Great, exciting journeys have greeted Jackrabbits in the D-I re-classification

Nick Hartley

Nick Hartley

As winter turns into spring, activity on campus increases. Almost every sport the school offers is practicing somewhere on campus, or if not on campus, in the city of Brookings. Work progresses on facilities that have been needed for the campus community, and this spring marks the end of a journey for SDSU.

Four years ago, SDSU made the jump up to Division I. As the 2007-2008 school year slowly comes to a close, the Jacks have positioned themselves atop the Summit. Once the last relay is ran this spring and the last out recorded on the diamond, so ends the season. It is not just another season, this is the last season SDSU and NDSU are ineligible for the NCAA tourney in most sports. Come next fall, football, basketball, soccer, baseball and softball have the chance to represent South Dakota and SDSU in front of the whole country.

The journey hasn’t been all play and no work. There has been a few causalities along the way. Attendance here has struggled at times, but Jacks’ fans still are the most passionate about their teams. One stop to the forum confirms that. There are over a thousand members on board, voicing their opinion about various topics from the new Jackrabbit to Scott Nagy’s blue blazer and everything in between.

Coaches have been lost due to various reasons; players left to play for other schools, which has been expected.

Many naysayers thought that would be the end of their competitiveness on a national level. That has been proven wrong on many levels, most recently by the SDSU volleyball and women’s basketball.

They said kids from the region would not have opportunities to play at SDSU; a quick look at the rosters shows that some of the key players on many teams are from within four hours of Brookings. Success in the classroom was bound to drop in their minds. The last two years, the women’s basketball team has been ranked number one in GPA. This fall, 53 students made the Summit League All-Academic honor roll; seems like we are doing good in the classroom to me.

SDSU has faced a George Washington and a Utah women’s team that is ranked in the Top 25. Another local team wanting to move up to Division I faced thriving NAIA schools like Dana College and Midland Lutheran. Seriously, Midland Lutheran? Are they a high school team from Nebraska? At least USD could try to revive the rivalry with Morningside College.

All journeys have to end somewhere, with a lesson learned; Jackrabbit fans have learned a lot. They have learned that the Jacks will be competitive in the Summit League as a top tier program. They also discovered the football team will be competitive in the Gateway Football Conference and should have a chance to be near the top of the field.

The ride is almost over, Jackrabbit faithful; enjoy what is left of the journey.

Editor’s note: Nick Hartley, Ariy-El Boynton and the rest of the sports reporters can be reached at [email protected]