MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

barnard momon wilson hamlette.jpgSeptember 15, 2018

‘Comet Proud’

Saturday, Sept. 8 was a big day for Mayville State University, the Mayville-Portland community, and Traill County. The annual Farmer Bowl celebration was highlighted by the grand opening of the “new” Jerome Berg Field and dedication of an artificial turf field. It was a great day from beginning to end as folks gathered to enjoy all of the great activities that took place throughout the day, including a 5K run/walk, a corn and hot dog feed, family-friendly activities, and of course, the big football game featuring the Mayville State Comets versus the College of St. Scholastica. The icing on the cake was a Comets win. It doesn’t get much better than that!

It is my pleasure to introduce you to four of the student athletes who played key roles in the success of the game. We are blessed to have so many wonderful Mayville State students from near and from far. Isn’t it fantastic that our students who grew up nearby and others who grew up in far-away places have an opportunity to learn and grow together? The diverse experiences help to shape all of our students as well-rounded individuals.

Robert “Stump” Barnard is a sophomore defensive lineman from Middleburg, Fla. He said Mayville State’s affordability is crucial to his earning a college degree. When his mother became seriously ill last year, the people of Mayville State stepped up and supported him in all ways. He’s noticed in his short time here how the community members have become more supporting of Comets Athletics, and he was elated to know that a crowd of about 1,040 people was on hand to cheer for the Comets on Saturday. 

Trent Momon is a senior wide receiver from Hempstead, Texas. He was featured in the play of the game on WDAY Sports this last weekend. How cool is that? Trent says the small class sizes at Mayville State have given him an opportunity to work more closely with his instructors. He is grateful for the Mayville-Portland community, which is quiet and safe. He said, “It is a great place to focus on getting my college education completed without the worries of a big city.”

He feels that the atmosphere that surrounds the student athletes plays a huge part in the success of the team. “Having a field that you can be proud of and the support from our fans, along with knowing that the community and boosters believed in us enough to put their time and financial support into something like this pushes us as a team to be the best we can be. This is how we can show our appreciation. Being part of the team who had the first opportunity to play on the new turf is something I will never forget. It was college football at its finest. But it was more than just the new turf, it was everything from the pre-game events, seeing the great turnout of the community, students, staff, friends, and families, the perfect weather, and getting our first win! This is what motivates us as a team, for three hours, the world belonged to the COMETS!

“This was my first win as a Comets football player. This is what we have worked so hard for - many early mornings, late nights, hard practices, hard workouts - but mainly team unity and dedication. This is what goes into making us who we are. I hope this is the start to a successful season, not just for me, but for my fellow teammates and our coaches who dedicate their time and attention to helping us succeed.”

Darrel Wilson, a junior, is a two-sport athlete from Douglasville, Ga. He came to Mayville State to play basketball and later walked on to the football team too, where he serves as a wide receiver. He says he enjoys the community service opportunities his coaches afford them. “Whether it is helping the new athletic director, Ryan Hall, and his family move into their new house or helping to set up for Farmers Bowl, our emphasis is on helping others. It benefits others, but it also gives us an opportunity to put good morals into practice.”

Darrel says he would never have imagined living in North Dakota. He finds it very peaceful and knows that this experience will make his life better. When he finishes his degree at MSU, he plans to pursue a degree in physical therapy, while earning his barber license.

Reflecting on the Sept. 8 game, Wilson said, “Being the first Mayville State team to play on the turf was amazing. It was a rush of adrenaline the whole time. It was an honor to play in front of alumni and the community and put on a great show. The best part was the win we achieved completely as a team. We felt we owed this win to the alumni and community for giving us the opportunity to have this turf field. We had made up our minds we were not going to lose this one. That was simply not an option and we got the job done.”

Preston Hamlette, a senior running back from Philadephia, Pa., is living out his childhood dream of playing college football. He likes that he can do this in the family atmosphere that Mayville State provides. He says that the people here are always willing to help someone, even if they don’t know them. Preston lost his father last summer. He said, “The support I received from the school was truly amazing. I’m very thankful to be at Mayville State.”

It is very clear that these guys are very grateful for their Mayville State educational and athletic opportunities. They are representative of the outstanding individuals who learn in our classrooms and play on our athletic fields and courts. On behalf of them and everyone at Mayville State, I say, “Thank you for the many ways in which you support Mayville State University. Together, we are changing lives, and this is just one more reason why I am ‘Comet Proud.’”

Pictured above (l-r) are Preston Hamlette, Robert Barnard, Trent Momon, and Darrel Wilson.