| March 27, 1998 Concordian
| Cobber Sports |
| Track | Softball | Ehrlick Column on Golf |
Softball team kicks off season with 8 games in Florida
The Concordia softball team, hoping to improve
on last year's 13-17
The Cobbers opened play Wednesday in Fort Meyers, Fla. In the first two of eight games, Concordia beat Bowdin College, 13-3, and Albright College, 10-4.
As the Cobbers look to improve on last year's record, they will also focus on raising their batting average.
"We need to pick that back up," said head coach Steve Baumgartner. "So far the hitting looks good, but it's hard to judge in the (batting) cages."
The Cobbers lost four starters from last year, but have an experienced team returning for the 1998 season. They team will be led by sophomore All-Conference outfielder Cindy Frey, and seniors Julie Campion and Sheri Damlo.
"We're pretty solid all the way through," Baumgartner said. "We've got the makings of a very good defensive team."
Other returning starters include juniors Allison
Haaland and Heidi Mueller, and sophomore
Laura Danielson. Concordia has seven newcomers
on the roster, including freshman pitcher Christine
Moen and infielders Steph Boll and Heather
Everyone, that is, but Concordia's runners, jumpers, hurdlers, vaulters and throwers.
But they don't seem to mind the rocks, the mud or the puddles. As junior Jeremy Blake put it: "Hey, we're finally outside."
After an indoor season that surpassed everyone's expectations, the men's and women's track teams are making the transition to outdoors. This means gaining a few new faces and few new events, losing a few indoor events and dealing with the elements.
"The track is pretty clear, but the hammer throwers have to wade out into a pond to get their hammers," said women's head coach Marv Roeske. "But they were anxious to get outside. It doesn't bother them, I think [the puddles] are a bonding agent."
The outdoor hammer throw replaces the indoor 20# weight throw. Most indoor events carry over to outdoor track, but some distances change and some middle-distance running events are eliminated.
The javelin, the discus and the 10,000 meter run are also added for the outdoor season.
Cobbers end indoor season on high note
Before earning the 1998 title, Concordia's most recent MIAC women's indoor title was from 1988. This year's long-awaited victory brought bragging rights back to Cobberville and broke St. Thomas' nine-year winning streak.
"I knew we had a good chance, but when it actually happened, we couldn't believe it worked out for us," said senior co-captain Sarah Severson.
It "worked out" that after a tight three-day race, only one point separated the top three teams - Concordia, Gustavus and St. Thomas.
Concordia's strong performance in the final two events, the 4x400 and the 4x800, gave Concordia the edge they needed to bump the Gusties and the Tommies into second and third place.
St. Thomas captured its 14th straight MIAC men's indoor track and field title in Minneapolis, March 5-7.
Although the Cobber men couldn't break the Tommies' streak, their third-place showing the Cobbers their second-best finish ever.
"The freshmen really came through for us," said Blake, adding that this year's new faces have adjusted well to the demanding transition from high school to college track. "In high school, you run for two, maybe three months," he said. But the college season runs from January to May. "That's a lot of wear and tear on the legs," he said. "You don't have that as much in high school."
The freshmen adjusted well to the wear, tear and demands of college track, but they couldn't escape the butterflies at the conference meet.
"I downplayed what place we'd get [at the conference meet]," said men's head coach Garrick Larson. "I didn't want to make the freshmen more nervous than they already were."
Although none of the women qualified for the finals, Severson said, "At that point, we were still enjoying the excitement of winning [the conference meet]. That was our peak."
Bigger numbers, more talent
According to Roeske, the expansion is due to heavy recruiting, by both the coaches and the athletes.
"Most of the credit goes to the athletes themselves," said Roeske. "If they enjoy [being on the team], they tell others."
This season's numbers indicate that the athletes have obviously done the job. The women's team nearly doubled in size this year, and the men's team reached a peak last year. Thirty-nine athletes currently make up the men's team, led by captains Mark Aslakson, senior, Dan Buchholz, junior, and Blake.
Building on past success
"This is the most balanced the team has been," said Roeske, adding that the women's team scored in all but three events at the indoor championship meet. "And our depth comes from our returning veterans and talented freshman."
"Hopefully we can achieve the success we had indoors," said Blake. "It will be interesting to see how we place in the conference. . .hopefully in the top three."
Last year, Blake, along with junior Micah Benson, sophomore Matt Raml and 1997 graduate Peter Benson, set a Concordia record in the 4x400 at the Last Chance Invitational at the University of Minnesota.
"Setting the record was a secondary thing," said Blake. "We were concentrating on qualifying for the national meet."
Unfortunately, they missed qualifying for the meet by a quarter of a second. But their disappointment fizzled, somewhat, when they found out they broke a record.
"I didn't expect to set a school record," Blake said. "We didn't even know we set it until Garrick told us."
This year, three of the four runners on that team are returning for the 1998 season. And matching, or surpassing last year's success is not out of the question.
"We'll have to wait and see about that, but it's something to shoot for," said Blake. "It's definitely a possibility, if we can find a fourth guy."
And with the women's outdoor roster nearly identical to the indoor roster, the women are strong contenders for the MIAC outdoor championship.
"We think it's possible," said Severson, "and we're shooting for it.
But there's no doubt that [Gustavus and St. Thomas] will be just as pumped
as we are. We're all so close."
As the green in our checkbooks slowly starts to dwindle and the green in the grass every so slowly starts to comeback, my mind turns from study mode to daydream mode.
I dream about summer. I dream about actually earning money. I dream about Jeannie.
And as I revel in the impending sport seasons, there is one sport, if it can be called sport, that I fail to understand. Golf seems to defy my very understanding of the word "sport." Maybe am I uncouth, that is possible -- I still think velcro is both fashionable and innovative. Maybe I wouldn't know a sport if it came up and bit me -- I think bowling is sensible exercise for those who don't have a desire for exertion.
The very things that should make golf a meaningful and beautiful game are left underrated and unemphasized in the game. So, as we approach the springtime, a time of new beginnings, I would suggest a couple of minor revisions to the game of golf.
Better use of open space. True, there are occassional sandtraps and water hazards, but really can't we be anymore creative than that? Golf could learn a lot from its bastard cousin mini-golf. How about loop-de-loops and small explosives to season this stuffy game up? Besides with that much open space you could easily field a defensive team that would chase after the balls hoping to get to them before you so that they could toss the balls into the water hazards.
Golf attire. Can anyone really take a person's golf attire seriously? My grandmother has better curtains than most golfer's pants Polyester maybe flame retardant, but it certainly is not nerd retardant. I still cannot decide whether these are clothes from the Burt Reynolds' line at Wal-Mart or designed by TV's June Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley) on a bad acid trip. Like football, baseball, soccer, and hockey, golf needs an attire all of its own, not like something stolen from a county nursing home.
The "play against yourself" mentality. No one out of puberty
Golf terminology. Bogies, birdies, strokes and handicaps. Is this some Hasboro game I haven't heard about? Maybe golf could attract more devotees if it would use terminology that made a difference. Terms like "bashing distance" and "cart launching record" seem infinitely more fascinating than "par" and "handicap."
Golf cart potential. Golf carts are a little slice of heaven on wheels. With all the well groomed open terrain combined with the infrequent sand dunes and rolling creeks, it seems to me golf is missing a golden opportunity to capitalize on human bowling. Come on, even Ray Charles could play this game -- the colors of golf clothes are so obnoxious that almost any species in the animal kingdom (except some rare breeds of marsupials) could target in on the green plaid pants/pink sweater combination.
Golfing beverage selection. You rarely hear of this aspect in the sporting magazines, but it is obvious when you hit the greens that golf has superior beverage selections. Though it rears its ugly head from time to time manifesting itself by people trying to clear the golfcarts over the sandtraps or by off-color comments such as, "Flyod your driver's showing," the beverage selection even beats the blue-ribbon quality of bowling. While other sports have their power-ades and gator-ades and water, golf strives for beverage excellence of the fermented kind. This at least explains how Fuzzy Zoeller and Tiger Woods got their names.
Maybe I am just too darned content with the boys of summer roundin'
the bases to be concerned with this gentleman's game, but I would like
to suggest that like a mind, a sport is a terrible thing to waste.