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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Minnesota State's Olympic Trio

Former Minnesota State captain David Backes has a word with
a linesman during a Team USA game vs. Slovakia at the 2014
Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia
Looking back on the 2010 Winter Olympics, it all seems so easy now.
A pair of former Maverick hockey players returned from Vancouver with hardware with David Backes and his Team USA teammates earning silver and Nina Tikkinen a bronze as she helped Finland to a win over Sweden in the women's third-place game.  One of Tikkinen's MSU teammates, Emilia Andersson, was a member of the Swedish team that finished fourth.

This time around, in Sochi, things ended up a little different.  The U.S. men fell to Canada in a 1-0 semi-final game before losing to Finland in the bronze medal game.  For the second Olympics in a row Andersson and Team Sweden played for a bronze medal in the women's tournament.  But in 2014 the opponent was Switzerland and this time around it was the Swiss that went home with medals around their necks.

In all Backes played in six games in Sochi and had three goals and an assist for four points.  Andersson played in six games while recording one assist and was +2. Tikkinen played in six games and did not record a point while putting three shots on goal.

The trio share something rare in that they are the only Mavericks to have pariticpated in an Olympic Games, winter or summer.  And all three have done it twice.  

And while Backes may not have returned home with a medal this time, he did return home with something else

It's great to be a Maverick.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Two-Sporters - Modern Era

Minnesota State's Chris Reed plays two sports for the Mavericks
Are you aware of what Minnesota State's Chris Reed has done lately?

Let us enlighten you. The past three weekends, the senior from Omaha, Neb., has worked on building his legacy as the greatest thrower in the school's lengthy track & field history.

This past Saturday Reed broke his own NCAA Division II indoor record in the shot put at the MSU Multi and Open, throwing it 65' 10.25" on his third attempt.  The distance surpassed his old record of 65' 5.5" which he set at the Jack Johnson Classic just a week earlier. He was named an unprecedented USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week for the third consecutive time.

Reed, who was named USTFCCA Central Region Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year last spring, tossed the shot a school record 65’-7” in winning the 2013 national NCAA Division II outdoor title in becoming the fifth Maverick to win a national championship in an outdoor event. He also finished seventh and established a school record in the hammer and was seventh in the discus in earning All-America honors at the event.  This came after he finished second nationally in the shot and fourth in the weight throw at the 2013 NCAA DII Indoor national championships.

He owns school records in both indoor disciplines (weight throw and shot) and two out of three of the outdoor events (shot and hammer throw).  Mike Yonkey established the school discus record of 182 ' 4" in 1988. Yonkey, by the way, was a member of the Maverick football team.

Did we mention that Reed, not unlike Yonkey, also starts on the offensive line for the Maverick football team?  Yes, the one that went 12-1 this past fall and hosted a NCAA second round game at Blakeslee Stadium.

Reed's a rarity nowadays as there aren't many student-athletes that can do two sports.  And especially as well as Reed does.  He does have company right now, though, in that fellow footballers Keyvan Rudd and Nathan Hancock are also tracksters. But it is indeed something that doesn't happen a lot nowadays.

Off the top of our heads, below is partial list in the last few decades of Minnesota State student-athletes who were able to accomplish this challenging feat. Please note - obviously we realize this list is incomplete.  Also the list contains names of Mavericks who played two sports at the same time and does not include those that joined a team following the end of their careers in another sport.

Chris Reed (football, track & field, 2011-present)
Keyvan Rudd (football, track & field, 2010 - present)
Nathan Hancock (football, track & field, 2011 - present) 
Sidni Trotter (soccer, women's basketball, 2013 - present) 
Jenna Peterson (women's hockey, softball, 2008-2012) 
Kelvin Rodgers (football, track & field, 2006-09)
Ben King (football, baseball, 2003-07) 
Michael Lawrence (track & field, football, 2001-05) 
Donnell Bowyer (football, baseball, 2001-03) 
Jared Ziemke (football, men's basketball, 1999-2003)
Ryan Dutton (football, baseball, 1997-2001) 
Tywan Mitchell (football, men's basketball, 1995-98) 
Reggie Patterson (football, track & field, 1995-97) 
Lester Mitchell (men's basketball, track & field, 1989-93) 
Monte Dufault (men's basketball, baseball, 1988-93) 
Nancy Kelly (volleyball, softball, 1985-89) 
Luonna Van Meverven (volleyball, track & field, 1984-88) 
Mike Yonkey (football, track & field, 1987-89) 
Joel Nielsen (football, baseball, 1984-85) 
Mike Carroll (men's hockey, baseball, 1975-80) 
Gene Glynn (men's basketball, baseball, 1975-79)

It's great to be a Maverick.