It’s been a long break but we’re back! Here’s what you missed while we were away:
The men’s soccer team finished the season just one victory shy of claiming the NCAA Division III National Championship. The Duhawks dispatched DePauw and Wheaton on their way to Loras’ fifth Final Four appearance since 2007. Jonah Jacke, son of Green Bay Packers Hall-of-Famer Chris Jacke, scored the game-winner in the semifinal match to push the Duhawks past top-ranked Calvin and send them to the National Championship game against Amherst. Loras scored first in the title game, but Amherst took the match and the NCAA Championship by a score of 2-1. To go along with his team’s national runner-up finish, head coach Dan Rothert earned his 14th Iowa Conference Coach of the Year award this season.
Men’s cross country
After earning its second consecutive Iowa Conference title, the men’s cross country team claimed an at-large qualifying bid to compete in the NCAA Championship in Winneconne, Wis. Sophomore Mason Tope earned All-American honors at nationals, pacing the Duhawks to a 14th-place finish. Tope finished the race 30th, and sophomore Timothy Sevcik finished 63rd in a field of 278 runners.
Since December, the men’s basketball team finished their nonconference season and dove into conference play. The Duhawks are tied for second in the IIAC with a 6-4 record, 11-10 overall. Despite two losses to crosstown rival Univ. of Dubuque, the Duhawks secured thrilling victories over other opponents such as Luther and Coe. The team’s success is a result of a true cohesive effort under the leadership of senior Mirko Grcic and junior Justin VanWambeke.
The women’s basketball team has experienced an exciting season thus far. During the nonconference season, the Duhawks defeated two nationally ranked opponents in Wash.-St. Louis and the Univ. of Chicago. This tough competition helped prepare Loras for conference action as the team is tied for second in the IIAC with a 7-3 record, 14-7 overall. The Duhawks were forced into overtime twice this season, both times against the rival Spartans from up the street. Each team secured a victory leaving them deadlocked 1-1. Only four games remain in the regular season for the Duhawks.
The numbers in the win/loss columns don’t look good for the 2015-16 Duhawk matmen, but it has been a season of significant individual growth and achievement for Loras wrestling. Topping those individual accomplishments is the selection of longtime Loras coach Randy Steward to the National Wrestling Coaches Association NCAA Division III Hall of Fame. Steward, who has spent 22 seasons as the Duhawks’ coach, will be inducted on March 10.
Men’s and women’s swimming & diving
At the Grinnell Invitational on Saturday, the Loras swimming and diving programs’ athletes posted numerous seasonal bests as the men went on to finish sixth and the women took eighth. Freshman Mac Faldet finished the 100m breaststroke with a time of 57.91 sec., overtaking a Loras College school record. The men were able to snag 11 of the top-15 spots while the women grabbed nine.
Men’s and women’s track & field
The Duhawk track and field program competed at the Division III Keck Invite, hosted by Illinois Wesleyan in Bloomington, Ill., on Saturday, Feb. 6 with many positive outcomes. The women took fifth place overall, with three top-five finishers. Senior Bree Power and junior Emily Day both posted career-best times in the 60m dash and 3000m run, respectively. Junior Elizabeth Brandenburg also reached a new personal record in the pole vault with a height of 3.74 m., demolishing her previous record.
The men’s performance was highlighted by their 10 top-five finishers, and second place final ranking. Freshmen Jack Carroll and Nathan Kimbrell both posted personal bests in the 1 mile, Carroll taking the event. Sophomore Gerrand Moody posted the top time in the prelims and finals for the 60m hurdles, setting a Loras all-time record by placing himself as the 31st overall in Division III. The Loras Track and Field team will next take on the UW-Platteville Invite this Saturday, Feb. 13.
In their second season as a program, it is clear to see the men’s volleyball team has experienced much growth. After securing a 3-0 victory in their season opener, the Duhawks have improved to a 5-6 record on the year. A highlight of the season was winning three of their four matches at the Loras Invitational, hosted on campus in January. The team has already begun conference play, but they have yet to collect a win over an MCVL opponent.
The Loras men’s tennis team has only had one match thus far in their spring season in which they fell to the Judson Baptist Eagles, 9-0 on Sunday. Most notably in the match, freshman Riley Michel took five of 12 sets in third singles and four of eight sets in second doubles with partner Neil Kane.