The 2006-07 SDSU Varsity sporting year was a memorable and exciting one. Individual and team efforts this year have brought much success, pride and excitement in Jackrabbit country for fans and the athletes alike.
“I think the fan excitement was pretty positive this year,” said SDSU Athletic Director Fred Oien. “This year has a different meaning because of the fact that parts of the programs are starting to validate the move to Division I.,”.
This year closes the book on SDSU as a Division II school with the last of the D-II student athletes graduating. Oien talked about the struggles of student athletes during the transitional stage to Division I. “This senior class did it on pure faith,” he said, “and I think at the end of the day they are going to look back and say, ‘I wouldn’t trade it for anything.'”
As we jump in the time machine and look at the fall of 2006 there were many moments for SDSU to stand up and cheer. The football team rebounded from a slow start to rattle off seven straight wins en route to a 7-4 season. On Hobo Day, the Jacks overcame a 21-7 halftime deficit to down UC-Davis 22-21. (F.Y.I., Hobo Day 2007 is 150 days away from May first. We are in the home stretch now.)
The Jackrabbit volleyball team was spiking their way to a 22-12 record. The team boasted numerous independent players-of-the-week honorees, and as a part of the Mid-Continent Conference in 2007, the hopes of a conference crown and post-season berth will keep the volleyball team training hard this summer.
In October, the women’s cross country team, led by Brookings native senior Becka Mansheim, captured the Div. I Independent Championship. In the championships the men’s cross country team also clocked in with an impressive third place finish.
The women’s soccer team closed out their season in style beating NDSU 1-0 and winning the United Soccer Conference Tournament their first year in the conference. Led by Tournament MVP sophomore Kellyn Farrell, the Jacks won four of their last five matches to net a soccer conference championship.
When the Jackrabbits headed indoors, both the SDSU men’s and women’s swim teams had solid years. Several swimmers posted personal- or season-best swims and broke school records over several competitions. The young teams were very competitive against other Div. I schools and are looking for big things next year as a part of the Mid-Continent Conference.
In 2007 the men’s wrestling team joined the Western Wrestling Conference. The team overcame injuries and put together a seven match win streak to close out the year 8-8-1. Freshman Ryan Meyer from Parkston, South Dakota, became the first Jackrabbit athlete to qualify for any Div. I NCAA Championships.
The women’s basketball team posted one of the finest seasons in SDSU history. The team went 25-5 and won their last 12 games to catapult themselves into the Women’s National Invitational Tournament. In the WNIT, the Jackrabbits (with cowbells held hostage) hosted and won games against Illinois State and Indiana before falling on the road to eventual WNIT champion University of Wyoming. Senior Megan Vogel led the team with an average of 17.5 points a game and set a number of SDSU records before being drafted by the Washington Mystics of the WNBA.
When the Jacks had decent enough weather to be outdoors, the women’s equestrian team went 3-3 this season, and took eight riders to the National Championships in Waco, Texas. Junior Kaylee DeVries will close out the Jackrabbits Equestrian season this week competing in the IHSA National Finals.
Last week the men’s golf team defeated NDSU 8.5-5.5 to win the Dakota Cup. On Monday sophomore Geoff Mead clubbed a new SDSU Div. I record, finishing the final round of the Independent Championship with a 65.
The women’s softball team inaugurated the new softball stadium on campus this spring. Not to be outdone, the SDSU men’s baseball team made headlines by playing their season opener in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the Metrodome. The men’s baseball team currently is 24-15, with 30 wins still reachable. This year’s squad has posted the baseball team’s best record since moving to Div. I.
With finals just around the corner, the men’s and women’s track and field teams will not be going home as they will compete in the D-1 Impendent Championships in Davis, Calif. The women’s track and field team set nine indoor records. “The girls broke basically every school running record there is,” Head Coach Rod DeHaven said. The women’s team has continued gaining steam and competing well. Freshman thrower Michelle Schuch will compete in the discus at the 2007 Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Indianapolis, Ind.
Even after most of the year is over, the news just keeps on coming. After announcing his resignation last week, women’s basketball coach Aaron Johnston began his new coaching job at the University of Wisconsin in Green Bay by announcing that he would be returning to SDSU to coach.
As 2007 closes, let us have a last: “Go Big, Go Blue, Go Jacks.”