After three years, two Spectrum sports vets set to move on
For the last three years, the duo of Taylor Schloemer and Thomas Evanella have done a majority of the sports coverage for The Spectrum. Now, as Taylor steps back from the Sports Editor role and Thomas graduates out from being a staff writer, the pair look back at their time writing for The Spectrum.
What was your favorite story you wrote?
Taylor Schloemer: I really like when an idea comes together quickly, and the idea goes from brain to paper in a short time.
That said, I actually had to slow myself down when writing my favorite story, which was the Missing Person Report: NDSU Students.
I vividly remember sitting in the Fargodome press box in the third quarter of the 2016 Dakota Marker game. The Bison held a halftime lead, but they were mighty fortunate to do so. The Jacks had the ball inside the five twice in the first half, put failed to punch it in both times.
Despite this fact, the student section got up and left. Sure enough, SDSU came back and won the game on a last second pass from Taryn Christion to Jake Wieneke. I would be remiss to say that my roommate is adamant that Wieneke pushed off, but play on.
That same roommate can attest to how aggravated I was that the students left. I actually had to go to sleep in order to cool down enough not to say anything too stupid.
Happily, however, that story struck a chord with readers, though it hasn’t seemed like the incoming students have learned this old lesson.
Thomas Evanella: We’ve had the great fortune of having access to some truly top-class athletes while covering sports at NDSU. This resulted in numerous one-on-one interviews, which produced some of my favorite pieces.
My favorite of all of these was also my most surprising. In 2017, Matti Mortimore was lighting the collegiate javelin world on fire, ranking second in the country. He also was the top Briton and No. 33 in the world among 23-year-olds.
An appearance in the 2020 Olympics seemed a foregone conclusion. Within the first minute of the interview though, Mortimore surprised me. When asked about the possibility of representing Great Britain in the Olympics, he was utterly ambivalent.
What he really wanted to talk about was his advanced degree in philosophy. He was transferring to Tulane for a Ph.D., and it was clear he was much more passionate about ethics and political philosophy.
He admitted at the time that his Ph.D. may preclude him from competing. It did. His personal record from 2017 still stands. I’m sure he’s more than fine with that though.
Which event was your favorite to cover?
TE: We witnessed NDSU win three national titles in football during our time here, so you’d think the one I went to — 2017 against James Madison — would have been my favorite.
The No. 1 for me though is actually a game that the Bison lost. It was this year’s men’s basketball game against South Dakota State. That game will long be remembered as the David Jenkins Jr. game.
The aforementioned banked home a half-court buzzer-beater to sink the Bison, who had been riding a five-game winning streak into the game.
Jenkins Jr. tore the heart out of the Bison’s chest, but the loss was a key step on NDSU’s path to the Summit League title.
TS: Well, it can’t be any event that took place in South Dakota. I was a solid 0-4 in events that I covered in the Lesser Dakota.
I did go 1-0 in Iowa, however, and that was just crazy.
The 2016 Bison-Hawkeyes game was my first road trip to cover NDSU athletics. Myself and my good friend Casey McCarty, the News Editor turned photographer for this trip, took the drive to Iowa City for the game.
Despite listening to all of Casey’s crime stats for a class project and him shouting “Iowa corn sucks” every five minutes, we eventually made it to Kinnick Stadium.
A football game ensued, Cam Pederson knocked through the game-winning field goal and that was the only moment I just sat back in by chair and said, “Wow.”
What is the one moment you will never forget?
TS: Not dying in Kansas driving back from Frisco. Wait, I wasn’t supposed to tell my mom about that.
But actually, this happened my freshman year. My first ever involvement with anything around the football team was going to the press conference for the spring coaching clinic.
The keynote speaker was Jerry Kill, freshly retired from the University of Minnesota. Personally, I was a fan of his when he was a Gopher, and he retired due to health issues.
But one of the questions I asked was how important the role of the coach is in these young players’ lives? I remember him getting emotional talking about how these teams are family and the coach is the father figure. It was just a reminder that some things are just bigger than sports.
TE: Four words: fiddle in the band. I’ll never forget when “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas” came on while the Bison trounced SDSU in this year’s semifinal.
It was the final sendoff for Chris Klieman and his first recruiting class at NDSU. It also wound up as the last football game I’d cover for the paper. The song will always be representative of what’s been an awesome three years covering Bison sports.
TS: But, Thomas, you are missing the best part of that press conference — NDSU President Dean Bresciani in a cowboy hat.