Friday, March 6, 2015
The Sleeping Giant
Almost across the board, our winter sports teams have emulated what our fall teams accomplished.
That is, rank amongst the nation's best. Unequivocally. The Maverick football team and women's soccer team both at one point in the fall were rated number one in the country at the same time. To have two teams rated #1 at the same time is something that had never occurred previously at this fine institution. Then, at one point this winter the Minnesota State men's hockey program and our men's track & field program were rated #1 in the nation at the same time.
Having our football team play in a national championship game was something that had never happened before. So was having a pair of teams rated #1 in the nation happen twice in one season. As is having four programs during the course of the season rated #1.
We hosted the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships last Thursday and Friday, a pair of Western Collegiate Hockey Association games at Verizon Wireless Center Friday and Saturday and also hosted the NCAA DII Wrestling Super Region 3 Tournament in Taylor Center Saturday and Sunday. Nearly 15,000 fans visited Mankato for these events over the course of four days and they saw some unbelievable performances in which our student-athletes won conference and regional championships. Hockey fans were treated to a battle between the #2 (Minnesota State) and #3-rated (Michigan Tech) teams in the country.
We're sending three wrestlers to the national championship meet, we're sending seven members of our track & field teams to nationals and four members of the Maverick women's swim team will also compete at the DII national championships. The brackets for the NCAA DII basketball tournaments will be announced Sunday and hopefully, both our men's and women's teams will find out their postseason destinations.
The Maverick baseball and softball teams are in Florida with their seasons in full swing. Women's tennis and men's and women's golf will follow suit. Along with outdoor track, expectations are that those sports are ready to compete on a national level.
One of the top athletic departments in NCAA Division II (with DI men's and women's hockey) is situated in Mankato, Minnesota. I know it sounds like bragging, but as one of our local writing denizens likes to say "is it not true?"
When I first came to Mankato in 1985, I had a colleague tell me that he thought Mankato State was "a sleeping giant." That was a while ago, but it appears that the giant is no longer so sleepy.
It's great to be a Maverick!