The year of athletics at St. Catharine College that just ended will not be considered as the best showing since the Patriot programs joined the NAIA and the Mid-South Conference in 2008. But there were some noteworthy accomplishments, both by individuals and teams, that will be recorded as “firsts” in the athletic annals of the institution.
Each year the President’s Cup is awarded to the Mid-South Conference school that accumulates the most points based on how well their teams place in the 20 sports contested in the conference. For 2012-2013 St. Catharine finished in ninth place among the 11 schools in the President’s Cup standings. Patriot teams finished with 58.5 points, one-half point behind eighth place Rio Grande. Last year St. Catharine was seventh in a nine-team Mid-South Conference with 63 points.
The best showing for a Patriot team this year was the women’s bowling team that finished in second place in the regular season. But Larry Luvisi’s team stepped up its game in the post-season to win the conference tournament – the first team championship ever won by a St. Catharine squad.
Following the Patriot bowlers with another first was Lena Bramblett’s women’s basketball team. The Patriots earned a trip to the NAIA National Tournament for the first time. At that tournament the Patriots battled tough Westminster College who pulled away late for a 69-55 victory.
Bramblett’s bunch completed a 19- 9 overall regular season record which included a fifth place conference finish with an 11-9 slate. The SC women won eight games against teams that at one point of the season were ranked in the NAIA top 25. St. Catharine was ranked 27th nationally in the final poll, the highest final ranking since joining the NAIA.
The 2012-2013 basketball season also made news when the Patriot women landed spots on the All-American team for the first time. Janae Howard was named Second Team All-American while Reilly Poirier earned Third Team All-American honors.
The “firsts” at St. Catharine continued into the spring as the track and field teams entered into competition. That competition was highlighted at the Mid-South Conference meet when two Patriots brought home first place finishes. Nicole Peterson won the 100 meter hurdles and Troy Mattingly was the decathlon champion.
By virtue of their first place finishes, both Peterson and Mattingly were named to the All-Conference Track & Field team, the first such recognition for any SC track athletes. Peterson advanced to the NAIA national meet, also a first, where she finished 22nd overall.
One more first for the St. Catharine athletic program also came in the spring when the Patriot tennis teams hosted a home match for the first time in school history at the new tennis courts on campus.
And another first is on tap for the fall season. As lights were being erected this week at the Barber Soccer Complex, both the Patriot men and women can look forward to evening soccer matches for the first time in the 2013 season.