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Updated: 2 weeks 2 days ago

Oles regain momentum at Hilton Head

Tue, 04/11/2017 - 8:44pm
Over spring break, the women’s tennis team played a series of matches at Hilton Head, S.C., competing against Wooster College, UW-Oshkosh, Virginia Wesleyen and Hollins University in preparation for its upcoming home stretch of crucial matches against conference opponents. After drop- ping two of its first three MIAC contests against St. Thomas and St. Catherine follow- ing a promising 2-1 start to the season, St. Olaf needed somewhat of a reboot to boost its confidence heading into the second, most critical half of the season. Fortunately for the Oles, the trip to Hilton Head seems to be exactly what they needed. During its trip, St. Olaf swept the com- petition away, winning all four of its series of matches in dominant fashion, including a 9-0 shutout of Virginia Wesleyan and a near- ly equally impressive 8-1 defeat of Hollins. Margaret Zimmermann ’18 convincing- ly continued her undefeated junior season. She mowed down every individual oppo- nent without dropping a set in singles, and, together with fellow veteran and new dou- bles partner Erin McDonald ’18, accom- plished the same feat in doubles, including a dominant 8-1 victory against UW-Oshkosh and blowing away Virginia Wesleyan in a comparable 8-2 rout. “A great part about the trip was that every- one got to play in most of the matches, and as a team we had great results,” Zimmermann said. “We also became a lot closer because we lived in a big house together, cooked meals together and spent a lot of time talking and learning more about each other.” Along with Zimmermann and McDonald were strong performances by Kellis Brandt ’19 and Sophia Skoglund ’18. The duo went undefeated at Hilton Head, not los- ing a single set in the process. After starting the season 3-0 in singles, both Brandt and Skoglund were soundly beaten at the hands of St. Thomas and St. Catherine, slowing the team’s early momentum and causing some worry about St. Olaf’s depth. However, after gaining back their confidence over break, particularly Brandt, who won a nail-biting singles match against St. Benedict (3-6 6-3 10-7), both athletes have the Oles poised for another playoff run. The key for women’s tennis is translating its success to conference matches. The Oles are 6-1 against non-MIAC opponents but have stumbled to a 1-3 conference record and currently sit at ninth place. They’ll need to take advantage of a second-half schedule loaded with conference matches – if its suc- cess over break is any indication, St. Olaf’s fortunes against its more immediate rivals could reverse as soon as Saturday’s match against St. Mary’s. seidel1@stolaf.edu 
Categories: Colleges

Zimmermann continues undefeated run

Tue, 04/11/2017 - 8:44pm
As a sophomore last spring, Margaret Zimmermann ’18 posted a 12-3 record in singles on her way to being named an All- MIAC athlete. She’s only gotten better as a junior in 2017, currently possessing an unde- feated 9-0 record in both singles and doubles, emerging as one of the conference’s elite talents. Following a successful trip to Hilton Head, S.C., Zimmermann has her sights set beyond individual glory, ready to lead St. Olaf women’s tennis to a conference title. Q: You currently hold an undefeated record in both singles and doubles. Which do you prefer and why?A: I actually don’t have a preference between singles or doubles because they’re both com- pletely different games, and I enjoy figuring out how to play both. For doubles, I focus on communicating with my partner Erin because usually the more we strategize the better we perform. In singles I focus on hav- ing a positive attitude every point and not letting my opponent dictate the points. I play my best when I’m in control of the rally. Q: What would you say is the strongest ele- ment of your individual game, specifically in singles?A: The strongest element in my individual game is my serve and my forehand. My serve usually results in a weaker return by my opponent, and I use my forehand to keep them on the defense throughout the point. I prefer an offensive style of play and being the one to either end the point with a winner or make them hit a forced error. Q: After playing most of your doubles matches with Lisa Hall ’16 in 2016, you have a new regular doubles partner in Erin McDonald ’18. What’s the transition been like? How do you two complement each other’s style of play? A: It’s been great having the opportunity to play with Erin. She has a different playing style than Lisa and different strengths, so we’ve been working together to take advantage of our new combined strengths as a team. Both of us have aggressive play- ing styles so we complement each other by being aggressive on weak balls hit by our opponents from our partners’ strong shots. To maximize synergy in practice, we’re aggressive and we high-five like we would in matches, to get into the match mentality.
seidel1@stolaf.edu 
Categories: Colleges

Kaepernick still unsigned

Tue, 04/11/2017 - 8:44pm
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick still finds himself without a job in the NFL a month after the free agency period began. Many other notable free agents are still looking for work, but none has gen- erated more controversy in his job search than Kaepernick. The dual-threat quarterback became a polarizing figure this fall after repeat- edly kneeling during the national anthem before games – this protest drew the ire of many football fans across the country in addition to a bright, scrutinizing media spotlight. Although Kaepernick is not considered an elite NFL quarterback like Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady, he tossed 16 touchdowns in 12 games last sea- son on an otherwise atrocious 49ers team. His total QBR ranked 23rd in the league last season, higher than Eli Manning, rookie Carson Wentz and former MVP Cam Newton. Based on pure numbers, Kaepernick deserves a spot on an active NFL roster. He may no longer possess the dynamic talent that led the 49ers to a Super Bowl in 2013, but Kaepernick certainly maintains enough talent to be a qual- ity backup at a minimum. In a league deprived of quality quarterbacks, one would think that he would be signed immediately. However, numerous factors play a role in the world of NFL free agency. In this case, the media atten- tion that Kaepernick would generate presents an intimidating and unattractive barrier that has historically frightened teams away from poten- tial free agents. When discussing polarizing NFL players, Tim Tebow, Ray Rice and Johnny Manziel come to mind. The one similarity in each case was the intense media coverage that they attracted. Whether the coverage was negative or positive did not matter to NFL front offices – in each example, front offices concluded that the media attention would be too great a distraction in the locker room to justify signing a mediocre player. Teams would rather sign a free agent with less talent that could fit better in the locker room and produce comparable, even lesser results. This makes particular sense when sign- ing a backup quarterback such as Kaepernick, a position that ideally draws as little attention as possible. The NFL already draws immense media scrutiny – organizations don’t want to enlarge the target on their backs, and they cer- tainly don’t want that controversy to come from athletes that sit on the bench more often than not. Kaepernick’s extended job search confirms that NFL general managers don’t believe he can perform at an elite level anymore and isn’t worth the further distractions involved. After Rice’s domestic violence incident in 2014, albeit a far more blatant, violent offense than Kaepernick’s protest, teams chose not to sign him because they did not want an aging running back that had his best years behind him, not necessarily solely because of his charges. This can be seen in the case of former Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, who was suspended the entire 2014 season as a result of assault charges. Mixon, however, will likely be selected in the upcoming NFL draft – ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. stated that Mixon is poten- tially the best running back talent in a strong draft class despite the cloud of media cover- age. A common adage in the NFL states that if Hannibal Lecter ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash, they would diagnose cannibalism simply as an eating disorder. If a player possesses elite talent, he will find a home in the league regardless of controversial aspects of his character. The harsh reality for Kaepernick is that teams don’t see further potential in a once-dynamic dual-threat quarterback past his prime. They look at him and see a player who creates immense locker room distractions that can- not be amended with strong performances, immensely diminishing his value. Fans have cried foul, arguing that teams refuse to sign Kaepernick in simple spite of his protest, but this conspiracy theory overly dramatizes the situation. He may become a quality backup quarterback somewhere, but for most teams his mediocre stat line simply isn’t worth the trouble. yahn1@stolaf.edu 
Categories: Colleges

Baseball, softball silenced against St. Thomas

Tue, 04/11/2017 - 8:44pm
Both the baseball and softball teams start- ed this season at a torrential pace, with the former sweeping Crown College with a run ratio of 3:1 and the latter beginning 3-1, out- scoring its opponents 35-7 during the open- ing week. However, since moving into the conference schedule, both teams have failed to replicate their early hot streaks, managing a mere 1-5 record against MIAC opponents combined. Last weekend’s series against St. Thomas, a school that has maintained an iron grip on MIAC baseball and softball for the better part of 15 years, presented an opportunity for the St. Olaf teams to defini- tively prove that their early success was an honest representation of their improvement over a combined 25-45 record from a year ago. This was the Oles’ chance to quell any doubts that they could present a formidable playoff threat in a stacked conference. Unfortunately, what resulted was anything but convincing. Ole baseball and softball got decisively swept 4-0 by a deeper, proven Tommie team thanks to a continued lack of offense, a noticeable lack of pitching depth and surprisingly unreliable fielding. Instead of ending the doubts, St. Olaf now faces more than ever, heading into the heart of its conference schedule without the momentum it worked so hard to build early on. Baseball’s first game against St. Thomas Emily Carr ’19 blasts a solo home run in game one against the Tommies, but critical mistakes cost the Oles a victory was reminiscent of their upset victory against the Tommies last season, but costly mistakes in the field and a lack of timely hitting halted a second consecutive underdog success story. Jake Mathison ’18 continued his hot start on the mound, limiting St. Thomas’ lineup to four total hits and one earned run while striking out five in seven innings, lowering his ERA to 2.45 in 33 innings total this season. Mathison has proven himself to be the clear ace of St. Olaf’s pitching staff, and Saturday’s stellar performance only solidified his posi- tion atop the rotation even further. He put the Oles in a perfect position to pull off the upset. However, the hitting and defense did nothing to support Mathison, costing St. Olaf a much-desired victory in a 2-1 heart- breaker. Despite compiling seven hits, the Oles stranded 12 baserunners, most notably during a disappointing fifth inning in which they loaded the bases thanks to a double by Mathison and two walks but failed to score. Joe Kieski ’19 and Sam Stuckmeyer ’19, breakout stars from 2016, went 0-for-5 combined with five strikeouts, continuing sophomore slumps in which they’re hitting a meager .229 and .235, respectively. This ineptitude at the plate continues an unsettling trend of inconsistency. Over spring break, St. Olaf broke a three game los- ing streak in which it totaled six runs, routing Keuka College and Lawrence University with a combined 32 runs in three consecutive wins. Yet now the bats have once again gone silent. Their stars from a year ago are strug- gling, and it showed against St. Thomas. Fielding inconsistency further crippled St. Olaf’s chances of victory, with the Oles com- mitting two errors to the Tommies’ zero. Third-baseman Dylan Blake ’20 overthrew first base in the bottom of the third inning, allowing the eventual winning unearned run to reach base. In an otherwise close game, fielding efficiency was the deciding factor. One team had flawless defense, and the other gave up runs because of it. Game two of the doubleheader only brought these issues further to light with- out Mathison on the mound. The Oles only managed five hits while pitchers Will Gustafson ’18 and Cameron Gray ’20 allowed eight runs over six combined innings in an 8-1 rout.Softball fared similarly in its home opener against the Tommies, dropping a close first game 4-2 and getting overwhelmed in game two, 10-1. Starting pitcher Julie Graf ’20 continued an excellent first year with St. Olaf in the first contest, holding St. Thomas to six hits and one earned run with five strike- outs over a seven-inning complete game, bringing her ERA to an incredible 0.91 and raising her strikeout total to 131. Both those statistics top the MIAC – Graf is already one of the conference’s premiere pitching talents as a first year, and her future is brighter than most. Co-MIAC Athlete of the Week Emily Carr ’19, sharing the honor with Graf during an eye-popping second season at the plate, knocked a solo home run in the first inning, tying for the conference lead with four total. However, like the baseball team, the softball team’s undoing was defense. The Tommies scored three runs on a two-out bas- es-clearing triple by Dana Connelly, taking a 4-1 lead that they would not surrender. This does not tell the whole story, however. The first base-runner of the inning reached first base on a throwing error by Kate Arneson ’19 – without this mistake, St. Olaf would have escaped the bases-loaded jam unscathed after St. Thomas’ Melissa Barry popped out to third. Instead, it lost three runs. The second games for softball and base- ball, both blowout losses, suggest a concern- ing lack of pitching depth beyond Mathison and Graf that could severely limit the Oles’ potential if unaddressed. Nearly every con- test from this point forward for both teams is a double-header against conference opponents – after Mathison and Graf pitch in game one, who’s going to step up in game two? The Oles cannot consistently allow run totals in the double-digits. Otherwise, mathematically, neither St. Olaf team stands a chance of finishing with a winning record in conference, as winning the second game of doubleheaders presents a nearly insur- mountable task. As it stands, following the games with St. Thomas, the Oles look vulnerable. They must stabilize their hitting, fielding and pitching depth if they hope to make a playoff run this 
Categories: Colleges

Conservatives co-opt language of the oppressed, calls for inclusivity misguided

Tue, 04/11/2017 - 8:44pm
The recurrent protests and gatherings advocating liberal politics on campus lend credence to the hypothesis that there is a dominant political ideology at St. Olaf. Specifically, the student body is more inclined to agree with the political dictums of modern U.S. liberalism, the central tenets of which are civil liberty and social justice. Campus liberals seek to affirm marginalized identities and advocate for an inclusive and harmonious community. However, there is an apparent contradiction of the liberal ethos in the politically turbulent post-Trump campus atmosphere that conservatives decry as intolerant. A Fox News feature on the plight of conservative students at St. Olaf, and a Manitou Messenger article entitled “Under the Radar,” reveal that conservatives feel unsafe on campus because of bullying by liberals.
Conservatives at St. Olaf have faced threats and some have decided to transfer to a less “hostile environment.” The retort of conservatives and their challenge to liberal values is the following: “Why are ‘inclusive’ liberals so unaccepting of opposing political views?” This is a legitimate challenge. The manner in which the conservative retort is being politicized and structured, however, is problematic. The problem is that the challenge of conservatives is framed through an implicit moral appeal, that of “personal safety” for students who identify as conservatives – fear based on identity implies marginalization of identity.
There are two contentions I have with this politicized retort. First is the issue of language. A growing trend among conservative factions has been the appropriation of language from liberation and anti-oppression politics. An example of this is the adoption of #BlackLivesMatter and its misguided rearticulation as #BlueLivesMatter. Conservatives’ use of “safety” language follows this tradition. The politics of safety based on identity come from feminist and queer discourses advocating the need for “safe spaces” for marginalized individuals who feel threatened due to their identity. Women, as Angela Davis reminded us, need safety from domestic violence, which was not considered a crime until recently. Conservatives inadvertently expose their logical inconsistency in appropriating this language. They want to “feel safe” while also wanting marginalized individuals, who have expressed similar needs for safety, to “be tough.” Such a co-option of language invalidates the agency of marginalized peoples in accessing this political language. 
Conservatives also claim difficulty in expressing their political views because of fear. This brings me to the second contention, highlighted by the paradoxical title of the article, “Under the Radar.” In the very act of going “under the radar,” conservatives are getting access to mainstream political platforms where their rhetoric is receiving national attention. Conservatives claim to be hiding their “conservatism” due to fear of harassment from liberals but are nevertheless getting public recognition for being conservatives.
This notion of fear based on identity that conservatives have used is therefore misplaced. Self-disclosure ought to make this point clearer. As a person with brown skin – I’m sure this resonates with people with black and brown skin on campus – the possibility of going “under the radar” is elusive. My fear of being brown and different in a foreign land, and this is an existential fear, exists precisely because “under the radar” is not an option. Conservatives are assuming space – becoming visible – in the public sphere by postulating their apparent invisibility in the public sphere. This is of course not to say that conservatives on campus are not facing threats but instead that they are not marginalized, because marginalization does not presuppose choice of visibility. People are marginalized either because of how they are recognized – the position of non-white bodies on campus, or they are marginalized to the point of invisibility – the immigrant workers who work in the cafeteria dish room. In both cases, choice is absent. 
Now we return to the real challenge to liberals on campus. I would argue that the case made by conservatives, or at least its implication, must not be ridiculed but rather taken very seriously by liberals. There appears to be a fatal confusion among liberals; they advocate for the presence of all peoples on campus, trying to construct an “inclusive” community, while being unable to cope with the fact that some groups are fundamentally antagonistic. The liberal confusion is best manifest in how the college administration legally opposed the travel ban but still insists that within our “inclusive” community and public sphere, all political views should be entertained. The presence of a Muslim student from one of the six countries on President Donald Trump’s travel ban list is incompatible with the presence of a person who supports the travel ban. This is not a mere disagreement. It is an existential conflict about what and who constitutes St. Olaf.
The “inclusive” politics of liberals, affirming “diversity” – usually signifying non-white/ non-American/non-Christian individuals etc. – does not work unless it is accompanied by a clause that excludes any ideology or group that is antagonistic to the “diversity” liberals are trying to preserve. At a deeper level, the students coded as “diverse,” for example members of Center for Multicultural and International Engagement (CMIE), are being marginalized in their very inclusion; “diverse students” are included because of their exclusionary status. That is to say, they are counted as a part of the community but counted precisely as “other,” as the ones embodying “diversity.” This language of “inclusion” and “diversity” needs to be transformed because it is inconsistent and is used only to mitigate and suppress tensions, not resolve them. The college administration cannot cower behind platitudinous messages of tolerance which obscure the real antagonisms that exist between students on campus – between the “diverse” and those opposed to the “diverse” – and liberal students cannot uncritically promote the rhetoric of “inclusion,” which does not necessarily benefit the ones who “get included” and is contradictory to their attitudes towards conservatives.
chakravu@stolaf.edu
Categories: Colleges

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