MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

April 4, 2020 

Finding bright spots in the midst of uncertainty

Making the decision to move all course instruction online delivery was difficult. The safety and health of our students, staff, and faculty is the ultimate priority, and that factor topped everything in making the decision. This decision, together with decisions made by other organizations and the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and our own state government, lead to additional difficult situations, but we know we are doing what is best and are optimistic and prepared to deal with whatever comes.

Mayville State is dealing with the financial repercussions of moving all classes to online delivery. This is forcing us to make some very difficult decisions which I assure you are not made lightly. We are doing our best to be as fair and reasonable as possible.

At the same time, we recognize how important Mayville State University and its students are to the local economy. We always do what we can to support our local businesses. We are sorry for the struggles many of them are experiencing in general, but also because of the absence of so many of Mayville State students right now. Things will get better with time.

The NAIA has announced that they will allow another year of eligibility for baseball and softball players whose seasons were canceled this spring due to the cronoavirus pandemic. The great news in this situation is that a number of our current seniors are planning to take advantage of the NAIA’s ruling and return to Mayville State next year so they can get in their last year of eligibility as student-athletes. I understand that seven of nine softball seniors plan to be back, and 11 baseball seniors plan to do the same.

We are delighted that these seniors will be able to back with their underclass teammates, many of whom are from local area towns such as Hillsboro, Buxton, Horace, Park River, Wahpeton, Garrison, Cooperstown, and many more. Students coming from near and far team up as Comets and do an amazing job representing Mayville State University. This makes us super-proud.

Head softball coach Ashley Tomblin asked each of her senior players who plan to return to Mayville State and play next academic year to give us their thoughts about this opportunity.

Shaye Kemball, Winnipeg, Manitoba, said “Not many get to have a second chance at their senior year. Being given this opportunity allows this program to grow for another year. I now have the ability to be better than I have ever been for this program.”

“With all the bad news in the world right now, I am glad we get another chance to play for a ring with this group of seniors,” said Aimee Fafard, Dauphin, Manitoba. “We are all very passionate and talented and I am excited to see what the next year brings for the Comets.”

Nicole Bunting, Redwood Falls, Minn., is happy for second chances too. She said, “Getting another chance at my senior year is a gift and I am excited to see where it takes our team.”

“It’s definitely bittersweet being able to have our senior year of eligibility back,” said Dayna Gutierrez, Hemet, Calif. “I was so excited for my senior year and was disappointed when it was cut short. On the other hand, it’s like hitting the reset button and getting time to do everything all over again with my teammates. We’ll be able to stay together longer. Not many athletes get the chance to have a do-over like this, so I am grateful. I wasn’t ready to say ‘goodbye’ to the game just yet.”

Annika Seedborg, Hawaiian Gardens, Calif., is thankful for this NAIA ruling. “I am extremely grateful that we have not lost our last season together, especially given the talented and committed senior class we have. Being able to train for another year and come back next year as a Comet means the world to me, and I wouldn’t give it up for anything.”

“I am grateful for this opportunity to be playing with the Comets again,” said Tai Yamamoto, Kaunakakaki Hawaii. “I am excited to make new memories and to see what next year brings.”

Alissa Foster, Salinas, Calif., summed it all up. “The opportunity to have another year is a blessing. I couldn’t imagine having our senior year taken from us like that, and I am excited to see what this team can do in 2021. This feeling is unbelievable, and painful at times, but in the end, it will all be worth it.”

We are very happy for our student-athletes who are seeing a bright spot in the midst of so much uncertainty. These are tough times, but we know that staying positive will help us find the light at the end of the tunnel. We will be stronger for it, and we appreciate the opportunity to bring these baseball and softball players back to Mayville, North Dakota for one more season.