It was another light sports week for Northwestern with Dance Marathon (special shout out to all the dancers for another amazing effort!) and the winter quarter winding down. Conference tournaments for women’s basketball and wrestling took place this past weekend and the men’s basketball team is winding down its season.
Spring sports are just starting up and getting their seasons going.
Still, it is sometimes good even at the beginning to take a step back and look at the big picture. And that is what the baseball team can do after a 14-6 win over Chicago State in Port Charlotte, Fla. Longtime coach Paul Stevens notched the 600th win of his career.
Stevens has been Northwestern’s baseball coach for the last 25 years and has seen a lot of great players come through Northwestern. His teams have not always been the most successful, but his player seem to really like him.
This past weekend, Northwestern went 2-2 at the Snowbird Classic in Florida, topping Xavier in addition to Chicago State. In that win over the Cougars, the Wildcats batted around in the fifth inning and scored six runs to increase their lead to nine runs. That was a runaway win on getaway day.
Northwestern got help from two errors in the top of the ninth to plate home Jack Quigley for the winning run in the 3-2 victory over Xavier. The Wildcats are 3-7 early on this season.
The baseball team is usually somewhere in the middle of the pack of the Big Ten, sometimes even struggling to get into the Big Ten Tournament. Hopefully Stevens can build off this individual accomplishment and lead NU to a surprising season in conference.
Dayana Sarkisova & Devynn Patterson, Fencing: Sarkisova and Patterson won a pair of duels to help Northwestern finish second at the Midwest Conference championship this past weekend. It was Northwestern’s highest finish since 2007. Sarkisova and Patterson helped Northwestern win the gold medal in the women’s foil. Patterson clinched the medal with a 5-0 win in her bout against Ohio State’s Allison Henvick.
Jason Welch, Wrestling: Welch completed a strong Big Ten season by finishing second at the Big Ten championships at 157 pounds. Welch suffered his first loss of the year in the final (a loss to Iowa’s Derek St. John) by one point on a late take down in the third period. It was a disappointing way for him to end his Big Ten season, but he will have a chance for redemption in the NCAAs. Welch was one of six wrestlers to medal at the Big Ten championships.
Shannon Smith, Lacrosse: Smith scored the second goal of overtime Wednesday in an 11-9 come-from-behind victory at Syracuse. The Wildcats had to erase a four-goal deficit at one point in the second half and used a 7-0 run to do so. There would be no early-season loss for the defending national champions in this big win. Fitzgerald had the game-winning goal in the overtime. Smith, though, had five goals in this mid-week road trip. She then put on a show for the first home game of the year with a goal in NU’s 15-2 win over Oregon at Lakeside Field.
SPECIAL HONORABLE MENTION
John Shurna, Men’s Basketball: I am sure he will be the Wildcat of the Week next week… I am sure he will be Wildcat of the Quarter (do we even need to go through the voting process?). Still, it is good to take a moment and recognize some history. Shurna was named to the All-Big Ten First Team, becoming the first Northwestern player to do so since Jitim Young in 2004 and the first Northwestern player to be a three-time All-Big Ten player since Evan Eschmeyer. He finished the season as the Big Ten’s leading scorer too. All things that just don’t happen at Northwestern. They did this year… and the journey is not over yet.