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Deconstructing Drew: Sannes has made her mark on Dragons program

Minnesota State University Moorhead senior Drew Sannes. David Samson / The Forum1 / 4
Minnesota State University Moorhead's Drew Sannes works for an opening against Minnesota-Crookston at Alex Nemzek. David Samson / The Forum2 / 4
Minnesota State University Moorhead's Drew Sannes shoots against Minnesota-Crookston at Alex Nemzek. David Samson / The Forum3 / 4
Minnesota State University Moorhead's Drew Sannes shoots against the University of Sioux Falls at Alex Nemzek. David Samson / The Forum4 / 4

Moorhead

Minnesota State Moorhead senior Drew Sannes can be an imposing physical presence on the basketball court with her 6-foot-3 frame and long arms, which have helped her set the women's program record for career blocked shots.

Her personality is much less intimidating.

"She's very shy at first," said Dragons junior guard Jacky Volkert. "Once you get to know her, once you break some of those layers, she's incredibly funny."

One example of her wit: Sannes has been a longtime fan of the animated television series "SpongeBob SquarePants." Sannes seems to have a "SpongeBob" quote for every situation, Volkert said with a laugh.

"You are always laughing when you are around her," added Dragons senior Cassidy Thorson. "She always has sarcastic things to say."

The soft-spoken Sannes and the Dragons play host to St. Cloud State at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play. MSUM (21-3, 18-2 NSIC) has won 15 consecutives games heading into the final weekend of the regular season.

The Dragons host Minnesota-Duluth at 4 p.m. Saturday to close out the regular season.

"It's really weird," said Sannes, a fifth-year senior from Hawley, Minn. "Coming in, it's like you have the whole world ahead of you, and it just flies by. Now it's here and it's weird. You have to cherish every day, even the practices."

Sannes has scored 1,225 points and blocked 217 shots in her MSUM career with two games remaining in her final regular season in the program. She's averaging 13.9 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots through 24 games.

When asked what first comes to mind when someone brings up Sannes, Dragons head coach Karla Nelson didn't talk about her notable statistics.

"Quality person," Nelson said. "She would be the first person to go help somebody. She's a great teammate. Very unselfish."

Sannes volunteers at GiGi's Playhouse in Fargo, a Down syndrome achievement center. Once a month, she helps with "Fantastic Friends," a program for teens and adults. Sannes said one of her best friends in Hawley since kindergarten has Down syndrome so it was a natural fit for her to volunteer at GiGi's.

"I want to be around people who have such a joy for life," Sannes said.

Sannes, who has already earned her bachelor's degree in business administration, is set to earn her Master of Business Administration in the spring.

Thorson is also one of Sannes' roommates. Thorson said Sannes is always the one making sure the bills are paid on time and making sure household chores like the dishes are done.

"She's like our mom, I say," Thorson said. "She's a good role model for us for sure. She's always just on top of things. She's very timely."

Sannes said this season has been more difficult than her previous ones with the Dragons, due to the high expectations. MSUM was the preseason favorite to win the NSIC.

After some early-season setbacks, the Dragons haven't lost a game since Dec. 15. They can tie the program's longest winning streak with a win against St. Cloud State on Friday.

"This season has been different. It has been a lot harder than the rest," Sannes said. "What I've loved is this team has risen to the occasion thus far."

Sannes has already left her imprint with the Dragons.

"I think overall her body of work has meant a lot to the program," Nelson said. "She's definitely made her mark here. There's still time to make a greater mark."

That mark hasn't only been made on the court.

"You can tell how good a person she is because of the amount of people who come to watch her play," Nelson said. "I think there are a lot of people that root for her because she is a terrific person."

Eric Peterson
Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.

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