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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Aspect Ratio

Jase Hanson has thrived in her first season of swimming
for her hometown Mavericks
Jace Hanson is happy she made the decision to swim collegiately in her hometown.

The sophomore, a Mankato West High School product, has helped the Mavericks post an almost perfect dual meet season in 2017-18 with the Mavericks sporting a 6-1 win-loss record.

At the mid-season Rochester Invitational in November, Hanson finished in the top 24 in the 100-yard backstroke with a 1:01.06 clocking. She also helped two of the Maverick relays place fifth (200-yard freestyle) and second (200-yard medley), respectively at the UW-Steven’s Point Invite.

"I really appreciate the way Coach Owens runs the team and each practice has meaning," said Hanson about her swimming for the Mavericks.

Nate Owens, who is his 14th season in charge of the Minnesota State women's swimming & diving program, said that Hanson's been a key member of the team.

“Jace has been a great addition to our sprint group this year. Although she’s been dealing with a torn labrum for the duration of the year, she’s battled and held up well throughout a very demanding training schedule. As a credit to her, she has continued to steadily improve every week. With her best events being sprint Freestyle and Backstroke, it will be exciting to see what kind of time drops she can post next week at the NSIC Championship meet. Along with the rest of our team, Jace has worked her tail off this year, it will be good to see all that hard work pay off.” 

Hanson has been swimming for eight years, but she has more than just one passion.  In addition to her ability on the pool, but she also has a passion for photography.

Looking through a camera lense, exploring different settings and editing techniques,"gives her a perspective on the the world in new in different ways," says Hanson.

She also feels that it's helped her be more open to the world around her and see each situation at different angles. It has helped her think of many solutions to problems by thinking creatively during her political science classes.

“It helps me to be more positive on a daily basis and to see the beauty in things many people wouldn’t think about looking at,” said Hanson. She also said that it has helped her meet many new and interesting people through their shared interest. She has curated a photography business for herself two years ago called JHanson Photography, with examples of her work available here.

An advocate for the empowerment of women of all ages, Hanson is featured on the website at sheofstrength.com, as a co-founder. “I believe young women are the foundation of a new outlook on life,” Hanson said when asked about why she wanted to join the site. She believes that in combining her love of photography, swimming and politics, she is an example of leadership and seeks inspire young women to find their passion and use it to change the world.

Hanson, who has worked at the Mankato YMCA as well as at Tourtellotte Park pool in the summer, where she is a head lifeguard at both pools and has been working there for three years. A six-year member of the Scarlet swim team at Mankato West as a high-schooler, she now serves as an assistant swim coach for the Scarlets.

With a dream job of working as a White House photographer, Hanson looks forward to continuing to pursue a political science degree and to grow her photography business.

                   Contributed by Morgan Seaton, Minnesota State Athletic Communications intern

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Scout Team

Minnesota State assistant coaches Amy Sander and Ketty
Paula (left) discuss a play for the Scout Team. Photo
courtesy of freshman guard Maddie Olson.
Prior to each tipoff, the Minnesota State women's basketball team spends several hours on preparation for their upcoming opponent. 

While the Mavericks are also attending classes, the hours getting ready to play games are spent watching video, rehabbing injuries, studying game plans and practicing. And a large amount of time is spent going over the upcoming opponents. 

For the past three seasons, Minnesota State has delegated a part of this task (the opponents part) to the student body in the form of the scout team. The scout team is comprised of a group of students that volunteer their time for Maverick practices. During practice, the scout team primarily learns and runs plays of upcoming Maverick opponents. Additionally, these student volunteers mimic tendencies of key players and assist with drills in practice. This season, around five to eight scout team players serve on the scout team at a given session.

Utilizing student volunteers for scout teams is a fairly common practice in collegiate women’s basketball. In her eight years as an assistant coach at the NCAA Division I level, head coach Emilee Thiesse was a member of staffs that used scout teams consistently. The same goes for her program here at Minnesota State where she incorporates a scout team with the understanding of how it benefits her team. 

“If we didn’t have a scout team, we would have to use our own players to run the opponent’s offensive schemes—which takes time from our overall preparation and also limits the number of reps that our players are actually defending the actions,” said Thiesse, who took over the Maverick program in 2012-13 after serving as an assistant coach at South Dakota State and Drake.

Though the Mavericks benefit from the scout team, the student volunteers derive enjoyment from their own service as well. “I’ve been surprised how much I miss being in a practice atmosphere,” says graduate sport management student Zach Miner. Along with the atmosphere, Miner enjoys the exercise, intentional teaching moments, and the opportunity to play his favorite sport competitively. With these benefits, a common theme underlies the main motivation of the scout team players—to help the Mavericks improve. Engineering student D’Ante Ross affirms, “I just love helping out the team.”

The value of having students volunteer on the scout team is not lost on Maverick players and coaching staff. “We're grateful for the scout team dedicating their time and effort to make our players compete to the best of their ability” said graduate assistant Kelsey Little. Coach Thiesse added, “Our players appreciate them very much. They understand the commitment that the scout team is making on a volunteer basis and that [the scout team volunteers] are committing to the grind of practices without the reward of the games.”

In the past, the Maverick women’s basketball coaching staff has relied on word of mouth to assemble student volunteers. Minnesota State students with previous playing experience and some schedule flexibility are encouraged to give it a shot. If Minnesota State students are interested in potentially volunteering on the scout team, they can contact assistant coaches Ketty Paula or Amy Sander
                                                                            Contributed by Tyler Hajek, Minnesota State Athletic Communications intern

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Professional Development

Ty Dennis has taken full advantage of his
collegiate experience, serving on Minnesota State's SAAC
committee, as well as playing wide receiver for
the Mavericks.
College is much more than attending class, obtaining good grades and graduating with a degree.  Ty Dennis is a living example of this.

Dennis, a senior on the Minnesota State Mavericks football team, understands that attending university is an experience that can shape your life. As a wide receiver for the Mavericks, Dennis accounted for just shy of 2000 yards (1,977) and 19 touchdowns over his four-year collegiate career, including gaining an average of 16.8 yards per touch with the football in hand. During the last four years, not coincidentally, the Mavericks posted a 45-7 won-loss record, played in eight NCAA postseason games, including the national championship game in 2014.
Dennis’ collegiate experience is defined by much more than just football, however.
During his redshirt freshman year, Ty Dennis’ coach, Aaron Keen, knew he would be a leader. He was approached by Keen and asked if he would like to join the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). The SAAC is a committee comprised of student-athletes, established to provide insight on the student-athlete experience. The SAAC also offers input on the rules, regulations and policies that affect the university experience of student-athetes on NCAA member institution campuses. 

Dennis accepted his coaches offer and has grown within the organization ever since. 

Currently, Dennis serves as the Minnesota State University campus SAAC President as well as being the NCAA DII SAAC External Communication Coordinator since his sophomore year, acting as one of two at-large representatives from the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC). “MSU tries to enhance the student-athlete experience, the community engagement and deal with legislation from the NCAA. I have seen legislation get taken very seriously on the DII convention floor because we do get a vote when legislation is proposed. We are a voice for the students,” said Dennis when asked about his role both on campus and on the NCAA Division II national level. 
He said that being a SAAC member has only helped him in his endeavors as a student. “Organizing and presenting things has helped me become more confident in my abilities, specifically as a professional. I love working with people and collaborating on things. It has also helped me network with a lot of people. I have met people from California, all the way to New York,” Dennis said.
Kristle Wolcott, the campus SAAC liaison and assistant softball coach, said “Ty Dennis is a national SAAC representative of three years and has been a huge blessing to have in our organization. He’s been really great.”
Dennis, a Burlington, Wisc., native, had only positive things to report about his experience with the SAAC, and concluded “I would recommend anyone to it. My college career would have been missing something without it.”
Upon graduation, Dennis looks to further his education by getting a Masters degree in Sports Management and becoming a graduate assistant on a NCAA campus. College is much more than what you learn in the textbooks, and Mavericks wide receiver, MSU Campus SAAC President and NCAA DII SAAC External-Communication Coordinator, Dennis has reaped the rewards of having that understanding. The SAAC has developed Ty Dennis into a leader on the Minnesota State campus as well as on the national level which he expects will translate to success in his future career choices.
                     Contributed by Aaron Fitzner, Minnesota State Athletic Communications intern

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Carew's Been a Hit With Maverick Athletics

Alex Carew has served as an undergraduate
intern for Shane Drahota in the Minnesota
State Athletics Compliance & Eligiblity

Alex Carew, a fifth-year senior at Minnesota State, is a sport management major with an athletic coaching minor.  Toiling behind the scenes in the Minnesota State Athletics Department, Carew has spent the last couple of years working with Shane Drahota in the Maverick compliance and student services office.

Born and raised in Wisconsin in a family of five (he is a triplet with his two sisters Lauren and Caitlin), Alex was a three-sport athlete in high school and played the trumpet in the band. After beginning his post-high school education at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, he transferred to Minnesota State prior to the 2015-16 school year because UWEC did not have a sport management program.

When Alex got to Minnesota State he started digging into the sport management program right away and before long started a work study job manning the front desk in the main athletic department. The following year he trained in as Drahota’s undergraduate student assistant. Drahota, who serves as the school's Assistant Athletic Director/Compliance & Student Services, is a Jackson, Minn., native who is in his second stint in his current role with the Mavericks, rejoining the department in January of 2016 after spending two and half years as the Assistant Athletic Director for Internal Affairs at Wayne State College (Neb.).

The compliance and student services department handles Minnesota State’s athletic compliance and elibility, ensuring that Maverick student-athletes, coaches, recruits, administrators, boosters, and alumni are in line with the rules and regulations of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. A monumental task that involves providing oversite for Minnesota State’s 20 sports and its 500+ student-athletes, making sure they are in progress to graduate on time, their financial aid scholarships are accurate, and to make sure that they are ultimately eligible to play.

After Alex’s first day of training in the office, Jeremy Christoffels (who was working with Drahota as a graduate assistant intern at the time and now serves as the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Assistant Commissioner for Compliance.) mentioned to Drahota that he thought “Alex is going to be great.” Observing that Alex "learned very fast and was good at so much of what he was asked to do," it wasn't long before the protege was taking on additional responsibility.

“Whatever I do, Alex is capable of," said Drahota, adding that Carew is involved with virtually every facet of his operation.

"It's been a blessing working with Shane," said Carew. "One of the best experiences I've had in college. It's fun working with him and I've learned a lot.  He's a bright guy and it's been about more than just compliance and eligibility, so not just sports, but outside of this realm, too."

In addition to working with Drahota, Carew has made the most of his collegiate experience at Minnesota State, playing the trumpet in the Maverick Marching Machine, the school's athletics band. He also coaches squirt hockey.

How has he been able to juggle all of this?  "That's a good question. I think prioritizing things is the key," said Carew.  "School work comes first. Then working with Shane. Then everything else."

Expecting to graduate in the fall of 2018 and taking a look into the future, Carew has applied to a few graduate schools and is waiting to hear back from them to decide where he will end up upon graduation. Ultimately he would like to get to the NCAA Division I level where he would continue to work in a compliance and student services office.

   contributed by Brooke Brower, Athletic Communications intern

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Rising Sun

Setter Autumn Risch will travel with her Minnesota State
volleyball teammates to Japan this summer
The NCAA allows member schools to take trips abroad once every four years. 

The Minnesota State women’s volleyball program has taken advantage of this rule a couple of times in the last few summers with the Mavericks travelling to Argentina in 2009 and Eastern Europe (Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Italy) in 2013.  

With the idea that the trips enhance the student-athlete experience, the Mavericks are in the midst of preparing for another excursion.

Head coach Lori Rittenhouse, staff and players will sojourn to Japan in a few weeks, leaving Minnesota July 24th and returning August 4th. The Mavericks are slated to play four matches over the course of 12 days of the tour, which will take them to Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo.

The trip will also include time for practice, along with sightseeing and other activities.

“The mission of these trips is to provide real and meaningful experiences for each student-athlete,” said Rittenouse. “Intercollegiate athletics offers much more than a statistical column and a win/loss record. It provides the framework for growth and development as an individual; enhances the skills and motivation required of leaders; and offers a unique and variable environment for student-athletes to navigate and practice tactics of teamwork, communication and cohesion.”

Rittenhouse, a Mankato native who is entering her third year as head coach of the Mavericks, said that the submersion into a new culture, foreign language and unfamiliar surroundings provides a unique opportunity for growth, personal discovery and pushes one out of a state of comfort. 

To make this once-in-a-lifetime foreign tour a reality, the Mavericks hosted, coordinated and organized over 60 youth volleyball tournaments over the past four years and not a single cent from the student-athletes or University dollars will be used to pay for the tour.

Autumn Risch, a setter from Howards Grove, Wis., who’s heading into her junior season with Minnesota State, is looking forward to the trip. 

“It’s hard to explain how excited I am for the opportunity to travel to Japan. It is a once in a lifetime experience that I know we will all remember for the rest of our lives.,” said Risch, a psychology major who saw action in 29 matches in 2016. “I’m most excited about sharing this experience with some of my greatest friends. It will be amazing to not only play together overseas, but to also enjoy the different culture and beauty of the country.”

I" can’t wait to play international competition and I think it’s amazing that our team gets to represent our university overseas. We put in a lot of work in as a team last spring and I know we have continued to put in the work over this summer. I’m excited to see how that will continue in our Japan training as well as when we finally get to compete. As an individual I want to focus on leading the team through any obstacles we might face considering we don’t know what the competition will be like, and as for the team, I want us to keep looking forward and stay focused and competitive the entire trip.”


Friday, April 21, 2017

Record Collection

Coley Ries is closing in on 100 career wins.
Individual success in sports is often up for interpretation.

However, when it comes to Minnesota State senior softball pitcher Coley Ries, “success” is undoubtedly one word to describe her remarkable record-breaking softball career.

Ries is the Maverick record holder for career wins (99) and strikeouts (571), as well as the most strikeouts in a single season (434).

“Coley has obviously been an important part of the program. She’s brought a lot of success to the program,” said Lori Meyer, Minnesota State's veteran head softball coach. Ries’s teammate, sophomore Cori Kennedy added, “Coley is a very selfless player and she always puts the team first. She’s a really good leader on our team.”

Hailing from Eagle Lake, Minn., Ries, 22, is a product of Mankato East High School, where she graduated from in 2012. Following her high school career, one in which she went 85-18 with 786 batters while leading the Cougars to three Big 9 championships, she committed to continue her softball career at Minnesota State.

“I chose MSU because, being from Mankato, it’s cool to be able to play in front of your community,” Ries said.

Her decision to attend a local university also stems from the importance of family and great coaches.
“Having my family close by, being able to attend all the games, and all the money and time they’ve put into my career throughout the years, it just seemed right to be able to have them be there,” Ries said. “I was also motivated by the coaching staff. I knew that they wanted to make me better,” she said.

After spending her first season red-shirting, it was during the 2014 campaign where Ries’s long list of achievements on the softball diamond for Minnesota State began. She made 37 appearances, including 29 starts in as a freshman, posting a 23-8 record to go along with a 1.92 earned run average. She was named Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Pitcher of the Year that year.

Ries followed up on a great freshman campaign by appearing in 41 games and constructing a 21-16 record as a sophomore. She fanned 297 batters, a school single-season record. She earned All-NSIC Second Team Honors.

Ries didn’t slow down in 2016. She went 29-7 in her junior season. She compiled 1.18 ERA and fanned 434 batters in establishing a school single-season record.

That performance was good enough to earn her NSIC Pitcher of the Year and First-Team All-NSIC honors.

So far in 2017, the senior right-hander holds a 21-2 record with a record-breaking win coming Saturday against Bemidji State, when Ries became the all-time wins leader with 98. With a win Tuesday over Southwest Minnesota State, she now has 99 wins.

“100 wins is a goal of mine, so knowing I’m approaching one of my goals is really cool, but I’m not trying to think about it too much,” said Ries. The Mavericks next game is Saturday, when they host Northern State.

What Ries has done on the field during games is one thing, but off the field could potentially be even bigger.

“The community can relate to Coley because they’ve been able to follow her throughout her career, and what also adds to that is, she’s just a great person. She’s a great ambassador for the community, Minnesota State and for the sport of softball,” Meyer said. “She’s a tremendous role model for young girls just because of how she interacts with them and her passion for softball,” she said.

Ries graduates May 6 with a degree in mass media, but is unsure what she wants to do.

“I hope to get into coaching, maybe help out the coaches here. Nothing is really set in stone yet. I’m really trying to focus on finishing the year and see where it takes me,” she said.

  Contributed by Collin Wilmes, Athletic Communications intern

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Maverick From Down Under

Right-handed pitcher Bryce Collins
is in his first season with the Mavericks
It has been a long journey for new Minnesota State junior right-handed pitcher Bryce Collins as he has traveled far from his hometown of Brisbane, Australia to play collegiate baseball in the United States.

The story of how he ended up heading to America to play started with a professional scout that approached him after one of his games.

“A professional scout came up to me and asked if I had any aspirations to play pro ball and I told him that I did,” Collins said. “He then got into contact with the recruiting coordinator at Indian Hills Community College in Centerville, Iowa and then proceeded to exchange emails with him."

Within six hours there was a mutual agreement in place that would have Collins attending school in Iowa in the coming fall where he ended up playing two seasons before transitioning Minnesota State. At Indian Hills he was voted Freshman of the Year in 2015, where he started eight games while pitching 53 innings and recording 45 strikeouts. He also helped lead Indian Hills to a second-place finish in conference and region in 2015.

The recruitment of baseball players in Australia is a little bit harder for guys to get noticed. Collins also stated that “not as many people play it and it isn’t as popular there. Other sports take more of a priority such as rugby and cricket." Considering that baseball may not be as popular in Australia, Collins felt as though playing for his country would give him as good of an opportunity to get seen as any.

He played for Team Australia at the U19, U17 and U13 World Series which took him to places such as Taiwan, Mexico and the United States (Maryland). He also went up against current big league pitcher Julio Urias of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“The experience playing for my country was awesome, you have a lot of pride putting that jersey on,” Collins said. Playing in Taiwan and Mexico were very unique experiences because the areas that they played in were not the best so to speak. Every time their team left the hotel while they were in Mexico, they had to have police escorting them to and from the field. The ability to experience playing with the national team prepared him for coming over to the United States and not being intimidated.

“Everything over here is pretty similar to Australia which helped me feel very comfortable when I first got here,” he said.

Adjusting to a new culture has been a lot of fun for Collins. He has enjoyed meeting new people while also being able to get a degree playing baseball. An exercise science major, Collins has appeared in six games in his first year with the Mavericks, all in relief.

Currently in the midst of a 17-game winning streak, Minnesota State is rated 21st by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and stands 21-4 overall.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Old School

Minnesota State senior defenseman Carter Foguth is in his
second year as team captain with the Mavericks
Minnesota State has racked up 94 wins, won a pair of MacNaughton Cups, claimed a pair of Broadmoor Trophies and made two trips to the NCAA tournament during Carter Foguth’s time in Mankato.

Take a closer look at the type of game that the senior defenseman plays and the more appreciation you gain for the role he’s played in the success the Mavericks have enjoyed the last four seasons.

Foguth, a Fenton, Mich., native, is Minnesota State’s active career games played leader and while he’s closing in on 140 appearances, it’s not his career goals (4), assists (17) or points total (21) that make your eyes pop.  A “stay-at-home” defenseman, Foguth has led the Mavericks in blocked shots the last three years and has ranked amongst the team’s plus-minus leaders every season during the course of his career. And while those numbers are impressive, it is his physical presence that certainly is noticeable to the opposition as head coach Mike Hastings likes to point out.

“Scoring goals, setting up goals, those are the things that get people out of their seats,” said Hastings. “Carter does a lot of the unappreciated things as a player. If you were go around and ask around the WCHA, who’s one of the harder guys to play against, there will be a lot of coaches that would say they’re not going to miss Carter not being in the lineup. We definitely do miss him if he’s not there. He defends, he keeps players away from the net, he’s the guy who says “you’re not going get another whack at the puck” and if you’re coming between the dots you’re going to pay a price. He’s been one of the best defensive defensemen in the league in the last three years.”

Building on that, Hastings, who is in his fifth year as head coach of the Mavericks, is quick to add another characteristic Foguth brings to the table that is difficult to quantify.  The characteristic of leadership.

“Carter’s been a guy that you are comfortable with being in charge of your team. He leads by example and he does things that are admirable. He’s honest and truthful. He’s a great self-evaluator.  And those are qualities that are sometimes hard to find in people. He has a lot of qualities that you look for if you are going to build somebody as a leader. We were hoping he would end up being that type of player for us when we recruited him and he’s done that and more. Unquestionably he’s a leader and those types of people are hard to find.”

The soft-spoken Foguth, a two-time team captain who is slated to graduate with a law enforcement degree this spring, says his role with the team and as a captain specifically, has grown during the course of his career.

“I’ve learned a lot along the way. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve taken being a captain more seriously. Both on the ice and off the ice.  As I’ve gotten to know Coach Hastings and having had other guys as captains my first two years, it’s been one of those deals where you learn expectations. I first served as an alternate captain as a sophomore, then becoming a captain the next year was the biggest change for me as it meant a different level of responsibility. One of the most important things is communicating the message from the coaches to the players and vice versa. That’s part of what I’ve learned and it’s important to be transparent with the guys.”

And relative what the expectations are as a player, Foguth harbors no illusions.

“It’s nice to score a goal every now and then, but that’s not my game. I take a lot of pride in shutting down the other teams’ offense. As a younger player, at first it was making sure to get into position, getting in that lane, being physical and having a good stick. But sometimes it seems that shots just seem to gravitate toward me in the defensive zone, but it’s positioning and anticipation.”

Again, as Hastings has said, nothing fancy. “As a person he’s five stars as far as I’m concerned. We put a lot of responsibility on him and he’s done a great job. He had a history of being  to handle himself before he came here as a junior hockey player. And he’s expanded on that as a member of our program here. He plays hard, he’s mentally tough and he cares for others. I’m not sure you could ask any more of a player and of one who is expected to be a leader for your team.”

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Hallowe'en 1991 and the Mavericks

Following a late October storm that buried Mankato
with 20 inches of snow, the Maverick football team
worked to clear Blakeslee Stadium for a game vs. Augustana
This Halloween will mark the 25th anniversary of the worst snow storm to hit the Midwest since November of 1940. 

Overnight on Thursday, October 31, 1991 Mankato was hit by a snowstorm that left almost two feet of snow across Minnesota. The storm kicked off an unusual set of events, including some which wreaked havoc with the Minnesota State football team, which was steaming toward a spot in the NCAA Division II playoffs.

The Mavericks entered the Oct. 31st weekend standing 3-3 in North Central Conference games and was looking for a home win against a University South Dakota side that was 1-6 on the season. That was before the storm hit, making roads impassable as virtually everything in southern Minnesota, along with most everywhere else in the upper midwest, ground to a halt for several days.

And for the first time in the history of the storied NCC, which dated back to the 1921 season, all football games across the conference that weekend were cancelled.

“Trick or’ treaters were done early that night and the snow started falling," said Don Amiot, the Athletic Director for Minnesota State at the time, recalling the onset of the storm. "In the morning we couldn’t get anywhere, everything was shut down.”

A sophomore quaterback named Jamie Pass, a Chicago native who had just transferred from Western Michigan, was new to the area and was about to find out what Minnesota winters were about.  "The highways were closed down because of the storm and no one could move. Canceling football games? I’ve never seen that before,” said Pass.

Unfortunately, Saturday's game vs. the Coyotes would not be rescheduled. The Mavericks had two remaining home games, and although the snow had stopped falling, it was still causing problems. With venerable Blakeslee Stadium still submerged in snow and ice in the following days, almost incredibly it appeared that another crucial home date was in jeopardy. After searching for a Plan B, the DakotaDome in Vermillion, S.D., emerged as a potential site for the Mavericks to "host" it's next opponent, South Dakota State.

The DakotaDome, which ironically is the home field for the University of South Dakota, was busy due to to the fact that is was indoors. But if teams could get there, it was one of the lone facilities in the area that had a playable field.  The Dome was set to host three other football games that afternoon, so the Mavericks and the Jackrabbits would not kick off until after 9:30 p.m.  Serving as the home team and with the department working as it normally did when it ran a home game (the public address announcer, scoreboard and score clock operators, chain gang, press box staff, etc., all travelled from Mankato to Vermillion to work the game), the Mavericks prevailed in the unusual contest, winning 23-0.

The last hurdle to jump in order for the Mavericks to make the NCAA postseason was to find a way to win a final home game against Augustana. This game had originally been scheduled for the UNIDome at the University of Northern Iowa. But, with the entire Maverick football team pressed into snow removal service, work began on clearing Blakeslee Stadium with snow blowers and shovels. Amiot understood that if the University was to use heavy equipment to clear the fields that it could have resulted in damage to the turf. So the job was left to Runkle and the football team and the mission was accomplished.

And although most of the snow from the storm had been cleared from the field, the snow banks created by shoveling led to some interesting plays.

“The sidelines were a mess, the field was soft and you couldn’t play a real football game," said Dan Runkle, who coached the Mavericks from 1981-2001.

The sidelines were packed with snow and big plays were the difference as the Mavericks dispatched the Vikings by a 28-14 margin. The all-important win gave the Mavericks a 7-3 regular season mark and a spot in the postseason, their second such foray into the NCAA tournament under Runkle.

“It was a fun, strange year. To have a game cancelled, another played over two days (the game vs. SDSU in Vermillion didn't end until early in the morning) and make the playoffs.” said Runkle.

Undoubtedly the 1991 season will be remembered as one in which the Mavericks made the NCAA playoffs - one of sixteen teams playing football in the DII postseason. MSU defeated North Dakota State 27-7 in Fargo before falling to Portland State in the quarterfinals in finishing with an 8-4 final record. 

For those that experienced it though, the infamous "Hallowe'een Blizzard of '91", will be hard to forget.

                                                  contributed by Chris Langlois, Athletic Communications intern

Monday, October 24, 2016

Back to the Future

Tim Jackman played for Minnesota State from 2000-02
before embarking on a pro career that saw him play for
six NHL teams in 12 seasons. He's now a student-assistant
coach for the Mavericks
Most kids who grow up playing the game of hockey in Minnesota dream of one day making it to the National Hockey League.  

Born in Minot, N.D., Tim Jackman’s father worked for the railroad and was often transferred all over the nation for work.  Following a few years in Brooklyn Park, Minn., and a year in Texas while Tim was in seventh grade, the family moved back to Minneapolis, where his hockey career began to flourish. And following two years of varsity hockey at Park Center High School and a short stint with the Twin Cities Vulcans of the United States Hockey League, where he had 11 goals and 19 assists in 25 games following his senior year of high school, he headed to Mankato for his freshman year of college hockey with the Mavericks.

“I loved the opportunity they were willing to give me by taking a chance to let me play right after my high school season so I thought that it would be a great step in my development as a player,” said Jackman on his decision to play college hockey for Minnesota State.

Jackman played two seasons for the Mavericks where he had 25 goals and 28 helpers in 73 games and it was his after his freshman season in 2001 when he was selected in the second round, 38th overall, by Columbus in the 2001 National Hockey League Draft.

He said he had known Columbus was interested after having a few meetings with them before he was drafted.  “Growing up I wasn’t much of an NHL fan, I watched the North Stars a little, and was a big Wayne Gretzky fan. But I really watched a lot of college hockey though, so I never envisioned myself being drafted or playing in the NHL, I just couldn’t see it.  It all just happened pretty fast.”   

He signed with the Blue Jackets following his sophomore year with Minnesota State, but looks back fondly of his time as a student-athlete in the Key City. “The community and the fans were great,” said Jackman.  “The buildup of the weekdays going into the weekend and with the opportunity play college hockey on Friday and Saturday nights with a great group of guys was special.”  He also noted that the college hockey model was an important ingredient in his development as a player with the practice to games ratio, along with strength and conditioning during the year serving in his growth as an athlete.

Jackman began his pro career with Syracuse, the American Hockey League affiliate for Columbus.  He played there for a year and a half before making his NHL debut on December 20, 2003 in a game against the Minnesota Wild in St. Paul. By doing so, he became the first former Maverick to play a game in the NHL.  

Last year, at the age of 33 and going into his 12th pro season, Jackman went to camp with Anaheim, but was experiencing back problems. Following two games with the Ducks he was sent to San Diego of the AHL where he played another 22 games before surgery ended his year. Having forged a professional career and playing a physical game that saw him tally 32 goals and 43 assists for 75 points in 483 games over a span of 12 seasons with six different NHL teams, it was at this point where the big forward decided he needed to start turning his attention to things outside of his hockey career.

Now at the age of thirty four he decided to return Mankato, starting a new chapter for his family, which includes his wife, Chelsey, an 18-month old son and another child on the way.

With a desire to finish his degree, but wanting to continue on with the game, he received the perfect opportunity from Mike Hastings and his staff, joining Minnesota State as a student assistant coach.

“This is something that I have really gotten excited about,” says Jackman, who assists with practice, reviewing game tape and strategy.  “I just want to be someone that can help pass the message to the players, and sometimes just encourage the players when I see something by trying to explain it and help them out by relating it to what the coaches want.  I just want to be a positive influence to the program as a whole.”  By working with Hastings and the rest of the coaching staff, Jackman characterizes his work as "great opportunity to learn some new things. I truly admire the way Coach Mike Hastings carries himself and treats his players. He is very honest with his players, he really cares.  It’s great for the players to know it’s a safe place to make a mistake because as long as you’re playing hard and learn from it, and you’re having fun with it that’s all that matters.”

So in a back-to-the-future kind of way, it’s hitting the books for Jackman. And while he’s working toward the next phase of his professional career, one in which he will likely teach and coach, he’s also assisting young student-athletes prepare for the next aspect of their careers.  For Tim Jackman, it’s come full cycle.
                                    contributed by Connor Wachtel, Athletic Communications intern