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Athletics News - December 2018

Pack Football Season Ends with 24-10 Loss at No. 1 Minnesota State

footballMANKATO, Minn. (Nov. 24, 2018) – The No. 9 Colorado State University-Pueblo football team's 2018 season came to an end Saturday in the second round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs with a 24-10 loss at No. 1 Minnesota State University, Mankato. 
 
The ThunderWolves close the season with an 11-2 overall record. The Pack totaled 10 or more wins for the sixth time in the last eight years, made their sixth NCAA Division II postseason appearance and won their seventh Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championship since 2011.
 
A 17-point second quarter and a touchdown in the first six minutes of the third put the Mavericks ahead 24-0. The Pack totaled just 90 yards in the first half, while MSU gathered 232. 
 
CSU-Pueblo scored the final 10 points, all in the third quarter. Senior Bernard McDondle (RB, Littleton, Colo.) capped a six-play, 66-yard drive with a 27-yard run to the paint with 6:50 left in the quarter. 
 
On the ensuing Maverick possession, senior corner Darius Williams' (Gilbert, Ariz.) second interception of the game handed the ball back to the Pack. The ThunderWolves drove down to the five-yard-line before being forced to kick of a 22-yard field goal off the foot of sophomore Mitchell Carter (K, Colorado Springs, Colo.). 
 
The Pack were able to get to midfield or into MSU territory on all five of their final possessions, but never closer than the 33-yard line to cut into the deficit. The fourth quarter went scoreless and the ThunderWovles would fall 24-10. 
 
In the end, the Mavericks would total 329 yards (97 in the second half) with a balanced 187 through the air and 142 on the ground. The Pack totaled 291 yards with a season-low 91 rushing. 
 
Both teams finished with three turnovers, as the Pack gathered three interceptions. Williams didn't have an interception during the regular season, but totaled three in two playoff games. In the loss Saturday he also added four pass break-ups with two tackles. 
 
Williams finished his career with 17 interceptions to rank tied for second all-time at CSU-Pueblo with Taylor. 
 
The Pack finished the season with 28 interceptions, one shy of the program record of 29, set by the 2014 team (played 15 games). In all, the Pack produced 45 turnovers. 
 
The ThunderWolves had eight tackles for loss in the game (-23 yards). The Pack entered the game leading NCAA Division II in the category and finished the season with 136 tackles for loss, which resulted in 505 lost yards for their opponents. 
 
Junior Jackson Wibbels (DE, Colorado Springs, Colo.) led the team with nine tackles (five solo) and two tackles for loss (-5 yards). Junior safety Tanner Draper (Amarillo, Texas) also compiled nine tackles (four solo) with one tackle for loss (-2 yards). Junior corner Emery Taylor (Aurora, Colo.) gathered eight tackles (two solo.). 
 
Senior inside linebacker Brandon Payer (Pine, Colo.) had four tackles (two solo) to total 102 this season and record three consecutive seasons with 100-plus tackles. He closed his decorated career with 374 tackles, which is a modern era (since 2008) record and ranks second all-time in program history. His 53 tackles for loss was also second in program lore. 
 
Senior quarterback Brandon Edwards (Bothell, Wash.) recorded a career-high 45 passing attempts. He was 18-for-45 for 172 yards and after throwing just one interception all season (week three), had two picks. Multiple drops in a cold game affected Edward's completion percentage where temperatures were in the low 30's. 
 
Senior Kevin Ribarich (Pueblo, Colo.) was the top receiver with five receptions for 55 yards. Senior John Todd (San Diego, Calif.) also brought in five receptions to total 41 yards. 
 
The run game was slowed by the Mavericks defense (ranked No. 8 nationally in rush defense). McDondle was the lead rusher with 66 yards on seven carries (9.4 ypc) and a score. 
 
McDondle finished his career with 2,816 rushing yards to rank fourth all-time at CSU-Pueblo. Senior Marché Dennard (Phoenix, Ariz.) posted 28 yards in the game and closed his collegiate career with 2,561 yards to rank fifth. 
 
CSU-Pueblo is 6-5 all-time in NCAA Division II playoff games (doesn't include 2-1 record in 2015 due to self-reported NCAA violation). The Pack have played Minnesota State three times in the last five postseasons and all three times the Mavericks were ranked No. 1. The ThunderWolves are now 1-2 in those three meetings.

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CSU-Pueblo Football Adopts Hudson Hribar and his family

Hudson HribarHudson Hribar is a 9-year-old boy living in Pueblo, Colorado with his parents Kari and Chad, and brother, Grant. Although he's been battling Leukemia for the last two years, Hudson has faced many trials throughout his short lifetime. On Oct. 26, Kari shared Hudson's story of bravery with a room full of Colorado State University-Pueblo football players, coaches and staff, as the ThunderWolves adopted the Hribar Family through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation.  

Hudson was born with Down syndrome and without the four chambers of his heart fully developed. Hudson underwent surgery to repair his heart at only a few months old. Kari and her husband Chad have provided the best opportunities for their son to thrive, however they were faced with another obstacle when Hudson was diagnosed with Leukemia two years ago at the age of seven. Just a few weeks ago the ThunderWolves Football team was able to be part of the good news in Hudson's journey.  

"We're so grateful to Friends of Jaclyn for bringing us together and I'm excited to see what the future brings," Kari said

The Friends of Jaclyn Foundation is a non-profit organization which aims to improve the quality of life for children battling pediatric brain tumors and other childhood cancers by pairing them with local teams, clubs and community groups. Denis Murphy, Jaclyn's father and founder and president of the foundation, shared her story with CSU-Pueblo Football and the Hribar family as part of Hudson's "adoption" ceremony. Jaclyn was also 9-years-old when she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Through some mutual friends Jaclyn was paired with the Northwestern Women's Lacrosse team as she began to face her trials. Denis saw the strength and encouragement the team provided for his daughter and later decided to start an organization to do the same for other children facing similar medical diagnosis. 

"John Wristen, the head coach here, he's a leader," Denis said. "Leaders instill qualities into their players and the education and the athletics, as well as, the component that John is instilling upon them is going to give them a competitive advantage in life. They're going to make a difference and they already have today."

When Coach Wristen received the notification that there was a match for his team to be part of the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, he was excited and knew he needed to act fast. Wristen had known Murphy for six years through the Colorado Coaches for Charity and started communication with him right away. Murphy flew out from New York prior to the last home football game of the regular season for the ThunderWolves.  

"When I got the e-mail about three weeks ago of a young man that would fit the criteria of the Jaclyn Foundation, I jumped on it right away," Wristen said. "Now we've adopted a family to be part of the ThunderWolves."

Friday before the Oct. 27 game, the team interacted with Hudson, Grant and the family. They shared cake, Hudson and Grant took pictures by their own lockers in the Pack locker room and played on the field at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl. Saturday, gameday, Hudson was given the opportunity to spend the morning with the team for breakfast, pre-game and the Pack Walk to the stadium. Grant, Hudson's brother, was not to be forgotten either. The Jaclyn Foundation also has a "Safe on the Sidelines" program which includes siblings of a child with cancer. Grant was the Kick-Off Kid during the Senior Day and Military Appreciation game. Both Hudson and Grant entered the ThunderBowl through the inflatable wolfhead tunnel as the team came out for the game and were invited to watch from the sidelines.

"I think it will be great motivation for Hudson for years to come to be part of something like that," said Chad Hribar, Hudson's father. "It means a lot to see them both as happy as they are."

The adoption wasn't just for the weekend, but for life, as the Hribars were welcomed to the Pack Family.

"Hopefully we can give back. Part of our mission statement is to compete at a high level both on and off the field, but to learn to be humble and give back to this community and this is a great way to do it," Wristen said. "We have some great young men that just love having fun and making someone else smile. That's what's key, making someone else smile." 


Welcome to the New Look of GoThunderWolves.com!

Pack Athletics New WebsiteCSU-Pueblo Athletics has partnered with SIDEARM Sports to revitalize their website, www.gothunderwolves.com! The new website features a new brand and easy navigation for fans.

"We are extremely excited to partner with SIDEARM to launch a new look to the Pack Athletics website," said Associate Athletic Director for Communications, Dax Larson. "We worked hard to create a more fan-friendly environment for our digital audience and hope the new website enhances the coverage and accomplishments of our student-athletes and programs."


Feed the Wolves

The Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams are off to a great start!  Support the Pack by helping “Feed the Wolves” over the holiday breaks.

Because the regular season continues through the holiday break and the University is closed during this time, we must pay to feed our student-athletes.  You can imagine the financial burden our programs endure. With your help, we can provide our student-athletes with vital nutrition while saving resources in our operating and scholarship budget.

The CSU-Pueblo Athletic Department is reaching out to our fans and friends of basketball to be a part of our “Feed the Wolves” program. We are asking for your support of our teams or to give a gift to help offset our costs. (A donation of $100 will feed one student-athlete for a week during the holiday break.) We are extremely grateful for your support and we appreciate any gift you can make.

If you would like to participate in the “Feed the Wolves” program, you can donate online: http://1786.thankyou4caring.org/pages/general-donation-form---basketball

By phone, contact Racheal Morris at 719.549.2013 or email at racheal.morris@csupueblo.edu. You can mail it to:

CSU-Pueblo Foundation
Attn: Feed the Wolves
2200 Bonforte Blvd
Pueblo, CO 81001

For more CSU-Pueblo news, click here.
Click here to visit the CSU-Pueblo Athletics Home Page.
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