While wrestling and basketball have been struggling to make headway these past few weeks, the track and field teams are ready for a promising indoor season.
Men’s basketball has won two out of eight games since winter break started, keeping in line with their few wins this season thus far. While most of these losses are only a few points short of a win, the team is going to have to turn it around to improve for the rest of the season.
In a recap of their most recent game, Head Coach Bryan Barone has said the team is still figuring out how to play together. While the team features an even mix of younger and older players, many of the upperclassmen on the team are new, having joined this year or last year.
Women’s basketball has fared similarly to men’s, with only one win since break started in a season where they have gone 1-4 in terms of wins to losses. Head Coach Paula Buscher acknowledges the season has been rocky so far, but still has high hopes for the team.
“The spirits of the team are good, you know, we’re not having the success of the season we’d like but that’s part of it. We’ll just keep battling and there’s a lot of conference season left to play,” Buscher said, “That’s part of basketball, you have to put that behind you and concentrate on the next game.”
Wrestling is yet another SIUE sports team that has faced many losses recently. Of the dual meets, or two team meets, they have played this season they have won only one out of eight.
The team has had individual successes though, including Justin Ruffin, a sophomore in the 157 pound weight class, and Tyshawn Williams, a redshirt senior in the 149 pound weight class. Justin Ruffin was able to beat Old Dominion University wrestler Larry Early, ranked fourth in the country, in a double overtime match. Tyshawn Williams was able to make a comeback and beat a highly ranked Purdue wrestler that he had lost to in a previous dual.
“We’re not in a great spot but we’re moving up … at the beginning of the year I think we were ranked 14th out of 15th or maybe even 15th out of 15th [in the MAT conference] … the latest ranking just came out yesterday and we’re up to 11th,” Spates said.
Track and Field
In contrast with basketball and wrestling, the men’s and women’s track teams are expecting a good indoor season. Though they started slow, having both lost a two-school meet right before break, they gave strong performances at the Hawkeye Invitational on Jan. 10 and 11.
Sophomore thrower Alexis Hutchins’s 16.26m weight throw left her in the upper half of the women’s weight throw with sixth place. She also scored in the top half of the shot put with a throw of 12.70m, landing her in eighth place.
The boys’ team did well in multiple places. Sophomore jumper Ethan Poston earned the gold medal for his high jump of 2.05m. Senior thrower Nick Matthews and sophomore sprinter and jumper Conor McCarthy, both got third place in the weight throw and long jump respectively.
While both men’s and women’s teams are starting the indoor season well, McCarthy believes they will shine more individually than as a team.
“I’m definitely excited for a lot of the individual performances moving forward,” McCarthy said, “Obviously, it’s a little bit harder to compete for a conference title just because of the size of our team, but we do have some really good outstanding individuals, which I’m excited about."
Students can check out men’s and women’s basketball playing Jacksonville State at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., Jan. 18, and they can watch wrestling dual Cleveland State at 6 p.m., Jan. 24, all at the Vadalabene Center.