A milestone year in ’07-08

Travis Kriens

Travis Kriens

For the first time in three years, the majority of Jackrabbit teams competed in the same conference, and during this year in the Summit League, the Jacks had great seasons.

Looking back at the 2007-08 sports season, Nov. 17 will be a day to view as a historic day in Jackrabbit history. A Brock Gentile interception with 1:19 left in the fourth quarter clinched the Great West Football Conference title for the Jacks against rival and number 1 ranked North Dakota State in front of the largest Coughlin Alumni Stadium crowd in school history. It was the first conference title for the school in football since 1963.

Just as Gentile’s interception occurred, the Jackrabbit volleyball team was going to a fifth set in Fort Wayne, Ind., against IPFW in the Summit League Championship game. SDSU went on to win the set 15-12 to become the first team in school history to qualify for the NCAA Division I Tournament. The win also gave the Jacks 25 wins on the season, the most in the Division I era. Coach Andrew Palileo ended his seven-year run in Brookings as the third winningest coach in school history, becoming the head coach at Washington State on April 15.

The men’s cross country team finished first in the opening meet of the year on Aug. 31 at the Bison Invitational. They followed it up with back-to-back second place finishes, along with another first place finish among the 41-team field at the Disney Classic and a fourth place finish at the Summit League Tournament. The women started their season with two second place finishes plus a third. Another third at the Disney Classic and a second place finish out of 27 teams at the Tori Neubauer Invitational set the Jacks up to place third at the season-ending Summit League Championships in Macomb, Ill.

The women’s soccer team completed their season with a 9-4-4 record, including a Summit League mark of 5-1-2, good enough for second place. Junior Kelly Larson was named Summit League Defensive Player of the Year, leading the Jacks to seven shutouts. Junior goalkeeper Nicole Lagrasso was named to the All-Summit League First team, and Kellyn Farrell was given All-Summit League second team honors.

In the pool, the women’s swimming and diving team broke 14 school records. University of Minnesota transfer Alexandra Hoffman broke five individual records and was a part of three freestyle record-breaking teams. Diver Sasha Porter broke a 25-year-old school record in the one-meter diving competition. The women closed the season out with a third place finish at the Summit League Championship in Rochester, Mich. The men’s side will look to build on their 2007-08 season, as they will lose only two seniors off of the team.

After one of the most memorable seasons in school history, the Jacks women’s basketball team followed it up with another excellent year. A Summit League title in its first year in the conference was rewarded with a second consecutive appearance at the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT). Head coach Aaron Johnston was named Summit League Coach of the Year, while freshman Kristin Rotert was named the conference Sixth Woman of the Year. Junior Jennifer Warkenthien was selected to the All-Conference first team.

The baseball team earned their signature Division I win on April 23 at Sioux Falls Stadium against the University of Minnesota 5-4 in 10 innings. A suicide squeeze by catcher Tony Martin scored Tyson Fisher to give the Jacks their first win against the Gophers since 1966. They currently stand second in the Summit League with a conference record of 6-3. As of April 29, the men are 17-19 on the season after starting 5-15. The softball team has yet to play a home game this season due to the weather but have record of 16-25, 9-8 in the Summit League. Both teams have had numerous games postponed and cancelled due to weather.

#1.882500:4210310649.jpg:IMG_5235.jpg:Rahmon Fletcher (20) of University of Wisconsin-Green Bay looks to drive around the defense of SDSU sophomore Garrett Callahan on Dec. 1, 2007; SDSU fell 88-81. The men finished the season 9-21.:Stephen Brua#1.882499:3108805397.jpg:sd_nd_02_sb.jpg:The SDSU football team celebrates with the Dakota Marker after defeating NDSU 29-24 on Nov. 17, 2007. SDSU’s record was 7-4 on the season and 4-0 in the Great West Conference.:Stephen Brua#1.882498:935566582.jpg:sd_nd_01_sb.jpg:Tyler Roehl (40) of NDSU prepares to stiff arm SDSU defender Brock Campbell during the Great West Conference Championship game on Nov. 17, 2007. SDSU won the championship 29-24 over North Dakota.:Stephen Brua#1.882497:1691316330.jpg:baseball-251.jpg:Jacks junior second baseman Jesse Ayala attempts to turn a double play as Dakota Wesleyan base runner Mark Wood slides into second at Huether Field on April 22.:Stephen Brua