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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Travis Checks Out

Graduate assistant Travis Langer traveled the country with
Minnesota State's volleyball, women's basketball and softball
teams the last two years.
When I came to Minnesota State 20 months ago, one of the first things I heard within the athletic department was the term "MavFam" and as an outsider looking in I was kind of skeptical about this term. I quickly learned what it meant. It's a group of people working together, to achieve greatness.

In my time as a graduate assistant in Athletic Communications I have worked directly with the women's basketball, softball and volleyball programs. These three teams in the last two seasons have been great, to say the least. The trio has combined for a record of 163-61, someone in my line of work's dream, covering nationally-ranked teams.

I have had the privilege to travel with each of the squads and the opportunity to really get to know the players and coaches. Some of the trips include a trek with the softball team to Arizona, driving a minivan full of five softball girls from Phoenix to Tuscan and back, trips to Kansas and Colorado with the women's basketball team in addition to a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference volleyball tournament trip to the Twin Cities, which was hosted by the seven-time NCAA national champion, Concordia-St. Paul (a team, by the way, which we beat in a five-set thriller earlier in that season in Mankato).

These aren't just athletes though. These ladies are the definition of student-athletes with all three teams boast well over 3.0 grade point averages and are extremely involved in not only our community, but the global community with a plethora of mission trips in their offseasons as well.

The MavFam extends far beyond these three teams, however. It's a department-wide family. It's a group of student-athletes, coaches and administrators working together toward being the best institution possible. The friendships I was able to build proved invaluable, me being a small-town, South Dakota kid, 550 miles from home.

I have also had the opportunity to enjoy a number of other great sporting memories, including a historic run by our football team with back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances, the men's hockey team winning the Western Collegiate Hockey Association postseason tournament and bringing the Broadmoor Trophy to Mankato for the first time ever, the men's basketball team hosting back-to-back regional tournaments, something the women's soccer team, softball team and baseball team (hopefully) will also do.

This is not something many schools have the opportunity to do, and it takes a lot of work from a great group of people working behind the scenes. This is the group I have had been a part of for the last two years, and a group that the coaches and athletes also consider part of the MavFam, a group of people working together toward greatness.

From the bus trips with 25 women singing Pitch Perfect at the top of their lungs (my Beats headphones turned out to be a great investment, no offense), to the multiple regionals I have attended and worked, there is no doubt that the relationships, memories and lessons I will take from Minnesota State are things that will not only help me, but everyone else that dons the Purple and Gold achieve greatness.

Thank you!​

A native of Spearfish, S.D., and the owner of an undergraduate degree in public relations from Black Hills State (S.D.), Travis Langer worked as a graduate assistant in the Minnesota State Athletic Communications office the last two years.  He graduates Saturday with a master's degree in sport managament.

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