Oilers Athletics Continue to Shine in the National Spotlight
By: Dylan DeWitt
As there is another athletic year for the Findlay Oilers, it seems as if every year at least a few of the teams notch the national rankings. Currently, there is a total of four teams that sit within the top 25 in their respected sports` national polls. The teams include the men`s basketball team, the women`s swimming and diving team, men`s track and field, and women`s golf. These team have continued to excel throughout the year and represented the Findlay Oilers athletics program and currently three of the four teams are siting within the top-ten.
Through the voting system along with their performances that give them the votes and recognition, these teams filled with the student athletes of the University of Findlay are dominating this year. Starting off the recognition of these teams is the men`s basketball team. In the most recent poll, the team is 9thin the nation out of roughly 300 programs across the nation. The team who was previously in the 14thspot has been able to receive 256 points. Throughout the regional race and going strictly off the national rankings, the Oilers are only one place behind regional foe Bellarmine who is 18-1 on the year. The 18-3 Oilers team has seen some memorable wins against defending National Champions in Ferris State and other big wins against Great Midwest Conference opponents. The Oilers are in a tie for first in the conference with the Hillsdale Chargers.
As far as team accomplishments individual statistics, the team has had GMAC Players of the Week, and have the potential to break some team records in the history of the program. Alex White, a National Player of the Year Finalists, has been a two time GMAC Player of the Week this year as well. For the team, the shooting efforts could be one of the best in the history of the program. As the Oilers are shooting 50.3 percent from the field, the Oilers have a chance to break the record that was set in the 2007-2008 season with a final field goal percentage of 50.8 percent. With seven games remaining on the schedule, the Oilers will look to keep the shooting efforts going and finish out strong at the top position in the conference rankings. Their next games will be against two of the top four teams in the Great Midwest Conference including Hillsdale and Lake Erie on the road.
The women`s swim and dive team have not lost a stroke when it comes to being in the national ranked polls. The team is familiar with being nationally recognized swim and dive teams and has been able to continue its efforts in the pool. According to the latest College Swimming Coaches Association of America poll, the Oilers are sitting within the 17thspot in the poll. Likewise, to the conference player of the week honors in basketball, the Oilers women swim and dive team has also been a part of this honor. Amanda Stiegel has held this honor twice so far in the year. She and the team have continued to be remarkable in the pool in multiple events throughout the entire year.
With the regular season coming to an end this past month, the team will now travel to Canton, Ohio for the G-MAC Championships. The Oilers swim and dive team will look to yet again capture a conference championship in two years behind the efforts they have proven thus far.
Another team in Findlay athletics that has proven the tradition of national rankings currently is the men`s track and field teams. They have been able to flex their dominance in their six indoor events this season. The #6 team in the nation has three more events prior to entering the conference and national championships. Eldred Henry has been a highlighted athlete this season as he has not only been named an Athlete of the Week for the GMAC, but also been named the National Athlete of the Week in the same week for his efforts as a thrower.
The team has seen its highest ranking at #4 in the nation with just two weeks ago. Along with Henry, Gabe Makin, Austin Combs, and Martin Etsey have also had exceptional years to name just a few of the student athletes. Their next event will be this upcoming weekend at the Kent State Qualifier at the Dragon Grand Prix on Feb. 8 and 9.
Rounding out the teams that are sitting in the national ranks is the women`s golf team. The team will soon enter the spring season, but as it prepares for the upcoming season the team will take its efforts from the fall season as the 8thranked team in the nation. The Oilers women`s golf team has three different players that have been named Player of the Week in the conference from Makenzie Torres, Meredith Wipper, and Kristina Knisely.
This year the team has been one of the best in program history. The team holds the two lowest scores for 18 holes in program history with a total score of 287, and also broke the 54 hole record by a total of 18 strokes at the GMAC Fall Invitational after shooting 876. Individually, Wipper and Knisely are on top of the lowest 18 hole score record after shooting 67 this past fall. The team has had a total of four players shooting 69 or better in the fall season as well. The Oilers women`s golf team prepares to travel to Arizona this upcoming spring prior to their first tournament of the spring in Georgetown, Kentucky at the SVSU Spring Invite.
Other teams that have been a part of the national ranked polls in the top 25 were the Oilers volleyball team when they were the 24thranked team in the nation along with the Roughnecks of Oilers wrestling when they were also 24thin the nation. Oilers athletics continues to hold on to the tradition of accomplished programs throughout campus into this 2018-2019 athletics year.