Sightseeing parts of the country on road trips is a perk for college athletes.
Things were especially sweet for the Saint Martin’s men’s soccer team last weekend. Not only did the Saints win their Great Northwest Athletic Conference openers in the Dakotas, but a postgame surprise was in store: a trip to Mount Rushmore, a first for all involved.
Following their 4-2 win Saturday over South Dakota School of Mines, a new GNAC affiliate in soccer, the Saints wrapped up the trip with a 25-minute drive to Mount Rushmore National Memorial to view the iconic sculptures of presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, which attracts nearly 3 million visitors annually near Keystone, S.D.
This wasn’t your typical sightseeing perk of California beaches.
“This meant a little more,” Saints coach Rob Walker said, noting the historical perspective. “The kids found value in it. It was one of the coolest things I was able to do as a coach – to take them there. They didn’t want to leave.”
However, business came first. The Saints, who will open their first GNAC homestand with a 3 p.m. match Thursday against Montana State-Billings, defeated another new GNAC affiliate, the University of Mary, in Bismarck, N.D., 1-0 in overtime. Next came the win over he School of Mines.
They were the Saints’ first victories of the season, and they came using different lineups because of a shortage of players. Senior CJ Chu had a goal in both games, his first coming against
U-Mary on a penalty kick after 107 scoreless minutes.
Walker had no hesitation selecting Chu for the shot after a red card against the Marauders’ Adam Potter.
“In my mind,” Walker said, “it was CJ’s to take and CJ’s to make.”
Goalkeeper JJ Olson earned GNAC defensive player of the week honors with a career-high 11 saves in the shutout. Olson and Eric Owen, who had two saves in SMU’s win over the School of Mines after the Saints (2-4) scored their most goals in a game since 2010, are battling to start at goalkeeper, Walker said.
“Both are good goalkeepers,” Walker said.
SAINTS HOOPS SCHEDULES
The Saint Martin’s men’s and women’s basketball teams released their 2013-14 schedules Tuesday, highlighted by exhibition games with NCAA Division I programs.
The SMU men, led by first-year coach Michael Ostlund, will have exhibitions at Utah of the Pacific-12 Conference on Nov. 1 and at Montana, which made the NCAA tournament last season, on Dec. 15.
The SMU women, who return all but four players from last year’s 12-16 team, will face Oregon State on the road for the second year in a row in a Nov. 2 exhibition.
Black Hills graduate and Navy linebacker Cody Peterson has a team-high 19 tackles (12 solo) through two games for the Midshipmen (2-0), who play at Western Kentucky on Saturday. The 6-foot-3, 228-pounder is a senior team co-captain. … Olympia High grad Drew Schultz saw action in Washington’s 56-0 win over Idaho State at Husky Stadium on Saturday, recording one tackle. A defensive tackle, Schultz earned the team’s defensive scout player of the year award at the Huskies’ postseason awards banquet in 2012. … Capital High graduate and Gonzaga men’s soccer defender Josh Phillips was named to the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) all-tournament team following the Zags’ two games in Chicago. Phillips and the 19th-ranked Zags (4-2-0) defeated No. 21 Wisconsin, 2-0, in the second game.Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/southsoundsports @MegWochnick