Featured Story

Reflections on a national title years in the making

By Jacob Knabel on Mar. 20, 2019 in Women's Basketball

Shock and dejection a year earlier gave way to euphoria and tears filled with joy on the night of March 12, 2019. This felt like a moment a long time in the making. No one involved could stand for a repeat of the 2018 national championship game when members of the Concordia University women’s basketball team failed to fight back tears, for much different reasons. Four seniors with long, heartbroken expressions carried off the court a national runner up trophy.

To be fair, the 2017-18 squad was a special one. So too were the 2011-12, 2014-15 and 2016-17 groups guided by head coach Drew Olson. The one shared agony between these fine teams was knowing they each came up just short of realizing the ultimate goal.

“I think it fueled their fire throughout the year,” Olson said of the 2018 title game loss to rival Dakota Wesleyan. “It got them to realize just what it takes to win it all and the focus it takes throughout the entire season. We weren’t perfect. We had a couple losses and I think that helped us refocus and continue to improve and get better each day. When we got into the national tournament their mindset was just different because of what they experienced the year before. We had a couple little reminders about what happened last year with a picture from that championship game of Dakota Wesleyan celebrating.”

Following the mantra, “focus and finish,” these Bulldogs sealed the deal. This time when the confetti fell from the rafters of the Tyson Events Center, Concordia celebrated the first national title in program history. Senior Quinn Wragge could not have avoided her teammates even if she wanted to. She was swarmed up in a group hug. No, nobody was cutting onions. It was an “I’m not crying, you’re crying” moment. Chants of “Thank you, Quinn!” rang out from her teammates.

With a 67-59 victory over second-ranked Southeastern University (Fla.) in the title clash, the program lifted a weight off its shoulder. Not to be overshadowed by the “Woooooo!” Olson let out during the postgame presentation was the message he drove home. This one was for the current team – and for all those throughout the years who put everything they had into this program.

What Olson really wanted is for Bulldogs past and present to be able to share in the championship glory. All are considered members of the family. Fittingly, “family” was the word uttered collectively after the team had gathered, arm-in-arm, to listen to Olson as he addressed the team more than a half hour after the championship game had ended. Olson told his team, “I love you guys and I will never forget you.”

Wrote Wragge in a reflection on the title, “I am going to try and remember everything about that night for as long as I can. One thing that really sticks out to me would be Coach Olson finding me after the game and we were both like, ‘Wow, we finally did it.’ Then the other thing that I know I will remember was how many people were there – supporting us, cheering us on – and just shared in the joy that we felt that night. I think that feeling will be a hard one to forget.”

From a tangible standpoint, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what differentiated this team from those of the past which walked away from national tournaments that ended in disappointment. It’s almost as if there was a collective, ‘no way, not this time,’ feel to this tournament run. It certainly helps to possess four All-America caliber players in Grace Barry, Taylor Cockerill, Philly Lammers and Wragge – plus a bunch of players who know their roles and perform them well.

Coming into this season, everyone knew of Lammers and Wragge, two established stars. The trick was for Olson to find the right mix while sprinkling in three new starters in Barry, Cockerill and Riley Sibbel. Cockerill took a leap forward and became the team’s leading scorer. Meanwhile, Barry proved to be the piece that put this team over the top. Barry earned Tournament MVP honors while taking on a major role. She played all 40 minutes in both the semifinal and championship games. She quickly developed a rapport with her new teammates.

“What I will remember most about winning a national championship is the hours and hours of hard work and sacrifice our team went through, day in and day out, throughout the summer, preseason and the season,” Barry said. “After the confetti had fallen and everyone had settled down a bit, Taylor Cockerill ran over and gave me a giant hug and said, ‘This is what we have been working for, all summer, all season. This is it. We did it.’”

This team had to reinvent itself when chief backcourt pests Dani Hoppes and Mary Janovich graduated after the 2017-18 season. That could have opened up some questions as to whether Concordia might take a step back in terms of its defensive tenacity. At least statistically, that was not the case. With Barry as a catalyst, the 2018-19 edition broke a program record for turnovers forced and made believers of everyone.

In the midst of the championship glow, Lammers tweeted, “Wouldn’t trade @G_Eazy55_ (Grace Barry) for ANY point guard at ANY level.” At some point, a corner was turned from a mental standpoint for everyone on the team. They knew they were good, but good enough to win it all? Olson would confidently tell his players behind the scenes, “We are the best team in the country.”

Perhaps that belief really was the final hurdle in breaking through and securing that giant red championship banner. That belief wasn’t there immediately. It was developed over time – over years. As the pieces came together, they believed. It’s our time now.

“We had some growing pains,” Olson admitted. “We didn’t start the same five at the beginning of the year. We were still trying to figure out what pieces fit together. Ultimately I think it ended up being the right fits. Everybody figured out their roles as the season went along, but we did have a couple bumps with the Morningside game early on. I think it was about figuring out how to play with Grace and Grace figuring out what she needed to do at the end of games. We knew Taylor Cockerill was going to be a stud. We saw it last year. She just had to wait for those four seniors to graduate and it was going to be her time to step up and she did that a lot. They all found their moments to help the team be as good as we could possibly be.”

For this team to be the best it could be, the players had to ignore who got the credit. Fittingly, the Bulldogs took turns grabbing the spotlight at the national tournament. Cockerill went wild with a 19-point fourth quarter in the second round win over No. 17 Cardinal Stritch University (Wis.), Lammers rescued Concordia in the semifinal victory over No. 4 Northwestern with a 28-point, 13-rebound effort and MacKenzie Helman provided a big lift off the bench in the title game. Barry was consistent all the way through. There was plenty of other credit to go around.

The realization of being a national champion is beginning to set in. Olson understands that the title could be a tad “bittersweet” for the greats of the past who wanted this same shining moment. Says Olson, “I want them to know how much they mean to our team.”

So many have been responsible for a remarkable run in the program’s history (five national semifinal appearances since 2012), which is now complete with the only thing that had been missing. In the future, the Bulldogs will have to take motivation from something else. How about a repeat?

“I don’t think it changes a whole lot,” Olson said of winning a title. “I think there’s a little bit of pressure off. Now it’s not something we haven’t done before. Now it’s, can we do it again? Can we repeat it? Each year is different and unique. With the kids we have returning we have another good shot next year. With that group it will be finding something different to motivate them. It’s not based on last year’s loss. It’s different. Hopefully they’ll still have that edge and toughness when we really need it.”

Coach/player reflections on winning the national title

*NOTE: The following passages were contributed by each of the coaches and players present during the team’s five-game championship run at the national tournament.

Drew Olson, Head Coach

My first thought was it’s back to reality. On the way home, (athletic trainer) Randy (Baack) reminded me that I had bowling class the next day to teach … It has been really cool to hear from so many different people and tons of former players, former teammates, alums and other people who have followed our program. There have even been a lot of random people reaching out. They felt just as excited to share in that moment. It’s just been really cool.

I wanted to make sure all of our former players understood that (they were part of this too). That is why I said what I did at the end of the game. We wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for them and what they did. We learned so much from past teams to be able to win this year’s championship. It was this group that did it, but I feel like a lot of it had to do with the 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2018 teams that got so close. Those were things we had to learn from. I do think it was a little bittersweet for a lot of them (former players). They were happy for us and very excited. At the same time, there was that part of them that wishes it could have been them. I get that. That’s why I wanted them to know how much they mean to our team and why were able to do what we did this year.

I don’t think we came together right away. We had some growing pains. We didn’t start the same five at the beginning of the year. We were still trying to figure out what pieces fit together. Ultimately I think it ended up being the right fits. Everybody figured out their roles as the season went along, but we did have a couple bumps with the Morningside game early on. I think it was about figuring out how to play with Grace and Grace figuring out what she needed to do at the end of games. We knew Taylor Cockerill was going to be a stud. We saw it last year. She just had to wait for those four seniors to graduate and it was going to be her time to step up and she did that a lot. Riley Sibbel was just phenomenal defensively. All that work ethic and all the time into the gym showed in her shooting. Those five really, really fit well. Then I thought Mack Helman, Mack Koepke and obviously Colby Duvel really figured out how to come off the bench and play well. Even with Elsie, Taryn, Delani and Paul – they all found their moments to help the team be as good as we could possibly be.

I was just so happy for Quinn. We’ve had a lot of awesome kids in our program. Quinn’s right there with them at the top. What she’s done in her career is incredible to be third in scoring all-time, especially not always being the main go-to player. To be able to end her career on this is really cool. To see her that emotional – she was just in tears of joy – was really cool. For Quinn, that’s it. She gets to end on that high note. For our other kids it’s like, ‘huh, now we have to go back to work.’ Hopefully each group now will want to end like Quinn did.

Grace was huge this year for our group. She gave us another creator. We missed so many great on-the-ball defenders with Dani (Hoppes), Mary (Janovich), Sydney (Feller) and Brenleigh (Daum) graduating so she gave us another player like that. Her competitiveness, her toughness pulled us through a lot of those times at the national tournament. I don’t think she got the credit she deserved. She got the Tournament MVP award that she deserved but I also think there are other accomplishments that she should have also received. She’s such a great person that it’s more about the team victory and winning the national championship. I think she was the best point guard in the country and probably the best on-the-ball defender. What I was most impressed by, at the start of the summer when we started working with her, she was struggling as a shooter and so inconsistent from three. Then you go to the national tournament and what she turned herself into as a shooter was so impressive.

I think a lot of people look at those four (Barry, Cockerill, Lammers and Wragge) as the star players and rightfully so, but it wasn’t just those four to step up. If we don’t have Mack Helman have that courage and toughness to come in when we’re down 11-3 and take a step back three and make it, it’s probably a different game. I think Mack Helman deserves a ton of credit for us settling into that championship game and finding a way to win. She had three 3’s in that game. She came up big when we really needed it. Mack Koepke was phenomenal. Our team is built to where they all trust each other and have confidence in each other. They all took their turns. TC had a great game against Cardinal Stritch. Not that she took a back seat, but she wasn’t as highlighted in the Northwestern game as Philly or as Grace in the championship game. At the same time, it was TC who came up with huge layups in both the semis and championship game to give us that margin to win. I thought all of them did a great job.

Tae’lor Purdy-Korell, Assistant Coach

Words can’t express how proud I am of this team. The amount of dedication, hard work, sweat and tears that each individual has put into this program since falling short last season is incredible. I love these girls so much and they deserve everything that they have achieved. Winning the National Championship is so special, but winning it with this team means so much more. I am especially happy for Coach Olson as he has been building this program for several years to turn it into the national powerhouse that it is today. My favorite memory from Tuesday night (March 12) is obviously the confetti falling and our girls running into it, but I also really appreciated the amount of love and support we received from Bulldog Nation, family and friends. To celebrate a National Championship with the people you love is so special.

Taylor Jacobsen, Graduate Assistant Coach

To be a part of a National Championship team is unreal. As a player I was never in a position to be a part of a team who played at this level that we do at CUNE. These girls and coaches deserve it. They come in everyday with a championship mindset and when you join this team you are molded into a champion. I am beyond blessed to share this award and title with such an amazing group of people and an amazing school. I love the Concordia community and this title gives such an awesome name to all Concordias. The team is very outgoing, kind of weird and extremely hard working. It doesn’t matter how many minutes you play, they all work their butts off every day to make each other better. On any given day anyone on the team takes over the game. No one pouts or complains that they didn’t score enough and that just shows how selfless this team is. Everyone has a role, and they play it extremely well. We are the team that everyone wants to beat, and our girls know that, which pushes them even harder to not be beat. I love that about our team and that is why we are in the position we are in. It is well deserved. Tuesday night (March 12) was extremely magical. I was not here last year when the team was devastated at the same place in the tournament, but I could feel the relief and joy of achieving the goal we set out to do. Even though I didn’t experience last year’s sad ending, it made me also want to cry in joy with them because I got to see the literal sweat and tears that went into the season leading up until that point. That victory was a victory that defined our whole entire season. That night we represented Christ first, our families, our teammates, our school and our community. That was an amazing thing to be a part of.

Maggie Goltz, Student Assistant Coach

Although transitioning to the sidelines was different, being a part of a National Championship was definitely one of the coolest experiences in my life. Because of their unfailing focus, my teammates were so deserving of this achievement. Coach Olson and Coach Tae’lor are truly the best coaching staff in the country because of their commitment, selflessness and determination for this team. I would say the uniqueness of this team came from the team chemistry that was built from the moment we were all here for camp this summer. I’ll definitely remember everyone enjoying the confetti and cheering for Quinn. She was an amazing leader for this team!

Jadyn High, Student Assistant Coach

Being a part of this team is something super special, and something I will cherish forever. I will always remember the joy shown on everyone’s faces as the clock ran down following the game. Seeing people I love and care so much about fulfill a dream together is pretty special. I can’t think of any better way to end my career as a Bulldog than with this team as National Champions.

Sara Sauceda, Student Manager

Getting to be a part of a National Champion team I think was even more special because of how many people were a part of it. We had so much support from family, the community and alumni and getting to share it with them was second to none. I think Philippians 2:2-4 (2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.) does a really good job of describing the heart of this team, which would be the big thing I think that made our group so special. Just a group that loved each other and wanted to sacrifice for each other and serve each other every day so the group could be successful. God really pieced together a one-of-a-kind group this year. There are a few things I will remember most from Tuesday (March 12). Definitely the amount of joy in the room was overwhelming in all the best ways. And of course, getting to see Coach and Quinn get what they had worked so hard for so long for was incredible. I really think getting to celebrate with my team as the confetti fell will be one of the most cherished moments I will take away from my time here at Concordia.

#4 Riley Sibbel, Junior

Honestly I do not know how to put my feelings into words because it still feels like I am dreaming. It has been almost a week since the championship game, and I still get goosebumps when I look at pictures or watch videos from the tournament. To be part of a National Championship team is one of the biggest accomplishments a college athlete can do, but to be part of THIS championship team is a dream come true. Every single person on this team is selfless. They don’t care about the stats, they just want to be the best that we could be together. That is what makes Bulldog Basketball so fun. I also love this team because we would never back down. We were gritty and we were tough. There is not another group I would rather go into battle with. This includes our coaches. I love this team and I have loved every moment of this season.

#5 Taylor Cockerill, Sophomore

Being part of this national championship team has meant so much to me. This year’s team has been one of the most exciting basketball teams I have ever been a part of. Yes, winning is great, but the friendships formed this year have been extremely special. Years down the road, I will always remember the moment the final buzzer went off and I was surrounded by the joy of my teammates and the crowd. The best part of that moment was the knowing that all the work we put in all year around had finally paid off.

#10 Delani Fahey, Freshman

What an amazing season it was! What makes this program and team so special is the relationships we’ve made with each other. It is so much fun to be on a team with girls and coaches who care so deeply about each other. One thing I will always remember about Tuesday night (March 12) is how happy everyone was. It was an amazing feeling to have all of our hard work pay off in the best way.

#11 Claire Cornell, Freshman

Words can't describe what it’s like being a part of this team. As a first year freshman I was welcomed so much by these girls and coaching staff and to be able to accomplish and be a part of a goal I know they have wanted for a while now, just feels so amazing. Everything they do they do for each other. We make each other stronger mentally and physically everyday while having fun and I don't think it can get much better than that. The emotions, the firsts, the lasts – those are what will stick with me forever and what I will be able to tell others later down the road.

#12 MacKenzie Helman, Junior

Being part of a national championship team is special, rare and something to not take for granted. Many people never get the opportunity to win one or even make the national tournament and we’ve been lucky enough to continuously make it deep into the tourney. With all that being said from the first part, not many people will remember we won in several years. Of course that’s a game I will remember forever, but my teammates and the memories along the way are what make it even more special. They’re some of my best friends that I get to spend every day with. Everyone is continuously doing things for each other and looking after each other. We all strived for a goal while encouraging, pushing each other and remembering to have fun and appreciate the memories along the way. After last year’s runner up finish, we all – no matter if you were a returner or not – strived to get back and it’s so special to be able to have everyone on a team buy into what we want to accomplish, everyone wanting each other to do well, everyone wanting to get back, everyone wanting to have fun with each other playing the game we all love. I think the thing I’ll remember most is just all the emotions at the end and just looking around with everyone having tears of joy in their eyes that we had done it. We did it with and for each other and we all got to celebrate that and the emotions of everything we had put in that season. Especially seeing Quinn get emotional and knowing she could go out on that note was something very special. She is someone so deserving of it.

#14 Elle Luehr, Freshman

To be a part of this wonderful team means the world to me. Each and every one of those girls have given me so much throughout the season and have always been there for me. What makes this team so special is the Christ-centered attitude of the girls both on and off the court. The girls on this team glorify God with everything that they do both in basketball and in life, and I will never forget the wonderful journey that we conquered together.

#21 Mackenzie Koepke, Freshman

It is an indescribable feeling to know that I was able to be a part of this team with this amazing group of girls and win something that these girls deserve more than any team in the country. It really hasn’t sunk in that we won, and it honestly doesn’t feel real. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to play with this team. Each one of these girls means so much to me and I don’t think I could put into words the impact that they have all had on my life. To me they aren’t just teammates, they are family. These are the girls that I am going to tell my kids stories about when I get older.

Quinn was such a great leader and role model and I can’t stress enough how much she will be missed next year. In some of the situations that didn’t look too bright for us throughout the season, like when were behind in a game, Quinn always had positive things to say. She would always motivate us in the locker to just go out and play hard and play as a team. She was so encouraging, composed and positive. She also reflected Christ in anything she did. She is so talented, and I am going to miss her so much next year. I am so thankful to be able to play for Coach Olson and I am so happy that I chose Concordia. I am thankful for all the opportunities that I have been given and all the things I have been able to experience because of this program and this school. I am thankful for all the support from the community, students, professors, my family and anyone else. It is an amazing feeling to have people from all over campus and off campus come up to you and say good job or congrats. I love my team so much and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

We are all so close on AND off the court. I don’t think there has been a day where I don’t see or hangout with at least one of my teammates. Coming in as a freshman to a very successful program I was very intimidated and nervous. Every single one of the girls and the coaches were so welcoming and encouraging. I felt like these girls truly cared about me. I remember my first summer open gym, I was so scared and nervous because I didn’t know how I was going to fit in, but they all were so nice, and I am so thankful for every single one of them.

I also think this team is so special because of how much the community of Seward supports us and shows us so much love. We have the best fans in the GPAC and without a question the best fans in the nation. Families in Seward invite us over for lunch or dinner and we are so thankful, and we feel so loved when we get these opportunities. I can’t explain how much the community means to us and how much their support actually helps us.

What I’ll remember most from that night is the confetti falling and running onto the court and hugging my teammates. I care about these girls so much and when we finally won my heart was so happy for them. Every single one of those girls deserves that National Championship. Seeing all the smiles on their faces and knowing that they finally got what they wanted, especially Quinn. I went into that game playing for all those girls who were in that position last year but came up just short. I wanted them to have that win more than anything.

#24 Jayda Lyon, Freshman

To be a part of a national team is unbelievable. It just goes to show all of our hours in the weight room, at practice, and just together have made us an amazing team and something really special to be a part of on and off the court. This team is something unique, and it comes from everyone collectively wanting to reach our common goal. The team is so, so driven and determined, and second place wasn’t going to be enough. I think I’ll forever remember just running out to the court after the buzzer went off and seeing the confetti fall and cheering with the team. It was really an amazing experience.

#25 Rylee Pauli, Freshman

For me, obviously, it is a huge accomplishment and one that I will never forget. I do not even know where to begin when trying to express my love for this team. The girls that I have had the chance to become so close with, I can call my family. Concordia is truly a home away from home. The thing I believe I will forever remember is the excitement and joy throughout the whole building. I could feel the amount of love we had there supporting us, whether it was the student section or all of our families and fans. They were all there watching us fulfill the dreams and goal we had set for this season. Couldn't imagine my first year here as a bulldog to go any better and I am excited for the years to follow.

#30 Quinn Wragge, Senior

When I think about being a part of this team and winning the National Championship I think about how grateful I am that I was able to be a part of it, and it was part of my story here at Concordia. There are so many talented girls that have been through this program that helped get us to this point, and I can't help but think how lucky I am to be the on the team that finally got the job done. This team will always be so special to me. I enjoyed every second of my final year at Concordia and I think the one word that comes to mind when I think about this team is steady. We never got too high, and we never got too low. Throughout the entire season we really had to overcome some things, from so many new players, to some really tough losses, and figuring out how to really light a fire under a team who was so even-keeled. I think in the end we were able to succeed over all of these things because of the calm and determined demeanor that we went through the whole season with. Honestly, I am going to try and remember everything about that night for as long as I can :) But a couple things that really stick out to me would be Coach Olson finding me after the game and we were both like "Wow, we finally did it." Then the other thing that I know I will remember was how many people were there. Supporting us, cheering us on, and just shared in the joy that we felt that night. I think that feeling will be a hard one to forget!

#31 Colby Duvel, Junior

To me being on a National Championship team is more than the celebration I get to spend with my teammates. As a junior I look back on my two previous years and think about how this was a goal for those years and I’m sure for the teams before that. Obtaining this title shows the dedication and perseverance this program has. A few too many times has a Concordia Women’s Basketball Team been “close” or “almost good enough.” This year was the magic year to make it happen. Not because this group of girls did all the work, but because the path had been paved, and we upheld the traditions and values being presented and encouraged to us from former players, coaches and teammates. 

The uniqueness of this team stems from our demeanors to stay composed. Over this season we found ourselves in an array of situations which may not have been the most ideal. The common denominator in those situations was for us to not be shaken by those. More so than previous years, this team found a way to stay together, to play for one another and to rejoice in one another’s successes. Again and again people will say, but it is true that this group had multiple people who could be the top scorer or a large contributor in any given game. The best part about that is that no one’s toes are stepped on, no one is boastful and we still love everyone, whether it was a good game for you or a bad one. 

Tuesday night (March 12) brought a storm of emotions and I felt like it all happened so fast. One moment I couldn’t wait any longer to run out on the court and celebrate and the next moment I was at dinner thinking about “what in the heck just happened?” Those two moments will be what I cherish the most. It was the congregation of my teammates, family, friends, fans from all over, former players and other random folks on the Tyson Events Center floor. All the excitement the trophy brought to my teammates and to Bulldog Nation was endearing to me and just a pleasure to be a part of.

#34 Taryn Schuette, Junior

Being part of a national championship team is a dream come true and what most dream of when they start athletics as a child. For most, it doesn’t become a reality so I am extremely grateful to say that I’m part of this team! I love that God chose us each uniquely to be part of this team.  Our personalities match each other so well and get along great. That makes a great team in itself. My favorite memory will be the looks on everyone’s faces in the final seconds – the look of a champion. I also will remember how awesome the fans and student section were and the support they gave us to make it all the way!

#35 Elsie Aslesen, Freshman

I would say that to me, being a part of a National Championship team is the highest achievement anyone could reach in any sport at any level. Winning a National Championship is the ultimate reward for all of the hard work, effort and stress that goes into both the season and the time you put in during the offseason. I am so thankful for my teammates and coaches. Having such an awesome support system really makes our team special, and I think that it’s one of the reasons why our team has been successful over the last few years. Also, I think it’s incredibly special that every single one of us had the same goal in mind – a national title. We put our selfishness aside and sacrificed of ourselves for our teammates so that we could make that goal happen. I will forever remember that feeling of relief and elation as the final buzzer went off. I remember thinking to myself, “I can’t believe we actually did it!” I will never forget that feeling of joy and love as I hugged my teammates under the falling confetti and seeing all of our awesome supporters in the stands. Tuesday night (March 12) was truly unforgettable.

#42 Philly Lammers, Junior

I think what I'll remember most about this team is just how much we loved each other. I felt like it was a true family where we were all friends and really liked hanging out and spending time with each other off the court. But at the same time we were very competitive with each other, making practices simultaneously intense and fun. I will always remember hearing the pop of the confetti and streamers being released and watching them float down around us as we jumped and screamed on the court that Tuesday night. The joy and emotions that both Coach Olson and especially Quinn couldn't contain that night will be a memory that I have forever.

#55 Grace Barry, Junior

It is a pretty incredible feeling to be part of a National Championship team. I am so thankful and blessed to be able to play with such a hardworking and enthusiastic group of women, who are servant minded. This team is unique in a number of different aspects, but in particularly this team's ability to come together and develop lifelong relationships is what truly separates this team. There are so many different personalities and differences among each player, both athletically and personally, and their ability to come together to achieve one come goal is awesome. The love and fellowship between the individuals of this team is what I believe influenced our success at the national tournament. I will never forget the national tournament, whether it be the games, ice baths or card games in the hotel. I most definitely will remember the moment the confetti burst and fluttered down on us, signifying our achievement of winning a national championship. What I will remember most about winning a national championship though, is the hours and hours of hard work and sacrifice our team went through, day in and day out, throughout the summer, preseason and the season. After the confetti had fallen and everyone had settled down a bit, Taylor Cockerill ran over and gave me a giant hug and said, "This is what we have been working for, all summer, all season. This is it. We did it.”