Pohl’s Perspective


Power Women Of Webster

John Pohl, Journal staff writer

It never ceases to amaze me how much negativity there is in the world of sports. Turn on sports talk radio and mostly what you hear is, “What’s wrong with this or that?” Yes, Ryan Braun got away with taking steroids. And don’t look now, but Penn State University could soon be naming its football stadium after Joe Paterno. Albert Pujols is a traitor and the Rams stink. It goes on and on.

There is so much, pardon the expression, trash talk. I am guilty of it myself. It is almost like there is a part of us that wants to see the other guy fail. I understand negative topics in sports are newsworthy, but sometimes enough is enough.

Webster University is no different. In our own Webster bubble, questions are always asked: “Why don’t we have updated facilities, stronger teams and even better athletes?”

There is always hope — at least for the Webster sports world. The Gorloks’ sports community has its own problems and issues like any other university, but it’s refreshing to look at some special athlete’s right in front of us. Sophomore Trisha Thompson, senior Gretchen Rieger and freshman Jenny Howard are three of Webster’s “power women.”

These athletes are talented and have the wow factor. They are what’s great about college athletics at Webster.

The first member of my “power women” team is sophomore softball pitcher Trisha Thompson. On March 13, in the Gorloks’ lone win during their trip to California, Thompson struck out six in picking up her first shutout of the season. Later in the season, she set a Webster record for strikeouts in a game with 15.

On March 29, Thompson outdid herself when she threw the first seven-inning no-hitter for the Gorloks since 2007, as she led Webster to a 1-0 win over Westminster College. For her efforts, she was named the SLIAC Pitcher of the Week for March 26-April 1.

Rieger, who competes for the Webster track and field team, won the javelin throw with a toss of 33.35 meters at the Rhodes College Invitational in Memphis, Tenn., on March 24. It was her first event this season, and she placed first in a field of 17, which was comprised of NCAA Division II and III athletes.

For her efforts, she was selected as the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference field Athlete of the Week for March 19-25. She burst onto the scene last year and has been the top javelin thrower in Webster women’s track and field history.

A fierce competitor on the volleyball team in the fall, Rieger was an All-Conference honorable mention selection and was also named to the All-Sportsmanship team.

Howard, also a track athlete for Webster, was named the SLIAC track athlete of the week for her record-breaking performances. She set school records in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes at the Rhodes Invitational. She posted a time of 12.53 seconds in the 100 to finish ninth out of 36 runners, and 26.07 seconds in the 200 to finish sixth in a field of 31.

Like Rieger, Howard played on the SLIAC champion volleyball team in the fall and was named the 2011 SLIAC volleyball Newcomer of the Year. Additionally, she grabbed a spot on the SLIAC All-Conference first team.

Turn off your radios, televisions, computers and even your cellphones. You don’t need the white noise of ESPN, Fox Sports or any of the local radio sports talk shows. Instead, go to a track and field meet or a softball game, relax and enjoy watching these outstanding athletes.

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