The baseball team is 12-20 this year with surprisingly more wins away than at home. Sophomore pitcher Luke Ball highlighted the efforts of his brother Greg as pitcher of the week, sophomore Kit Banko’s walk-off hit to defeat Robert Morris, and pitching a no-hitter against St. Louis Christian as a few of his personal highlights from this year’s season.
The main challenge for the baseball team this year has been the amount of errors made in the infield play. Ball also stated that the team was also disappointed not to have won conference but looks to continue improving and “staying in the hunt for the playoffs.”
Ball also highlighted the efforts of his senior teammates, including Alan Cheatham, whose overall batting average is .431.
The team will continue to push for more wins in the hope of ending the season with a series of victories over Blackburn, MacMurray, and Spaulding.
The softball team faced a tough season but has been able to reflect on opportunities for growth.
“At the beginning of each season we have goals that we have to write down that we’ll strive for throughout the whole season. The best part so far has been seeing how all the incoming freshmen have improved, how the returning players have improved, and how everyone has met those goals,” said sophomore pitcher Casey Lee.
While the team has had individual success in terms of accomplishing goals and bonding as a team, one challenge lies in the team’s ability to prevent small mistakes.
“The challenge really has been just focusing throughout the entire game,” said Lee. “We talk about playing a full seven innings, being in each moment and playing it 100 percent. So we usually have an inning where a couple of mistakes are made and we’ve lost it. Those tend to get us down.”
When this issue of the Pilot went to print, the team’s record was 2-0-22.
Lee explained: “We’re really looking forward to playing [with] our hearts for the last game, and trying [our best]!”
For the rugby team this season, camaraderie has played a key role in success. Even tough times have raised the level of closeness among the players.
“[Despite our losses] we have stayed brothers. We learn from our mistakes and are able to apply them in practice. Whether we win or lose, the games bring us closer together…” said sophomore player Abraham Noui.
With any high intensity physical sport comes the suggestion of injury. Noui highlighted this as the key challenge that has affected the team’s ability to compete at times during the season.
Noui explained: “The material suggestion of playing a rough sport is always a challenge. We bring quotes and have started going to team [CSO services]. Getting that spiritual support has been helpful, whether it’s with something physical or mental.”
The Thunder Chickens appear to be taking measures to ensure success on and off the field. They concluded their season with a home game on Saturday, April 28.
Coach Casey Reynolds cited the team’s depth as a reason for their ability to maintain a first place ranking in the SLIAC conference and ultimately win the championship. According to Reynolds, it is not common for men’s tennis to be so highly ranked in the SLIAC throughout the season.
The men’s tennis team last won the SLIAC championship in 2005. This year, the team defeated Westminster for the SLIAC championship in a 5-2 victory after a final match win by freshman Nate Waters.
“The whole season has been a highlight,” said Reynolds. “The [team] works well together, they work hard, and they push each other.”
Coach Todd Zimmerman added: “A highlight was beating Westminster [in the regular season]. I don’t think we’ve beat them since ’06.”
The women’s tennis team this year was runner-up in the SLIAC with four players earning All Conference recognition. To add to their impressive accomplishments the team also had four players win SLIAC player of the week, the highest number in Principia’s history.
“A highlight for the entire team was the spring break trip to the Atlanta area,” said Head Coach Shannon Carney. “The team faced tough regionally and nationally ranked teams and competed well. Another highlight for the team is the strong unity among the team members. They truly enjoy each other’s company on and off the court.”
Due to the timing of abroads, the main challenge the team faced this year and will face in the future is missing players.
Absorbing player losses can be tough, but Coach Carney explained that the team has “worked really hard and bonded … They had a winning record in conference and overall.”
That ability to maintain a high ranking in SLIAC certainly shows a depth to the women’s tennis team similar to that of the men’s team.
Coach Carney also highlighted individual efforts by senior Marianna Hronek and sophomore Hilary Frandsen, who won doubles in the finals of SLIAC, as well as freshman Kelly Adams, who was undefeated this year in SLIAC conference play.
Even with challenging times ahead, women’s tennis looks forward to another shot at the SLIAC conference title next year.
Track and Field
The track team this year has had a very successful season with one national qualifier thus far and one near qualifier, as well.
“Throughout the whole team, everyone has made significant progress, and we’ve got a sport where we can measure progress pretty objectively,” said Head Coach Chuck Wilcoxen.
That’s especially significant when considering the caliber of competition some track athletes face. Those potentially competing at the national level still seem to be making significant gains, according to Coach Wilcoxen.
“Eight of our 24 athletes are nationally ranked,” said Coach Wilcoxen. That means one-third of track athletes have placed among the top 50 in the nation in their respective events.
“We have at least two women with a strong possibility of making it to the national meet in Claremont, California and more than a handful of men who could compete there as well in various events,” said an assistant track coach.
The track team looks forward to nationals and continuing to train and raise the level of competition.
“I don’t want it to ever end,” said junior Casey Powell.