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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tradition - We Wear Our Hats Backwards

The Mavericks celebrate their 2013 NCAA DII Baseball
Central Region Championshp
Many college sports teams have certain things that they do that are considered traditions to their programs.

Certainly many of the most famous ones come from large football programs such as Ohio State's Dotting the i. Texas A&M has Midnight Yell and its 12th Man. Auburn has War Eagle, Colorado runs out its buffalo mascot Ralphie and Clemson football players touch Howard's Rock before each game.

Big-time college basketball does it as well.  Fans sing Rocky Top at Tennessee and there's the Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk chant at Kansas.

Small schools do it, too. Taylor University does Silent Night, in which students remain silent until the men's basketball team scores its 10th point, at which point they go completely crazy. A youtube video from Taylor's game in 2012 has nearly 1.8 million views.

The traditions at Minnesota State aren't quite as famous, but the Mavericks do have a few of their own. Ours are a little more subtle.

A few years back a Victory Bell was installed in the northwest end of Blakeslee Stadium and following each home win the Mavericks all take a turn doing their Quasimodo impression. We sing "Ole" following our goals at Verizon Wireless Center and the team does a stick salute to fans following the conclusion of each home series.  And while I can't name them all, our softball team has its own list of songs and chants that have evolved over the years.

One of the things our baseball team has done over the years is only done following championships.  I don't think it's something the Mavericks talk about. Just something that has been organic in that it was silly and it happened once and they just started doing it again because it happened again the next year.  And the next.  And the next.  This would be the "we wear our hats backwards after winning another title" tradition.

Not cocky.  Just something our guys do. Alot. One of my favorite traditions.

It's great to be a Maverick.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Random Thoughts: Walking on Sunshine

Nope.  Not another thought or post regarding weather-related issues our spring sports have battled in 2012-13.

Instead, a bevy of items for your perusal.

Senior tennis stand-out Brandi Dohmen was presented with
this year's Georgene Brock Award as Minnesota State's top
senior female student-athlete. Pictured with Dohmen is Bob
of Federated Insurance (MAA corporate partner)
and Kevin Buisman, MSU's Director of Athletics.
The 27th annual Maverick Achievement Awards Dinner took place last Sunday in the CSU Ballroom.  In addition to recognizing this year's 58 Maverick Achievement Award recipients (senior student-athletes with cumulative GPAs of 3.0+), awards for the top senior athletes and top senior student-athletes were announced and presented. Over 900 student-athletes have been recognized as Maverick Achievement Award recipients since the program was inaugurated in 1987. Tennis stand-out Brandi Dohmen, who has a 3.98 GPA and is majoring in spanish took home the Georgene Brock Award as the top senior female student-athlete and baseball catcher Ben Keller (4.00 in mechanical engineering) won the Don Buchanan Award as the top senior male student-athlete.

We had a tremendous turn out for the annual spring football game held this past Saturday at historic Blakeslee Stadium. We've also announced the 2013 schedule, which by the way, is just 129 days away from starting.

Following the conclusion of the 2012-13 season, Minnesota State men's hockey Most Valuable Player Eriah Hayes signed a pro contract with the National Hockey League's San Jose Sharks.  The Sharks assigned Hayes to their American Hockey League affiliate in Worcester (Mass.), where he tallied three goals and had an assist in seven games.  With Worcester's season now done and following a short stopover in Mankato, Hayes headed to San Jose where, according to one of the Sharks' PR-dudes "Eriah is on his initial trip to San Jose. He isn't eligible to play, but he will able to get a feel for the organization and the area."

The 19th-rated MSU softball team, which earned a share of this year's Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference regular-season title, begins league postseason play Thursday in Rochester when it plays the winner of St. Cloud State and Mary at 1:30 p.m.  Editor's note - sorry, this is the one time we'll mention weather-related issues - (from the NSIC): "NSIC officials have decided to move the 2013 NSIC Softball Tournament indoors due to the poor weather forecasted in Rochester, Minn.  The games will be moved into the Rochester Community and Technical College Dome for all of Thursday and Friday’s games." 

Currently rated tenth, the Maverick Baseball team has concluded league regular-season action and will close out its regular-season schedule with a trio of nonconference games at Truman State in Kirksville, Mo., this weekend. The Mavericks are 31-8 overall and will finish second in NSIC regular-season standings with a 20-4 mark. The league postseason tournament is set for May 8-11 in St. Cloud.  Head coach Matt Magers reached the 200-win plateau April 27th when MSU claimed a 15-7 victory at Wayne State (Neb.). Magers, who is in his fifth season in charge of the Mavericks, started his career with a 38-win season in 2009. Then came 44 wins in 2010, 40 wins in 2011 and then 51 wins last year.

A short list of some of the great names of former MSU student-athletes.  Some of the favorites include:  Kevin Welp (baseball), Adrian Battles (football), Kreg Kapitan (football), Elisha McSweeney (basketball), Fritz Polka (baseball), Sarah Schneekloth (women's hockey), Heidi Schnagl (volleyball), Katija Opitz (women's soccer), Randi Warhol (women's soccer), Shelly LaFave (softball), Ronna Puck (softball), Brian Klinkhammer (men's hockey) and Baylor Dieter (men's hockey).

The Maverick men's golf team had a string of consecutive trips to the NCAA postseason come to an end at 11 when it failed to qualify for this year's go-round.  MSU, which finished second at this year's NSIC tournament, had qualified every year beginning in 2001-02 through 2011-12.  MSU senior Greg Werner was invited to this year's regional tournament which is scheduled for May 6-8 in Kenosha, Wis.

Lastly, the MSU Reporter ran a commemorative issue this past Tuesday with an eight-page insert highlighting the 35-year coaching career of Mark Schuck.  Schuck, who is retiring following the end of this year's track and field season, is a Nicollet, Minn., native who went to school here and basically never left.  A couple of the stories in the insert mentioned a few of Mark's trademark sayings including:

"Eighty percent of success in life is just showing up. Ten percent is staying awake and the last ten percent is putting forth at least a little bit of effort."

"Can we get a discount? We're from a poor Christian school in Minnesota." (to all the restaurant owners on road trips)

"Just do what you did to get to nationals and you'll be an All-American." (words of wisdom to athletes at national competitions)

"The hay is in the barn."

"You can't undo 18 years of bad parenting."

"You don't get anything for losing."

"You've got to be good, and a little bit lucky, but mostly, I don't know...it's magic, I guess." (on convincing outstanding student-athletes to come to MSU)

Quite the character that Coach Schuck.

It's great to be a Maverick!