The Rundown

St. John’s. Men’s basketball.
It’s a mental connection that’s hard to break. But, if you want the full experience of Red Storm sports, you’ll have to broaden your view.
The men’s basketball team has toiled for years at the bottom of the Big East standings and it’s been a reflection, however poor, of the school’s athletics as a whole.
But, whether you are new to St. John’s sports or have been watching since (and longing for) the days of Lou Carnesecca, you should be looking at the full picture.
The women’s basketball team, neglected by most mainstream media, is a Big East force. Led by Kia Wright, Angela Clark and head coach Kim Barnes Arico, the women’s squad ended the 2005-2006 year with a record of 22-8 (11-5 Big East), good for a fourth place finish in the conference.
They advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, marking their first trip to the Tournament since 1988. Barnes Arico was named Big East Coach of the Year for bringing St. John’s back to prominence.
But, if you’re not into basketball at all, there are other alternatives. Baseball has enjoyed success in the past few years. The team has recently graduated players such as Will Vogl, Greg Thomson and Rob Delaney, who are all having success in the Minor Leagues of professional baseball.
Most notable is Craig Hansen, current Boston Red Sox relief pitcher and former Major League first-round draft pick. He was the closer for the Red Storm just two short years ago.
You may have missed out on watching him, but don’t be discouraged. There are plenty of other young talents that could some day be major league contributors. Take Scott Barnes, for example, a freshman lefty flamethrower that had an incredible 3.66 ERA and struck out 74 batters in 64 innings.
Or how about freshman closer Rich Armento, armed with a nasty splitter that helped him post a 2.67 ERA in his first year of college baseball?
To your surprise, though, the best team at St. John’s may not be in basketball or baseball, but rather in fencing.
In 2001, the team won the NCAA Tournament. They were runners-up in 2000 and 2002. This year, the women placed fifth in the tournament while the men finished sixth.
The women’s overall record was 12-3 and the men’s, 8-5.
The soccer teams have the double disadvantage of being overlooked not only at the University but also in the whole country.
The men’s soccer team went 11-6-5 (6-2-3 Big East) this year and had three members drafted into Major League Soccer.
They made their 15th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and 10th consecutive appearance in the tournament’s round of 16.
Even the smaller sports have outstanding athletes that could bring their teams to the top. Softball boasts freshman standout Lauren Lupinetti, who led the team in batting average, slugging percentage, home runs and set a club record with 48 RBIs.
Track and Field has Blessing Egwu, who won two top 10 finishes at the USA Track and Field Championships. Volleyball (23-9, 9-5 Big East record), Tennis, and Golf all have standouts and excellent teams, as well.
And, if you just want to stick with basketball anyway, you may be seeing a team that surprises the Big East this year. Armed with five new recruits, an improving Anthony Mason Jr., and the return of Lamont Hamilton and Darryl Hill, they could shake things up.
But whether they succeed or fail this year, look past the one-sport culture here at St. John’s. You’ll find that there is great talent eclipsed just behind some past failures.