Strength of character marks SDSU athletes

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Some call it the end of an era.

In a first-round battle with California of Pennsylvania in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight this weekend, the Lady Jacks fell to a team with the same speed and intensity of play that earned SDSU the championship a year ago.

With that loss, a rare occurrence for a team that’s made its way to the Elite Eight three years in a row, came the women’s last last shot at championship glory in the Division II ranks.

Now, they must bide their time waiting for post-season eligibility in Division I. They also must work ever harder to establish a new name for themselves in a college sports arena that, unlike the NCC or DII, hasn’t watched the Lady Jacks dominate the court.

In doing so, it’s important that the women stay true to the same qualities that have earned them the respect of not only the campus or community, but the entire nation.

And that involves more than simply staying at the top of their game physically, regardless of the chances at post-season gratification. It means carrying on a tradition of commitment to the game, to the fans and to the school.

While that’s a lesson that will be true for all athletes on this campus, it’s perhaps most obviously applied to a women’s basketball team that has enjoyed such success in our current division and stands to go through some growing pains as the DI transition is made.

These women have been praised throughout the athletic community as much for their personal qualities as for their prowess on the court.

Their sportsmanship has provided a positive image for the athletic community. Their ability to accept victory and defeat with equal grace has earned them a positive reputation. Their connection to the campus has inspired throngs of fans to make the trek to the playoffs to show their support.

It is this collective strength of character that will be even more important than physical strength in the coming transitional years.

So, Thursday may well have been the end of an era in some senses, but SDSU fans can hope and expect athletes like this year’s women’s basketball team to forge a new era in Division I.

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