The Women of Spring
Talk of mid-major college athletics is most common from Late February into mid March and maybe beyond that depending on some outcomes. The term is rarely applied to Football, what with the dividing line of the sub-division and the Spring sports aren't popular enough nationally for the terms use to continue with regularity. In Baseball and Softball there certainly still are "mid-major" universities.
I'm beginning to think that NDSU Softball is not among them though.
Don't misunderstand, the Summit League is at best a tier 2 conference and for most thing would more correctly be categorized as a T3. But as with Gonzaga under Mark Few & Butler under Brad Stevens, NDSU Softball has managed to well exceed the conference it is in under the dutiful eye of Darren Mueller.
As the head man for the program this millenium, he has guided the ladies to the national tournament every year but one since eligibility kicked in, in 2009. Going back even further, since 2002 the Softballers have only been under .500 twice, by a total of 4 games. It's remarkable consistency that I think puts them among the best programs in the country.
Football may always win and the Basketball team's may get headlines while the Track & Field crew has a world class tosser but the Softball just continue's to go about it's business. Lose a pro level pitcher from last season? Proceed with a 38 win season that included only 2 defeats over the last 30 outings. Across all three campuses, only Moorhead State's women's Basketball & NDSU's Track & Field can boast as much success over the past decade plus, for that half of the gender divide.
The cherry on top of all their winning was a new play ground that they'll be able to christen in the most meaningful way starting tomorrow against South Dakota St. Tharaldson Park will make a great home for the Summit League tournament for years to come, because I see no signs that the Bison will get knocked from their perch over the conference! It's not quite St. Thomas like so that the other teams are plotting to push us out but it's a strangle hold over yet another sport but without nearly as much fanfare as some of the other team's get and have gotten.
So if the weather will make it reasonable to do so, get out to the ballpark and support the women of Spring this weekend!