Two Red Knights join the University of St. Thomas Tommies

Brooks Carver, Staff Writer

Back in January, BSM seniors John Whitmore and Matthew Hansberry announced their commitment to play Division III sports at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. Both Whitmore and Hansberry are known throughout BSM not only for their positive attitudes and deep involvement within the community but also for their athletic achievements.

Whitmore was a four-year starter and captain for the BSM football team and has recorded over 230 tackles. He has also been named to numerous All-Area and All-State “dream teams” and is recognized as one of the top linebacker prospects in the state of Minnesota. Whitmore also helped the Red Knights win the 4A State Championship in 2016.

Hansberry averaged a 0.429 on-base percentage last year for the BSM baseball team despite being sidelined for a considerable amount of time due to a hand injury. He has also experienced lots of success in his club teams such as the Minnesota Mash outside of BSM.

The college selection process can be quite the burden, and athletic recruitment is no exception. Both Whitmore and Hansberry described it as “stressful.” However, the process does have some upside. “It felt good to know that you’re “wanted” or whatever, but it was also kind of weird,” Hansberry said.

Nonetheless, the two athletes expressed their relief that the process is over. “It’s an experience I’ll never forget, but it’s not an experience I’d want to do again… A lot of people enjoy the spotlight, but that just wasn’t really me; I just want to play football and go to college,” Whitmore said.

A lot of people enjoy the spotlight, but that just wasn’t really me; I just want to play football and go to college

— John Whitmore

The two seniors are also aware that college goes beyond sports and emphasized the important role that academics played in their commitment. Both Whitmore and Hansberry turned down offers from larger D1 and D2 schools in favor of St. Thomas because of the school’s rich academic history while still providing them with the opportunity to compete at a high level. “I’d rather be set up for the next 40 years instead of just the next 4 years for football, which is a very temporary sport,” Whitmore.

The pair also credited St. Thomas’ highly acclaimed business program as one of the main factors in their decision.

There were also many other elements for their decision. Whitmore declared that location was a big part of his commitment. Whitmore’s brother Will (Class of 2017) attended St. Thomas for a year before transferring to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and gave Whitmore positive feedback in regards to the school. “I could have gone to some of my other options for free, but they were in the middle of nowhere,” Whitmore said.

Hansberry also was influenced by other people. “I have a ton of friends who currently go there, and they definitely influenced my decision,” Hansberry said.

Although St. Thomas is considered a small school, the college has still managed to compile quite an impressive list of athletic achievements. The baseball team won two national titles in 2009 and 2001. The football program played in the D3 national championship game two times in the last seven years and have consistently finished the season with winning records.

Jack Rahill

The football team also participates in the annual Tommie-Johnnie game with rival school St. John’s University. The game has continually set attendance records for D3 sports, and last year, the game drew 37,000 fans at Target Field. Whitmore and Hansberry are both aware of the high expectations of athletic excellence and are excited to contribute to Tommies next year.

In the meantime, as Hansberry prepares for the upcoming baseball season and as Whitmore recovers from a labrum injury, the two remain focused on their BSM responsibilities, but look forward to the playing and have started to acquaint themselves with their future teammates.