Mustang Hoofprints: Feb. 7

Hello Mustang fans!

This weekend, the SMSU Department of Athletics, Brad and Heather Bigler, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, NCAA and TEAM Coalition will encourage students and fans to not drink and drive in honor of Drake Bigler. The program engaged the NSIC Student Athlete Advisory Committees in creating short (30-60 second) videos to underscore the theme “It’s a Slam Dunk Don’t Drive Drunk”. Students from each school submitted as many video entries as they desire in a contest to determine a school winner and a conference winner. Videos were submitted through a Facebook page and were judged on overall impact, creativity, memorable content and delivery and clear message.

SMSU’s winning video along with the University of Mary’s, which was named the most outstanding of all the entries, will be seen during halftime of conference basketball games this weekend. Mary’s video will also be recognized during halftime at the NSIC basketball tournament championship games.

To help further raise awareness this weekend, each NSIC SAAC group will have a booth at their arena to have people in attendance sign a pledge card stating that they will not drive drunk. Each person that signs the pledge card will receive a blue bracelet with an inscription of the theme “It’s a Slam Dunk – Don’t Drive Drunk”, the NSIC and NCAA logos along with Drake’s name on it.

TEAM Coalition is an alliance of professional and collegiate sports, entertainment facilities, concessionaires, stadium service providers, the beer industry, distillers, broadcasters, governmental traffic safety experts, and others working together to promote responsible drinking and positive fan behavior at sports and entertainment facilities. Please join the Mustang family in supporting this effort to encourage our students and fans to not drink and drive.

Also this Saturday, the SMSU Athletics Department, along with Affiliated Community Medical Center, will be hosting the annual “Pink Zone” at the R/A Facility. The event raises awareness and focuses on women’s health.

Each February during the “Pink Zone” event, the R/A Facility is decorated in pink to show support for breast cancer awareness. The day will be filled with a number of activities, including a prize giveaway and auction items with all proceeds going to support the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Several SMSU student-athletes and students will also be donating hair to Locks of Love, and Aramark will also be giving away delicious strawberry ice cream. Come out on Saturday dressed in pink to show your support of breast cancer awareness while cheering on our Mustang basketball teams to victory.

We are two weeks away from the 10th annual Gold Rush Raffle held on Friday, Feb. 22 at the SMSU Conference Center. We have some great live and silent auction items planned for this year’s event. The Gold Rush Raffle committee has set a goal of raising $50,000 this year, with all the proceeds going to SMSU Athletic Scholarships. Please mark your calendars now for this great mid-winter social event. You can also go out to and see some of the new and exciting silent and live auction items we will have at this year’s event.

For more information on the Gold Rush Raffle and Mustang Athletics, please go to

This Week in Mustang Athletics:

Congratulations to our Mustang cross country, football and women’s soccer coaches on the announcement of their 2013 recruiting classes yesterday! Our coaches and student-athletes put in countless hours recruiting our signees to SMSU and the Marshall community.

The SMSU wrestling team (11-5 overall, 1-4 NSIC) will look to rebound after three consecutive losses to ranked opponents with road duals versus the University of Mary today at 7 p.m., and Minot State on Friday at 7 p.m.

Congratulations to Mustang wrestler Jacob Begin, who was named the NSIC Wrestler of the Week. Begin, a native of Anoka, recorded his 11th and 12th consecutive victories this weekend with wins over No. 4 Wade Gobin (Upper Iowa) and No. 3 Cody Quinn (Minnesota State-Mankato). Begin edged Gobin with an 8-7 decision on Friday before downing Quinn convincingly 8-3 on Saturday. Begin is now 12-1 on the season with five pins, three major decision and one technical fall. This is the second time Begin has been named NSIC Wrestler of the Week. Begin was named to the honor last season. He becomes the first Mustang to be named NSIC Wrestler of the Week this season.

The SMSU men’s basketball team (12-11, 9-7) returns to the R/A Facility to open a four-game homestand this weekend with a pair of NSIC games against two Northern Division teams. SMSU faces the University of Mary (3-17, 3-13) on Friday, with the tip off scheduled for 8 p.m. On Saturday, the Mustang will welcome Minot State University (8-12, 7-9) to the R/A Facility for the first time as members of the NSIC with game time at 7 p.m. SMSU begins the weekend fifth in the NSIC South Division standings and tied for seventh overall. Mary currently sits in seventh in the NSIC North and 15th overall, while MSU-Mankato is fifth in the NSIC North and tied for 10th overall.

The SMSU women’s basketball team (4-18, 2-14) is coming off a 71-55 win over the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology on Tuesday in the R/A Facility. The Mustangs will kick off the weekend’s NSIC games against the University of Mary (13-9, 8-8), with tip off scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday, the Beavers of Minot State (9-11, 5-1) come to Marshall for the first time and will take part in Pink Zone with a 5 p.m. start time.

The SMSU wheelchair basketball team is 11-12 overall and will host the Rollin’ Timberwolves on Saturday, with the game times at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. On Sunday, there will be single game at 10 a.m., with all contests scheduled in the PE Gym.

The SMSU tennis team opens its season this Saturday with a non-conference match against Macalester College at 2:30 p.m. in St. Paul. Head coach Charlie Kost has nine student-athletes on the roster and the Mustangs will play fourteen matches this spring.

I would like to wish all of our Mustang teams the best of luck this weekend!

Go Mustangs!

— Congratulations to Karen VanKeulen, who provided the correct answer to the last week’s Mustang Hoofprint’s Trivia Question: Who was the originator of the Mustang Hoofprints column written weekly in the Marshall Independent? Then Director of Athletics Butch Raymond started the Mustang Hoofprints article during his tenure at SMSU.