Division III schools are unique because at places like St. Olaf, academics take precedence over athletics.
Many criticize athletes who are more interested in furthering their minds rather than participating in sports, but on the hill it is something we must all strive to understand. Often people are forced to make tough decisions. Last weekend the Nagel twins made such a decision. Instead of playing in the MIAC tournament, the event the entire season builds up to, they were taking the MCATs.
Ted and Tom Nagel have been the cornerstones of the St Olaf mens tennis team all season and with their absence the team had to continue on its own. The Oles finished the season in sixth place overall with a 4-7 record.
As always, the weather at St. Olaf was beautiful for tennis. The dominance of Gustavus Adolphus continued this season as they won their 15th consecutive conference championship and didnt drop a match.
The Oles each played well, but could not seem to register a win. Their first match was against a very strong St. Thomas team with a record of 13-4. All the matches were close, and although none were won by Oles, the coaching staff was happy with the effort put forth by the players.
The second match for the Oles was against cross-town rivals the Carleton Knights. Again the Oles played well, but could not snag a victory. Head coach Scott Nesbit commented that the Oles were extremely competitive with their opponents in both meets.
The final match of the tennis season put the MIAC championship hosts against the Macalester Scots. The Oles were not able to end their season with a win and Nesbit summarized the match by saying, the Oles won two of the singles matches, Dan Cohen 04 at number two singles and Mike Matsuura 06 at number five singles. They also had very close matches at number three singles and number four singles with respective players, Ross Bidlingmaier 05 and Mike Donohue 03 splitting sets and losing the super-tiebreaker for the deciding third set.
The Oles needed to win all their doubles matches to emerge victorious in the meet, but fell short despite excellent play from Matt Sobieski 03 and Cohen who played superbly at number one doubles defeating the Macalester duo 8-3.
The Oles finished the season in seventh place overall in the MIAC conference with a record of 4-10.
Next year should be a good year with the returning of the Nagel twins who, if the MCATs are over, will be more than ready to work up the ladder in the MIAC.
The Oles will lose seniors Matt Sobieski and Mike Donohue, but have a lot of talent coming up the ranks and with coaches Dave Olsen and Scott Nesbit, next year should be very enjoyable for everyone.
Although the regular tennis season is over, the team is not quite ready to pack it in for the summer. The squad will participate in the annual alumni tournament on May 10 immediately following the womens matches, about 3:00 p.m., at the Carson courts.