5 Things We Learned This Weekend – Jan. 20

5. It’s Better To Be Good Late
The Cobbers women’s basketball team has started to find their team M.O. (modus operandi for the new gerneration – Wiki it). In the past five games they have turned into the “Second Half Stoppers”. Jessica Rahman’s team has used their depth and pressure defense to wear down teams in the second half and steal wins in the final 10 minutes of play. Concordia has won five straight games and in three of those contests they were trailing at halftime. On Saturday they trailed nationally ranked St. Thomas 33-29 but then outscored the Tomcats 42-25 in the second period of play.

The bottom line for CImageC is that fans shouldn’t be concerned if the other team is doing well in the first half and is all pumped up about having a lead over the 11-3 Cobbers. Stick around until the final 10 minutes of the game now known as “Cobber Time”. Remember, there is a reason the games don’t end at halftime. Basketball games are a full 40 minutes and the final score is recorded at the end of both periods.

4. If One Good Goalie Is Great, Having Two Good Goalies Is Like Winning the Lottery
The Cobber women’s hockey team has the luxury of having two tremendous goalies. The position of hockey goalie is one of the single most important in all of college sports. A good goalie can literally give you 7-8 extra wins per season and help you make deep runs in the playoffs. It is rare for a team to have one of those game-stealing netminders but to have a pair in the same uniform happens about as often as Miley Cyrus has her tongue inside her mouth. Maddy Denny and Andrea Klug give Concordia two of the best goalies in the league. The best part of the Dynamic Duo is that they are only in their sophomore and freshman seasons.

3. You Can’t Coach Speed
Speed is the one characteristic that coaches can’t teach. Either you were born with the ability to run by opponents at will or you were saddled with CobberSID speed and have to rely on your wits. Cobber junior men’s track athlete Ben Vickstrom fits into the first category. On Saturday he set, not one but, two school records at the season-opening Bison Classic. He shattered the program record in the 60 meters and 200 meters and placed second in both events against NCAA Division competition. And that was the first meet of the year – we can’t wait to see what he will do for the rest of the season.

2. If You Want to Be in the Playoffs, Schedule Tough Non-Conference Opponents
There are two types of coaches in college – those that schedule easy non-conference games so they can boost their win total and those that schedule the toughest opponents they can find to help their team during conference play. The first group of coaches rarely make deep runs in the playoffs. The second group is usually at the top of the standings come playoff time.

We are learning all about this theory from this year’s Cobber wrestling and women’s hockey teams. Both programs had brutal opening schedules. They went up against the top teams in the country and both programs are starting to reap the rewards of that schedule. The wrestling team steps on the mat with the confidence that they will beat any opponent and is now 9-2 in dual meets. The women’s hockey team knows that they have been close with the top teams in the country and the remaining schedule will be a lot easier. They have two straight and three of their last five games. Look for both programs to be headed towards the postseason.

1. Coaches DO Matter
It’s one of the most debated topics in college athletics, especially at the Division I level – do coaches really warrant all that money and attention?

We won’t argue the points at the Division I level but we will tell you that coaches make a HUGE difference at the Division III level.  Look no farther than the Cobber wrestling program. In five seasons since coming to Concordia, head coach Matt Nagel has helped produce a two-time national champion, multiple All-Americans and a team that is ranked in the top 20 of the nation every single season. His Dad, Clay was the driving force behind the rise to prominence for the Cobber wrestlers and Matt has carried on the tradition this year.

Concordia has now beaten perennial national power Augsburg in back-to-back duals and is justifiably ranked second in the nation. The coaching staff of Matt, Clay and Nick Magee are the reason the team is the talk of the town. They Do matter!

And that is what we learned this weekend.

A big week of home sports for Cobber teams this week. The No.2-ranked wrestling team kicks off the week by hosting Jamestown at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. The women’s and men’s basketball team host Macalester in a doubleheader on Wednesday at 5:45 p.m. and 7:45 p.m., the men’s hockey team hosts Augsburg in a weekend series on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m., the men’s and women’s track and field teams host their alumni meet on Saturday at 12 p.m. and then the women’s and men’s basketball teams finish off the annual “Buck Day” extravaganza by hosting Gustavus at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Feel free to drop off that 12-pack of Mountain Dew in the CobberSID office!


Another old CobberSID blog feature will be rekindled in 2014 – the recap of “5 Things We Learned This Weekend”.

No need for any further introduction, let’s get right to this week’s 5 points of knowledge.

5 Things We Learned on Jan. 10-11
5. Offense Does Win Games
The Cobber women’s hockey team would have a flipped record if they could score goals.5thingswelearned2 Concordia hasn’t scored more than two goals in any game this season but possesses one of the best defensive units in the league. CC has only allowed more than three goals in three games this season and yet is just 2-8-3. They have a terrific scheme in the defensive zone and are structured in not allowing quality chances. Unfortunately they have played 12 games against teams ranked in the top 15 of the nation but a few more “nuggets” could push this team into the MIAC playoffs.

4. And Yes Defense Wins Championships
The Cobber men’s hockey team proved that their formula for winning games at the start of the season is pretty good. Concordia decided to take a two-game holiday from their “defense first” motto and struggled to get a tie out of two games against teams with under .500 records. CC was sloppy around its own net, chased the puck in the defensive zone, got out of their coverage scheme and gave up nine goals in two games. A little comparison stat work – the Cobbers had only given up six goals in their previous three games and guess what happened in those three games? Yep, they were 3-0.

3. Sometimes It’s Nice To Be Big
The Cobber women’s basketball team used its height advantage against St. Catherine to cruise to a 32-point win. The Concordia “bigs” of Alexandra Lippert, Olivia Johnson, Kelsey Walloch, Erin Januschka and Megan Olson helped CC outscore the Wildcats 42-14 in points in the paint. The Big 5 also combined to score 36 points and grab 25 rebounds. The 36 points is two less than St. Catherine scored in the entire game and the 25 rebounds are the same number the entire Wildcat team had in the contest.

In the past three games, all CC wins, Concordia has outscored its opponents in the paint by a combined total of 114-48. The Cobbers have started to build a very nice 3-bedroom duplex in the paint in 2014. If they can turn that into a rambler and then a mansion, look for them to make another run at the MIAC title.

2. But Then Again Good Things Come In Small Packages
While being tall has some advantages, the Cobber wrestling Mighty Mites proved that “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” While #Codymode Kasprick stole the headlines at the NWCA Duals by choking out the first two matches it was the four wrestlers at the front end of the lineup that set the table for the team wins. Gabe Foltz, Jacoby Bergeron, Yonas Gebreab and Jake Long were a combined 7-1 on the day and made sure that the Cobbers never trailed in the wins over #11 UW-La Crosse or #3 Wabash (Ind.). Foltz went 2-0 at 125 while Bergeron was 2-0 at 133 and Long went undefeated at 149.

1. You Better Have A Go-To Guy
Championship teams always have an athlete they can count on during the critical moments at the end of a game/match. Look back at all the great Cobber teams and all of them had a person that would step up and take over down the stretch.

The top 2 Cobber men’s teams this winter have a pair of Captain Clutches. The men’s hockey team has the silky smooth moves and “make it look so easy play” of senior Caleb Suderman while the wrestling team has the sheer brute force and fierce competitiveness of Cody Kasprick.

If I were playing a hockey game for my house and could only pick one Cobber player from the past 10 years to play on my team it would be Suderman. On Friday against Marian he scored the game-tying goal in the final five minutes of regulation by fitting the puck into a space the size of a toddler’s shoe box just under the crossbar. He leads the nation in scoring by a defenseman and next year will be playing in the pros.

Kasprick is the one person on the Concordia campus I would pick if someone wanted to fight me and a partner for my car and bank account. He has the attitude that all great competitors have “if you step into competition with me, I will punish you.” Kasprick has patiently waited for two years for his chance at being All-American. He pushed two-time 285-lb All-American Tom Bouressa in the practice room and is now reaping the benefits. The Cobbers are 8-1 in dual meets this season. In four of the nine matches he has stepped on the mat with the outcome of the team result hanging in the balance and has won three times. He has won three straight “match-deciding” bouts. Don’t bet against him for the rest of the season. The Sandman has entered and won’t be denied.

And, besides the fact that it is better to be at 30-degrees than -30-degrees, that is what we learned this weekend!

Welcome to the CobberSID’s New Year’s resolution! Like all good adults (do kids ever make New Year’s resolutions?), I’ve decided to try and be a better person in 2014. In the SID world this means posting more stories, videos or both. Since it’s been awhile since I’ve written something that wasn’t a recap, postseason award release or preseason preview, I thought I would re-hone my mediocre skills as a writer.

My New Year’s resolution will either be music to the ears of Cobber fans everywhere, or more likely the sound of a giant fork scraping against the front teeth of the Concordia sports world.

I decided to start of the year by tackling something which would be highly debatable and might strike a nerve with some die-hard Cobber fans. What better way to stir the pot than to name a Mount Rushmore of Cobber Athletics.

I admit that trying to narrow down all the great athletes, coaches and administrators who have graced the Concordia campus to a mere four is a little daunting but I think my choices will have merit. Remember, this is not an official list or release from the Concordia Athletic Department – it is just one person’s opinion. And hopefully it will get you to think about other great Cobbers who could be on the list.

My Mount Rushmore of Cobber Athletics would be situated in the face of Olin Hill (the highest natural elevation point in Moorhead) and feature Jake Christiansen, Irv Christenson, Jessica Rahman and Chris Coste.


Images of Jake Christiansen and Irv Christenson courtesy of the Concordia College Archives

The first two on the list are the “no brainers”. Jake Christiansen was the coach who started the tradition of Cobber football. He coached for 28 years and when he retired in 1969 he was the winningest active coach in all of college football – all divisions. He conceived and planned Memorial Auditorium and the football stadium is named after him. In Division III sports if you have a stadium named after you, and you didn’t donate millions of dollars, you were pretty important to the school.

Some people might have only heard of Irv Christenson if they run around Concordia’s track and see his name under the north bleachers. While, Jake Christiansen transformed the Cobber football team, Irv Christenson was the administrator that set the tone for the entire athletic and health and physical education departments for 30 years. He was the Athletic Director and Chair of the Health and Physical Education Department at Concordia from 1946-76. When he joined Concordia in 1946, the college only offered a minor in physical education. He persevered and wound up developing one of the largest majors on campus.

There is a reason Jake and Irv were the first two inductees into the Concordia Athletic Hall of Fame. They will be the cornerstones in the CobberSID Mount Rushmore of Cobber Athletics.

The final two choices would be the most debatable but in my book they represent the past and future of Cobber athletics.
Jessica Rahman is the face of Cobber women’s athletics. Joan Hult started women’s athletics at Concordia and Collette Folstad started the basketball program – which has been the most successful of all the Concordia women’s athletic teams – but it was Jessica Rahman who helped engineer the only NCAA team champion in school history and it is Jessica Rahman who is the current mentor for the program.

Rahman’s numbers as an athlete are ridiculous. The only thing fans need to know is that she still holds the Cobber career scoring record – by over 300 points. No one has come within 450 points of her mark in the past 25 years. And she did all that without the aid of the 3-point field goal. And to make it even more impressive, she rarely played a full game because the Cobbers were so dominant they were usually boatracing their opponents by huge margins and she would sit on the bench for the second half.

Rahman was a four-time All-American, was named the Division III Female Athlete of the Year and was an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winner. Those awards are tops for any women’s athlete in the history of Concordia athletics

She traded in her playing high tops for coaching dress shoes and has become the all-time winningest coach in the history of basketball at Concordia. She also has the highest winning percentage of any active coach currently in Cobberville.

Rahman doesn’t show any signs of slowing down either. She will have a daughter at Concordia next year which means Rahman will be around for another four years at least. Like her playing records, she will set coaching records that will never be broken.

The fourth member of the CobberSID Mount Rushmore was the greatest athlete I ever witnessed in person at Concordia in the past 20 years. An athlete like Chris Coste will never come again in my lifetime. He was a three-time MIAC MVP and a three-time All-American. No other athlete at Concordia can have those words typed after his name.

Oh, and one more thing that will never be typed after a former Cobbers’ name – World Series Champion. Many other former Concordia athletes have gone on to play in the “pros” and some have had successful careers but no other former athlete has ever won a major title.

Coste’s Concordia career batting average of .442 will never be touched and he still owns school records for career hits and runs scored and total bases in a single season. In 1994 he hit a ludicrous .491. C’mon, who hits .491 over a whole season?  For you youngsters who think Coste was just a hitting machine, guess again. He still holds the school record for career earned run average. Over his three years he pitched in 38 games and had a 2.11 ERA. In 1995 he had seven wins and seven saves and had a 1.29 ERA. Coste also hit .484 that year and had nine home runs and drove in 41 runs.

Not only was Coste “sick” as an individual player, he also helped his team win MIAC championships. In his three seasons in Cobberville he helped CC win 46 league games and earn two MIAC titles.

And did we mention that he played professionally for 16 seasons and owns a World Series ring?

Like Rahman, Coste has come back home and is in position to guide the Cobber baseball program into the next generation. He will take over for Bucky Burgau in 2015 and like Rahman, I have a feeling he will finish his coaching career with several school records.

So there you have it, Christiansen, Christensen, Rahman and Coste – the Mount Rushmore of Cobber Athletics.

Let the debating begin! Feel free to leave a comment about your Cobber Mount Rushmore.

In the coming weeks I will be doing specific Mount Rushmores for only athletes, coaches and administrators. I will also hand out the honorable mention Mount Rushmore awards for those athletes, coaches and administrators who were a close fifth, sixth and seventh.                    

That’s right Cobber SID blog fans – we are baaaaaack! After taking a year off, we return to keep all CC fans, friends, athletes, coaches, parents and alumni up-to-date with things that go on behind the scenes of the Cobber athletic department.

Cue the Proclaimers, “…and I would walk 6,450 miles to be with you”!

I had to change it just a bit to show how far you would have to go this weekend to watch all eight Cobber fall athletic teams. That’s right – all eight teams are on the road and will have to travel 6,450 miles to travel round trip get to compete in their games, matches and meets.
I dare any athletic department in the MIAC or Division III school in the Upper Midwest to match that staggering number for travel miles in a single three-day period.

Let’s get the particulars out of the way before I get into the meat of the blog post. The farthest road trip of the weekend belongs to the volleyball team who takes a 2,880-mile round trip to compete in three matches in the Tacoma, Wash. area. The football team takes its first road trip of the year and will travel 394 miles on the bus one way to play at Buena Vista in Storm Lake, Iowa. The rest of the CC athletic itinerary looks like this: the men’s soccer team plays at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisc. (1,206 miles roundtrip), the women’s soccer squad plays at UW-Eau Claire (650) while the women’s golf team competes at The Jewel GC in Northfield, Minn. (550) and the men’s golf team is in St. Cloud (340). The shortest trip belongs to the cross country teams who run at the Ponderosa GC in Glyndon which is a scant 18 miles for the round trip. All told, the eight Cobber fall sports teams will travel 6,450 miles to compete in games, matches and meets.

So now you see what the Cobber athletic teams have to deal with in EVERY season for roughly 50-70% of their games.

But the big secret that no other school or visiting team seems to realize is that being on the road is one of the most memorable times during any athletes collegiate career. I talk with many former players. Whether they be former men’s soccer players, football players, women’s basketball athletes, baseball players or women’s golfers, the memory that always finishes in the top 3 is “road trips”.

That’s because being on the road is a chance to be together. It’s only the team and the coaching staff traveling and making memories. You get a chance to find out more about your teammates and just be yourself. There are no classes to go to, no meetings or study groups to rush off to. It’s just you, your teammates and the chance to come together and compete in a hostile atmosphere. While playing in front of the home crowd and hearing the cheers from family, friends and alumni is awesome, the feeling of hearing a completely quiet arena after your team has won on the road is a completely different and equally satisfying feeling.

So while the rest of the teams that come to Moorhead complain about having to travel “so far” to play the Cobbers, the CC teams are the real winners as they make ever-lasting memories and get to strengthen their friendships that will last a lifetime.

I hope everyone enjoys their Saturday and Sunday at home as the Cobbers take the ultimate weekend road trip to win games and make memories!

Here is a very unofficial list of the Top 10 moments in Cobbers sports from the 2011-12 season. It was compiled by the Concordia Sports Information Department and will most likely exclude some player/coach or team success. The list is only a way for Cobber fans to relive the great year in Cobber athletics and is in no way a official comprehensive summary of all the great things that happened during the 2011-12 athletic season.

No. 1– The 2011-12 season was the 40th anniversary of the installment of title IX in college athletics and the Cobber women’s teams celebrated the landmark event in unbelievable fashion. The Concordia women’s sports squads fashioned out six All-Americans, three NCAA Tournament – who all made it to at least the Sweet 16, one Capital One Academic All-American and countless numbers of MIAC All-Conference and Academic All-Conference honorees.

The Cobber womCobber Women's Sports Teamsen’s teams were the driving force behind Concordia finishing 80th in the annual Division III Sports Director’s Cup. The top 100 finish, in a competition which awards points based on teams’ performances in NCAA national playoff and championship events, is the highest in school history.

Concordia women’s teams also finished fifth in the All-Sports competition in the MIAC with a final total of 79.5 points – the most by the Cobbers since 2002. Of the 11 women’s sports at Concordia, six finished in the top 4 in the MIAC standings.

The Cobber volleyball, women’s soccer and women’s hockey teams all took Concordia sports fans on thrilling rides during the year as they earned trips to the NCAA Tournament and all went deep into the playoffs. The crowds drawn by the volleyball team for the MIAC Championship Match and NCAA Regional matches were the biggest non-football crowds in over 20 years. The excitement level for all those matches inside memorial Auditorium was electric and the enthusiasm shown by the fans hasn’t been seen the “barn” for many years.

In addition to the team success during the fall and winter, there were also several outstanding individual performances throughout the year. The trend of the “Year of the Women” was capped off by track and field sensation Kaari Jensen who earned All-Region Athlete of the Year and All-American honors in the heptathlon.

The 2011-12 athletic season will be remembered for when the Cobber women “roared” into the headlines.

Here is a very unofficial list of the Top 10 moments in Cobbers sports from the 2011-12 season. It was compiled by the Concordia Sports Information Department and will most likely exclude some player/coach or team success. The list is only a way for Cobber fans to relive the great year in Cobber athletics and is in no way a official comprehensive summary of all the great things that happened during the 2011-12 athletic season.

No. 2– The No.2 top story on the Cobber top 10 stories list might spotlights the team that went the farthest in the NCAA Tournament last year. The Cobber women’s hockey went from Antarctica on the national hockey scene to the middle of downtown New York as they finished the year as one of the top 8 teams in the country.
Cobber Women's Hockey team
Concordia was picked to finish fourth in the preseason coaches’ poll but then went on to prove everyone wrong by winning 10 conference games, advancing to the championship of the MIAC Tournament, earning their first-ever national ranking and then getting the program’s first-ever spot in the national playoffs.

The reason we chose the women’s hockey team above all the other great Cobber teams last year because all their achievements were program firsts. It might be a knock against the women’s soccer and volleyball teams that they always get into the playoffs but there is never another national tournament “first”. That, combined with the fact that only eight teams make the national tournament, propelled the women’s hockey team to the No.2 spot on the list.

Concordia finished the year with a 15-5-5 overall record which marked the second straight year they won a program-record 15 overall games. The Cobbers also finished the year by being ranked ninth in the final USCHO.com national poll. Second-year head coach Brett Bruininks was named the MIAC Coach of the Year and five different CC players earned All-Conference honors. On top of that, senior Katelyn Dold went on to become the first All-American in program history.

Here is a very unofficial list of the Top 10 moments in Cobbers sports from the 2011-12 season. It was compiled by the Concordia Sports Information Department and will most likely exclude some player/coach or team success. The list is only a way for Cobber fans to relive the great year in Cobber athletics and is in no way a official comprehensive summary of all the great things that happened during the 2011-12 athletic season.

No. 3–  A new week means the top 10 Cobber stories from 2011-12 heads into the final 3. The third top story from last year took Concordia fans on a thrill ride from September until November. The CC volleyball team had a “storybook” season as they won both the MIAC regular season and postseason tournament and hosted the NCAA Regional Tournament.
Cobber Volleyball Team
The Cobbers won 11 of their first 12 matches and never looked back. Along the way to the postseason, Concordia beat Division III powerhouse Juniata, won a pair of non-conference tournaments and strung together an MIAC-record streak of 30 consecutive set victories. CC finished the regular season with a record of 10-1 in league play and a 22-3 overall record.

Concordia cruised through the MIAC postseason tournament by sweeping St. Ben’s and then edging St. Thomas. To add the perfect cherry on top of an already amazing sundae, the Cobbers were selected to host the NCAA Regional Tournament – the first time in program history CC had hosted a national tournament match.

The Cobbers also set individual records as well. Jenna Green, Amy Sykora and Katie Vohnoutka all earned All-American honors making it the first time in program history that the storied program had three All-American in one season. Green also became the third player in school history to be named the MIAC Most Valuable Player.

All in all, Concordia finished with a 27-4 record. That is the second most wins in a single season in school history. CC was also ranked in the top 25 of the nation the entire year and spent six weeks ranked in the top 10 of Division III.