A historic fall season

Chris Mangan

Chris Mangan

In the first year of full eligibility, the SDSU athletic teams are taking strides no one saw coming five years ago.

The women’s soccer team won the Summit League title and beat Colorado in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The women’s cross country team also won the Summit League title, while the men finished fifth. The football team finished 6-2 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, one of the toughest conferences in the FCS. The Jackrabbits also beat North Dakota State in Fargo for the first time in 46 years.

The volleyball team had somewhat of a down year but still finished fifth in the conference. The men’s golf team won three tournaments and was ranked inside the top 60, the first time ever, and Trent Peterson was ranked as high as 34th individually.

The women’s soccer team finished with a 15-5-1 record, including wins over Iowa and Iowa State. Goalkeeper Nicole Lograsso had 11 shutouts on the year, including the 1-0 win over Colorado in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Jacks won 10 straight games, nine of them by shutout, and did not lose more than two straight all season.

“The players played for one another and gave everything they had every day,” head coach Lang Wedemeyer said. “This has been a historic season for Jackrabbit soccer, but the hard work, dedication and commitment has been years in the making. Every player on the team played a role this year and assisted the team in accomplishing feats that three or four years ago would have seemed impossible to most.”

The Jackrabbit football team left the Great West Conference and entered the tough Missouri Valley Football Conference. The season saw the Jacks take on their first FBS team in Iowa State, lose a heartbreaker in triple overtime to McNeese State on Hobo Day and still have a shot at the playoffs with two games left; their playoff hopes were dashed in a loss to Southern Illinois. The Jacks were able to retain the Dakota Marker and won for the first time in Fargo since 1962. While the Jacks may have had a successful year in the Missouri Valley, finishing 6-2, they missed out on their ultimate goal – the playoffs.

“We were 6-2 in one of the best conferences in America and lost to the two teams that were co-champs. In that regard, it was a success,” quarterback Ryan Berry said. “The biggest disappointment was not making the playoffs. We were a play or two from that, but that’s the most disappointing thing.”

The women’s cross country team was towards the front of every meet they ran this year; the only time they did not finish in the top half was at the Midwest Regional where they finished 16th out of 27 teams. The Jacks had four top-five finishes, including winning the Tori Neubauer Invitational and the Summit League Championships. Seniors Claire Steinke and Caitlin Berry and juniors Ashley Storm and Nicole Davis were the standout performers for the Jacks, usually leading the team to their strong finishes.

On the men’s side, the Jacks had an up-and-down year due to injuries and youth. They did have two top-five finishes, including the fifth-place finish at the Summit League Championships, but finished a disappointing 18th at the Midwest Regional. Head coach Rod DeHaven thought most of the runners were disappointed with their performance that day.

The future is bright, though, for both the men and women’s teams, as they only lose Steinke and Berry between the two teams.

“Caitlin Berry and Claire Steinke have been solid performers for our program for four years, and their experience, leadership and work ethic will be missed,” DeHaven said. “But I’m very optimistic that we will be in position to contend for conference titles for both the men and women next year and move up the ladder in the regional meet.”

#1.882079:118651275.jpg:SDSU_XC_Women_Champions.jpg::Courtesy of Henrietta Wildsmith#1.882078:4096187608.jpg:Soccer.jpg::Ethan Swanson#1.882077:3313347975.jpg:Football_1_ES.jpg::Ethan Swanson