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Welcome to MavBlog • Providing Insite & Information on the Mavericks Since 1985Mankato, Minn.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Jump around

Jim Dilling won four NCAA high jump
titles during his career at Minnesota State
Jim Dilling,  a Minnesota State high jumper who captured the NCAA Division II outdoor title in 2005 and 2007 and indoor national titles in 2006 and 2007, isn't quite done yet.

A five-time All-American during his MSU career, Dilling claimed the USA national outdoor track & field high jump championship in 2007 and competed at the world championships as a member of Team USA that same year.  He's battled through injuries since then, but judging by recent results, finally appears to be healthy again.  The Fon du Lac, Wis., native was in Mankato this past week and stopped by for a chat.

What's being going on in your career since you left MSU in 2007?
JD:  Well, after the 2007 season, where I finished up at MSU and then made the USA world team, I met Cliff Rovelto (head track & field coach at Kansas State and head high jump coach for Team USA) and became friends with Jesse Williams (USC high jumper), who was training with Coach Rovelto. So I moved to Manhattan, Kan., and have been based out of there the last three-four years.  I originally went to train for the 2008 Olympic Trials and stayed.  Around that time I began to deal with some foot injury issues and some issues with my achilles tendon.  I tried to deal with that nonsurgically for about a year, but then I ruptured the bursa sac at the 2009 USA championships and had an MRI where they found a tear. I had surgery in fall of 2009 and another in March of 2010.  So, I basically sat out for 16 months and missed the 2010 USA championships. But I started training again last year, opened with my first meet this past February and had my best opening-height ever (7-4.25) at the Kansas State Wildcat Invite.  Then I placed fifth at indoor nationals and trained for outdoor nationals where I went 7-5.34 - my best result since the 2007 season.

What are you doing now?
JD:  I just got back from Europe after six weeks of competing.  Now we'll go back to Kansas to train for a couple months to train for the Pan Am Games, which take place in Mexico in October (he's a member of Team USA).  After that I'm coming back to MSU work on my master's, to help coach the Mavericks and to train for my last season.

Last season?
JD:  Well, possibly my last season.  The Olympic Trials for 2012 London are in Eugene in July. We'll give it a shot there and see how it goes.

What are your chances?
JD:  We'll see what happens that day.  You have to jump two rounds and you have to finish in the top three at the end. I've met the world standard (7-5 3/5), so that's my goal.

Here's a question.  Cuba's Javier Sotomayor set the high jump world record in 1989 when he became the first to clear 8 feet (in 1993 he upped his record to 8-0.5)  Can anyone approach that these days?
JD:  That's a good question, I don't know.  At his time, Sotomayor was Usain Bolt - someone with freakish talent and way better than anyone else in his event.  Someone who comes along once every century.  You never know, there's a few guys.  Ivan Ukhov has consistently been going 7-9, 7-10 indoors this year.

Eventually, Jim, long-term, what's in store?
JD:  We'll see. I have these short term goals now.  If you recall, I came here originally to play football and ended up high jumping, so you never know what life is going to hand you.  I'd like to take this high-jumping thing as far as I can. 

It's great to be a Maverick.  Be sure to follow us on twitter at @msumavericks.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Gone Fishin'

Minnesota State asst. women's hockey coach Jon Austin
(pictured second from the left) captured the 2011 Fort Frances
Bass Championship title in July.

Minnesotan's aren't just known for hockey or for loving the Vikings and the Twins (or the Mavericks!).  As you may know, they also like to fish.

Several members of the Minnesota State Athletics department are active and experienced outdoorsmen and women.

One such Maverick coach earned the 2011 Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship title, which took place July 17-23 on Rainy Lake in Ontario.

Along with his fishing partner Richard Rud, assistant women's hockey coach Jon Austin finished in a tie for top honors with a three-day total weight of 52.42 pounds.

A short story regarding Jon's victory is located here.  You will note that it's kind of difficult to determine who Jon's main sponsor is as we don't see any ads located on the sweatshirts he's wearing. Congrats to our own Fishin' Magician!

Monday, August 8, 2011

You could have a bumper car, bumping

Jim Dilling
A couple of notes as we move forward through the dog days of August.

Former Minnesota State high jumper Jim Dilling, the 2007 USA Outdoor Track and Field national champion, has battled through injuries the past couple of years, but appears to be healthy and now ready to resume his career at the international level.  A five-time All-American and four-time national champion (two indoor, two outdoor) for the Mavericks,  Dilling finished 12th at the Viersen Internatinionales Hochsprung meet held in Germany Saturday with a 2.18 meter effort (actually tied for fifth, but finished 12th on misses).  Dilling was sixth with a leap of 2.26 (7-5 3/4) at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships held June 26th in Eugene, Ore.

After moving up from rookie ball Kingsport of the Appalachian League, former MSU righthanded pitcher Bret Mitchell debuted for the Brooklyn Cyclones of the Class A New York-Penn League Sunday.  Mitchell, who had gone 5-1 with a 2.95 ERA and struck out 38 batters in 39.2 innings for Kingsport, went the first 4.2 innings and gave up one earned run and six hits as the Cyclones claimed a 6-4 win over the Staten Island Yankees.  Mitchell played one season for the Mavericks and helped lead MSU to league and regional championships and a spot in the NCAA Division II national tournament before getting drafted in 2010 by the New York Mets in the 12th round (362nd overall).

It's great to be a Maverick!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Not Forgotten - Korey Stringer

Korey Stringer 1974-2001
When it comes to weather, those of us who live in Minnesota are extremely familiar with a couple of "extended stats" numbers other than temperature and wind speed to determine how it feels outside. In the winter it's wind chill which measures the effect of wind on air temperature. Simply put, the windier it is, the colder it feels. In the summer heat index combines heat and humidity. The more the humidity we have, the warmer it feels.

The weather in Mankato today is what you would expect for this time of year.  It's the morning of August 1st and the temperature is heading toward 90 degrees and while the humidity stands at 87%, it's continuing to rise.  The air feels heavy and if you're outside for an extended period of time, without any exertion, you will sweat through your shirt.

It was like this ten years ago and the Vikings were in camp on campus.  Hot and humid with the heat index well into triple digits.

That night, my wife Lori was watching the six o'clock news and said "Hey, Perry (Dyke) just said that they took Korey Stringer to the hospital today."

Stringer was a 27-year old offensive tackle coming off of an All-Pro season. Checking in at 6-4 and 335 pounds, the former Ohio State Buckeye had suffered heat stroke after a full-pads, full-contact practice on a day when the heat index in Mankato was nearly 110 degrees.

I responded to Lori with a casual "No need to worry. Those big guys always struggle with the heat this time of year and one or two of them always end up in the hospital during camp.  They'll pump him full of fluids, cool him down and he'll be back on the field in a day or so." 

It seems so flippant now.

At about 4:00 a.m. the phone rang in our house.  I used to occasionally get calls at that time in the morning from my college buddies.  No so much anymore and in the rare times those calls come now, it's usually not good.  This was one of those times. It was Tom West from the Vikings media relations department. I can't remember his exact words, but he was calling to say that Korey Stringer had passed away and that the Vikings would need some assistance with the media attention the organization was expecting with the developing story.

And, obviously, it was a big story.  Stringer was one of the top young offensive linemen in the National Football League on a team that included high-profile players such as Duante Culpepper, Randy Moss and Cris Carter.  Later that day, the national media descended on Mankato and MSU and at a press conference held in the Centennial Ballroom (the largest room we had available to accommodate the large contingent of journalists), Denny Green, Carter and Moss all gave testimonials to Stringer. It was sad and gut-wrenching and I'll never forget Moss struggling through a tear-filled ten minutes at the podium in trying to convey his sentiments for his fallen teammate.

Things have changed since that day. 

Green and Culpepper are both out of the NFL, reunited with the United Football League's Sacramento Mountain Lions last fall.  Carter is an analyst for ESPN and Moss is a free agent, looking for a team to play for after spending the 2010 season with three different teams, including a short-lived four-game stint with Minnesota. 

Stringer's death brought about major changes to how NFL teams run training camp and, in particular, heat stroke prevention.

"The awareness has became greater, certainly (relative to heat stroke prevention and recognition)." said Jeff Chambers, MSU's director of sports medicine. "It changed our approach. We've became more acutely aware of signs of heat stroke. We were doing a lot before, but now there's much more stress on rehydration, monitoring weight loss, practice duration and timing, etc."
It's ten years today and, hopefully Korey Stringer's passing wasn't in vain with lessons learned and no Viking falling on the Blakeslee Stadium practice fields. 

Post post Note:  About an hour after I posted this, Randy Moss announced that he was retiring.  I also thought I might add these links -  Vikings honor 10th anniversary of Stringer's death & Vikings Remember Stringer.