Winter Sports Preview

Andy York

Over the course of the next few weeks, the winter sports season will begin. While some teams have played games already, others won’t start for a few more weeks. Here’s a look at what’s to come.Wrestling

The Lawrence University Wrestling team has begun its season. They are competing this season for the first time in the WIAC, and they will compete against Wisconsin state schools.

The team’s first dual match was last Tuesday, where they lost to UW-Oshkosh 31-6. They will have dual meets against all the WIAC schools, and will host their major tournament, the LU Duals and the LU Invite, Dec. 6-7.

The loss of national champion Andy Kazik will hurt the program some, but with Ric Scannel returning and a good incoming freshman class the wrestling team will be competitive all season long.

Swimming and Diving

The Lawrence University Swimming and Diving team has already begun its season as well. They competed in the St. Norbert Sprints meet, and had a meet at Lake Forest. The team returns most of its key members from a year ago, but will have to find someone to try and patch up the hole left by the loss of Daniel Hurley. Hurley, who graduated last year, was a three-time MWC Male Swimmer of the Year.

Diver Tom Towle is back to compete for the MWC Crown that he narrowly missed a year ago. Towle is also out to break the LU records that he flirted with last season.

The swim team’s big meet of the year is the Gene David Invitational. It takes place Dec. 6-7 in the Boldt Natatorium.

Women’s Basketball

The Lawrence University Women’s Basketball team has not played a game yet, but they have been practicing hard and getting ready to follow up on last year’s third place finish in the MWC.

The team will have to cover the major losses of two of their best players, Beth Pollnow and Dara Rakun. Both players graduated last season, and both rank high on the all time lists at Lawrence. Pollnow is now an assistant coach to Amy Proctor, so she will be on the bench as the rest of the team attempts to eclipse last year’s record.

Felice Porrata will be one of the most highly watched players in the MWC. The lone freshman on the all MWC team last season returns to a team that, for the most part, is hers.

With Marie Molter’s presence inside, and the return of Ashley Cargile from a knee injury last season, these Vikings could be making some noise come March.

The MWC coaches picked the Vikings to finish fifth, and don’t expect the Vikings to accept that laying down. They will go out and fight for something higher. Their first home game will be Dec. 5 against Concordia College.

Men’s Basketball

The Men’s Basketball team has been practicing in anticipation of its season opener a week from today.

Coach John Tharp will have his team ready to improve on their 9-14 finish last year. The team lost a lot of talent in graduating seniors Ryan Gebler and Dustin Pagoria, but has gained that and more in an outstanding freshman class.

Jason Hollinbeck returns for his sophomore season trying to improve on his outstanding freshman campaign. He averaged 14.8 points per game, a team high.

Lawrence also will have Rob Nenahlo back for an entire season. The captain from Appleton suffered a back injury on the team’s winter break trip last winter and did not play the rest of the year. He will be back, and will give the LU offense another spark.

The MWC Coaches picked the Vikings to finish fourth, a big step from last season, so watch for Lawrence to be hanging around the top of the standings come March.

The Vikings first home game is against the fourth-ranked nationally UW-Oshkosh team on Nov. 27.