Dudley: Another strong spring for MSU teams | local sports

The weather really never got warmer for Minnesota State’s spring sports teams.

Competition dates and times have had to be adjusted in almost every way imaginable, which is always a significant physical and mental obstacle for athletes.

When the Mavericks competed, they generally shone, as the wins and accolades just kept coming.

The men’s and women’s track teams won the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference outdoor titles last week, after both teams won the indoor conference titles in February.

For the men’s program, it was the 11th consecutive indoor conference title and 10th consecutive outdoor title. This kind of consistent dominance over the two seasons is astounding.

It’s hard to have athletes hitting two peaks in the span of three months, but MSU coach Mike Turgeon asked both teams to do just that.

It was a particularly incredible year for the women’s track and field team, which won its first national indoor championship in March.

Makayla Jackson won the individual national championships in the 60 meters and long jump, while Denisha Cartwright won the national title in the 60 hurdles.

These two will each have the opportunity to earn more honors at the outdoor national meet this weekend. The two will compete in three individual events, with Jackson ranked first in the long jump (21ft 7 1/2) and Cartwright ranked first in the 100 hurdles (13.28).

The women’s team will send 10 people to the national away match, while the men’s team will send seven.

The Minnesota State softball team, which has never played a home game, finished 48-14, including 26-4 in regular season NSIC games.

MSU returned to the NCAA Tournament for a second straight season and looked set to win its region after opening the tournament with victories over Washburn and Rogers State.

However, the Mavericks gave up their third game, a heartbreaking 15 inning loss to Rogers State, before falling back to the Hillcats in a must-win situation.

Pitcher Mackenzie Ward established herself as one of the best players in program history, earning the NSIC Pitcher of the Year award and first-team All-American honors.

There was similar success on the baseball field, with MSU going 39-9 and 28-5 in the NSIC.

The Mavericks ran down the board to win the NSIC Tournament and qualify for the NCAA Tournament. MSU defeated NSIC regular season champion Augustana on two straight days to win the tournament.

Nick Altermatt and Cam Kline have delivered offensively and on the mound all season for the Mavericks, with both earning first-team All-NSIC honors.

The spring season tends to get a bit overlooked because it’s shorter and starts when the winter seasons are in their playoffs and playoffs.

These teams and athletes fought in brutal conditions to have great seasons this spring.

There were already national championships in March and there could be more this weekend.

Follow Kevin Dudley on Twitter @Dudley7Kevin