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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Trav Weighs In

Minnesota State ranked 4th in last year's Directors' Cup
standings.  The Mavericks expect similar results this year.
What a difference a year can make. It’s that time of year again, and there is a certain buzz around campus, especially in athletics. The 2012-13 academic year was nothing short of amazing and I was truly fortunate to be a part of such an exciting year.

As my last, first day of school has come and gone I sit here and reflect on my last seven years of schooling, more specifically the last five years that I have worked in college athletics. I received my undergraduate degree from Black Hills State University and worked in the athletic department during its transition from an NAIA school to an NCAA Division II institution prior to attending MSU to pursue master’s degree.

I have seen hundreds of college sporting events around the country and I can say that I’m truly proud to be a Maverick. The support system that MSU has in its athletic department from the top down is incomparable to most other Division II institutions, as is the support staff and athletes themselves. There is something behind the term “Maverick Pride."

It’s the pride in succeeding on and off of the field of competition. Not only did Minnesota State finish fourth in the directors cup standings last year (the award given to the most successful Division II school), but it also had 95 student-athletes honored with the fifth annual Division II Athletic Directors Association Academic Achievement Awards for the 2012-13 school year.

It is for these reasons that there is great anticipation within the greater Mankato area for the 2013-14 athletic seasons.

Here is a snippet of what is to come. The women’s soccer team comes off of a successful year with a deep run in the NCAA tournament and is under the direction of first-year head coach Brian Bahl. The volleyball team qualified for the 2012 conference tournament and returns a very strong defensive backcourt and is looking to improve on some of its highlights from a season ago, which includes defeating the six-time national champion Concordia-St. Paul. Who could forget about the football team, which was one game away from competing for a national title.

MSU hosted 10 home football games last year, there are many schools that don't host 10 home football games in a two year span and wide receiver Adam Thielen is currently battling for a roster spot with the Minnesota Vikings after coming off of a very successful Maverick playing career.

Being a South Dakota native, I have never been exposed to hockey, but that is another great example of Maverick Pride. It was a team that had a new coach, new ideas, new systems and ended up having one of its best years, qualifying for the national tournament where it fell to the fifth-rated team from Miami (Ohio) in a regional tournament game played in Toledo. The success they had on the ice also helped multiple student-athletes get that much closer to their dream of playing professional hockey - notably team captain Eriah Hayes signed with the San Jose Sharks.

So as you can see from the win column from all of the MSU athletic teams, it is great to be a Maverick, but being a Maverick goes far beyond the field of competition, it’s also about being great in the community and the classroom.

I encourage you to continue to support these amazing young adults in all three phases and recognize their achievements on and off of the field.

Travis Langer • Minnesota State Athletic Communications Graduate Assistant