Two days ago we discussed the varied successes of the fall sports team and how it has started a record setting year for success of the Indiana University Athletic Department. This go around, we’ll be taking a look back at the winter season which was even more successful than the fall season. The winter season saw several top national finishes in a few sports and basketball.
We’ll go from sport to sport to check out the awesomeness of the track and field team, the amazing swimming and diving teams and we’ll discuss what went wrong with two basketball teams that struggled mightily. Follow the jump and we’ll get started.
Swimming and Diving:
Let’s start with the swimmers and divers. The season was extremely successful for our Men’s team as we were able to send 11 individuals to the National Championships at the end of March. The best individual performance for the team was by far the runner-up finish of sophomore Eric Ress in the 100 backstroke. Ress was eventually named the Big Ten Swimmer of the Year for his efforts and the Hoosiers finished the National Championships with an 18th place finish. Perhaps most importantly, they beat out Purdue when they squared off in the Big Ten Championships.
The Women’s Swimming and Diving was more successful on the national stage than the men with an overall National Championship finish of 15th. The Ladies were able to send 13 individuals to the Championships with the best individual being the 9th place finish of platform diver Amy Cozad. The best news of all is that of the 13 sent to Nationals only 2 were seniors so this year’s team will remain mostly intact and are set to give just as good if not a better run at it net year. The Women also took home a Big Ten Championship which brought us another point in the square off between Purdue in the Crimson and Gold Cup.
I want to sandwich basketball in between the water sports and the land sports of track and wrestling because well... it was a tough year to be a fan of Hoosier basketball. So let’s take a second to focus on how good of fans you all are. The Men’s team won only 3 conference games this season, yet IU was still able to post the 3rd best attendance record in the conference and a top 15 finish overall. Tom Pritchard was awarded the Put Back of the Year award for his thunder dunk in the middle of the season and that was about if for the highlights of the season. We have covered the season that was for the men exhaustively. The best thing we can do is look ahead to the stellar recruits coming in. Cody Zeller is a McDonald’s All American that could start for this team immediately and Austin Etherington and Remy Abell are likely going to catch some people off guard with the contributions they will make to the team. Think positive and realize that the 2011-2012 season is going to be a fun one where we might actually win those close games.
The Women’s ball team was equally meh this past season. The one bright spot, Jori Davis did her best to pull the team along but in the end it just wasn’t enough. We fell to Purdue for the 3rd time of the season in the Big Ten Tournament and the season was over. Davis graduated and was drafted by the Indiana Fever this past spring and will be showcasing her talents this summer in the WNBA. There is some hope for the future with the Lady Hoosiers as they do boast the nation’s number 23 recruiting class coming into next season. Let’s hope it is enough to push them ahead and make them competitive again.
The Grapplers were able to nab IU’s 49th and 50th Wrestling All-American’s this past winter. Matt Powless and Ricky Alcala both competed in the Nationals and won their consolation matches to clinch the honors. Powless finished with a seventh place final and Alcala finished sixth in his weight class. As a team the wrestlers had their ups and downs. They did send 3 to Nationals but they also struggled mightily in team competition. They finished 10th in the Big Ten Championships 1 point behind Purdue. So we dropped another point in the C&G Cup.
Indoor Track and Field:
What we learned about our track and field teams this winter is that we’re much better at it than Purdue, so that’s a big positive. More importantly we had some national champions to go with great finishes by the teams in the National spotlight. For the Men, Derek Drouin won the National Championship in the high jump and was named National Athlete of the Year. He also tied his native Canada’s national record. Along with a 3rd place finish in the 3000 m by Andy Bayer and a 7th by Andrew Poore in the same event, the men paced themselves to a 6th place national finish. The outdoor season for these guys has been going just as well as you will see in the next installment.
Derek Drouin High Jump 7'5" (2.26) (via hcotaylor28)
The Women also were awesome on the regional and national stage. Faith Sherrill, weight throw extraordinaire, was able to win a Big Ten Championship in the shot and she finished 4th in Nationals. The Women finished nationally in 36th thanks to Sherrill’s efforts. I would go into more detail about the women but their achievements in the outdoor version of the season have been outstanding and I feel that any more details would be a spoiler for the next update. SO… you’re going to just have to wait.