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ISSUE 118 VOL 4 PUBLISHED 10/8/2004

Great moments in Ole sports lore

By Ryan Maus
Sports Editor


Friday, October 8, 2004

In light of the St. Olaf football teams amazing 31-point, come-from-behind victory over Luther earlier this year, we here at the Messenger began to wonder how that unbelievable feat stacks up against some of the other great accomplishments in the Colleges relatively brief sporting history.

Over the past few weeks, weve asked various members of the Ole coaching staff to share some of the most outstanding and memorable achievements they have witnessed in their careers at St. Olaf. The following list is by no means complete, as there have been so many great moments in the Colleges 114-year history of competitive sports that it would be impossible to list them all. It is, however, a quick glimpse into a past that has provided so many fond memories for so many generations of St. Olaf students, athletes, coaches and fans.

Ole Gunderson 72 goes 95 yards for a touchdown one play after his 80-yard is touchdown run is called back by a penalty against Monmouth College on November 4, 1970.

In a game marred by shoddy officiating, Gunderson, St. Olafs all-time leading rusher, ripped off an impressive 80-yard touchdown run against the undefeated Scots. But the play was called back after a questionable penalty, pinning the Oles on their own five yard line. On the very next play, Gunderson pulled off one of the most amazing runs I have ever seen, according to former football coach Dave Hauck, going 95 yards for the score. That 1970 St. Olaf team beat Monmouth 41-32 that day to clinch the Midwest Conference crown and secure the only undefeated season (9-0) in school history.

Brian Sprout 01 hits for the home run cycle as St. Olaf trounces Augsburg 39-4 on April 29, 2002.

In what is truly one of the most impressive individual performances in Division III baseball history, Sprout went 5-7 with a double and four home runs. His homers  one solo shot, a two-run homer, a three-run homer, and a grand slam  tied an NCAA Division III record. Sprout, who is currently playing minor league baseball in the Los Angeles Dodgers system, also collected 11 RBIs and 18 total bases, the second and third highest single-game totals respectively in Division III history. The Oles would win game two of the doubleheader 26-7.

Volleyball defeats UC-San Diego to advance to the 1996 Division III Final Four.

The three-year run of dominance achieved by the St. Olaf volleyball team from 1993 to 1996 is legendary. The team lost only 21 of 156 matches over the three-year span, but the pinnacle would come in November of 1996. Traci Cook 97, who currently serves as the teams co-coach, served 11 straight points in the last game to win the match. At the Final Four tournament in Oshkosh, Wis., the team would take third place, the highest finish in Ole volleyball history.

Mens basketball regains Goat Trophy in overtime on controversial last-second call February 1, 2003.

In a game that featured 11 ties and seven lead changes, St. Olafs Mike Ludwig 03 hit a 16-foot jump shot to break a 69-69 tie with only seconds left in overtime. However, the apparent 30-foot game-winning three-pointer by Carletons Scott Christensen was waved off after an inadvertent shot clock buzzer, allowing St. Olaf to escape with a dramatic 71-69 victory.

Womens basketball defeats Carleton 62-61 on February 22, 1992, en route to a NCAA Regional tournament appearance.

The 1991-92 St. Olaf womens basketball team will go down as one of the greatest Cinderella stories in school history. The team lost four different starters due to injury at various points during the year, forcing even the teams trainer to suit up for added depth. Despite this adversity, the Oles managed to post a 19-7 overall record, even winning 13 of 14 games during one stretch. The highlight of the regular season came on February 22, when the Oles recovered from a dismal first half shooting effort to defeat Carleton 62-61. The Oles would cap their improbable season with a fourth place finish in the NCAA Division III Regional Tournament.

Mens swimming and diving wins 20 consecutive MIAC titles from 1980 to 1999.

Undoubtedly one of the top programs in the country over this span, the St. Olaf mens swimming and diving team experienced an unprecedented run of success in the MIAC during the 1980s and 1990s. Led by such greats as Bob Hauck 87 and Kevin Casson 89, the teams 20 straight conference titles set a MIAC record for consecutive championships in any sport.

St. Olaf hosts 2002 womens cross country national championships and places 19th; Megan Daymont 02 places 12th overall.

St. Olaf womens cross country has experienced a great deal of success during head coach Chris Daymonts 24-year tenure, including 15 national meet appearances, but none can compare to the 2002 Division III National Championships, held here at St. Olaf.

Not only was it the first time St. Olaf had hosted the event, it also marked the final collegiate race for Daymonts daughter, Megan, whose 12th place finish (21:58) was the second-highest in team history. Daymont, a 12-time All-American in three different sports, is undoubtedly the greatest runner in program history.

The St. Olaf mens cross country team has two runners place in the top five of the 1977 National Championship Meet in Cleveland, Ohio.

In a meet that had a decidedly Northfield-slant to it, Oles Mike Palmquist 80 (26:06) and Matt Haugen 78 (26:08) placed third and fifth overall respectively in a gargantuan field of 396 runners.

Carletons Dale Kramer won the event, marking the only time in the events 30-year history that three runners from the same community have finished in the top five. The Oles finished ninth out of a whopping 52 teams, the second-highest finish in team history.

As you can see, there have been many great feats in the schools rich and varied athletic tradition. If the past is any indication, there are many more such moments to come in the future. Even if you are not an athlete yourself, consider attending a St. Olaf sporting event next time you have the opportunity. Who knows? You might just witness the next chapter in Ole history.





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