Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.
The University of Minnesota is a special place. I went there, after all.
So when Goldy Gopher's school honors somebody, it's a big deal.
And on Thursday, the U of M's "M" Club inducted 10 new members into its Hall of Fame.They represented six different sports. Two were women, the rest men, including one coach.
Let's start with the women. They played together at the U from 2002 to 2005 and made the Gophers women's hockey team feared by everyone.
Krissy Wendell-Pohl (she married Johnny Pohl, who played hockey for the Gophers, too) and Natalie Darwitz were always a threat to score.
Wendell was a three-time All-America player in college -- as was Darwitz -- and twice the WCHA player of the year. She won the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award in 2005, given to the best women's hockey player in the land. She had 106 goals and 237 points in her career, putting her second in both categories on the Gophers' all-time list.
She also won a silver and a bronze medal on the U.S. Olympic teams in 2002 and 2006.
Darwitz had 144 assists and 246 points as a Gopher, both program records. If you do the math, she scored 102 goals, just four fewer than Wendell.
Both Wendell and Darwitz were key players on the U's 2004 and 2005 national championship teams. Wendell was the NCAA Frozen Four's Outstanding Player in 2004, Wendell in 2005.
Darwitz had two silver and one bronze medal from her years on the U.S. Olympic team.
It was fitting both went into the Hall of Fame at the same time. They were two of the first real stars in girls' high school hockey -- Wendell with Park Center and Darwitz with Eagan -- and helped its popularity when it was still growing. Both were great skaters who could dominate a game.
Sticking with hockey, two of the other inductees were Larry Ross and Jim Carter.
Ross was the first Gophers' All-America first team pick in 1951. But he was probably better know as a high school coach. His International Falls teams won six state titles in the one-class era, including three in a row in the 1960s.
Hockey for Carter was his second sport. He was a defenseman for coach Glen Sonmor's 1967-68 team. His other sport was football. He was a fullback, when that position was a lot more important than it is today.
He was on the 1967 Big Ten championship team -- the last one at Minnesota.Carter also played on the 1968 and 1969 teams under Murray Warmath and then played for the Green Bay Packers for nine seasons.
A second football player in the Hall of Fame class is Charlie Sanders, an all-Big Ten tight end for the Gophers as a senior on that 1967 team with Carter. He caught 21 passes for 276 yards and two TDs that season. He also played on the 1965 and '66 Minnesota teams.
He played with the Detroit Lions for 10 seasons and made seven Pro Bowls. He would have been a good choice for your fantasy team back then.
The other Hall of Famers:
Jon Andreson played baseball at the U in 1962 and 1963. His second season he was a first team All-Big Ten and All-America. He played second base and hit .370. He also led the team in almost every offensive category with eight homers, seven double, three triples, 34 RBI (in 108 at-bats) and 31 runs scored.
Rick Naumoff played tennis at the U from 1990 to '93. He was 10-0 in conference play as a junior and senior leading the Gophers to two Big Ten titles. He was the conference player of the year in 1993 when he won the singles championship at the No. 1 spot. He is the first men's tennis player in the Hall of Fame.
Gary Wilson was head coach of the women's cross-country team for 28 years and women's track and field team for 21 years. His cross-country teams won Big Ten titles in 2007 and '08. His track team won a conference title in 2006 and, when he became an assistant coach, won three more the next three years.
Wilson had some of the largest teams in his sports, in sheer numbers, of any program in the country. He was known for his sharp wit and joyful demeanor. He will be retiring this spring.
Lloyd LaMois was a triple jumper on the Gophers' 1948 national championship team in outdoor track and field. He won an NCAA individual title that year with a jump of 45 feet, 10 inches.
Louis Lick was the Gophers' first NCAA golf champion in 1944.
After nine holes on Monday in the Barnabas Health Intercollegiate tournament, Gophers senior Jon Trasamar was struggling a bit. He had birdies on holes No. 7 and 8, but had three-putted three times.
So he made the turn on the River Course at Fiddler's Elbow Country Club in Bedminster, N.J., in a 1-over 37.
"I was thinking I have to right the ship, play solid and put myself in position," he said. "I wanted to give myself an opportunity and some chances."
After all, Trasamar's team -- he's captain of the Gophers -- was trying to win its first tournament since 2007.
Trasamar's round turned around quickly. He birdied the 10th hole and eagled the 11th to go 2-under for the day.
His birdie on No.10 came on an 8-foot putt. His eagle on No. 11 was set up with a 3-iron shot to within 5 feet of the hole. And he made that short putt, too.
"I got close to the flag on No. 11," Trasamar said. "I came up left and the pin was on the right. I landed short with my shot and the ball hopped on the green and rolled to 5 feet and I took advantage."
That he did on those two holes and four others on the back nine, finishing with a 7-under 29 on the back nine after an eagle and five birdies.
"My longest putt was probably 16 feet, the others were all inside 10-12 feet," Trasamar said.
And he was making almost all of them.
"They talk about how athletes, in the moment, can focus on the process and get in the zone once a couple things go your way," Trasamar said.
That's what happened to him.
"You get so amped, it's as if you are not playing golf," he said. "You are so amped and you have so much energy."
He only needed 11 putts on the back nine, finishing with a 2-foot birdie on No. 18. "I was a little nervous," Trasamar said, looking over the putt. He knew he had to make it for the first official nine-hole 29 of his career.
"I've had some 30s," he said. "And one 29 essentially in a match-play round, but it was unofficial." He didn't have to putt out every hole, some putts were conceded.
Trasamar's strong finish helped the Gophers run away with the team title by 17 shots.
"That was the first win since I've been here," he said. "We were second in the Big Ten [tourrnament] last season."
This was a team win, with five Gophers finishing at least tied for eighth or better.
"Everybody played well," said Trasamar, who finished one shot behind medalist Brandon Matthew of Temple, a playing partner on Monday.
"It was a little bittersweet," Trasamar said. "I wanted an individual victory in college. I have never had one. I've come close. But I lost to a great player and we had a great battle, He had a 32 on the back nine."
Matthews shot a 67 for an 36-hold total of 7-under 137. Trasmar, with his closing 66, had a 138. He was 10-under on the five par 5's over two days.
The Gophers men's golf team is feeling pretty good this week.
Coach John Carlson's bunch won its first golf tournament in six years. It took first place at the Barnabas Health Intercollegiate in Bedminster, N.J. The Gophers won by 17 shots in a field of 15 teams.
And one golfer, Jon Trasamar, tore up the back nine at Fiddler's Elbow Country Club -- gotta like that name -- a par-72 course, 7,014 yards in length.
Trasmar, a redshirt senior from Blue Earth, Minn., shot a 6-under 66, a career best, on Monday. He had a routine 1-over 37 on the front nine, and an astounding 7-under 29 on the back with five birdies and one eagle.
Carlson called Trasamar's finish exactly what it was:"One of the finest nine holes in the history of Minnesota men's golf."
Trasmar's 36-hole total was a career-best 138, good for second place after rounds of 72 and 66. He led the field in scoring on the par 5s and par 4s, in total birdies with 12 and in eagles with two.
On Wednesday, he was named the Big Ten men's golfer of the week. An easy choice, it would seem.
It was the first tournament title for the Gophers since they tied Michigan State for first in the 2007 Big Ten meet.
The Gophers were four shots back of Temple after 18 holes but blew past the Owls the second day.
All five Gophers finished in the top eight: Alex Gaugert was fourth at 1-under 143, Jose Mendez and freshman Matt Rachey were both 1-over, tied for sixth, and Tyler Lowenstein was 2-over, tied for eighth.
* The Gophers as a team had rounds of 291 and 280 for a score of 5-under 571. Temple was next at 588 and host Seton Hall was third at 596.
* Brandon Matthews of Temple was the medalist at 137, one shot better than Trasmar.
* The Gophers end their fall season with one more tournament Nov. 3-5 at Kiawah Island, S.C.
Mike Hebert's teams at Minnesota -- and he had some good ones -- had trouble winning in Happy Valley.
And on Thursday, second-year coach Hugh McCutcheon took his Gophers team to Penn State. And it was a struggle.
The Gophers were within 11-10 in the third set, five points from victory, when the Nittany Lions called timeout and ran off the final four points.
So. No. 4-ranked Penn State won 25-19, 23-25, 25-21, 22-25, 15-11 in just over 2-1/2 hours. The score was tied 21 times and there were five lead changes, at least one in the first four sets, none in the fifth. The announced crowd was 2,067 and the match was televised live on Big Ten Network.
Fans saw a physical match with 36.5 blocks; PSU had the slight edge with 18.5, half a block more than Minnesota.
Ashley Wittman had a season-high 18 kills and 22 dogs for the Gophers and hit a team-high .292. Tori Dizon added 17 kills and nine block. Daly Santana had nine kills.
Penn State (13-2, 4-1) was led by its returning first team all-america hitter Ariel Scott with 25 kills. Three teammates also reached double figures in that category: Katie Slay had 16 kills and 10 blocks, Deja McClendon has 14 kills and Megan Courtney 10.
In the fifth set, it was Slay who had two kills after the late Penn State timeout in the fifth set. Then she and Scott had a block, making it match point which came on a Gophers' ball-handling error.
The Gophers hit .208, PSU .245. Minnesota is now 15-3, 3-2.
"Minnesota is having a great year, and they are going to be really good. We are going to have to play really well to have success with them," Penn State coach Rose said before the match.
His team met the challenge and beat the Gophers for the sixth match in a row. PSU was 3-0 against the Gophers last season, beating them 25-19, 19-25, 26-24, 25-18 in an NCAA Regional final in West Lafayette, Ind.
Penn State is 41-8 all-time against the Gophers.
The latest victory over the U was the 1,104th for Rose. He is third on the all-time list of career victories in college volleyball.
His teams have won nine of the past 10 Big Ten titles, including last year when the Nittany Lions reached the NCAA semifinals.
As the 15 games in the major leagues were coming into the Star Tribune headquarters on the wire Wednesday night, one thing seemed peculiar. The number of homers being hit.
So early -- very early -- Thursday morning, I added them up.
There were 48 hit in 15 games, or just over three per game. Seemed like more.
Here is a breakdown, with a few hightlights:
* Boston tied a franchise record with eight in a 20-4 stomping of Detroit.
* Pablo Sandoval, a third baseman, hit three of San Francisco's six against San Diego.
* There were two grand slams, one by Miami shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, one by the Red Sox's Will Middlebrooks, a third baseman.
* There were two grand slams, four three-run homers, 18 two-run homers and 24 solo homers.
* The only teams that did not go deep were Arizona, the Chicago White Sox, Cleveland, Houston, Kansas City, Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
* The Giants had only 80 homers all season before hitting six. Shocking.
What do you think of all that? ... zzzz.
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