Championship titles this winter.