MARQUETTE, Mich. - The Northern Michigan University Intercollegiate Athletics and Rec Sports Department will recognize Seniors’ Weekend on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22-23, for the winter sports that are coming to a close.
The two seniors of the Wildcat women’s and three seniors of the men’s basketball teams will be saluted at the start of their respective games versus Lake Superior State at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. A trio of seniors on the hockey team will be introduced at the start of Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. game versus Nebraska-Omaha. All three events take place at the Berry Events Center.
The men’s and women’s Nordic ski teams, the swimming and diving squad and the track and field contingent have completed the home portions of their 2007-08 seasons, but they combine to have 11 seniors who are also winding down their Wildcat athletic careers.
Every collegiate athlete has unforgettable memories. Some of this year’s NMU seniors took time to share their NMU athletic memories.
Hockey forward Tim Hartung may endure a rush of nostalgia at Saturday night’s game as he recalls his most memorable experiences, “Scoring my first goal my freshman year against UNO, going to CCHA Super Six my freshman and sophomore year, and all the great friendships I have made over my four years.”
Guard Jake Suardini on the men’s basketball team recalls, “My most memorable moments at NMU would have to be when I hit a three with time running down to beat Saginaw Valley and the four-overtime win against Michigan Tech.”
Track and field sprinter Stephanie Boyer says “getting third in the 400-meter dash outdoors in the GLIAC (Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic) Championships my junior year and second in the long jump in the GLIACs my freshmen year” rank among her top memories.
Growing, adapting and learning are all equal parts of participating on an athletic team, and over the years what seems to be the most difficult in the beginning becomes second nature.
“I have learned the important skill of balancing time,” says guard Ryan Reichel. “(While at NMU), I played basketball, worked part time and was a full-time student with good academic standing. These skills are very valuable when it comes to the real world and having to balance work and family.”
Suardini adds “I have learned that hard work will pay off in the end. Sometimes it may take longer than you want it to, but it will ultimately pay off at some point.”
As graduation nears, the NMU Wildcat seniors face the completion of their academic work and also the fact that they may not play their sport again – or at least not with the same teammates and coaches.
“Coach Barnes (Tom the Bomb) has had a great impact on my life and my track career, and I am very happy and grateful he has been my coach for the last five years,” says Boyer.
Hartung adds, “I would like to thank the coaches for pushing me every day to be a better hockey player. For always being there whenever I had problems in the classroom and doing whatever they could to get the proper help for me to be successful in all areas of my life.”
“I actually hope to stick around and hopefully find a job within the recreation department someday. I love the school, the staff and the facilities so it makes it really hard to want to leave,” says Reichel.
NMU Athletics invites all Wildcat fans to come out and honor the Wildcat seniors at this week’s home sporting events.
Prepeared by Sarah Slocum and Kyle Teasley
Director of Communications