MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

March 7, 2020

Comets women’s and men’s basketball players and coaches bring national recognition to the university

men conference champs.jpgThe Comets women’s and men’s basketball teams are preparing to play in their respective NAIA national tournaments. Both teams have had fantastic seasons. The icing on the cake was when both teams won their conference tournaments in Watertown, S.D. last weekend and punched their tickets to the national tournaments. This appears to be the first time in university history that both the men’s and women’s basketball teams are playing in national tournaments in the same year.

I couldn’t be prouder of the young men and women who will represent Mayville State University at the NAIA Division II National Basketball Championships. They have worked hard on and off the court and their efforts are bringing them great rewards.

women conference champions.jpgBoth tournaments are scheduled for March 11 through 17. The men’s tournament will be played at the Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D. The women’s tournament will be played at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.

The Lady Comets have been ranked in the national Top 25 poll throughout the season. They finished the regular season at the top of the conference. This was their third North Star conference regular-season title, a title they shared with the Bellevue Bruins this season.

Kylee Heurung was named both the North Star’s most valuable player for the season and the conference tournament’s most valuable player. In addition, Kylee and Claire Blascziek were named to the all-conference first team. Nicole Bunting was named all-conference honorable mention, Alissa Foster was recognized as Mayville State’s women’s basketball Champions of Character recipient.

This year marked the third-straight North Star Athletic Association tournament championship for the men’s team. The team was ranked in the Top 25 national poll for several weeks this season.

Max Cooper was named to the all-conference first team, while Jalen Valverde was named to the all-conference second team. Latrelle Franklin was named all-conference honorable mention. In addition, Rene Melendez was recognized as Mayville State’s NSAA Champions of Character recipient.

I commend all players, their coaches, and the athletic department for representing Mayville State University in a way that makes the university, our alumni and friends, and the community very proud.

The women’s team is coached by Dennis Hutter, who is assisted by Lady Comet alumni Andi Gayner and Joelle Ertl. Members of the team are Alissa Foster, Salinas, Calif.; Sydney Magsam, Crookston, Minn.; Cyan Hale, Crosby, Minn.; Nicole Bunting, Redwood Falls, Minn.; Claire Blascziek, Lakeville, Minn.; Taylor Skjordal, Grafton, N.D.; Jordan Zrust, Buffalo, Minn.; Rylee Heil, Harvey, N.D.; Sara Herzog, Upsala, Minn.; Haley Anderson, Lisbon, N.D.; Erin Walcker, Beulah, N.D.; Kylee Heurung, Brainerd, Minn.; Andrea Skillingstad, St. Cloud, Minn.; Taylor Reilly, Hoople, N.D.; Taylor Shamp, Bertha, Minn.; and Heather Elfering, Roseville, Minn. Alexis Nice, Minto, N.D., is the team manager.

The men’s team is led by head coach Darren Tighe. He is assisted by Alex Herman, Dalton Kleinschmidt, and Jack Turnbull. Members of the team are Dominic Schuster, Minto, N.D.; Latrelle Franklin, Temecula, Calif.; Jalen Valverde, Stockton, Calif.; Christian Kuntz, West Fargo, N.D.; Thomas Gieske, Sartell, Minn.; Rene Melendez, Denver, Colo.; Tobyn Lawson, Shoreline, Wash.,; Xavier Towne, Marshall, Minn.; Simon Ramirez, Fremont, Calif; Malachi Wharry, Marysville, Calif.; Brayden Waterman, Calgary, Alberta; Brady Bebeau, Big Lake, Minn.; Iker Cruz, Madrid, Spain; Marin Lisica, Split, Croatia; Max Cooper, Minnetonka, Min.; and Jake Taggart, Greenbush, Minn.

To keep up with all the plans, festivities, and information related to the Comets appearing in the national tournaments, I encourage you to go to Check back often as information will be updated as it becomes available.