Winter Sports Preview
LORAS COLLEGE — As the fall sports teams head into the post-season or off-season, the winter sports teams are just getting warmed up. The SportsZONE crew checked in with four of Loras’ winter teams to get a sneak peek at what’s in store for the season.
Sitting in on practice with the Loras men’s basketball team, one thing is clear: these Duhawks are athletic and not afraid to show it. With many starters returning, including last season’s leading scorer Nathaniel Smith and senior forward Alex Cline, the Duhawks are looking for a strong start to the year. In addition to the familiar faces, keep an eye on talented newcomers like Domonique Criss and James Stoll. The players tell us they’re shooting for a conference championship.
The women’s basketball team has a new offense and defense in place, and is ready to get the ball rolling this season. “I think once we start to click and once everything starts to make sense a little bit more, we’re going to be pretty dangerous,” says head coach Justin Heinzen. His confidence stems from having a roster stacked with seniors like Katie Wheeler and Katie Langmeier — who he believes is one of the best players in the Iowa Conference. He also pointed to Kaitlin Phillips as a player to watch; she’s bouncing back from an injury and ready to make an impact on the court.
The wrestling team is starting the season with its highest ranking in six years. Loras has a young team, returning thirteen wrestlers from last year’s stellar freshman class, including heavyweight James Buss – ranked second in his weight class. They also retain leadership, as they bring back a few seniors including Joe (Barney) Wood, who is ranked third in his 149-pound weight class. The Duhawks are setting their sights high and aiming for a national championship.
The Loras swimmers started off hot, with a 2-0 record before falling to Augustana last week. Head coach Doug Colin says his team has a great season in store thanks to leaders like Evan Roper and Jill Gerkin. The freshmen are also making a splash with three men and three women joining the team. Colin says Michael Krol, Isaac Casey, and Lance Scallon “will all be at the top of our relays.”