Wednesday, January 19, 2022

The Gustavus Eight


written by STEVE ULRICH
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1. The Gustavus Eight

by Chris Middlebrook, SportsEngine

"This is a story of a powerful, beautiful and unique lifelong friendship, which began when eight young women, actually high school girls, decided independently of one another, to attend the same college, Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn. Among the main reasons each chose Gustavus, three stand out. Each wanted to attend a college that: 1) Was strong academically, 2) Was a small enough school that students felt they were a part of the college community, and 3) A college with a successful women's varsity ice hockey program. Gustavus checked the "Yes" box for all three. 

Mollie Carroll, who played her high school hockey for Eagan and Allie Schwab who skated for Stillwater High, were the first of the eight attending Gustavus, beginning in September of 2008. Next came Kelsey Kennedy, also from Eagan, Meagan Wanecke from Delafield, Wis., who skated for the Wisconsin Wild U19 AAA team, Tam Meuwissen from Chaska who also skated for The Minnesota Thoroughbreds U19 AAA team and Jenna Christensen, a hockey standout from Albert Lea, each freshman in 2009. The final two of the Gustavus Eight, Maddie Bergh who skated for Benilde St Margarets, and Marah Sobczak, a goaltender, from Stillwater High School, who both entered Gustavus in September 2010. 

All eight made their mark on Gustavus women's hockey, as individual players and as part of one of the most dominating runs in women's college hockey history. The facts speak for themselves: From 2008-2013, a five-season frame, the Gustavus women's hockey team won five MIAC championships, played in four NCAA D3 Championship Final Fours, and compiled an overall record of 117-19-12. Three of the eight were named hockey All Americans (Carroll, Kennedy and Schwab), with Schwab also being crowned as the MIAC Player of the Year in 2012, and all eight receiving MIAC and national recognition for hockey and/or their academic performances.

With most college athletes, however, while the friendships last beyond graduation, the time as teammates in competitive sport comes to an end. But not for the Gustavus Eight. And this is where the sport of bandy comes into their story."

>> Bandy?: Similar to hockey, It is played almost exclusively in the Scandinavian countries, the Baltic countries, and Mongolia. A team is composed of from 8 to 11 players who wear skates and use curved sticks to hit a ball. The goalie does not use a stick but, alone among the players, can touch the ball with his hands. The use of a ball instead of a flat puck makes bandy faster than hockey.

>> Situational Awareness: "In the fall of 2011, Kennedy's junior year, she took a class, "Organizational Behavior", taught by Professor Kathi Tunheim. A guest lecturer, Mike Dueber, who was a Gustavus grad of 1989, spoke to the class. Dueber was also a bandy player, having skated in the US league for years. He became a mentor to Kennedy and at one point asked her what she intended to do with hockey after she graduated. Kennedy responded that she would likely play senior women's hockey in the existing Women's Hockey Association of Minnesota - "WHAM". Dueber suggested that she also give bandy a try. He noted that for decades Gustavus had been supplying players to the US men's bandy league, including many players who had gone on to skate for the USA men's national team. And that is what Kennedy did."

>> Next Step: "After graduating in 2013 Kennedy contacted the captain of the USA women's team about playing bandy and in the winter of 2013-14 began her new athletic career as a bandy player. Joining her was her roommate Christensen. The two were now hooked on bandy and they had no trouble convincing their former Gustie teammates Carroll, Wanecke and Bergh to become bandy players. All five began playing for the women's team in the US First Division, and were teammates on the US women's national team at the 2016 world championships held in Roseville, Minnesota."

>> The Big Picture: "Throughout these years, long after their Gustavus hockey careers had ended, the Gustie Eight not only continued as teammates, but also as close friends. In the summer of 2019, when Bergh got married, and then in 2021 when Carroll, Kennedy, Wanecke and Meuwissen were married, their bandy teammates made up the majority of their bridesmaids."

>> Continue Reading


2. Jackets On Top

Quentin Shields action photo 18
  1. Randolph-Macon (19), 12-1
  2. UW-Platteville (6), 16-0
  3. Illinois Wesleyan, 12-2
  4. Washington, Mo., 12-1
  5. UW-Oshkosh, 13-2
  6. Marietta, 12-2
  7. Yeshiva, 14-1
  8. St. Joseph's, Conn., 10-0
  9. Christopher Newport, 15-2
  10. UW-La Crosse, 13-2

>> Rising: Wesleyan (+6), Swarthmore (+5), WPI (+4)
>> Falling: Mary Hardin-Baylor (-5), Wheaton, Ill. (-4)
>> Hello: Case Western, Oswego
>> Goodbye: Roanoke, Emory

What We're Watching Tonight
  • No. 2 UW-Platteville vs. No. 5 UW-Oshkosh
  • No. 10 UW-La Crosse vs. UW-Whitewater
  • No. 11 Swarthmore vs. Ursinus
  • No. 19 WPI vs. Clark
  • No. 20 Williams vs. Amherst

>> Home Cooking: Randolph-Macon has won 38 straight home games.

>> Road Warriors: Yeshiva has won 24 consecutive road contests. Swarthmore is second at 23.

>> Tough Scheduling: Carnegie Mellon's past opposition has a combined record of 107-46 (.699). Chicago's future opponents are 102-29 (.779).

>> Complete Poll

3.  Dutch Treat
  1. Hope (25), 14-0
  2. Christopher Newport, 14-0
  3. Transylvania, 12-0
  4. Simpson, 14-1
  5. Trine, 12-2
  6. UW-Whitewater, 15-1
  7. Amherst, 9-1
  8. Whitman, 12-1
  9. New York U., 12-0
  10. Tufts, 11-2

>> Up: Marietta (+6), Baldwin Wallace (+4)
>> Down: UW-Eau Claire (-7), East Texas Baptist (-6)
>> Welcome: Mary Hardin-Baylor
>> See-Ya: Texas-Dallas

What We're Watching Tonight
  • No. 5 Trine vs. Albion
  • No. 11 Baldwin Wallace vs. No. 12 John Carroll
  • No. 13 Wartburg vs. Loras
  • No. 22 Mary Washington vs. Swarthmore

>> D-  Berry leads DIII in scoring defense (45.9), followed by Washington College (45.9), UW-Oshkosh (45.9), Johns Hopkins (46.8) and Haverford (46.9).

>> Bombs Away: North Central (Minn.) leads DIII in threes per game (12.1), while Wartburg (11.2) is second. La Verne (11.1), PSU-Harrisburg (10.9) and Westfield State (10.6) round out the top five.

>> Complete Poll

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4.   Kenyon Remains On Top

Gabrielle Wei
photo by David Heasley

  1. Kenyon
  2. Emory
  3. Denison
  4. Johns Hopkins
  5. Tufts
  6. New York U.
  7. Chicago
  8. Pomona-Pitzer
  9. MIT
  10. Williams

>> Up: Williams (+3), Amherst (+2), Hope (+2)
>> Down: Bowdoin (-3), Bates (-2)
>> New: Geneseo, Calvin
>> Old: Albion, Mary Washington

Dual Meets We're Watching This Weekend

  • No. 1 Kenyon vs. No. 20 Case Western Reserve
  • No. 5 Tufts vs. No. 9 MIT
  • No. 7 Chicago vs. No. 16 Hope
  • No. 9 MIT vs. No. 10 Williams
  • No. 13 Bates vs. No. 25 Bowdoin
>> Complete Poll

    5.   Fly, Eagles, Fly

    Emory Men Break Three Pool Records, Set Two School Records Through Two Days at Denison Invite

    1. Emory
    2. Denison
    3. Johns Hopkins
    4. Kenyon
    5. Chicago
    6. MIT
    7. Washington, Mo.
    8. New York U.
    9. Claremont-M-S
    10. Carnegie Mellon

    >> Up: Williams (+13), Pomona-Pitzer (+2)
    >> Down: UW-Eau Claire (-3), Caltech (-3), UW-Stevens Point (-3)
    >> New: Geneseo, Amherst
    >> Old: Birmingham-Southern, Rowan

    Dual Meets We're Watching This Weekend

    • No. 4 Kenyon vs. No. 17 Case Western Reserve
    • No. 5 Chicago vs. No. 18 Hope
    • No. 6 MIT vs. No. 11 Williams
    • No. 6 MIT vs. No. 13 Tufts
    • No. 15 TCNJ vs. No. 19 Rowan
    >> Complete Poll

      6.  Watchlist

      Freshman forward Lilly Edwards
      Lilly Edwards, Baldwin Wallace 

      Basketball (W): No. 11 Baldwin Wallace vs. No. 12 John Carroll
      • The OAC takes center stage tonight as Yellow Jackets (10-2) square off against the Blue Streaks (11-2).
      • Lilly Edwards leads the conference in scoring at 16.9 ppg for BW. Nicole Heffington is second at 15.9 for JCU.
      • Stream the game

      Basketball (M): No. 2 UW-Platteville vs. No. 5 UW-Oshkosh
      • It's a top-5 WIAC showdown between the Pioneers (16-0) and the Titans (13-2).
      • UWP is holding opponents to just 61.0 points per game. UWO's Derek Gray lit up UW-Whitewater for 36 points two weeks ago. 
      • Stream the Game

      7.  Comings and Goings
      Open Mailbox with Raised Flag on Apple iOS 14.2  Thanks for starting your day with us.

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