|Volume 29, Issue 9
||January 22, 2003
Waldorf will miss rivalry too
Logos photo by Amanda Ouverson|
Members of the Waldorf and NIACC men's basketball teams shake hands following the final game between the two teams at NIACC on Decemeber 4,
This athletic season marks the end of the NIACC-Waldorf rivalry. Waldorf is in the process of becoming a four-year college and will make the switch to the Midwest Classic Conference next season. The Midwest Classic Conference consists of all private colleges.
Waldorf athletes, as well as coaches, are sad to see the NIACC-Waldorf rivalry end.
Crystal Anderson, a sophomore guard for the Warriors from Forest City, got her first taste of how big the NIACC-Waldorf rivalry was for both colleges during high school.
"When I was younger I never really got into it," Anderson said. "During my last two years of high school I attended my first NIACC-Waldorf game. Then I knew how important it was to everyone involved, both fans and players. Once I entered Waldorf College, and the NIACC-Waldorf game was coming up, you knew it was a huge deal to everyone in both colleges."
Isaac Langerud, also a sophomore from Forest City, said the rivalry is to some extent like the rivalries many of us have experienced in our high schools.
"It is somewhat like the high school rivalries you had but not quite as strong of a rivalry just because back in high school you grew up with those rivalries since day one," Langerud said.
Lindsey Pleuss, the All-American sophomore point guard for the Warriors, didn't know anything about the NIACC-Waldorf rivalry growing up in Boone.
"Not being from up here, it was a big surprise to me," Pleuss said. Since I really didn't know many of the girls from the North Iowa area, it didn't have as profound of an affect on me. Soon I found out how much fun it was playing them (NIACC)."
Many of the Waldorf athletes and coaches are disappointed that the rivalry will be ending after this year, but they are excited to be moving to the Midwest Classic Conference.
"It's always fun to play a rival that you know," Anderson said. "Both teams are up for the fun and excitement leading up to it (the game) and it really gets the fans and both schools into the sport of basketball."
Pleuss echoed Anderson's feelings, but is eager to create a new rivalry.
"The Waldorf-NIACC game is always an exciting one for both teams to play in and it is going to be way different not having our rival on the court with us next year," Pleuss said. "But it will also be fun developing a new rival in our new conference."
Waldorf men's basketball coach Chad Brown said he had mixed feelings about the rivalry ending.
"It's one of those things that are good and bad," Brown said. "It's been a great rivalry. I've been a part of it since 1991 and I don't know how long it's been going on, but Waldorf has had basketball since 1917. We're going to miss the rivalry next year, but making the change to the next level is very appealing for us."
Denny Jerome, Waldorf's athletic director and women's basketball coach, seconded that feeling.
"Losing the rivalry is the sadest part of making the change, Jerome said. "But it's a great opportunity for us. Time will tell, but I don't think we'll find another rival like NIACC."
For fans, as game time gets closer, the excitement leading up to the NIACC-Waldorf games are at an all time high.
For the athletes it's no different. "Game time preparation is always at its extreme the night of the game, because both teams just want to win so bad," Pleuss said. "I really think the fans build the intensity for the game. Both student sections travel to cheer on their team, whereas students from other schools don't travel to the away games. The fans really make the game exciting for players, coaches and the school in general."
Langerud said that one of his favorite NIACC-Waldorf memories included the fans as well.
"My other favorite memory was the game at NIACC in the 2000-2001 season where the crowds really got into it and started chants going back and forth," Langerud said.
Brown said he also believes that the crowd plays a major role in the NIACC-Waldorf rivalry.
"I remember my first year as assistant coach in the fall of 1991," Brown said. It was the first time being in a packed gym at this level. We hadn't had much of a crowd and then that game came on schedule. It was very memorable to see the place packed."
Brown said that the fans made one of his favorite NIACC-Waldorf games more memorable.
"NIACC had won the national championship the year before," Brown said. The next fall they came into our building. Everybody was excited, but especially our players and students. At the end of the game Kenny Maybury got a dunk and we won the game and our students stormed the floor. That was pretty neat. I've kept the tape of that game and we show it every year to our guys."
Both Waldorf and NIACC share strong opinions about the other college. These Warrior athletes are no exception.
"On the court, NIACC is a fun rival that sparks an enjoyment of playing the game of basketball," Anderson said. "Those are the games you live for."
Pleuss added that playing each other helps both colleges improve their programs.
"My perception of NIACC is that they have a quality program with a good group of girls," Pleuss said. "That is why they are a respected rival for us and a good team to build off of no matter what the result may be. We make both of our programs better by playing each other"
Langerud said that playing NIACC motivates him and his teammates to play their best games.
"They are always a tough team to play because they seem to work very hard and have good players," Langerud said. "You can't just show up without your best effort and expect to win."
Undre Ellis, Waldorf's sophomore point guard from St. Paul, Minnesota, shared one of his favorite NIACC-Waldorf memories.
"My favorite NIACC-Waldorf memory is when we beat them both times last year," Ellis said.
Adding fuel to the fire, the rivalry will culminate at the NIACC-Waldorf basketball game on January 29th at Hanson Field House in Forest City.
Rivalry impacts colleges' financial picture too
The NIACC and Waldorf rivalry impacts both schools in more ways than just a win or a loss.
The NIACC-Waldorf games draw numerous fans from the North Iowa area. Ryan McGuire, NIACC athletic director, said that NIACC sees an average boost of attendance of three to four times the normal amount attending football games and men's and women's basketball games against Waldorf.
"It's a nice money-maker for the college," McGuire said.
The other sports such as men's and women's soccer, volleyball, softball and baseball also see a slight increase in attendance.
Denny Jerome, Waldorf athletic director, said that Waldorf sees the same boost in attendence as NIACC does for the NIACC-Waldorf games.
"It's our largest gate for the football and basketball seasons," Jerome said.
NIACC will look to showcase other colleges in its conference to draw fans next season and beyond.
"There's not a whole lot we can do to create another rivalry like the Waldorf one," McGuire said. "We can't manufacture a rivalry."
Colleges such as Iowa Lakes, Ellsworth and Iowa Central will be looked upon to fill the void after Waldorf joins the Midwest Classic Conference.
Many factors have influenced the development of the NIACC-Waldorf rivalry.
McGuire said that proximity, recruiting and stability represent three of the biggest reasons for the rivalry beginning. He noted that proximity is the main reason the rivalry developed.
"The two schools are 35-40 minutes apart," McGuire said. "That plays a big part."
Another aspect involved is recruiting.
"We recruit the same kids from the North Iowa area," Jerome said. "A lot have friends on the other team, there's a closeness there."
Both NIACC and Waldorf are home to competitive and committed coaches who understand the rivalry.
Waldorf football coach David Bolstorff has been at the College for 38 years. NIACC football coach Dick Ramsey recently completed his 17th year as head coach for the Trojans. Jerome, who also serves as Waldorf women's basketball coach, has been at the college for more than 30 years.
"There's been stability in coaching," McGuire said. "All the coaches know each other."
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