EXCLUSIVE: Randy Gets Real
A one-on-one interview with Coach Randy Bennett
Photo c/o AP Photo/John Minchillo
By Val Hill
Being West Coast Conference regular-season co-champions set the tone for the NCAA tournament for the Gaels. To participate again in the NCAA tournament is a tremendous accomplishment. Only those at large teams can compete, with only 64 teams eligible for the tournament.
“It’s just an amazing recognition for the great season we had, and being able to go back two years in a row. And being able to be recognized for having this season, and all those little accomplishments,” Head Coach for the Gaels, Randy Bennett, explained.“When the fear and anxiety hit, underneath is a sense of worth and accomplishment. Approaching things one step at a time and improving has been the Gael's strategy since day one. You have to approach things one at a time, coaches can say anything they want. But it’s about improving over time.”
However, tournament games are not as simple as in the regular season, with every game being fought tooth and nail. Even a one-seed going up against a sixteen-seed will not be an easy game. Despite that, Bennett says, “ It comes down to who is playing that game well, that's what it all comes down to.” For the Gaels, being the fifth seed was not seen as an obstacle in their path to victory against VCU.
For the Gaels, many working parts allowed the team to thrive, but the one that stood out the most was senior guard Logan Johnson. The fearless leader both on and off the court, he was a key asset for the success of the Gaels.
Bennett said of Johnson, “He had the biggest jump from starting this year, coming back from having shoulder surgery last year. Not being able to play much last summer was a setback.” Logan was the top scorer for the Gaels in almost every game in the regular season. He set the bar for the level of leadership allowing others as expected which includes seniors Alex Ducas and Kyle Bowen. Of the three, Bennett explained, “They have taught these younger players what it looks like. So they have left them in a position where they can be the next leaders. That’s the goal and the challenge that I gave them. And I think that they have truly embraced it.”
These seniors have embraced being the leaders and handed the reins to the younger players. Players like freshman Aiden Mahaney have started becoming the leader the team can rely on. Even though he is merely a freshman just now walking into this collegiate basketball world, he has stepped up. Coach Bennett talked about how he is more of a behind-the-scenes leader. “So being a freshman, you have to lead by example, because you’re already taking in so much as a freshman, on top of that you’re playing guys who are 23 to 24 years old. So he will become one of our key leaders.”
The Gaels had an incredible season, showing the college basketball world that Saint Mary’s is still a top competitor. Coach Randy Bennett has created a team that is a force to be reckoned with.
Japan Wins World Baseball Classic
The United States fails to reclaim the title.
Image c/o Getty images
By Madison Sciba
Associate Editor/Visiting Sports Reporter
It was the bottom of the ninth inning of the final game in Miami. World Baseball Classic 2017 Champions were on their home turf hoping to defend their title against two-time champion Japan. Both countries, known for their love and dedication to baseball, hosting this year's events and hoping to take home the title. LoanDepot stadium was filled with chants, “USA, USA!” booming from the stands, American fans eager for another win while Japan is hoping to bring home a title for the first time since 2009. The whole stadium on edge. The only hope for the United States and Japan being Los Angeles Angels teammates Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, respectively. Pitching around 100 mph, Ohtani stood on the mound breathing heavily. Trout at the plate, focused in on the ball about to escape Ohtani’s grasp.
The most watched World Baseball Classic in the event's history ended on March 21,with a win for Japan. Taking place in Miami, Florida, Japan received their third World Baseball Classic title after beating the United States 3-2. The last inning was a nail-biter as LA Angels teammates Shohei Ohtani (Japan) and Mike Trout (USA) faced off. After an impressive double play by Japan that left the United States with two outs in the ninth inning, Ohtani was on the mound as Trout stepped up to the plate. Two balls, one strike. Tension is rising as both men, teammates in what seems to be another life, know that this could win or lose the game for either team. Two balls, two strikes. One country is going to leave victorious, one is going to leave with silver. Three balls, two strikes. It could go either way. Ohtani could throw another ball and walk Trout, something Ohtani did to McNeil just moments before. It was now or never, Ohtani pitches, sending the ball over the plate. Trout swings but misses, ending the game. The Japanese dugout explodes with excitement at winning their third World Baseball Classic.
Battle of the Top Two
Gael’s Great At The Free’s But Not Enough To Save The Game
Image c/o Erick Doxey, Inlander.com
By Vivian Hill
This was not an easy game for anyone involved, and the West Coast Conference Championship in Las Vegas did not treat the Gaels well during the final game against Gonzaga. The Gaels were on a roll from the game against BYU, taking a major lead in the second half. However, that was a short lived victory when Gonzaga went in and swept the Gaels away. In the first three minutes of the game the Gaels fought hard, but no points were scored. This game, by far, was the most technically stacked game with Logan Johnson pulling through with the first shot of the game. The team worked as one cohesive unit after Johnson started off strong. The Zags pulled an early lead, which put more pressure on the Gaels for points. However the Gaels were unable to control the tempo and speed of the plays, which started the domino effect that led to the Gael’s demise. This forced the Gaels to work both sides of the court, while freshman Aidan Mahaney had to handle making plays. A natural scorer, he really had to force his way through the Bulldog’s defense.
Freshman Joshua Jefferson made his major appearance, starting with a strong rim attack. With a start of making a name for himself while Mitchell Saxen and Kyle Bowen were struggling. Meanwhile, Mahaney’s need to be aggressive the entire game was delivered, while being surrounded by team veterans. The tempo and speed were not in the Gael’s favor, they were hesitant to shoot, and allowed the Zags to pull away. Also pushing the Gaels into unfavorable rotations, forcing 5 turnovers that made the Gaels struggle for rhythm. Despite all those obstacles, the Gaels were making almost every free throw that was given to them. They took their time on the line and calculated every shot. However, this would not be enough to overcome the lack of toughness, which was quite unusual for the Gaels. Within the first half, the Gaels struggled to keep the plays together, thus further pushing them into taking too much time to shoot.Thus at the end of the first half Gonzaga led the score at 37 points with only 19 points for the Gaels.
The main goal for the Gaels in the second was to lock in and get a better handle on the ball. At 18:08, Bowen brought in a bucket, and got the Gaels moving again. The Zags continued their rundown of closing all windows for the Gaels, making the Gaels struggle moving forward. Breaking in at 15:55 was Jefferson with a big 3 point shot, another attempt to pull the Gaels out of their major funk that had taken over the game. With only 53.2 seconds left on the clock, Johnson secures a basket. He then goes back for more and secures a and secures a 3-pointer-pointer at 34.0, and another basket with 1.3 seconds left. This was not enough to save the Gaels, with the game coming to an end score of 77 for the Gonzaga Bulldogs and 51 points for the Saint Mary’s Gaels.
Gaels Beat the Cougars!
SMC beats BYU for the 18th time!
Image C/O Tod Fierner/SMC Athletics
By Vivian Hill
Whether you watched from home or on campus at the University Credit Union Pavillion in Moraga, you could feel the energy and the Gael’s fighting spirit throughout the game against Brigham Young University. Starting out,odds were in favor of the Gaels, 91.7% to 8.3%, but BYU did not let this hold them back. Within the first few minutes BYU was out for blood and the Gaels’ Logan Johnson was pushing back, taking the rest of the team with him. This created an issue for the Gaels, since their usual style is playing the slow game. With BYU not giving the team a chance to take control of the speed and tempo, the Gaels defense was seriously impacted. Furthermore, it was clear that this game became extremely physical, and no easy points were left on the table. It was set in stone from the beginning that the star of the first half was none other than number 0, Logan Johnson.
This was Johnson’s major comeback game after the Gonzaga game, and he played with full force. Hecame to fight, bringing his pride to the forefront of the game. Getting every turnover and bringing the rest of the team together, playing at their tempo. As one of the announcers put it “...this is a Johnson and Johnson show.” Johnson made the effort to make this game the game that will change the tempo of the rest of the season. Backing Logan up in the first half was freshman star Aidan Mahaney. Mahaney did not try to force his chances to take a shot, but rather welcomed opportunities as they came. If the first half of this game belonged to Johnson, then the second half was Mahaney’s.
Leading the score at the second half 33 to 27, Mahaney was an unexpected star. He waited till the second half to start scoring some major points. Almost instinctively, the Gaels shifted their plays for Mahaney to get his foot in the door. By the end of the gameMahaney was putting his mark on the game,with Johnson backing him up. With A]an edge being made, Mahaney took every shot he could and led the Gaels to an overwhelming victory of 71 to 65.
After splitting their final two WCC matchups, Saint Mary’s heads into the conference tournament ready to build on their already impressive NCAA Tournament resume.
(Photo C/O Ryan Ford)
By Ryan Ford
Saint Mary’s, for the first time since 2015-16, has ended their regular season schedule with a share of the West Coast Conference title, going 14-2 in conference games and 25-6 overall.
In their final game at UCU Pavilion in front of a sold-out home crowd, the Gaels gave their seniors a well deserved send off with an emphatic win over Pacific, 83-52.
Senior guard Logan Johnson continued his recent tear with a game-high 29 points on a remarkably efficient 12-15 from the floor to go along with seven assists. Senior guard Alex Ducas chipped in 17 points, seven rebounds and four blocks (both game-highs) in an all-around effort, while senior forward Kyle Bowen chipped in four rebounds, three assists and three steals with a plus/minus of +35 in 28 minutes played.
(Photo C/O Tod Fierner)
The win guaranteed at least a share of the WCC title, as Saint Mary’s held a one-game lead at the time over rival Gonzaga.
The anticipated final matchup between the bitter rivals took place Saturday in Spokane, broadcasted nationally on ESPN. In what began as a close game, Gonzaga’s nation-leading offense went on a 17-1 run starting at the 6:54 mark in the first half, ending the half with a 39-26 lead.
Gonzaga started and finished with a full-court press that immediately forced the Gaels into uncharacteristic turnovers, including eight in the first half that led to 16 points-off-turnovers for the Zags. Even when the Gaels were able to break past half court, the pressure consistently drained around 9-10 seconds off of their shot clock, leading to several forced shots and shot-clock violations.
Freshman phenom Aidan Mahaney struggled in the first-half, as he was held scoreless on two shot-attempts while commiting three turnovers. The Zags keyed in defensively on Mahaney after he lit them up for 18 points (16 in the 2nd half/OT) in their first meeting.
The Gaels made a second-half run, eventually cutting the deficit to five points with 3:08 left in the game, but the Zags never lost control and held on for the victory, 77-68.
Johnson again paced both teams in scoring, finishing with 27 points and five rebounds, but had only one teammate join him with double-digit scoring. Meanwhile, Gonzaga had a much more balanced attack, with four players reaching double-digits in scoring, led by senior forward Drew Timme’s 19 points.
“They (Gonzaga) always test you on your on-ball coverage… There’s a reason they lead the country in scoring every year,” said Head Coach Randy Bennett postgame after the Zags 77-point effort. (AP News, 2023)
Gonzaga Head Coach Mark Few showed their opponent respect with his postgame comments, “Saint Mary’s has had a heck of a year and it was a heck of a game. We could not put them away. It seemed like there were three or four opportunities, but it just shows what a tough champion they are.” (Jeff Faraudo, 2023)
While a loss to their biggest rivals in the last game of the regular season undoubtedly leaves the Gaels with a bad-taste in their mouths, they must quickly shift their focus to the upcoming WCC conference tournament.
Despite ending the season with the same conference win/loss record as Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s was awarded the number one overall seed in the tournament as a result of a tie-breaking measure chosen by the WCC, “the No. 1 seed into the conference tournament was decided by which teams held a higher NET ranking this morning: The Gaels remained No. 7, the Zags improved one spot to No. 9.” (Faraudo, 2023)
Below is the bracket for the upcoming WCC tournament (held in Las Vegas, Nevada), with Saint Mary’s scheduled to play their next game on Monday, March 6.
(Photo C/O WCC Sports & NCAA)
This season marks the third time in the past four seasons that Saint Mary’s has won 25-plus games.
Johnson finished the season leading the team in points per game (14.7), assists per game (3.7) and steals per game (1.5, sixth in the WCC). He heads to Las Vegas playing some of the best basketball of his collegiate career, averaging 25.2 points on 62% shooting over the last six contests.
Mahaney ended his campaign second on the team in scoring (14.6 per game, first among WCC freshmen) despite not being inserted into the starting lineup until the 10th game of the season. He seems to be the likely choice for WCC Freshman of the Year, which will be named later this week.
Another standout, junior center Mitchell Saxen shined throughout the season in his first year as a starter. He finished fourth on the team in points (11.8 per game) and first in rebounds (8.0 per game) and blocks (1.2 per game, first in the WCC).
Bennett, after guiding the Gaels to their 16th 20-win season of his tenure and winning his 500th career game earlier this season, has been named to the 2023 Werner Ladder Naismith Men's Coach of the Year Late Season Watch List. (SMC Athletics, 2023)
Last season ended in heartbreak, after Saint Mary’s lost to the UCLA Bruins in the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament. The Gaels may be able to claim a higher seed in the tournament with a strong showing in Las Vegas.
Regardless, it has been nothing short of a special season for the Gaels. Let’s see if this team can keep fighting and continue to make Moraga proud in the weeks ahead.
Gaels Rank No. 22 in AP Top 25
After an impressive start to conference play, the Gaels find themselves nationally-ranked for the first time this season.
(@saintmaryshoops and @smcgaels)
By Ryan Ford
There is no other way to say it: The Gaels are on a roll.
When the most recent weekly update of the AP and Coaches Poll came out earlier this afternoon, Saint Mary’s fans were happy to see that the scorching-hot Gaels now sit comfortably in both rankings at 22nd in the country.
Randy Bennett’s squad finished last season ranked 20th after a 26-8 campaign, but losing several key pieces as well as the unknown projection of the freshmen/transfer additions meant that Saint Mary’s would need to prove themselves worthy of national recognition in the early portion of this season.
A 6-0 start, followed by a 3-4 slide, left the Gaels at 9-4 before beginning conference play in late December. Flash forward to today, and the surging Gaels sit at 18-4, having started 7-0 in WCC contests in the midst of a nine-game winning streak.
With Gonzaga’s upset loss to Loyola Marymount last Thursday night, Saint Mary’s also sits atop the West Coast Conference standings. In seven conference matchups, Saint Mary’s has gone undefeated with an average margin of victory of 21.5 points.
Point differential, one of the key stats that help analysts see just how dominant any given college program has been during their season, has been eye-opening for the Gaels all season long. In 22 regular season contests, Saint Mary’s has toppled their opponents by an average of 14.9 points, which puts them 9th in the entire country in that category.
The impressive numbers don’t stop there. Their average FG% differential (+7.2), 3PT% (+7.0), rebounds (+8.5), and assists (+5.8) all rank top-15 in all of college basketball as well.
During their current nine-game winning streak, first-year standout Aidan Mahaney has averaged 16.6 points per game, collecting West Coast Conference Freshman of the Week awards four times in that span. On the season, he leads the team in points at 15 a game while knocking down 43.2% of his triples.
Now that the Gaels have gained recognition for their dominant start to the season, they find themselves scheduled to be broadcasted nationally on ESPN in their next three contests. They travel to Provo, Utah to take on BYU this Saturday at 7pm, before heading back to Moraga for a two-game homestand against San Francisco and their first matchup against 14th-ranked Gonzaga.
Saint Mary’s comes up short again, leaving them with work to do before conference play begins.
(@saintmaryshoops and @smcgaels)
By Ryan Ford
After six straight victories to open the campaign, including a 5-0 start at UCU Pavilion to tie and break the school record for consecutive home victories, the Gaels have lost back to back games for the first time since 2020.
Saint Mary’s fell to the visiting New Mexico Lobos on Wednesday night, 69-65, despite a hot start that saw them take a 13-2 lead in the opening minutes. The Lobos responded, seizing the narrow lead at the end of the first half and never looked back.
This victory pushes New Mexico to 7-0 on the season, while the Gaels (who entered as 9.5 point favorites) fall to 6-2 and now trail San Francisco for the top spot in the WCC standings.
Here are some of the main takeaways from last night’s loss as well as surprises from early in the season.
Gaels Lose Another Nail-Biter
Saint Mary’s first loss of the season, a Thanksgiving Day clash with the Washington Huskies, ended in overtime after the Gaels made a huge push in the second half led by starting center Mitchell Saxen.
Saxen tied his season-high with 19 points, converting nine of his 14 shot attempts in the contest, including 11 in the second half and overtime. But the junior big man’s efforts weren't enough, as the Huskies pulled out the victory 68-64.
Six days later, the Gaels’ matchup with the Lobos ended in an almost identical score. And again, the Gaels failed to make the plays when it mattered most to secure the victory.
Senior guard Alex Ducas led all players with 25 points (matching his career-high), shooting 70% from the floor and knocking down all eight of his free throw attempts. But the rest of the team combined to score 40 points, making only 14 of their 37 shot attempts and converting an abysmal 47% of their trips to the free throw line.
In front of a nearly sold out home crowd, and following their first loss of the season, Head Coach Randy Bennett cannot be happy with consecutive showings of lackluster finishes and inefficient team play from a veteran group that has been in plenty of big games over the years.
Surprises: Stellar Contributions From First-Years Continue
By the time March Madness came around last season and the Gaels were competing in high leverage, winner-take-all matchups against some of the best teams in the country, Bennett was no longer giving any first-year players regular playing time. In fact, no underclassmen logged more than 10 minutes of playing time over the team’s final five contests.
But this year, the youth movement is in full force for Bennett’s squad.
Freshman guard Aidan Mahaney has continued his hot start, currently ranking third on the team with 12.9 points per game while leading the team in three-point scoring at an efficient 36.7% clip. Mahaney appears destined for a spot in the starting lineup sooner rather than later if he keeps this up.
Freshman center Harry Wessels has also earned rotation minutes as Saxen’s primary backup. The 7 '1, 255 pound Aussie has appeared in all eight games this season, and with fellow big man Matt Van Komen still recovering from a foot injury, Wessels has the opportunity to solidify his role going forward if he can continue to provide a punch defensively off the bench.
Takeaways from the Gaels’ impressive season-opening victory in front of a pumped-up home crowd.
(Tod Fierner, @saintmaryshoops and @smcgaels)
By Ryan Ford
For the ninth time in the past 10 seasons, Saint Mary’s won their season-opener. Matched up against Oral Roberts, the Gaels started hot and held on to beat the Golden Eagles, 78-70.
Opening their current campaign at home in the UCU Pavillion, Saint Mary’s extended a historic winning-streak following their undefeated record at home last season, having now tied the school-record for consecutive home victories with a staggering 19 wins in a row.
Expectations are high for the Gaels following a successful showing in last year's NCAA Tournament. With both familiar faces and new talent lacing it up for this season’s squad, here are some of the main takeaways following game one of the 2022-23 season.
Mahaney Lights it Up in NCAA Debut
Graduating and starring for neighboring high school Campolindo’s basketball team, Aidan Mahaney certainly had a lot of hype coming into this season.
A four-star recruit, Mahaney was the driving force behind a basketball program at Campolindo High School that went 28-2 his senior year, averaging 17.2 points per game while knocking down 38% of his attempts beyond the arc.
If Monday night’s game was any indication, Mahaney is on his way to becoming one of the driving forces for the Gaels as well.
Mahaney (pictured above, #20) scored a game-high 25 points in his Saint Mary’s debut, going 5/12 on three-pointers in only 26 minutes of game action. Clearly feeling it from the get-go, Mahaney outscored the entire Oral Roberts bench and provided a spark with poise uncommon for a freshman.
The veteran-filled starting lineup for Head Coach Randy Bennett likely won’t be changing anytime soon, but performances like the one last night from Mahaney will certainly make it harder for Bennett to not give the dynamic freshman more and more playing time as the season goes on.
Mitchell Saxen Looks the Part of Gaels’ Next Dominant Big Man
Entering his junior year, Mitchell Saxen had been firmly entrenched in back-up center minutes behind starter Matthias Tass. But Saxen showed the talent that made him a three-star recruit and the fifth-ranked center in the state of Washington when he locked up Gonzaga standout Chet Holmgren (eventual top-five pick in 2022 NBA Draft) in the home finale last season.
With Tass gone and no one standing in his way for playing time, how would Saxen play as a starter and focal point in the paint offensively?
Against Oral Roberts and their massive 7 '5 starting center Connor Vanover, Saxen filled up the stat sheet. Tied for second on the team with 32 minutes played, Saxen led all starters with 16 points while chipping in eight rebounds, but also showed his versatility by dishing out five assists and notching three steals in the contest as well.
Randy Bennett’s offense is historically at its best when led by a dominant big man in the middle, from stars-of-the-past Omar Samhan and Jock Landale to Tass last season. There is no question that senior Logan Johnson has shown the talent to keep up with the best guards in the WCC, but if Saxen can keep up this level of play offensively from the center position, the junior out of Seattle will make the Gaels that much harder to prepare for.
UCU Pavilion: Best Home Court Advantage in the WCC?
With Monday’s victory, the Gaels tied a school-record with their 19th consecutive home victory. The Gaels from 2009-2011 had also won 19 in a row at the then-named McKeon Pavilion, but numbers argue that this streak is already more impressive.
During this streak, beginning at the tail end of the 2020-21 campaign, Saint Mary’s has gone 19-0 at UCU Pavilion with an average margin of victory against non-conference opponents an unreal 29.2 points, and an impressive 12.1 against WCC foes. Number 18 was certainly the most impressive, when the Gaels upset number-one ranked Gonzaga by 10 points in a game they never trailed.
The Gaels were able to keep the magic going against Oral Roberts, racing out to an 18-point lead at half and holding on for the eight-point victory to tie the 2009-2011 squad's school-record.
“Really helped us, a lot of our guys were excited to play,” said Head Coach Randy Bennett after the game when asked about the home atmosphere. “Kinda picked up where we left off last year, we finished with some really good crowds. I was pleasantly surprised to see all the students and season ticket holders, it was a good crowd. It helped us win the game.”
That 2009-2011 team, led by legends Matthew Dellavedova, Omar Samhan, and current Saint Mary’s Associate Head Coach Mickey McConnell, went on to make the Sweet 16 in the midst of that run. This team has a chance to break that record Thursday night against Vermont, and etch their names in the school’s record books while making a statement to the rest of the WCC that their home court advantage is the best in the conference.
Starting a new school and a new sport during COVID.
By Madison Sciba
COVID hit during the last semester of my senior year of high school. I thought I was just getting an extra week of spring break, not losing prom and graduation. In March of 2020, I had no idea where I was going to go to college. A month into quarantine I decided on Saint Mary’s. It wasn’t my dream school choice, but a practical one. Saint Mary’s checked all the boxes of criteria I had for schools. Small school? Check. Close to home but not TOO close? Check. Not in a big city? Check. Gave me a scholarship? Check. And the final criteria, has a rowing team? Check.
I had been a swimmer my whole life, swimming on a club team for 10 years and for all 4 years of high school (even though both of my senior seasons were very short). After doing sports my whole life I knew I wanted to continue that in college, but I knew college swimming was just not my thing. So the question remained: what sport can I do? The answer became rowing. My cousin rowed at UCLA and recommended that I reach out to the team at Saint Mary’s and be a walk-on, just like she did at UCLA. So I did. I reached out to the assistant coach and was given paperwork to fill out and told to have a sports physical. Next thing I knew, I was on a team of a sport I knew barely anything about.
Because of COVID, there was no competition of any kind in the fall, so I decided to save money on housing and stay home for my first semester of college. When Jan Term finally came around I moved onto campus and was at my first practice a week later. Almost two months after seeing a racing boat for the first time, I was racing every weekend at a different racecourse on the varsity crew. No spectators were allowed and COVID rules were strictly enforced. Masks were always required unless you were actively rowing, frequently tested, and sanitized everything.
Sophomore year was vastly different. There were events on campus, no more required testing, and we finally had a fall season of racing. It was a whole new kind of racing, with different courses, different rules, and new experiences. Spring semester was where things really picked up. Masking was only required in classrooms and the library. Teams were finally able to do weight training without sweating through their masks and spectators were finally allowed. My parents were finally able to come and watch one of my races. It was a really big deal for me, I had sent photos and told them all about it but now I had people shouting my name from the shore.
All sports are finally getting the seasons and spectators we so greatly need. I cannot imagine how weird it must have been to go from loud screaming fans at basketball games to empty silence. The infamous Gonzaga game was just an example of that. When I told my family and friends that I was going to go to Saint Mary’s, everyone mentioned the basketball team and how legendary the student section was. Freshman year, I had no idea what they were talking about. No one was allowed at games because of COVID. When that was all lifted in 2022 there was a packed house, people practically on top of one another, ready to support. It was an incredible experience watching and supporting our team as they beat the best in the country. It also made me sad, thinking about what else I had missed out on my freshman year.
Women’s Rowing Second Varsity 8 Crew racing at Lake Natoma in 2022. (Image Courtesy smcgaels.com)
Basketball season is over, and there is no better time to keep the Gael spirit going by introducing ice hockey into the stadium.
By Eden Llodrá
As of late, the Saint Mary’s faculty has been talking about transforming the basketball courts into an ice hockey rink. “We have rugby and lacrosse, I don’t see why we shouldn't introduce another contact sport, it would be a perfect distraction during the wintertime blues,” said one of the Saint Mary’s sports directors. “It’ll get more students and locals out in the stands.”
An ice hockey rink at a D1 school in California would most likely be underrated and have high success rates, with our biggest competitors being on the East Coast. This would give Saint Mary’s a lot of press attention and popularity. It could also bring in more financial benefits to the college campus.
There is not much attention veered towards ice hockey, “I was watching the winter Olympics and it occurred to me that I didn’t see any Saint Mary’s representation,” said President Rick Prune. “Basketball is feeling a bit cheugy right now but hockey is very fresh.”
It is pretty important that Saint Mary’s stays up to date with the newest sports trends, to keep things exciting and receive more attention statewide and even nationally.
The students have said, “We don’t want Saint Mary’s to be hidden in the Moraga hills, we want to be on the front of the papers. We want to be able to tell people the town we live in without confused and estranged looks.” Ice hockey could bring Saint Mary’s the attention it needs to gain more recognition nationally.
Bringing ice hockey to the stadium could turn things around for the better, “I mean who doesn’t want to see a bunch of dudes slamming into one another?” one student said. The overall consensus seems to be that ice hockey would bring a sense of comradery amongst students and give more entertainment to the UCU pavilion.
Ryan Ford '23,