By: Ross Hickenbottom, Transcript Correspondent
All seven fall sports NCAC championships have been decided, placing DePauw University in first, Denison University in second and Ohio Wesleyan trailing the pack in third. The Tigers of DePauw captured their first-ever NCAC title in women’s soccer and took second place in both field hockey and football, while placing third in men’s soccer; women’s cross country and volleyball, wrapping up the fall sports season with a total of 56.5 points, a nine-point lead over Denison (47.5) and a ten and a half point lead over OWU (46.0).
Denison, with a half-point lead over Ohio Wesleyan, earned top five finishes in six fall sports, including women’s soccer placing second for the Big Red’s top team finish of the season. Ohio Wesleyan placed two teams, men’s soccer and volleyball, in second place in the conference for the season to gain a four-point lead over the fourth place team, Kenyon.
OWU Athletics Director Roger Ingles explained that Denison, DePauw and Ohio Wesleyan are a typical top three in the NCAC All-Sports Championship race approaching the winter sports season, but has confidence in teams such as the men’s basketball squad to pull out another conference championship, rearranging the order, and hopefully placing OWU on the top of the podium at the end of the winter sports season.
In the history of the NCAC, OWU leads the pack in terms of total conference championships, with 145, Denison in second (130) and Allegheny falling behind in third (113), but in fact, has not won an all-sports title, outright, since the 2007-08 season. The past several years, DePauw and Denison have teetered the title.
Returning starter, and Freshman of the Year in the NCAC men’s basketball poll, Nate Axelrod has ‘high expectations’ for the team this year, and believes they can repeat, adding to the All-Sports race effort, but explained, “we just need to take it one game at a time and stay focused to reach our goal.”
Looking forward to spring, Doug Sanders, a dual-sport athlete and junior, playing both football
and baseball, has high hopes for the baseball team, believing they can bring a championship back to Delaware.
“I believe this team has the hunger and drive in order to win the NCAC Tournament, as well as making some noise in the NCAA tourney. It should be a great year for Ohio Wesleyan baseball,” he said.
With that, OWU athletes look to turn the race results around with the winter and spring sports seasons, surpassing DePauw and Denison.