Winning and hits just keep on coming for Jackrabbit athletics

Ariy-El Boynton

Ariy-El Boynton

Everybody likes to follow and watch a winner, and these days SDSU has been a winner in numerous sports.

While the successes of the soccer and football teams have been given ink, the lesser-known sports have been faring pretty well also.

The women’s bowling team saw success two weekends ago in Madison, Wis., and the SDSU cricket team won a tournament a few weeks back in Mankato, Minn.

The swimming team looks good, especially on the women’s side, and freshman swimmer Nick Carter has shined on the men’s team.

The Jacks women’s teams won the Summit League in cross country and soccer, with the seniors leading the way.

The women’s cross country team won the 6k race by three points in the Summit League championships. Junior Ashley Storm battled injuries this year to run a strong race with only one freaking shoe. Last weekend, the Jacks beat a host of Missouri Valley Conference teams at the NCAA Midwest Regional Meet. When comparing the budget of those schools to SDSU, that is a big testament to the Jacks’ season.

Last year, the volleyball team that made the NCAA tournament was special because it was the only women’s team eligible to go. This year, the soccer team made the NCAA playoffs, which was special due to the seniors who stayed.

The Jacks, who won the Summit League title and tournament, were led by a great group of seniors. The nine seniors are Kellyn Farrell, Erin Kasmarik, Kerstyn Farrell, Nicole Lograsso, Kellie Van Gerpen, Chelsea Goosen, Kelly Larson and Vanessa Paswaters. The seniors’ advancement to the second round of the NCAA is proof that karma exists.

The nine who stayed at SDSU just to be NCAA eligible for one year is truly admirable.

The Jacks beat Colorado in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Cup and fell to Minnesota on its own home turf. Next year, there will be a solid group of underclassmen who will compete for the Jacks.

The SDSU volleyball team overachieved this season. The team had to replace both of its coaches and two setters before the season even started.

After a new system and an extremely hard schedule were mixed in, the Jackrabbits appeared to be in for a long season. SDSU lost 12 matches in a row in its first 13. Then the Jacks turned the corner and won six in a row. With a winning streak, the Jackrabbits climbed the Summit League rankings, but in the end, the team was just too young to secure a Summit League tournament spot.

The Jacks have all but three players scheduled to come back to campus and time will tell what head coach Nana Allison Brewer can do with the 2009 team.

As for the football team, last week’s game may have been the most important game in the program’s history. If the Jacks had won last week, they would still have been in the running for the playoffs in their first year of eligibility.

Now the Jacks will settle for pure pride in their last game. SDSU will travel north to take part in the annual Dakota Marker showdown in Fargo against the Bison.

As much as I would like to have this game in Brookings, it’s going to be nice to be indoors and see 18,000 plus fans.

This year’s Jacks were painful to watch at times, such as during the Cal Poly game, but fun at other times, like when Ryan Berry went off at Illinois State.

I am sure it would make the Bison faithful happy to see the yellow and green hoisting the Dakota Marker high above their heads. After back-to-back 10-win seasons the last two years, this will more than likely serve as the only trophy they have a chance to hold up this year.

The men’s golf team was sure impressive this fall and won three of five tournaments. It will be interesting to see how the golfers remove the winter rust and get back to the course in the spring.

The women’s basketball team has beaten two major schools this year in Missouri and Wisconsin (Madison). If the Jacks go 6-0, will they be a top-25 team in the coaches’ poll/USA Today poll? Well, time will tell, but if I had a say, I’d vote for the Jacks.

The men’s basketball team needs a boost, with all the injuries they have had so far. Perhaps three local kids (Tony Fiegen and Chad White of Madison and Brayden Carlson of Brookings) will help next year.

Going 1-1 with a chance to play in Sioux Falls next year in the Summit League Tournament should give the Jacks extra motivation.

With wrestling and indoor track and field starting to have competitions in the coming weeks, both squads look improved on paper from last year.

Oh yeah, a winning school is easier to write for.