Bye-Bye Tommies, The MIAC Is Flourishing
Baseball Preview, Softball Surprises, Berea To HCAC, Academic All-America Women's Tennis
JUNE 2, 2023 | written by STEVE ULRICH
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» What’s Happening Today. DIII Softball championship (through June 7); DIII Baseball championship (through June 8); DIII Congressional Advocates, 12p
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1. Bye-Bye Tommies, The MIAC Is Flourishing
Gustavus Adolphus won the 2023 NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey championship
by Pat Borzi, Twin Cities Business
“Each May, the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC), the area’s premier Division III league, awards All-Sports trophies to its best overall men’s and women’s programs. It’s a big deal among the MIAC’s most competitive schools, and both 2022 winners repeated this year – St. John’s on the men’s side, and Gustavus Adolphus on the women’s. The Gusties women added the MIAC’s 46th team national championship, in ice hockey.
The list of past All-Sports winners features lots of repeat champions, none more dominant than the university that departed the conference amid controversy two years ago – St. Thomas, which won a record 12 consecutive titles in each gender from 2008-19 before moving up to Division I in 2021. (Trophies weren’t awarded in 2020 or 2021 due to the pandemic.)
Without the Tommies, most MIAC observers believe the conference has become more competitive and balanced. That’s exactly what its Presidents Council and athletic administrators hoped for once the Tommies moved on.”
» Situational Awareness: “That wasn’t necessarily the case in 2019, when the Presidents Council sought to oust St. Thomas, a founding member whose undergraduate enrollment of about 6,100 far exceeded that of every other conference institution. Enough schools threatened to leave the nearly 100-year-old MIAC if St. Thomas remain that Tommies officials ultimately chose to withdraw. There were hard feelings on both sides (still are) and lots of bad publicity for the MIAC, accused of bouncing a school for winning too much.”
» Why It Matters: “Officials at many MIAC schools felt St. Thomas had outgrown the conference, given its enrollment, institutional ambitions and $550 million endowment. The Tommies’ subsequent move to Division I, bypassing Division II, suggests they were on to something.”
» Worth Noting: In the just-concluded school year, seven of the 13 MIAC members earned conference titles. “The MIAC is in a really good place currently,” said Commissioner Dan McKane.
2. Championship Preview
The Elite Eight in 2023 NCAA Division III Baseball begins championship play today with four games in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Johns Hopkins (44-5) vs. Misericordia (39-13), 10:00 CT
Blue Jays | Batting Avg (340) | Scoring (10.43) | ERA (3.28)
Cougars | Batting Avg (324) | Scoring (8.67) | ERA (4.25)
Players to Watch: (JH) Matthew Cooper (431-24-67), Shawn Steuerer (420-16-55), Gabriel Romano (10-1, 1.76). (M) Garrett McIlhenney (404-5-36), Jason Sanfilippo (385-2-33), David McCurry (7-1, 3.78).
Endicott (45-7) vs. Baldwin Wallace (36-10), 1:15
Gulls | Batting Avg (326) | Scoring (8.58) | ERA (2.89)
Yellow Jackets | Batting Avg (336) | Scoring (9.04) | ERA (4.41)
Players to Watch: (E) Danny MacDougall (411-4-24), Caleb Shpur (377-10-56), Gabe Van Emon (10-1, 1.51). (BW) Sean Kolenich (407-3-39), Alexis Castillo (400-8-56), Garrett Miller (9-0, 3.76).
Salisbury (35-6) vs. East Texas Baptist (40-13), 4:30
Sea Gulls | Batting Avg (343) | Scoring (11.22) | ERA (4.14)
Tigers | Batting Avg (340) | Scoring (9.42) | ERA (4.47)
Players to Watch: (S) Danny Sheeler (400-13-53), Kavi Caster (369-10-47), Jimmy Adkins (6-0, 3.19). (ETBU) Ben Lea (403-23-55), Jordan Hara (391-6-52), Sayers Collins (11-2, 2.64).
Lynchburg (43-7) vs. UW-La Crosse (36-11), 7:45
Hornets | Batting Avg (297) | Scoring (8.02) | ERA (3.18)
Profs | Batting Avg (337) | Scoring (8.43) | ERA (4.74)
Players to Watch: (L) Brandon Garcia (346-0-29), Benton Jones (321-8-36), Zack Potts (11-0, 2.41). (UWL) Mac Born (417-9-51), Jack Olver (372-13-52), Isaiah Katz (7-0, 3.45).
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3. Surprises Highlight Opening Day
So much for pre-tournament seedings, as all four top seeds went down to defeat on the opening day of the 2023 Division III Softball Championship.
Eighth-seeded Moravian toppled top-ranked and No. 1 seed Salisbury, 4-1, while fifth-seeded Berry blanked No. 4 seed Christopher Newport, 3-0. The Sea Gulls and Captains meet in an elimination game today at noon ET, while the Greyhounds and Vikings square off at 5:00.
Seventh-seeded Coe whitewashed No. 2 Linfield, 3-0, and No. 6 Rowan got the better of No. 3 seed Trine, 11-4. The Wildcats and Thunder play in an elimination contest at 2:30 and the Kohawks and Profs tangle at 7:30.
4. Berea Leaves CCS For HCAC In 24-25
The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) announced today the addition of Berea College into the league following a vote by the HCAC Council of Presidents. With the introduction of the Mountaineers beginning in the 2024-25 academic year, the league will expand to 11 full-time member institutions.
Berea is the first institution to join the HCAC since Earlham College was added in 2010.
“Berea College is a welcome addition to our conference. They have an outstanding academic reputation and will compete well athletically within our league.” said HCAC Commissioner Jay Jones. “The institution is a wonderful fit for the HCAC and we are excited to welcome them into our membership.”
» What They’re Saying: “I am delighted that the HCAC presidents have voted to invite Berea College to join their conference,” President Lyle D. Roelofs said. “We look forward to competing with this group of quality institutions with which we share many important characteristics and values.”
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5. Kassaie Tops Academic Tennis Squad
Case Western Reserve sophomore Hannah Kassaie was named the Academic All-American of the Year as the College Sports Communicators announced their 2023 Academic All-America women’s tennis team. She earned All-America honors in both singles and doubles while compiling a 4.0 GPA in nutrition.
The members of the first team compiled an average GPA of 3.938.
Courtney Day, Sr., Wisconsin-Whitewater, 4.00, Integrated Business & Science
Alexa Goetz, Sr., Emory, 3.88, Business Administration
Hannah Gorel, Sr., St. Mary’s (Md.), 4.00, Computer Science & Mathematics
Hannah Kassaie, Soph., Case Western Reserve, 4.00, Nutrition
Lily McCloskey, Soph., Case Western Reserve, 4.00, Biomedical Engineering
Claudia Ng, Sr., Chicago, 3.93, Economics
Sarah Pertsemlidis, Sr., MIT, 3.76, Biological Engineering
6. Lightning Round ⚡️
🗞 News. Wisconsin-River Falls announced the addition of baseball and men’s soccer as varsity sports beginning in 2024-25
🥎 Softball. The NFCA honored nine players with its inaugural Gold Glove Awards.
🏈 Football. Roanoke raised $1.3M to exceed the goal established by its Board of Trustees to add football, marching band and cheerleaders. Of that total, $300,000 came from corporate sponsors in the Roanoke Valley.
🎂 Happy Birthday. Cake and candles for Eric Widger and Mike Snyder (Sat.), and Melanie Lott, Brian Kelley, David Marty and Jeff Thomas (Sun.).
Do you know of someone celebrating an upcoming birthday? Drop us a line at [email protected]
7. Comings and Goings
EARLHAM - Zoe Wilkins named head women’s lacrosse coach
EUREKA - Sam Durley named assistant football coach
FONTBONNE - Ethan Kristek named faculty athletics representative
HENDRIX - Taylor Frombaugh named head women’s lacrosse coach
ITHACA - Jeff Long retired as head men’s lacrosse coach
LUTHER - Khayleb Willis named assistant football coach
MIT - Julie Heyde named director of track and field/cross country
NEBRASKA WESLEYAN - Derrick McKenzie named interim head cross country/track and field coach
RANDOLPH - Prince Charles named head women’s lacrosse coach
ROCHESTER - Ryan Roland named assistant men’s basketball coach
SARAH LAWRENCE - John Carroll named head volleyball coach
SIMPSON - Ashlan Burton named assistant track and field coach
STEVENS - Amanda Rachwal named assistant women’s volleyball coach
SUNY DELHI - Zack Thomsen resigned as head men’s basketball coach
TEXAS LUTHERAN - Darlene Holland announced her retirement as head cross country/track and field coach
TRINITY (Conn.) - Hannah Tepper named assistant field hockey coach
WESTMINSTER (Mo.) - Hunter Briggs named head cross country/track and field coach
WISCONSIN-SUPERIOR - Ryan Castaneda named sports information specialist
📬 Thanks for starting your day with us. Have a great weekend
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