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| 1999-2000 Cobber Men's Track and Field
 March. 31, 2000 Concordian | Cobber Sports
 | Men's Track | Baseball | Rugby | Top

Micah Benson a three-sport success
Work ethic key to years at Concordia
--Eric Morrow, The Concordian

Three sport athletes at the college level are almost unheard of. That's because the time commitment that a sport demands for a player to be good simply does not allow for a person to compete in that many sports. And that's before studies, work, and a social life are even brought into the picture.  But at Concordia, there is one student/athlete who has found a way to balance all those things.  Not only has senior Micah Benson found a way to balance them, he has found a way to excel in them.

"Micah is a great all-around person," said men's basketball coach Duane Siverson.  "I admire him as much, if not more, than anybody. He is a once  in a lifetime student/athlete."

While at Concordia, Benson has competed in soccer, basketball, and track. Here is a list of just some of Benson's accomplishments in those sports: In soccer, Benson was the captain his junior year. In basketball, Benson started at point guard his sophomore season.  In track, Benson has been an individual conference champ, a captain this season, and a qualifier for the national meet.  His 3.9 GPA in biology has earned him academic all conference in all three sports, and a place on the Academic All-American first team in track. 

"I take a lot of pride in both sports and academics," Benson said. "They both push me to be a better person."

After graduating from Moorhead High School, Benson decided to come to Concordia because of its reputation for  strong academics, and to have a chance to compete with his brother Peter in both soccer and track.  Because of the time commitment and amount of work that a pre-med major would require, Micah decided to give up basketball.  But basketball was his favorite sport, and his time away from the hardwood would not last long.  About halfway through his freshman year, Benson asked the coaches if he could try out for the team.

"I couldn't sleep at night because I missed basketball so much," Benson said.

Not only did Benson make the team, but at Christmas time, he was bumped up to the varsity squad.  Not bad for someone who wasn't even going to play.

"I loved basketball because it challenged me more than soccer and track," Benson said. "It's the sport I had to work the hardest at." Hard work is something that is a staple in Benson's life. His average day consists of going to class in the morning and afternoon, then heading to practice for three hours, followed by a few hours of homework to end the night.  The next day, he wakes up and does it all over again. "I have to make time for everything," Benson said. "I have to be focused and remain disciplined year round."

To keep up with all these commitments requires a lot of hard work.  The work ethic that he has developed because of that is one of the most noticeable things about Micah, according to his coaches.

"He's a tireless worker," said men's soccer coach Jim Cella. "Whether it's the beginning or the end of the game, Micah gives the same thing throughout."

"Micah is serious when there is work to be done," said men's track coach Garrick Larson. "He works fact, he maybe works too hard sometimes."

Leadership is another one of Micah's strong points.  He has been captain of both the soccer and the track team, and in basketball, he was the leader off the court. 

"Micah was never not ready to play," said Siverson. "He helped other players with what to think about, and got everyone mentally ready to play."

The role of leader and helping the rest of the team is one that Micah loves.

"I like setting a good example for the younger athletes," Benson said. “I like to show them how important it is to work hard both athletically and academically.  Athletics are fun, but a good education is what takes you places."

As successful as he has been, Benson has also had his share of bumps in the road. Because of all his time commitments, Benson was unable to give the amount of time needed to better himself as a basketball player.  Consequently, other players moved past him, and he went from being a starter to a reserve.  This move definitely could have had a negative affect, but according to Siverson, Micah took it all in stride.

"He played his role like any other player would," Siverson said. "He had a pure team attitude and was the number one cheerleader on the bench." Then this season, Micah hurt his foot in soccer.  The injury would have caused him to miss the first month or two of the basketball season.  So after talking with coaches, family, and friends, he decided to give up his final season of  basketball. For Micah, this proved to be the hardest decision he would ever had to make.

"I didn't want to give up because I didn't want to let my teammates down," Benson said.

The only thing that made the decision easier was a talk that Benson had with Concordia's Sports Information Director, Jerry Pyle.  In that conversation, Pyle asked Micah what he felt he had more left to accomplish in, basketball or track.  After thinking about it, Micah realized that he could reach higher goals in track.  So after hanging up the sneakers, Benson turned his full attention to track this winter and spring.  So far, that added attention has paid off.  In the indoor track season, Benson qualified for nationals, just missing all-american honors by one place. Now, he is preparing for the outdoor season, in hopes of a return to nationals, and an earning of all-american honors.  According to Larson, there is a real chance that could happen.

"It is not a far fetched dream," Larson said. "He has the ability to be extremely competitive."

For Micah, 15 years of competitive athletics are about to come to an end. This year's outdoor track season will be his last chance to be an all-american. According to Benson, it's tough to see it all come to an end, but for him, there are no regrets.

"I feel fortunate to have been a part of athletics all my life," Benson said. "The one thing I will take with me is all the countless friends and memories." 

| 2000 Cobber Baseball
 March. 31, 2000 Concordian | Cobber Sports
 | Men's Track | Baseball | Rugby | Top

Concordia splits six in Iowa
--Nate De Cock, Sport's Editor

The Concordia baseball team won three and lost three this weekend at the William Penn tourney in Iowa.

On Friday, the Cobbers captured two games, defeating William Penn 7-4 and Westminster 17-5.  On Saturday, Concordia faced the same two opponents, but this time dropped both of its games, 8-7 to William Penn and 10-5 to Westminster.  Sunday saw the Cobbers split their final two games of the tournament, with Concordia losing 13-7 to William Penn and pounding Westminster 25-10.

Junior third baseman Matt Nustad was impressive at the plate for Concordia.  Nustad batted .565 for the tourney with 13 hits in 23 at bats.  He also hit one home run had 12 RBIs.

On the mound, sophomore Matt Askegard and junior Doug Muzik  hurled single wins for the Cobbers.

Concordia opens MIAC action with a double-header tomorrow at Carleton.

 March. 31, 2000 Concordian | Cobber Sports
 | Men's Track | Baseball | Rugby | Top

Rugby scores big at SNAFU tournament 
Heavy turn out promising for Concordia and for sport
--Nate De Cock, Sport's Editor

In sports these days, it's tough to get any more international than rugby. This year’s SNAFU tournament proved that even conservative Concordia can get down and dirty, as over twenty teams from area colleges hooked, scrummed and tackled on the snow soaked fields of Yunker Farms.

Over twenty Cobbers participated in the tournament.  Concordia fielded three men’s teams, and even one female, junior Erin Prink, got in on the action. Concordia’s top squad, led by team co-captain Sean Sjodin, advanced to the tournament’s championship game, where the Cobbers were defeated by one touchdown, 15-10, in sudden-death overtime.

Cited for their play were freshman Peter Pawlowski, who led Concordia in tournament scoring, and junior Shawn Morse, whose strong efforts were stopped only by a sprained ankle.

"Considering this was our first real rugby experience, I thought things went great out there," said junior Adam Ailsby. "We got to test all the skills we’ve been learning in practice, and get a feel for what the game is really like." 

Concordia junior and co-captain Alex Earnshaw said that the turn out for the tournament was very encouraging.

"There were a lot more teams and spectators here than we ever expected," said Earnshaw. "We're thrilled to be involved, and we hope that rugby will catch on at Concordia." 

Concordia junior and coach Salim Kaderbhai is an international student who has played on Tanzania’s national team. Though he recognizes the relative infancy of American Rugby, he is happy to be promoting the sport at Concordia.

"I was disappointed to come here and find out that Concordia did not have a team," said Kaderbhai. "But Alex [Earnshaw] and Sean (Sjodin) and I have put together a team, and its been fun watching the guys learn and appreciate the game."

Contrary to popular belief, Kaderbhai says, rugby is not a rip-off of American football. It is a different sport entirely. 

"Football players have a difficult time playing rugby," said Kaderbhai. "The conditioning is very different.  Football is a lot of starting and stopping.  In rugby you keep going until someone else stops you." Though both are very team oriented, they also differ in style of play. Whereas a football game can be determined by a mobile quarterback or a hot-handed receiver, rugby almost never relies on individual talent. "One player cannot carry a rugby team,” said Kaderbhai. “It takes everyone to move the ball up the field." 

Comparisons aside, Concordia is excited to tackle this new experience. Right now, rugby is supported by Concordia’s Cornerstone, and next year it looks to rise to the next level. 

"There's a lot of enthusiasm right now, and that should carry over into next season," Earnshaw said. "Our goal for next year is to join league play and become a fully sanctioned Concordia sport."

Until then, the Cobbers will test their rugby legs in exhibition play. The players are pumped and ready for more, and Earnshaw and Kaderbhai are grateful for their efforts.

“We’re thankful for our players and all their hard work,” said Earnshaw. “It is their support, as well as that of the fans, that will make rugby a success at Concordia.”