Support for both teams should remain tradition

Amy Poppinga

March 6 marked the beginning of a new era as both the men’s and women’s basketball teams are now dancing in Division I.

It’s the moment Jackrabbit fans have been waiting for since the transition to Division I eight seasons ago. As a dedicated fan, I couldn’t be more tickled. But as the men rise in Division-I prominence, I also hope SDSU doesn’t lose enthusiasm for its perennially successful women’s team.

I’ll allow a little extra pomp and circumstance for the men this year. Their success is new and exciting, and the women have been widely lauded since their first WNIT bid in 2007.

But I hope in the coming years that SDSU fans don’t follow the national trend of supporting and celebrating the men’s team more. That would be an incredible disservice to a women’s team that stormed its way into Division I in historic fashion and its role-model stars who captured the imagination of this whole state.

Don’t forget the WNIT fever that invaded Frost Arena when Megan Vogel led the Jacks to electric wins over Illinois State and Indiana in 2007. Don’t forget the record-tying 16 3-pointers in the Jackrabbits’ Big Dance win over Texas Christian and how close our women came to the Sweet Sixteen in 2009. Don’t forget that the women’s basketball team has qualified for the NCAA tournament in each of its four years of eligibility in Division I – a feat no other team has accomplished.

I have often been known to brag about my school, and when it comes to sports, I always talk about how proud I am of my school for supporting its women’s team as much as its men’s team. I believe that it has always set South Dakota State apart and it’s just another reason why it’s so great to be a Jackrabbit. Please, Jackrabbit fans, don’t lose that distinction as we move into this era of success for both programs.

So in the coming week: I hope the men beat Baylor. I hope the women beat Purdue. I hope Nater Nates, and I hope Jill does what she’s been doing since she was young. Most of all, I hope we cheer both teams on with equal enthusiasm both this week and in the years to come.