The Valdosta Daily Times
Look out Title Town, another trophy is coming to town.
Valdosta State’s athletic department was awarded a seventh Gulf South Conference Men’s All-Sports Trophy Tuesday, sharing the honor with West Florida.
The tie between VSU and West Florida marked the first time in the GSC’s 42-year history that a pair of schools shared the honor. Both schools finished the athletic season with 29.5 points, based on the conference’s point system that gauges athletic success.
“If you play near or at the top of the Gulf South Conference, in any sport, then you are having a good year in that sport because that is how difficult the conference is,” Valdosta State athletic director Herb Reinhard said. “So for our men’s programs to share the trophy with West Florida, and they have a very fine athletic program at West Florida, I am OK with that. That is a great honor. I think West Florida has won it the last two years, so it is good to get back to the top. I don’t mind sharing it.”
While the Blazer football won the Division II national championship in 2012, it was the Blazer baseball and basketball teams that earned the most points for Valdosta State. The Blazer baseball team earned the maximum eight points for winning the GSC championship last week.
Valdosta State had trailed West Florida by 4.5 points entering the baseball tournament before the Blazers reeled off four wins, including two over Delta State.
“That is exciting. I’m excited about that,” Reinhard said. “Baseball got us over the hump. Kudos to baseball for getting us there.”
The Blazer basketball team was the second largest earner of points on the season with seven, finishing second in the GSC men’s basketball tournament in March.
Valdosta State’s football team earned four points, finishing second to West Alabama in the GSC race, while cross country and golf each earned three points. Men’s tennis earned 4.5 points.
“That is awesome,” Reinhard continued. “I am very excited for this athletic program.”
West Florida claimed the Women’s All-Sports Trophy, winning five of the seven GSC championships and earning 41.5 points. Valdosta State was fourth with 27 points, eight of which came from softball’s GSC title win earlier this month.
The Blazer baseball team faces Delta State in the South Region Tournament Thursday at 3 p.m. in Tampa, Fla., while the softball team hosts rival Alabama-Huntsville in the South Super Regional Friday night at 6 p.m.
“I think this is probably one of the largest single weekends we’ve had in a while at Valdosta State,” Reinhard said. “We have two major sports that are playing for significant national honors. Softball is working their way to a possible defense of their national championship....And I really think the Valdosta community will have a lot to say on who wins the Super Regional because these teams are very evenly matched. Heck, I’m not even the softball coach and I know Alabama-Huntsville like the back of my hand.
“And then baseball goes down to Tampa and we get to play Delta State for the sixth time in a few weeks, and if you make the regional in the South Region that says something, because there is no doubt that the South is the hardest baseball region in the country,” Reinhard continued. “That is a tremendous honor. And with how well this baseball team is playing, I don’t think anyone wants to line up against them right now.”