Mav watch: Mesa State, St. Cloud tennis coaches face travel challenges
Dan MacDonald coaches both the men’s and women’s tennis teams at Mesa State College. Jerry Anderson coaches both teams at St. Cloud (Minn.) State.
All four teams qualified for next week’s NCAA Division II Central Regional tournament. Here’s the problem: The men’s tournament is in Grand Junction, the women’s in St. Cloud, Minn.
MacDonald and Anderson both have assistants, but understandably, both want to coach both teams, since that’s what they’ve done all season.
“I had a brief conversation with the St. Cloud coach and we’re going to try to play the women on Thursday and Friday in St. Cloud and the guys here Saturday afternoon,” MacDonald said Wednesday evening after the pairings were released. “The NCAA told us to do whatever we could, because we’re not the only ones in this situation.”
They’ll finalize their plans today, but tentatively, the Mesa State women (12-8) will play Winona State (13-7) on Thursday afternoon, with the winner playing St. Cloud State (22-6) early Friday.
Then the Mesa women and the St. Cloud men, their coaches in tow, will fly to Grand Junction, where the Maverick men (15-4) will be waiting to play the Huskies (11-10) on Saturday.
“We all might be on the same plane,” MacDonald said. “We want to try to be there for both.”
The X factor is weather, but St. Cloud has indoor courts, which would keep the women’s tournament on schedule.
In the other men’s bracket, Western New Mexico (15-6) hosts Nebraska-Kearney (14-8) in Silver City, N.M., on May 6. Six teams qualified for the women’s regional, with Nebraska-Kearney (16-5) the top seed, awaiting the winner of Augustana (20-1) and Upper Iowa (10-5). That bracket is May 6-7 in Kearney, Neb.
The winner of each bracket advances to the NCAA Division II Sweet 16 on May 12-15 at Sanlando Tennis Park in Alamonte Springs, Fla. Luckily for dual-team coaches, the men’s and women’s national tournaments are at the same site.