Jacks can look at next nine as a large measuring stick

Ariy-El Boynton

Ariy-El Boynton

SDSU athletics have been around for more than 100 years. While I can think of back-to-back weeks with a lot of stack, the next 15 days really take the cake.

Heck, I will go as far as to say that the games from Hobo Day Weekend to Oct. 12 are the most important in Jackrabbits’ history.

I know there have been big weekends (such as last year’s North Dakota football game and Summit League Volleyball championship weekend), but in 2008, the stakes have increased. Every team on campus is now completely playoff eligible. No longer is a Jackrabbit athlete’s dream of holding a national championship trophy a farce.

Let’s start with football.

After falling to the University of Northern Iowa two weeks ago in close fashion, the Jacks bounced back against Stephen F. Austin (50-48) and now have two top-10 opponents at home. McNeese State may be the best team ever to come to Coughlin-Alumni. And for the first time in Hobo Day history, a team from the southern part of the country will take part in the annual game.

Next week, the task does not get any easier. Ex-Great West rival Cal Poly makes the trip to Coughlin. The last two years when the Mustangs and Jacks met on the gridiron, the games were classics. This year expect the same thing.

The Jacks’ women’s soccer team will play host to four conference foes. SDSU is 2-0 in the Summit League with victories over IUPUI (1-0) and IPFW (1-0). The Westernwinds of Western Illinois pay a visit on Oct. 3 and Southern Utah on Oct. 5.

After Hobo Day weekend, the women’s team hosts Centenary (La.) on Oct.10, and then the Jacks will wrap up the two-weekend home tour with Oral Roberts (Oct.12). After six games, SDSU could very likely have no losses in the Summit League. That would give them an inside track to the number one seed in the conference tournament on Nov. 7 to 8.

Cross country will show off its teams at the SDSU Classic at Edgebrook Golf Course. The women’s team has not competed 100 percent healthy all season, which was displayed by its showing at the Roy Griak Invite. The men’s team will show off its youth, as the Jacks only have one senior and one junior in the top seven. The rest of the squad are underclassmen.

The Jacks’ volleyball team will have a vital two-week stretch in the middle of a 10-game losing streak. More importantly, after falling 0-2 in the Summit League, SDSU has a chance of landing back in the league race.

Oct. 3 and 4 will see the volleyball team travel to IPFW (Oct. 3) and Oakland (Mich.) in Rochester. The last time IPFW and SDSU played each other, the Jacks beat the Mastodons for the Summit League title. Going 1-1 on this trip might be just what the doctor ordered.

After being on the road for Hobo Day weekend, Jackrabbit volleyball will host two teams at Frost Arena. If the Jacks have any chance at beating Western Illinois and IUPUI, the team must come together. Senior Mackenzie Anger has done a superb job as the leader, so far.

The two teams that have surprised people, outside of head coach Jared Blazer, are the golf teams.

The women’s golf team, fresh off its ninth place finish in Idaho last week, will play at the Hawkeye (Iowa) Invitational Oct. 4 to 5. Two sophomores and a freshman are leading the way for the Jacks so far. Sydney Sturdevant and Hiliary Gerster (Andover, Minn.) have been an impressive sophomore one-two punch. Freshman Rebecca Swords (Rosemount, Minn.) is a potential bright spot for the Jacks for years to come.

After finishing first at the Fairway Club Invitational (Neb.) on Oct. 9, the men’s golf team got some much deserved “ink”. The Jacks were ranked 56th in Golf Week’s first ranking on Sept. 18.

The men’s golf team won the Cleveland State Invitational on Sept. 30. Trent Peterson got second for the third straight invite. Geoff Mead won the CSU Invite for the second straight year.

After finishing first at the Cleveland State Invite, the Jacks will head to Palm Desert, Calif., to take part in the Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate Tournament Oct. 4 to 5.

In other action, the Equestrian team will have its second competition of the season against Wisconsin-River Falls (Western only) on Oct. 4 to 5. Both the Western and English team will host Fresno State and Minnesota-Crook on Oct. 10 to 11 in the new Equestrian stadium on Highway 14.

Both men’s and women’s tennis teams will play in Omaha over the two-week period. The men’s team will also head to Louisville over those two weeks.

The swimming and diving team will have an intersquad meet. This team will be fun to watch, as both sides seem to get better with every year.

Two weeks from now, we’ll know the effect the next fifteen days will have on SDSU sports. With a wide variety of games on campus, I would like all who can to back the Jacks.