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COLLEGE SPORTS: SC athletic program continues to improve

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By Tom Bystrek

In the first year of competition in the Mid-South Conference (2009-2010), the St. Catharine College Patriots found themselves next to last in the President’s Cup standings, which is the overall ranking of the teams in the conference that gives points for the order of finish in each sport.

In the second year in the conference St. Catharine moved up one spot and this year the Patriots find themselves in sixth place overall among the nine teams that competed for league titles. Lindsey Wilson College was the winner of the President’s Cup and University of the Cumberlands and Campbellsville were second and third, respectively.

“We have showed steady improvement each year,” SC athletic director Mike Doig said. “And we are able to improve our position even though we get no points for football, wrestling or women’s tennis, which we haven’t yet started.”

Wrestling and football are still somewhere down the road for St. Catharine but women’s tennis will be added starting next year, according to Doig.

“We look to solidify the sports we already have and are looking forward to putting a women’s tennis team on the courts next year,” he said.

The new tennis courts, six of them, will be completed within the next few weeks. And Doig said that is one of a number of improvements to be completed in the near future.

“We will be upgrading the playing surfaces for both baseball and softball,” he said. “We will also add lights to the soccer field and track complex and we will be adding two new goals in the gym to allow for more efficient practices as well as for student life to have more chances to use the gym.”

For the year just completed, the Patriots didn’t win any Mid-South Conference championships but were competitive in all areas. J.T Burton’s men’s basketball team claimed third place in the regular season and Lena Bramblett’s women won 21 games, nine more than in any season since joining the NAIA.

On the diamond Holly Smith’s softball Patriots enjoyed their best post-season performance as they finished third in the conference tournament. And Luther Bramblett’s Bat Pats won 32 baseball games, the 10th consecutive season that a Bramblett squad has top the 30-victory mark.

The Patriot volleyball team finished with a 25-10 record and St. Catharine coach Adam Stevenson was awarded the Coach of the Year honor for the MSC. Joan Rizer’s men’s golf team finished fourth in the conference and the women’s team was much improved this season, also finishing fourth.

The soccer teams will get back home for the 2012 season as they had to relocate last fall as the new track was installed and the soccer field refurbished. Tim Wolz and Paul Patton, coaching the men and women respectively, have had excellent recruiting seasons and look to challenge the top teams in the very strong field of conference soccer teams.

Blake Jones has also gathered in some quality recruits for his cross country and track teams as he continues to build a program that saw improved performances in all areas the past season.  Likewise, Jim Coomer has added some talented men’s tennis players to the roster as he also has worked to start the women’s program. In the men’s first year of conference competition this spring, the Patriots finished sixth out of the seven conference teams.

Overall, the athletic presence on the St. Catharine campus continues to grow. In the 2011-2012 academic year there was a total of 371 athletes on campus.

 

Tom Bystrek is the sports information director at St. Catharine College.