A few weeks ago, Brandon Veale, sports writer for the Daily Mining Gazette wrote a column titled “A Black and Gold Era”. In the column Brandon tells the story of Tech athletics and goes on to highlight the success of all of Michigan Tech sports from football and soccer in the fall to both women’s/men’s basketball, hockey and Nordic skiing.
While Brandon did a nice job summarizing our athletic success, one could use up reams of paper if they were to give full credit to the amazing year we’ve had. From football reaching the NCAA playoffs for the second time in school history to soccer advancing to the playoffs for the third time in their four years of existence, it’s been an incredible year of many seasons. Women’s Tennis player, Kwang Suthijindawong, was named GLIAC Player of the Year. Women’s basketball has had amazing success under Coach Kim Cameron winning the GLIAC North Division Title again and hosting the Midwest Regional three times in the past six years. Our men’s basketball team went 19-9 and Ben Stelzer garnered not only the GLIAC but also Midwest Region Player of the Year. Our Nordic team sent skiers to both the US and Canadian National Championships and two skiers to the World Junior Championships in Kazakhstan. Hockey swept the first round of the WCHA playoffs, our first home ice in 22 years and played the longest game ever. They also made their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1981. Tanner Kero was named WCHA Player and Student Athlete of the Year, goalie Jamie Phillips had the most wins in the country and Coach Pearson was named Coach of the Year by the College Hockey News. And our cross-country teams are continuing to break all kinds of records at this writing with Sean Pengelly qualifying for the NCAA National Championship.
The wins on the court, field, trails and ice are fantastic but there is an equal amount of winning beyond all of these that is something we should also be incredibly proud of. I’m talking about the essence of our student athletes and how they represent Michigan Tech, their steady success in the classroom and the time they volunteer at local schools or mentoring kids in the community at various camps. While much of it about the competitive nature of sports, it’s also about the energy and spirit that comes with them. It’s the essence of the environment created, the sense of pride, the feelings of triumph and compassion in defeat. There’s nothing quite like a fall day at Sherman Field with fans in full force, the fight song reverberating loudly through the air while one cheers on our Huskies. Or perhaps, the energy that comes from walking into a packed SDC gym or experiencing a standing room only crowd at the Mac. It may be about winning but in many ways it’s about more than that. It’s about creating a sense of pride, a feeling of home and an ethos of care; something we can all embrace and be proud of because we’re Huskies!
It’s definitely easy to bleed black and gold with a year like this but I would suggest it’s always easy to do this when we you look at the caliber and quality of our players and the winning attitudes they bring with them. This attitude and spirit has been amplified across the Copper Country and the rest of the world loud and clear. Coach Kim Cameron may have summed it up best in Brandon’s column when she said “I think in general, Michigan Tech athletics has blown away the average, the norm.” I couldn’t agree more and like many of you can’t wait to see what the next era brings.