It was a season of ups and downs for the University of Mary and first-year head coach Craig Bagnell.
The Marauders finished 1-10 for the fourth consecutive year but had an improved defense that finished third in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference with 23 takeaways.
“Not going to lie it’s definitely hard some days when you just don’t feel like practicing and the team hasn’t won a game,” UMary junior linebacker Grady Blewett said last week. “But my love for the game and most of all my love for my teammates made me look forward to practice everyday because the energy at practice on the defensive side was always intense and guys were pushing each other.”
Blewett was one of two UMary student-athletes named to to the Northern Sun Intercollegiate All-Conference Honorable Mention team on Nov. 15.
Along with Blewett, sophomore wide receiver Luke Little also earned the honor.
Blewett finished the season with a team-high 70 tackles and had a season-high 10 against Bemidji State.
“It’s definitely an honor to be recognized by the conference for my efforts this year,” the Bozeman, Mont., native said. “But most of all it makes me want to work even harder to make first team next year.”
Little played in five games as a freshman but saw the field more this year in UMary’s expanded passing offense.
The Bismarck, N.D., native led all wide outs with 657 receiving yards on 40 receptions and four touchdowns. Little’s longest catch of the season was 75-yards against Northern State and his season-high receiving yards came against BSU where he finished with 199 yards. Two of his four touchdowns in UMary’s lone victory over the Golden Eagles.
“It really means a lot to me to get that recognition at the end of the year,” Little said Sunday. “We put in a lot of time and work into preparing ourselves for every season so knowing that didn’t go unnoticed means a lot and motivates me even more going into next year.”
Both Blewett and Little think they have room for improvement. This offseason Blewett will be working on becoming a better leader and his pass rushing skills.
“I’m just thankful I have one more year in this system to add to my skill set,” he added. “And hopefully do some great things for this program next year.”
Little would like to put on more healthy weight and fine tune his route running ability.
“I definitely have a long way to go until I’m where I want to be,” Little added. “I think that starts with focusing on the little details.”
The Marauders lose nine seniors to graduation but welcome back a lot of quality student-athletes who will get another year to find success in UMary’s new system.