From the Ground Up

The 2019 Cougar Athletics Spring Preview


"Most of our pressure comes from within. They're not complacent; they know their good days are not good enough. We have a very bright future."

— Columbia College lacrosse coach Ian Wolfe

When it comes to college lacrosse, Ian Wolfe has known nothing but starting programs from scratch. He did it as an undergrad at Lake Erie College, then again as a graduate assistant coach at Lourdes (Ohio) University. Two and a half years after being hired to do the same thing here at Columbia College as its inaugural head coach, and a year after sharing conference head-coach-of-the-year honors, Ian Wolfe’s team is ready to take the next step.

After fielding a team that was predominantly freshmen last season, Wolfe’s classes are starting to balance out. This year, his roster is comprised of five freshmen, 13 sophomores, a junior and four seniors.

Like the rest of his colleagues on Range Line Street, Wolfe is pleased at what he can sell to incoming recruits, and because he has plenty of experience with new programs, has assembled a corps of players who want to get in on the ground floor. “Columbia has a lot to offer. If I were playing again, I’d want to be here. What’s not to like?”

Even though Wolfe’s goal is for each incoming recruiting class to be better than the one before it, he’s also quick to point out the advantage the veterans possess. “The returners all have a full year of college lacrosse under their belt; they understand the game at the college level,” Wolfe says.

Those returners are looking to improve upon an inaugural record of 6-9 and 2-4 in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, yet that record was deceiving; five of those losses came to top-10 programs, and three of those five came by three goals or less.

One of those returners, senior attacker Sam Crum, will be counted on to conclude his Cougar career the way he started it last year. The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, native led the team with 38 goals and tied for the team lead by assisting on 16 more on his way to earning first-team all-KCAC honors.

Crum will be counted on to helm a squad that, Wolfe says, displays “flashes of greatness;” he’s looking for more consistency from the Cougars this season.

The schedule should once again provide a challenge for the young squad. After the March 2 season-opener on R. Marvin Owens Field vs. Michigan-Dearborn, the Cougars head to Fort Wayne, Indiana, to face preseason No. 4-ranked Indiana Tech. That is one of seven games against teams either ranked or receiving votes in the preseason NAIA national poll. In addition, half of Columbia College’s six KCAC contests feature such competition.

Wolfe loves that his players recognize when their good day is still not good enough. “Our guys work really hard every single day. They’re not complacent; they’re ceaseless.”

And because of that, Wolfe envisions a better season for his team than his colleagues have projected. “We have a very bright future ahead of ourselves. I foresee us playing at a high level.”

LACROSSE

Lacrosse By the Numbers

  1. Percent of this season's roster from out-of-state players. In addition to Missouri, players hail from California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.
  2. Seniors on the roster, led by First Team all-Kansas Collegiate Athletic Association attacker Sam Crum.
  3. Seasons of play in the history of the Cougars' program; head coach Ian Wolfe was named co-KCAC Coach of the Year in his inagural season.

BASEBALL

NAIA Preseason Ranking – N/A (fourth in the AMC preseason poll) 

Baseball By the Numbers

  1. Missourians on the roster; in addition, Cougars are represented from Arkansas, California, Illinois, Kansas, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utha, and Alberta, Canada.
  2. 30-win seasons in as many years of the program; the Cougars posted 34 wins in 2017 before finishing with 33 wins last year.
  3. Gulf Coast League MVP honors for Andrew Warner, who earned AMC Player of the Year honors last May before being selected in the 40th round of the St. Louis Cardinals in June's MLB Draft.

SOFTBALL

Softball By the Numbers

  1. Consecutive winning seasons; the Cougars' last losing season was 1985 (10-16).

  2. Non-Missourians on the roster; three CC Softball players hail from Illinois.

  3. Wins for Head Coach Wendy Spratt, entering her 25th season at Columbia College.

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