MSU President’s Column for Traill County Tribune
March 16, 2019
Basketball season ends, while baseball and softball seasons are underway
Our men’s basketball team represented Mayville State University and the Mayville-Portland and Traill County community very well in the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament held in Sioux Falls, S.D. The Comets played in the opening round game versus Morningside College of Iowa on Thursday evening, March 7.
While our team didn’t come out on top in the game, I am so very proud of the team and coaches. What an honor it is to have the opportunity to play in the national tournament! They earned their berth in the tournament by winning the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) conference tournament. This was the Comets’ second-straight NSAA tournament championship. I tip my hat to the players, head coach Darren Tighe and his assistants, as well as the student managers and others who helped to make it happen.
The campus and community support for the Comets was outstanding! A generous Mayville State alum made a substantial financial contribution which assured we could provide a fan bus and that students could ride for free. Many others made the trip on their own. The Mayville State fan club was impressive!
While in Sioux Falls, we enjoyed wonderful pre-game and post-game socials at the Blue Rock Bar and Grill, where about 100 people gathered before the game and 150 gathered after the game to rally around the Comets. The venue was amazing, right down to the Comet blue décor. It is located directly across the street from the Sanford Pentagon, where the games were played, so it was very convenient for the Mayville State entourage.
We were thrilled to learn just this week that several of our Mayville State basketball players have been named 2019 Daktronics NAIA Division II Scholar-Athletes. Mayville State’s men’s basketball team was tied with Dakota Wesleyan to lead the way with six honorees. They are Daniel Lindgren, Enderlin, N.D.; Jack Turnbull, Adelaide, Australia; Michael Slaba, Canby, Minn.; Matthew Slaba, Canby, Minn.; Eric Staebler, Morris, Minn.; and Creighton Pfau, West Fargo. N.D. Three Mayville State women’s basketball players received the award. They are Taylor Skjordal, Grafton, N.D.; Sara Herzog, Upsala, Minn.; and Joelle Ertl, Avon, Minn. In order to be nominated for the award, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved a junior academic status. Congratulations to all!
As the basketball season was winding up, the spring seasons for baseball and softball were underway. Both teams have been playing in Tucson, Ariz. during this week of spring break. As of this writing, the baseball team has a record of three losses and no wins, with three games left to play, while the softball team has notched three wins and one loss. Comets Baseball is noted for slow starts and strong finishes, and I’m excited to see how the seasons will play out for both teams.
Head softball coach Ashley Tomblin is in her sixth season at the helm of the Mayville State University softball team. She is also a faculty member in the Division of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. Under Coach Tomblin’s direction, the Comets have broken numerous team records, including batting average, slugging percentage, doubles, shutouts, total wins, and winning percentage. These stats are based on program history since Mayville State joined the NAIA. The Comets also made the championship round of the NSAA conference tournament during the 2017 season.
We are eager to see how the 2019 season comes together for the Comets. For the first time in history, the softball team will play their home spring games on campus. The new turf football field will be configured to accommodate playing softball. We are hopeful that the weather will cooperate and we’ll have the opportunity to cheer for the softball team right here on campus very soon.
Mayville State’s head baseball coach, Scott Berry, is one of the most heralded and respected baseball coaches in America, and he is known for running one of the most outstanding college baseball programs in the nation. Since he became our head coach in 1982, Berry’s teams have won 23 regular season conference championships (including 17 in a row from 1986 to 2002) and 22 conference tournament championships, and they have made 28 appearances in the NAIA national playoffs. Under Scott Berry, the Comets have won three NAIA regional titles and the 2002 Plains Super Regional title, and they finished in fifth place at the NAIA World Series in 2002. Berry’s career record as a head coach after 36 years in the NAIA stands at 1,058-585-1, which is good for a winning percentage of 0.647, even though most of the games have been played on the road. Coach Berry has been named Conference Coach of the Year 23 times, District 12 Coach of the Year nine times, and NAIA Region Coach of the Year four times.
To see the latest on what is happening this spring with our softball and baseball teams, visit our athletics website at www.msucomets.com. You’ll find the game schedules, scores, and more. We wish the teams all the best and hope to be able to catch some games at home soon!