Nothing beats defeating your rival. Well, let me rephrase that: Nothing beats defeating your rival over and over again.
Tonight both Montana basketball programs defeated Montana State, securing a season sweep resulting in a 4-0 combined record by the Griz and Lady Griz over the Bobcats this basketball season. It is a testament to blank a rival school on the hardwood, let alone the utter domination I am about to explain.
Besides just basketball, Grizzly teams this season went undefeated against Montana State in revenue-generating sports (football, volleyball, and basketball). With the two volleyball victories during the 2013 season and the BIG football win in November added with the 4-0 basketball record the Montana Grizzlies came out with a spotless 7-0 record against MSU.
But by no doubt the most satisfying exclamation point at the end of the #GrizCat rivalry came over this past weekend. With both the men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams finishing ahead of Montana State at the Big Sky Conference championships our athletic department wrapped up the title for the inaugural Blue Cross Blue Shield/Town Pump Brawl of the Wild year-long competition.
This athletic season the Griz and Bobcats entered into a competition that incorporated the 13 different sports that both schools have. I won’t get into all the small details but each time we face off against Montana State in a game or meet, points are at stake. There are 16 different competitions with 17 points up for grabs. By Saturday evening Grizzly Athletics had already reached the magic number of 9 thanks to the efforts of our indoor track teams.
Tonight the lead stretched even more. First the Lady Griz defeated Montana State in Bozeman. Then, just a couple minutes later the Griz dropped the Bobcats 53-50 here in Missoula. It was an awesome game to work with a loud and engaged crowd. When the clock read zeroes on the Dahlberg Arena scoreboard the other scoreboard keeping track of the year-long rivalry showed 11-2 in favor of the Maroon and Silver.
As I have said in previous blog posts, a healthy rivalry makes everyone work harder. I do all I can to make sure the areas I oversee triumph over the equivalent areas at MSU. My co-workers do the same. But in the end the ultimate victory is when our student-athletes dominate our friends from Bozeman. After all, this phenomenon called intercollegiate athletics is 100% about the student-athletes. Without them I wouldn’t have a job. Without them there would be a lot of people both young and old looking around for inspiration.
Congrats to all University of Montana student-athletes for really elevating Griz Nation in this state. What do you say we get those final four points still available in the competition? Go Griz! Don’t Blink.