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All Sports - Fri, Jun. 9, 2017

With another year of Viking athletics behind us, it's time to take a look back at some of the top moments from the 2016-17 sports season.

Track & Field: Geisler defends national title
Seri Geisler defended her national title in a big way this season, delivering a school-record throw in the women's javelin finals on May 25 at the NAIA National Championships. Her throw of 52.68 meters not only won the NAIA title, it was a Top 12 throw in the nation among all collegiate and professional javelin competitors. It was just the ninth national title in VCSU history, including two by Geisler. (Five have come from track & field athletes, and four have come from wrestling athletes.) It was also a year of records for the track programs as VCSU athletes set new school records in seven events, and athletes won six conference titles.

Women's Basketball: 24 wins and a national tournament
The 2016-17 women's basketball team tied a school record with 24 wins and advanced to the NAIA National Tournament for just the fourth time in program history. The Vikings closed the regular season with an overtime upset of No. 11 University of Jamestown, and then defeated No. 21 Dickinson State in the NSAA Tournament. Those two wins were enough to secure an at-large bid to the NAIA National Tournament. All four of VCSU's national tournament appearances have come in the last seven seasons with head coach Jill DeVries.

Football: Vikings close season with upset win
The 2016 football team ended the season with a memorable game after traveling to Florida and upsetting No. 14-ranked Southeastern University to finish the year. The Vikings trailed 13-0 in the second half but rallied to score the final 17 points in a 17-13 victory. The setting – under the lights, on the road, big crowd, nationally-ranked team – made a memory the team and its 17 seniors won't soon forget.

Baseball: Vikings get hot
The 2017 Viking baseball team delivered a memorable stretch of games this season. After starting the season 8-18, the Vikings got hot in the month of April. VCSU won 16 of its next 18 games, including nine in a row at one point. The Vikings finished 18-6 in conference play, which was good for third place in the 10-team North Star Athletic Association. The Vikings finished the season 27-26 overall.

Academic Success: 30 named NAIA Scholar-Athletes
VCSU athletes found success in the classroom in 2016-17 as a record 30 student-athletes were named Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes. In order to receive that honor, the athlete must be a junior or senior and must maintain a 3.5 cumulative GPA in their college careers. A total of 85 athletes had a 3.5 or better during the fall semester, including 33 perfect 4.0 student-athletes. In the spring semester, 28 Vikings had a perfect 4.0 while 91 student-athletes had a 3.5 or better.

Golf: Four Vikings win tournaments
Four different Viking golfers won individual titles at tournaments this season. Kyle Wiebe, Nicole Heinitz and Cameron Rall all won events during the fall, and then Jared Lentz picked a victory during the spring season. The Viking men also shot a modern-day school record round of 291 during a fall meet.

Men's Basketball: Ferguson moves up scoring list
A coaching change and roster turnover led to limited depth and the need for VCSU to rely heavily on its top three scorers, including junior Jayden Ferguson who averaged 21 points per game – the highest total at VCSU since at least 2003-04. Ferguson (21.0 ppg), Rashad Satahoo (18.3 ppg) and Austin Dunbar (14.1 ppg) all dominated at times during the season. To put it in perspective, over the last 14 seasons only three VCSU players have averaged more than 18 points per game, and two of those came this season. Ferguson moved up to fourth all-time on the career scoring list, finishing the season with 1,635 career points.

Cross Country: Gonzalez breaks 26 minutes
VCSU junior Dennis Gonzalez broke the 26-minute mark for the first time at VCSU since the cross country program was reinstated in 2010. Gonzalez's time of 25:58.51 came on the 8k course at the Mount Marty Invite. It was 33 seconds off the Top 10 list at VCSU, all of which came during the Vikings' dominant cross country run in the 1980's.

Softball: Senior Day engagement
The 2016-17 softball Senior Day was made a little more special by what happened on the field after the final home game of the season. Senior Cassie Pautz was proposed to by Ethen Preston (former VCSU football player) in front of all her teammates following Senior Day. She said "yes", leading to a memorable moment for all.

Volleyball: Vikings complete stunning comeback
The reaction said it all. After completing a stunning comeback in the NSAA Tournament against Dickinson State, VCSU coach and player reactions ranged from tears to disbelief to unbridled excitement. With the season on the line, VCSU fell behind 7-1, 10-3 and finally 14-9 in the decisive fifth set. From there, the Vikings scored the final seven points of the match to stun the Blue Hawks and advance in the tournament with a 16-14 victory.