MSU President's column for Traill County Tribune

August 9, 2014 

Return of student athletes marks the beginning of a new academic year


One of the first signs of the beginning of the fall semester is the return of athletes to campus. Pre-season camp for the football has already begun, and the volleyball team will begin pre-season practices August 10. We are happy to have the student athletes on campus and anxiously await the opportunity to watch them in action in their respective sports.

There are 24 players on the volleyball roster. They are led by seventh-year Mayville State head coach and Mayville State graduate Lindsey Johnson. Coach Johnson will again be assisted by Mayville State graduate Ashley Nelson. Also assisting is Michelle Warrn. The volleyball team will conclude pre-season activities on August 22 when they head to Sioux City, Iowa, where the team will play in four matches in two days. The Comets will face Evangel University, Briar Cliff University, Central Methodist University, and Morningside University.

Pre-season camp for football began Monday, August 4. The team’s first game for 2014 will be on Saturday, August 23, when the Comets will play Waldorf College in a home game beginning at 1:00 p.m. at Jerome Berg Field. One hundred thirty players reported for camp. The football team is scheduled to play five home games and six road games this year.

Mayville State alumnus John Haines has started his first year as head coach for the Comets football team. Coach Haines is being assisted by David Pena, Denver Price, John Falvey, Billy Tomblin, Weston McGill, Anton Anderson, and Jeff Saboe.

Dennis Hutter is returning for his tenth season as the head coach of the women’s basketball team. He will be assisted by 2009 Mayville State graduate Dave Moe, along with graduate assistant Lulu Seelye. The women’s basketball roster includes 22 players.

This will be the third season at Mayville State for head men’s basketball coach Dan DeWitt. His assistant is Mayville State alumnus Bryen Pyles and graduate assistant Eric Schulstad. Practice for the men will begin this fall. Coach DeWitt expects to have about 29 players on the roster.

Mayville State alumna Ashley VandeVeen will return for her second year as head coach of the women’s fastpitch softball team. She is being assisted by Stephanie Graziani and Katrina Newman. Coach VandeVeen is excited about the full roster of players she’ll have, which includes 11 freshmen, six transfer students, and five returners. The Lady Comets will be partaking in a scrimmage on Sunday, August 24. Comet seniors Rachel Koopman and Megan Cole will each be drafting a team of Comets for the scrimmage, which will be played at the ball park in Portland, N.D. The public is invited to stop by and support the Lady Comets.  

Head baseball coach Scott Berry will be returning for his thirty-second  year as head coach. Coach Berry will be assisted by Peter Pratt, who was a pitching coach at St. Cloud State before joining the Comets coaching staff four years ago. Graduate assistants Sam Thielen and Billy Tomblin will also help out. Coaches expect to have 50 players on the team this year.

After three years of work toward the formation of a new conference that would replace the Dakota Athletic Conference (DAC), the North Star Athletic Association was born in the spring of 2013. Four former DAC schools and a former NCAA III school joined forces to create the new league. Mayville State, Valley City State, Jamestown College, Dakota State, and Presentation College competed as a conference last year, and Dickinson State will join in the 2014-15 academic year. With interest from other schools in our region, the prospects of growing the league are positive. This helps to solidify our position as a conference. We are happy to be back to playing for a conference championship and playing host to various playoff games, as we did in the days of the DAC.

We’re looking forward to a promising year in Comet athletics. We invite you to attend Mayville State’s games whenever you can. The game schedules for the teams can be found on the Mayville State University Athletics website at Printed pocket schedules will be available soon at Mayville State’s main athletics office in the Lewy Lee Fieldhouse.