Athletic Mentality: We are going to win

Hunter Porter

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Photo by Lauren Roberts Sixth grade safety Keegan Hutchins of The Boys and Girls Club football league Cowboys team blocks Tyrece Boone, mass communication sophomore, and pushes him to the ground after the football team finished practice.

For the hundreds of athletes who play sports on campus, from varsity sports to recreational sports to club sports — as well as for the fans — competing is more than just a pastime. It is a way to take a break from studying and to remain physically active.

And all of the players compete for one thing — to win.

“We have established a mentality, that we are going to win. That is carried over each year,” head football coach Bill Maskill said. “When one team has success, it bleeds over to the other teams.”

Football

The football team finished its 2015 season 5-1 in conference and with a 10-2 overall record. Twenty-two players earned All-Lone Star Conference honors, and 3 made on the Don Hansen All-American team.

Solomon Brown, graduate assistant, said, “This year we were good. We had a lot of young guys playing. Now that they have had a year to develop, we will be even better.” His warning to their opponents, “Get off the tracks ‘cause the freight train’s coming.”

The team then added another player to the list its NFL draftees. Drafted by the Arizona Cardinals wearing No. 1 Marqui Christian is the 28th pick in the 5th round of the 2016 NFL draft.

Coach Bill Maskill added 31 new players to the roster on National Signing Day.

The Mustangs are set to kick-off their 2016 season in Sept. 3 on the road against Truman State in Kirksville, Missouri.

Volleyball

Though the volleyball players hoped for a change under new head coach Natalie Rawson, this season’s outcome was similar to the last. The team finished ninth in the conference for the second straight year with 0-16 record in league play, and six wins with an overall record of 6-26.

Though the records are low, junior outside hitter Aerielle Edwards said “We have talent. We just have not all been on the same page.”

She is excited for the potential she sees in her last two seasons.

Edwards said, “We will be better. We are finally all getting the mindset of champions. Everyday we are collectively becoming a great team.”

Basketball

The men’s and women’s basketball programs are rooted in the early days of MSU, with the men’s program’s earliest season dating back to 1946, and the women’s program dating back to an intramural team in the late 1960s.

This season the men’s team earned their ninth LSC championship and hosted the South Central Regional Championship. The team had also hosted the South Central Regional Championships previously in 1999, 2011, 2012. The team also made it to the elite eight in those three years.

This year’s team claimed the LSC title with a 10-4 conference record and finished with an overall record of 24-6. After conference play they were ranked first in the South Central Region and hosted the Regional Championships. They were ranked fifth in the nation by the D2 Media Poll. Despite their high ranking the Mustangs were stunned by the Lubbock Christian University Chaparrals in the first round of the regional tournament.

After graduating seven seniors last season this year’s women’s team squeezed into the LSC tournament seeded eighth, the lowest seed. The team fell short in the quarterfinal round to the West Texas A&M Lady Buffs, finishing the season 4-12 in conference and a 5-22 overall record.

Cross-Country/Track

Two of the youngest programs on campus, men’s and women’s golf, were started in 2006 and 2009 respectively, and both programs have had their fair share of success under coach Jeff Ray. The 2012-2013 men’s team became the first team in program history to win the LSC Conference Tournament, also to become the first golfer in program history to win the LSC individual championship.

In their 2015 season, sophomores Brenna Moore and Sierra Campbell were appointed to first team in the All-Lone Star Conference awards with Moore winning four of her eight matches, and Campbell winning five.

The men’s team is tied for fourth in the South Central Region rankings in their 2015 season by the NCAA Division II Men’s golf committee. Senior Derek Oland led the team with a 72.26 scoring average with 11 par-or-better rounds and five scores in the 60s this season. He claimed his ninth career individual victory this season at the San Antonio Shootout.

Golf

Two of the youngest programs on campus, men’s and women’s golf, were started in 2006 and 2009 respectively and both programs have had their fair share of successes under coach Jeff Ray. The 2012-2013 men’s team became the first team in program history to win the LSC Conference Tournament.

In 2015, after finishing seven times over the past three years, Brenna Moore claimed wins in the two biggest tournaments of her career as she became the first national title in school history by winning the 2015 NCAA Division II Championship.

Softball

The softball program reinstated in 2004, is heading into its 14th season under coach Brandy Tigert. The program has made nine NCAA postseason appearances and captured two LSC championships back-to-back. But its most successful season came in 2011, when the team made it to the semifinal round of the NCAA D-II College World Series.

In 2015 Junior Kaitlyn Vinson carried the team’s regular season home runs with a total of 14 out-of-the-parks. She added another 13 home runs this season and was named the LSC Player of the Year. Senior third baseman Vinson was named a top 25 finalist for the 2016 Schutt Sports/NFCA Division II National Player of the Year award

They finished their regular season with a 14-18 conference record.

Soccer

The men’s soccer team finished the year with a NCCA postseason run, ending the season with a one goal loss to Colorado Mines in overtime.

The men’s soccer team spent three weeks at No. 1 in their 2008 campaign. They also carried season rankings of No. 10 in 2006, No. 3 in 2007, No. 5 in 2008, No. 19 in 2009, No. 2 in 2010 and No. 16 in 2011.

The team not only had great records, but also great chemistry.

Junior goalkeeper Noah Fazekas said “This team is like a family. We are a real tight knit group. We always have each other’s backs.”

The women’s team finished it’s season with a loss to West Texas A&M in the LSC quarterfinal round.

Tennis

In the 2015 regular season, the women’s tennis team took its second straight Lone Star Conference title with a 7-2 win over Cameron, and its third consecutive South Central Regional title with a 5-0 win over St. Edwards.

Linn Scott, head tennis coach said, “Last year we had a great team with great ladies on it and we built on that. They did a good job and built on that tradition.”

Sophomore Paige Boikyn had a winning individual season of 15-4, with a 30-8 record in overall duals this season including singles and doubles matches.

“My team is my family, and I will always give my all and play for them,” Boikyn said. “We need to enjoy the battle and love to compete. We all are here to make a mark and build a legacy for our school.”

Rec and club sports

The recreational sports program includes a variety of sports, from mainstays such as basketball and flag-football all the way to dodge ball, putt-putt and even darts and sand volleyball. Some 2,500 students participate in multiple divisions, including divisions for men and women as well as a co-rec division. Students interested in competing one-on-one can compete in sports like golf and tennis singles.

“Rec sports play a huge role in making students happy on campus,” Caleb Hannon, assistant director of the Wellness Center and recreational sports, said. “It helps people meet other people, get involved with students they may not know, and gain  a lot of tangible skills such as leadership and teamwork.”

Along with the intramural sports, many students join club sports as well, including rugby one of the most popular club sports on campus.

“Rugby gives you a sense of pride because it ain’t easy playing or getting in shape when you don’t have to,” Jalal Elrosoul, sophomore in exercise physiology and rugby player, said. “It’s something you should definitely at least try because you can’t be good at something you never attempt.”

Club sports include Ultimate, cycling, cheerleading and rugby, while rec sports include archery, soccer, dodge ball, tennis, badminton, volleyball, a mini-triathlon and many more.

 

THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS

First Bank of Wichita Falls

Foreign Languages of Midwestern State University

Mustang Village

Student Affairs and Enrollment Management

Career Management Center

Boys and Girls Clubs of Wichita Falls

Taft Haus Apartments

Stone Oven Pizza

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