By Ned Belliveau
It’s early February here on the Hill, and that means spring sports are just around the corner. Here is a brief sport-by-sport look at what to expect from your Tiger teams this spring:
The Tiger baseball team was picked to finish sixth in the preseason ODAC poll and is hoping to exceed their original prognosis. Sophomore pitcher Zach Whitaker was named last season’s ODAC Rookie of the Year and looks to replicate his excellent freshman campaign in which he finished with a 7-4 record and a 3.38 ERA. On the offensive side, the Tigers are powered by Jeff Gray (.357 batting average, .504 slugging percentage) and Christian Hamlett (.325 batting average, .462 slugging percentage). The team opened their season with two losses against Averett on February 2, and a 16-5 defeat against eighth-ranked Christopher Newport on February 4. The Tigers will return home on February 16 as they play host to the Stevenson Mustangs.
Led by captains Ryan Martin (27 goals, 13 assists) and Cam Sheppard (32 groundballs, ten caused turnovers), the Tiger lacrosse team is primed for a breakout season. The biggest challenge the Tigers will face is the losses of offensive tandem Micah Keller (team high 37 goals) and Carter Mavromatis (team high 38 assists) to graduation, but with the emergence of sophomores Thomas Armstrong (22 points as a freshman) Corey Mavromatis (10 points, 4 starts as a freshman) plus an influx of new talent, the Tiger offense should keep humming along. On the defensive end, the Tigers will have to rebound from the loss of senior duo Nate Norbo and Andrew Pritzlaff (39 combined caused turnovers). Sheppard will help cushion the blow as will the senior leadership of converted goalie Austin Black. In the cage for the Tigers will be senior Cody Hornung, who is looking to put an exclamation point on his collegiate career.
After a short fall season, the Tiger tennis team is looking to achieve success in the regular season. Sophomore Zach King will lead the team as its probable #1 singles player after spending his freshman campaign at the #2 spot. Houghton Flanagan will bring up the rear as the #2 seed with close competition from junior and newcomer Alex Turkovic who has been paired with Flanagan in doubles matches and has had success in his first collegiate season. Other contributors will be the freshman duo of Lawrence Bowers and David Dodson, who look to push their older counterparts and move into top spots on the team.
The golf team looks to swing into the season on the right foot after posting good results during their fall campaign, including a 1st place finish at The Manor Invitational. Junior Rick O’Connell is building towards an even better junior season after leading the Tigers at every event his sophomore year. Second year coach Mac Main has a deep squad and hopes to make a push for the ODAC conference title. The Tigers open the season February 25 in Southern Pines, NC as they participate in the Pine Needles Invitational.
The Tiger cross country team will continue on into the spring as they will travel to three meets over the course of the spring in preparation for the fall season. Coach Betsy Prengaman expects a bigger turnout for the track team, as it also includes sprinters and athletes in the field events. Junior Andrew Stoddard will attempt to achieve his cross country success on the track, a feat he was able to accomplish last season, and lead the team into the fall. Freshman William Imeson also looks to be a contributor, and Coach Prengaman is confident that the injuries the team suffered in the fall will not be a setback.