It’s an exciting time to be a Dragon. With the fall teams finishing up their seasons and the winter ones starting theirs, great things are happening in the athletic department.
The football team is having their best season in years, winning their last three games, all of which were conference games. The team has made strides each year under the leadership of head coach Steve Laqua and his coaching staff. Just this year alone the team has won two out of their three trophy games. The team held on for the win against University of Mary for “The Paddle” and defeated Bemidji State on Saturday for “The Axe.” The Dragons have never held both at the same time. With the team still being relatively young, it is refreshing to see the them find success and look to build off of this season for next year and beyond.
Another strong season is wrapping up for the volleyball team; right now they are tied for eighth in the conference to make the conference tournament. The team returns home to finish out the season after defeating nationally ranked Wayne State on Saturday in five sets. Being on the cusp of the tournament, they will host another nationally ranked team on Friday when Southwest Minnesota State comes to play.
The women’s soccer team had a tough season. The team was in each game it played, but fell short in them. I see good things coming for the soccer team, as the program has great leadership and many players that will be returning next season.
The men’s and women’s cross country teams finished their seasons at the NCAA Central Region Meet, with the women finishing eighth and 16th at the meet. The teams placed well throughout the season and competed against tough Division II opponents.
The women’s golf team has a short season. Each tournament is crucial, with the team finishing at the NSIC Championships in October. Playing in a tough conference, the Dragons are improving each time they step on the course.
The swimming and diving team is off to a stellar start in their young season. With both veterans and new swimmers and divers on the team, they have won five straight and look to return back to nationals in March.
The wrestling team brought in 10 new recruits this year, and many of the wrestlers have won state championships at the high school level. With most of the team returning, the Dragons are looking to take down their opponents in a region that has expanded the last three years. A competitive practice room is preparing the Dragons for when they take to the mat in tournament action and in dual action. The team will have to wrestle well to contend in the stacked NSIC.
The basketball teams opened their seasons on Saturday. Both earned decisive wins, starting their seasons on the right path. Both the men and women are picked to finish high in their respective leagues. With the teams losing only a handful of starters, both squads return experienced players that will need to lead the teams if they hope to return to the NSIC tournament.
The track and field teams will be powerhouses when they start in the spring and will look to continue the success of past seasons. The teams have had national champions in the past, and there will be a number of athletes that will contend again.
The softball team will look to rebound after a rough season that found challenges with the team not having the chance to practice outside at all last season and wasn’t able to play a game at home.
With the teams finding success, the student-athletes are putting in hard work and dedicating themselves to the sports they love and representing MSUM to the best of their ability. Between practice, meetings, games and preparation for the games, the amount of time they spend is unmeasurable, and most of it goes unseen to the student body. It is time that changes, and the MSUM student body supports the student athletes. Yes, there are a number of students, staff and faculty that go to every game and support the Dragons. That is great, but it is not enough.
Seeing the stands almost empty for a home sporting event is sad for a Division II school, and it doesn’t set the atmosphere for a college sporting event. It doesn’t show school spirit and we aren’t supporting our student-athletes, coaches or athletic department.
When someone says to me, “Why would I go when they are just going to lose anyway?” I get very discouraged because the student-athletes are giving 100 percent each time they play. Why isn’t the student body more encouraging and supportive of our sporting teams?
What I see is that it is okay to go to the game when the game matters or there is nothing else to do. I believe that needs to change. Each game is important, and MSUM competes in one of the toughest conferences in the country. Each time our teams play, they are going up against the best of the best in Division II and competing hard.
I know we aren’t all into sports and that is okay, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have school spirit or bash our teams, whether it is in conversation or on social media.
When an opponenet comes to Moorhead and there are more fans for them than MSUM, I believe that is a problem.
How can this be fixed? For one, students can show more school spirit at all sporting events, not just the ones that “matter.” Get involved with Nemzek Noize and be a part of the student section. Encourage others to go to the games, you get free admission with your student ID, and there are often great giveaways at games.
We are a Division II school, and we as a student body need to continue to support our student-athletes and sporting teams through the good and bad times.
Our student body needs to show more school spirit and set the atmosphere of attending a college sporting event. Setting the atmosphere will carry over, not only at the game, but throughout campus and will promote change for years to come.
We as a student body should be excited about what is happening with our sporting teams and support them no matter what the outcome is.
Support can start this weekend as both the volleyball and men’s basketball teams are at home. The volleyball team has two games to finish their season and advance to the conference tournament, and the men’s team looks for their second win. As a student body we should support our teams, and show how proud we are to be Dragons.
BY BREANN LENZMEIER