MSU President's Newspaper Column

March 23, 2024

Outstanding performers represent Mayville State on the national stage and on the Old Main stage

“Excitement” is the word as we celebrate with the Mayville State women’s basketball team, coaches, and staff as they continue their journey in the NAIA Women’s Basketball National Tournament! As I write this, the team is preparing to leave for the Round of 16 at the final tournament site in Sioux City, Iowa. To say that there are many excited people, not only on campus, but far beyond, is most certainly an understatement. We look forward with great anticipation to see how everything plays out.

How did we get to this point? The #12 Mayville State Comets won the North Star conference championship on March 3 with a win over #9 Dakota State at the Lewy Lee Fieldhouse. The Comets captured their second consecutive NSAA tournament championship and advanced to the NAIA National Tournament for the second season in a row and for the third time in five years.

In their bracket, Mayville State drew the #4 Seed to face #13 Seed Freed-Hardeman in the first round of the tournament in Salina, Kansas on Friday, March 15. The Comets defeated Freed-Hardeman, 87-58, to advance to Round 2. In Round 2, the Comets defeated University of Louisiana Shreveport, 86-65, to advance to the National Championship Round of 16. They’ll play Dordt (Iowa) at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City at 6 p.m. Friday, March 22.

Making it to this level in a national tournament is a first for Mayville State Women’s Basketball. Mayville State has now surpassed the single season win record, and on Friday, March 15, Mayville State’s Jordan Zrust finished with a career-high 43 points, a national tournament record. Zrust also pulled down 14 rebounds in the game.

This team emphasizes the word “team.” When one player is having an off day, another steps up. A good example of this was in the first and second round games in Salina. On Friday, Jordan Zrust was unstoppable, but the first half shots were not falling in the same way on Saturday, even though she finished with 24 points (22 in the second half) and 10 rebounds, her 12th double-double of the season. In Saturday’s game, Alex Page and others stepped up and kept the Comets rolling. In addition to other outstanding stats from many members of the team, Alex drained five three-point baskets in the game, and Mackenzie Hughes made 13 of 16 free throws. It was a well-earned win for all the Comets.

In addition to those players who spend a lot of time on the court throughout each game, Mayville State has a bench filled with outstanding players and individuals. These women are super-supportive of their teammates, always wearing smiles on their faces as they help to make their teammates better. I could not be prouder of these exemplary individuals who are such an important part of the team’s success.

Speaking of those who make a difference for the team, there is a sea of blue from near and far supporting the Comets and their coaches. From the campus where send-off celebrations and game watch parties continue, to locations around the country from which the well-wishes are pouring in, to the tournament sites where a huge number of Comets fans are cheering for the team in person, Comets fans are playing a big role in the team’s success.

In the midst of all the excitement in Athletics, the Mayville State Theatre Department has given performances of “Hansel and Gretel” in the Old Main Theatre this week. Following a long-standing spring tradition, matinees for area school children, along with general admission shows in the evenings, were held on March 21 and 22. These shows are the last to be held in the historic Old Main Theatre before the renovation work on Old Main begins this summer. I commend Director Bob Sylskar and his cast and crew for their work in providing these wonderful opportunities for our campus and community. We appreciate you, and we are extremely proud of all that you do!

Again, I must say it is the people that make Mayville State the special place it is. Whether it is our athletes, coaches, fans, performers, directors, makeup artists, set builders, faculty, staff, students, alumni, or friends, each contributes to the total package that is Mayville State. We are blessed to be connected through the wonderful place that is Mayville State University.