Photos by Miquel Marin
Winter sports are in mid-season here at Olivet College. All Comet teams are competing among Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) opponents for a spot in the post-season. Most specifically, the women’s basketball team, the wrestling team and track and field.
The Comet men’s basketball squad is fresh off of a two game win streak, with victories on the road at Kalamazoo College and home against Albion (UPDATE). The men hold a 1-5 record at home, a 1-6 record on the road and a 1-2 record in neutral courts, defeating Grace Bible in the Hope tournament. Olivet averages 67.4 points per game while shooting 38.7 percent from the field and 31 from the free throw line. In conference play, the Comets, led by the return of leading scorer Lee Gardner (23 points per game) are in the middle of the pack at 2-3, fighting for a spot in the conference tournament. Where the men would like to improve is on the glass and in the turnover category. Olivet averages 16 turnovers a game, along with a minus-six rebounding differential. The team is steady in the pack in the MIAA and still have hope for a playoff opportunity.
Where the men’s basketball team was challenged in picking up victories, the women’s basketball team rallied to have avid success, claiming a 9-8 record and currently holding third place in the MIAA conference standings at 5-3, behind only Hope and Calvin. The Lady Comets possess a 6-4 record at home, protecting their home court rather well, but have had their complications on the road, winning only two of their five games. The women excel in the defensive category by averaging 10 steals and three blocks per game. When it comes to scoring defense, the women are locked down, holding opponents to only 58 points a game, while keeping their challengers to 37 percent from the field and 28 percent from behind the arc. As the season goes on, the girls have playoffs in their sights and are hoping to continue their winning season in the MIAA tournament (UPDATE).
From there, the wrestling team is continuing the winning tradition here at Olivet College. The squad is currently 10-10 on the season, being led by senior Tom Hall (197) and by junior Austin Kelley (149). The comets were flying high, carrying the weight of a four-match win streak before being defeated by Alma on Thursday, Jan. 21 (UPDATE).
Track and field have a highlight filled beginning to its season, too. The top performance for the men’s team in a Jan. 15 meet at Saginaw Valley State University was turned in by junior Blake Wilson who placed sixth in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 9:22.15. Freshman Mark Smith was eighth in the same event with a time of 9:38.34. Junior Connor Bauserman finished in eighth-place in the mile run with a time of 4:29.24.
The best performance on the track for the women’s team was done by sophomore Allyson Schultz, as she placed seventh in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 11:05.41. Freshman Kimberly Barber had the fourth-best mark in the long jump at 16 feet, 5-3/4 inches.
All in all, Olivet College winter sports are all competing at a high level in order to make their mark in the MIAA. The women’s basketball team and the wrestling squad are right in the mix for a conference title and a playoff appearance, while the men’s basketball team has started slow, but is heating up in conference play (UPDATE).