EDITORIAL: Board recounts most significant moments of semester

Editorial Board

What a long, interesting semester it

has been for ISU athletics.

We would be lying if we said this

fall semester has been like any other when it came to Cyclone

sports, because it really hasn’t.

As sports reporters, we don’t

necessarily care whether or not the ISU sports team that we cover

does well, but it’s always for that team to find success that our

audience will want to read about.

So for that, we feel


An array of different events came to

mind when the members of the board discussed this editorial of the

semester’s most significant — the football team’s triple-overtime

victory against Iowa and the women’s basketball team’s comeback

victory against Drake, just to name a few — but we had to make our

selections brief.

With that being said, we have

narrowed it down to the three that have proved the most successful

for ISU sports this semester.

1. ISU football’s 37-31

double-overtime victory against second-ranked Oklahoma State on

primetime television.

In a game that is still being talked

about as one of the catalytic reasons for the chaos of the Bowl

Championship Series this year, Iowa State upended Oklahoma State’s

hopes of competing for a national title with a 37-31

double-overtime victory against the then-No. 2 Cowboys on Nov.


The game was broadcast nationally on

ESPN with the eyes of millions upon Jack Trice Stadium witnessing,

without a doubt, the greatest game in ISU history.

It was the first time Iowa State had

ever beaten a team ranked in the top six nationally and caused

pandemonium among BCS experts and pollsters, leaving a spot in the

National Championship Game up for grabs opposite top-ranked


Not only that, Oklahoma State had

come into the game with nearly perfect accolades — having won its

first 10 games by an average of 25.4 points and averaged 51.4

points per game.

Oklahoma State was denied a bid to

the title game with the loss being its only blemish on its resume,

settling for a bid in the Fiesta Bowl instead.

“Senior night, Friday night, ESPN,

only show in town, never beat a top-five team in Iowa State’s

history,” said running back Jeff Woody after the game. “All those

factors combined together just combines them [into] the perfect

storm of finding a way to win and prove that we are a good team

once again.”

Most significant for ISU fans, the

win cemented the Cyclones’ second bowl trip in the past three

seasons under coach Paul Rhoads, who took over a program that had

gone 5-19 the two seasons prior to his arrival.

2. Women’s cross-country

team’s postseason success

It certainly does not get the press

time that other sports do, but the women’s cross-country team’s

seventh-place finish at nationals — coupled with conference and

regional titles — is definitely one of the most significant things

to happen in ISU athletics this season.

Coach Corey Ihmels has done nothing

but build the track and field and cross-country programs into

perennial contenders for the national title since taking over in


The Cyclones had three All-Americans

emerge as a result of their seventh-place finish at nationals —

Betsy Saina (ninth), Meaghan Nelson (17th) and Dani Stack


“Our top three ran so well,” Ihmels

said of the race. “Not to place a little higher was a little


A first for the team was also its

first-ever Big 12 title, in which Nelson placed second overall in a

race that she described as “uncomfortable.”

“At conference, every point

matters,” Nelson said. “I was going to do my best to make sure no

one passed me. Every time they tried to, I knew I had to buckle

down and fight back. … I knew if I let go, I would let go for the

rest of the race,” Nelson said.

3. Volleyball team’s

first-ever No. 4 seed at NCAA Tournament

Last season’s first-round exit from

the NCAA Tournament for the ISU volleyball team was a big letdown

for a team that had made it to at least the Sweet 16 the past three


Flash forward to this season, where

the Cyclones garnered the No. 4 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament

for the first time in program history.

After sweeps of UW-Milwaukee and

Miami in the first two rounds, the Cyclones found themselves in the

Elite Eight for the first time since 2008 after a 3-1 victory

against Minnesota at the Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis on Dec.


At the time of the Daily’s

publication, the team was set to square off against No. 12 seed

Florida State for what could be its first-ever Final Four