Vince Lombardi once said something to the effect that â€•winning isnâ€™t everything, itâ€™s the only thing. Â Thatâ€™s certainly true of professional sports where people are paid to win, but for student athletes at the Division III level – where there arenâ€™t scholarships offered – students play for the love of the game. It is, of course,Â especially enjoyableÂ when those who play for the love of the game also win. Such is the case for Joe Sussenguthâ€™s Warrior volleyball team who won a thrilling final match at the NJCAA Division III national tournament to bring home the national title. Congratulations to Coach Sussenguth (the only Ridgewater coach to have won two national titles, the first coming in 2006) and to every member of the team. Special congratulations to Emily Roelike who was named the tournamentâ€™s Most Valuable Player.Â
Iâ€™d like to share a couple ofÂ comments about Ridgewaterâ€™s student athletes,teams and coaches. Itâ€™s significant that the word ‘student’ comes before ‘athlete’â€”every coachÂ at RidgewaterÂ understands that athletic opportunities play second fiddle to success in academic pursuits. The winning is secondary; after all, whether itâ€™s a club sport or a varsity sport or intramural activities, the goal is academic success for the students who choose to participate in athleticsâ€”just as it is for students who participate in club activities. So Iâ€™d like to congratulate all Ridgewater coaches for their efforts to keep the focus on academics and for their seasons, some complete, some yet to comeâ€”Rob Baumgarn (football), Edel Fernandez (soccer), Joe Sussenguth (volleyball), Carrie Ogdahl (womenâ€™s basketball), Bob Knutson (menâ€™s basketball), Todd Thorstad (softball), Tom Beyer (wrestling), and Joel Barta (baseball/golf).