MSU President's Newspaper Column

January 8, 2022 

Join in celebrating Mayville State’s female athletes

Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022 will be a big day at Mayville State. This is the date of the Celebration of Female Athletes event which is being planned by the Mayville State University Athletic Department and Alumni Association. A day-long celebration is in the works. 

The Mayville State family includes amazing former and current female athletes. In addition, 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark gender equity law passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972. The law banned sex discrimination in federally funded education programs, opening doors for girls and women. While the scope of Title IX is wide, it is most famous for the positive way in which it has expanded opportunities for women and girls in sports. By the 40th anniversary of Title IX passage in 2012, 190,000 women were competing in intercollegiate sports, six times as many as in 1972.

A highlight of Mayville State’s Celebration of Female Athletes festivities will be the induction of Laura Big Crow, Heidi Brunko, and Jennifer Ostapowich into the Mayville State University Athletic Hall of Fame. The public is invited to join in honoring these three distinguished former Mayville State athletes. The induction ceremony will take place as part of a brunch event planned for 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 29 in the MSU Campus Center Luckasen Room. Tickets sell for $20 each and may be purchased at

Laura Big Crow, Pine Ridge, S.D., played basketball at Mayville State from 2006 until 2008, after transferring from Williston (N.D.) State College. Laura scored 1,029 points for the Comets during her two-year career at MSU. She was a two-time honorable mention NAIA All-American, as well as a two-time All-DAC player. She grabbed 410 rebounds for the Comets and averaged 18.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game and helped guide the Comets to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in nearly a decade. In her junior year, she played a big part in the Comets’ #8 national ranking. As a senior, Big Crow helped lead the team to the Dakota Athletic Conference championship game. Laura graduated from Mayville State in 2009 earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a coaching minor.

Heidi Brunko, Bloomington, Minn., was a three-sport athlete at Mayville State from 1998 to 2001, playing volleyball, basketball, and softball. She was a DAC-10 all-conference volleyball player who led the team in blocks and kills in 1998. She was team captain and a varsity letter winner in 2000. She also lettered in basketball and softball and was an all-conference honorable mention in softball. Brunko graduated from Mayville State in 2002 earning a degree in elementary education with minors in coaching and early education.

Jennifer Ostapowich, Portage La Prairie, Manitoba Canada, was starting pitcher and also played first base for the Mayville State softball team from 1995 to 1999. By 1997, the Comets had achieved the season-best record in nearly a decade. In 1998, the team was one game shy of making the regionals, and in 1999, the Comets made their first visit to the NDCAC tournament. Jen was named first team all-conference in all four years. She earned All-American Scholar Athlete honors in 1998 and 1999; was the Mayville State Most Valuable Player in 1997, 1998, and 1999; and was team captain for the Comets in 1999. She was named All-Region in 1999. Ostapowich also received the Outstanding Achievement Award for the NDCAC and was the conference most valuable graduating senior in 1999. She earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education with a minor from Mayville State in 1999, while simultaneously earning a minor in French from the University of North Dakota.

The celebration schedule also includes a women's basketball alumni game and a men's and women's basketball double header versus Valley City State. All former Mayville State female athletes will be recognized at half time of the men's game. Following the men's game, all alumni and friends are invited to socialize at the Larson Alumni and Leadership Center. 

All former Mayville State female athletes and their friends are cordially invite to come “home” to Mayville State on Jan. 29 to reconnect with their alma mater and their Mayville State friends and family. Further information about the Mayville State University Celebration of Female Athletes is available at