Tag: Sports

University of Mary’s Coach Roger Thomas to Retire

BISMARCK – The University of Mary announced the retirement of its athletic director, Roger Thomas, effective June 30. Thomas, who has been the university’s athletic director since 2008, has had a tremendous career for the Marauders, leading the school’s athletic departments in fostering scores of top-caliber athletes to All-American citations, and making the transition to the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) of the NCAA Division II from the NAIA. During the transition from Mary’s first A.D., Al Bortke, Thomas had the duty of bringing the school into compliance with its new rank.

“It’s with great pride, gratitude and humility that I have had the opportunity to serve the University of Mary and the Sisters of Annunciation Monastery during its new era of NCAA athletics—a time of great growth for our campus and our student athletes,” said Thomas. “My hope was always for our student athletes to graduate from the University of Mary as champions in their own hearts—knowing they gave it their all in the classroom, competitively in their sport and then confidently go into their communities as true servant leaders. It’s bittersweet that I come to the end of my career in athletics. Having worked with so many wonderful athletes over the years, it’s rewarding to know we helped shape their character and better serve society—and we did it the right way.”

Coach Mike Thorson said of Thomas, “Roger Thomas’s leadership has created a tremendous opportunity for coaches and athletes to excel. Roger believes in the vital role of athletics in forming character and molding young men and women into outstanding servant leaders. His contributions to the university have been invaluable. We wish him the very best in his retirement.”

Before coming to Mary, Thomas had a distinguished career at the University of North Dakota as UND’s head football coach from 1986-98 and the athletic director from 1999-2005. As the winningest football coach in UND history he compiled a record of 90-43-1 for a win percentage of .674. He guided North Dakota to five NCAA Division II postseason appearances while his team won three straight North Central Conference championships from 1993-95. Thomas was a four-time region coach of the year and a three-time NCC Coach of the Year.

As UND’s athletic director, Thomas oversaw the opening of the Ralph Engelstad Arena, Betty Engelstad Sioux Center and Alerus Center. Also under his watch North Dakota won NCAA national titles in football and men’s hockey – the latter of which earned Thomas and the UND skaters a trip to the White House and a congratulatory meeting with the president of the United States. In 2008 Thomas relocated his storied career to the University of Mary, helping to make the transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II.

Roger Thomas has been an exemplary leader at the University of Mary, fully committed to both athletic excellence and academic achievement, and to the vital importance of athletics in building character and fostering the Benedictine values the University of Mary was founded upon.

“The University of Mary is saddened to lose an athletic director so well respected as Roger is throughout the region, but we trust that God will continue to bless us with people like him who will continue his legacy of excellence,” said Greg Vetter, executive vice president of the university. “We are grateful for his service and know that his legacy, along with our new fieldhouse and the fulfillment of Vision 2030, will signal a bright future for athletics at the University of Mary.”

A search for Thomas’ successor will begin immediately.

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Storm Chasers! Reps Down Cyclones 6-5 for West Region Championship

beulah cyclones

MINOT – To say the Bismarck Reps have the Beulah Cyclones number would be like calling the Grand Canyon a hole in the ground. The Reps defeated the Cyclones twice in extra innings at the 2016 Class A West Region American Legion Baseball Tournament, including 6 to 5 in eight innings in the title game. The Reps are the only team in North Dakota to have downed the Cyclones this summer, having done so four times.

The Beulah Cyclones entered the last weekend of the regular season on a 15 game winning streak, and a matchup with the Bismarck Reps on their home field. That winning streak was snapped. The Cyclones entered the West Region as the number one seed. After early game struggles, they downed Mandan 7 to 4. The Cyclones seemed to put it together in their next round with a 12 to 1 five inning win over Velva Post 39. The Reps stayed calm and played fundamentally sound to pick up wins by scores of 2 to 0 over Dickinson, and 7 to 2 over Williston. That set up a Friday night matchup between tourney unbeatens. The Reps and Cyclones played a classic game into extra innings, with the Reps winning 5 to 4 in 8 innings. Both teams won on Saturday to set up a Sunday rematch.

The Cyclones went up four nothing early only to see the Reps claw back to take a 5 to 4 lead. Beulah rallied to tie the game in the 6th on an RBI single by Matt Schnabel. Each team was held scoreless in the 7th inning to send the game to extra innings again. Beulah went scoreless in their half of the 8th, and despite an amazing defensive play to retire Ben Weber at the plate in the 8th, the Reps won on a bases loaded walk. However, the silver lining for the Cyclones is that they are headed to the Class A State Tournament along with Bismarck, Velva, and Dickinson. The double elimination state tourney starts Wednesday in Dickinson. Bismarck will be the #1 seed from the west, while Beulah will be the #2. The state champion will be crowned Sunday, and it could be another matchup for these two teams. Should be great!

Twelve Thousand Reasons to Smile! Binstock, Ehli Capture 21st DWC

BEULAH – It wasn’t quite a wire to wire victory, but it was close. After finishing day one of the 21st Annual Dakota Walleye Classic in 2nd place with a total of 16.89 pounds, the tandem of Jason Binstock and Greg Ehli wrangled in 13.83 pounds to walk away champions with a total of 30.72 pounds, taking home the top prize of twelve thousand dollars. Finishing in second place was the husband-wife tandem of Michael and Michelle Starck, just over a pound behind at 29.64 pounds.

Rounding out the top three was the team of Tim Sandstrom and Shane Jordan with 29.35 pounds. Binstock and Ehli were quick to credit new technology for the win, crediting their depth finder to locate their big catches. Ehli added, “We didn’t even put a line in the water the first hour of the day, we were cruising around and looking for the spot”

The Dakota Walleye Classic has turned out to be one of the premiere fishing tournaments in the region, and in North Dakota in particular. This year’s was a good as ever, as the tournament field was filled over a month before the event. There are so many repeat contestants and it’s a testament to the great organizers and outstanding volunteer staff.

However, this year’s tournament wasn’t without drama, as after a smooth day one, mother nature threatened to disrupt day two with early morning lightning off to the north of Lake Sakakawea. However, it was the fisherman that got that last laugh, getting out one hour and twenty minutes behind schedule and still catching nearly 270 pounds of fish more on day two than on day one. The tournament officials did a great job dealing with the weather conditions and keeping the tournament safe, fair, and competitive. The total amount of fish caught at the tournament was 1404 for a grand total of 3,212.01 pounds.

Just over thirty of those pounds were caught by the champions, Binstock and Ehli, who were very gracious of the tournament staff and their fellow anglers in victory. They walked away with 12 thousand reasons to smile, and 12 thousand reasons to come back next year and try to repeat.

(Photo: Tournament Champions, Jason Binstock, and Greg Ehli, 10 fish total of 30.72 lbs)