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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mixed Bag

Deb (Westrum) Nicholson had
school-record 51 doubles
during her four years with
the Mavericks (1994-97)
Lots of thoughts are crossing the mind this morning as we set out to provide another installment on MavBlog.

Scott Nelsen, intrepid softball historian that he is, had tweeted a couple of days ago that Deb Westrum was Minnesota State's career doubles leader.  This is, in fact, true.  Westrum, who played for the Mavericks from 1994-97, had 51 two-baggers during the course of her four-year career.

And this started me wondering, given the success that MSU has had over the years and given the individual talent that the program has boasted during this time, what's the oldest mark still standing in the record books?

Well, suffice it say, Westrum's mark has withstood the test of time.  Lori Doffing, an All-America outfielder for the Mavericks in the 1980's, had 13 triples in her two seasons at MSU (1986-87).  Kari Hudson also produced 13 triples in four seasons from 2004-07 to own a share of the school's career triples record with Doffing.

Westrum, who is married to former MSU baseball graduate assistant coach Eddie Nicholson and teaches physical education in West Des Moines, still ranks #1 on the career doubles list with Leah Hughes (MSU 1995-98) standing second at 43.  Technically, with Doffing's two seasons coming prior to Westrum's, a case could be made that hers is the oldest mark on the books.  Hudson, who played after both Doffing and Westrum, muddies the water somewhat.

But, while the career doubles and triples marks are now years old, the standards set by righthanded Carri Tschida during the mid-to-late 1980's leave no doubt as to which ones are the oldest pitching marks still standing. Tschida, a workhorse who threw during an era when the norm was one-workhorse pitching staffs, twice led the nation in wins and was a two-time All-American.  Inducted into MSU's Hall of Fame in 2000, Tschida completed career as MSU's all-time winningest pitcher with 97 wins and 1.32 earned run average.  She also owns school records for appearances, starts, innings, complete games, shutouts and strikeouts. Tschida played from 1986-89 and with the speedy Doffing on board, the Mavericks posted a third-place NCAA finish in 1987.

By the way, the oldest single-season offensive records both occurred in 1993 when catcher Angie Wagner posted a school-record nine triples along with a school-record .782 slugging percentage. In probably the most impressive offensive single season put together by a MSU softball individual, Wagner also established records (since surpassed) that year with 15 doubles (still ties for fourth), nine home runs (tied for ninth), 129 total bases (2nd) and .478 on base percentage (2nd). Wagner, incidentally, was a junior in 1993 and after deciding to concentrate on her nursing studies, didn't play as a senior.

Moving along with a couple of other things this fine, fine, fine March morning.

Northern State has selected Josh Moon as its new Director of Athletics.  Moon is an associate director of Athletics at Western Illinois.  St. Cloud State, meanwhile has announced that Heather Weems, an associate Director of Athletics at Drake, will replace long-time AD Morris Kurtz.

The Maverick baseball team, currently rated in the top 25 of three different national polls, opens its home schedule this weekend with four conference games (two Saturday, two Sunday) vs. Minnesota Duluth.  MSU is 9-3 on the season and with the weather illuminati predicting temperatures in the mid-to-high 60s,  those in attendance won't have to worry about how many blankets and jackets to bring along.

Speaking of baseball, Tom Powers of the Pioneer Press, cobbled together this piece on former MSU baseball and men's basketball great Gene Glynn.  Glynn, who will manage Rochester Redbirds (triple A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins) this summer, was Minnesota high school's first Mr. Basketball.

It's great to be a Maverick!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Things I think

Tandy Juell and Nathan Hancock finished
eighth and sixth in the heptathlon, respectively,
at the NCAA Division II
Indoor Track & Field Championships

That screeching sound you heard over the weekend signalled the completion of the winter sports seasons for Minnesota State Athletics.

The Maverick men's hockey team went two and out in the first round of the 2012 Western Collegiate Hockey with a pair of losses at third-ranked Minnesota Duluth.  The MSU wrestling squad sent two freshmen to the 2012 NCAA Division II national championships in Pueblo, Colo., and David Demo and Cody Quinn both placed seventh in earning All-America honors.

And then there was the matter of the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships which we hosted in Myers Field House Friday and Saturday.  The Maverick men's team qualified five individuals in six events and came away with six All-America performances with Dan Novak placing fourth in the pole vault, Nathan Hancock placing sixth in the heptathlon, Tandy Juell placing eighth in the heptathlon, Keyvan Rudd was seventh in the high jump and Jerrell Hancock placing sixth in the 200m and eighth in the 60m, respectively. Those efforts gave Minnesota State a 16th-place finish in the final team standings.

This was the second time we've hosted the event in the last four years and not unlike the 2008 Championship, this was a tremendous opportunity for MSU to showcase its facilities and the greater Mankato area with nearly 800 student-athletes and coaches, along with the families, friends and fans visiting southern Minnesota.  Thanks to all the volunteers, officials and staff members who helped us make this event a success.  One could surmise, given the positive feedback from the NCAA track and field committee and the participants themselves, that this won't be the last time we will host the national championships.

And so it goes, as our attention turns toward our spring sports, all of which are up and running and in some cases, have been since February.

Quickly closing in on 900 career wins, softball head coach Lori Meyer has her team ranked 16th in the nation after racking up 13 wins in 14 games during the course of its spring trip to Florida.  The MSU baseball team, which stands 9-3 and is rated 14th it the nation, begins conference action March 24th with a home series vs. Minnesota Duluth.  The men's and women's golf teams are coming off of tournament wins in Palm Desert, Calif.,  over spring break and will vie for conference titles and NCAA berths in April. The women's tennis team stands 5-5 with eight matches standing between it and the 2012 NSIC tournament.  And the men's and women's track & field teams regroup now, after hosting the national indoor meet, with the goals of winning NSIC individual and team titles on the way to qualifying for the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championshps, which are slated for May 24-26 in Pueblo, Colo.

And, oh yeah, spring football begins March 19 and concludes with the spring game April 14.  The cycle begins anew.

Good times and as usual, its great to be a Maverick!