Athletes at both Saint John’s University and the College of Saint Benedict are moving on to NCAA national competition starting this weekend.
The SJU football team – which improved to 10-0 with a dramatic, last-second 29-28 victory at Bethel in the MIAC Championship game this past Saturday (November 13) – found out Sunday (November 14) that it has received one of the four No. 1 seeds in the 32-team NCAA Division III playoff bracket.
The Johnnies begin the postseason when they play host to Lake Forest (Illinois) at noon (CST) Saturday (November 20) at Clemens Stadium. The Foresters (10-0) are the champions of the Midwest Conference and are led by junior quarterback Tre Stewart, who has thrown for 1,815 yards and 20 touchdowns this season.
Senior running back Damon Bonds has rushed for 899 yards and 12 touchdowns. The winner of Saturday’s game will advance to meet the winner between Linfield (Oregon) and Redlands (California). If the Johnnies advance, that game would be played at noon on November 27 at Clemens Stadium.
You can check out the full Division III bracket by clicking on this link.
Meanwhile, College of Saint Benedict sophomore Fiona Smith made history Saturday (November 13), becoming the first regional champion in program history when she finished first overall out of 225 runners in a school-record time of 20:57.6 at the NCAA Division III North Regional meet in Colfax, Wisconsin.
Her time was 24 seconds better than the second-place finisher, Clara Mayfield of Carleton. It marked her fifth first-place finish of the season, and her second on that course. She now advances to the NCAA Division III national meet this Saturday (November 20) in Louisville, Kentucky.
She is the 11th national qualifier at CSB, and the first since 2018. Her efforts helped lead the Bennies to a seventh-place finish as a team – their best performance at regionals since 2014.
Joining Smith in Kentucky will be SJU sophomore Lloyd Young, who finished fifth out of 219 runners in a time of 24:43 in the men’s race at the North Regional meet. Young, who also serves in the Minnesota Air National Guard, helped lead his team to a ninth place finish out of 31 teams at regionals.
The men’s race at the national meet is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. (CST) Saturday. The women’s race is scheduled to follow at 11 a.m.
Live results can be found at this link.