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Eric Peterson, Published February 24 2011

Concordia star Bauernfeind deals with college life while husband serves in Iraq

The routine interactions are often what newlywed Maggie Bauernfeind misses the most with her husband in Iraq.

“Not being able to call him when I want to, or when I need him,” said Bauernfeind. “That, and just seeing everyone else and their significant others. They get to go and hug their boyfriend after a game, and it’s like, ‘I don’t even get to call mine.’ ”

The Concordia women’s basketball senior married David Shaffer, her high school sweetheart, last October. Shortly after that, he left for Iraq, where he is serving as a medic in the Army.

“You have bad days and you have good days,” said Bauernfeind, who is from Rosemount, Minn.

“Basketball helps me keep my mind off of it and it gives me a focus. I’m dreading basketball being done, because I think it’s going to be a lot harder for me.”

Concordia (19-6) can take a step toward extending its season tonight, hosting St. Benedict at 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Auditorium in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference semifinals. The MIAC title game is Saturday. The winner of the conference playoffs earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament.

“We know it’s hard being away from her husband, and we can’t really know exactly what she’s going through,” said Cobbers senior center Ali Demmer, who is also Bauernfeind’s roommate. “But, we are always there to listen and give her encouragement.”

Bauernfeind changed her last name to Shaffer, but she uses her maiden name for basketball “for stats and stuff, just to keep it all the same,” she said.

Bauernfeind is the No. 2 scorer for the Cobbers, averaging 12.4 points per game. She recently eclipsed 1,000 career points. She said David was tracking the live stats for the game she scored her 1,000th career point.

Bauernfeind uses Skype – for video calls – and also Facebook to stay connected with her husband, who is set to come home for a two-week leave in May.

“She lets it get to her when she has everything done,” Demmer said. “When she has free time, she will vent to us or bake or anything like that. It gets to her, but she is really good at getting through stuff.”

Bauernfeind said having a support system, like her basketball teammates, has helped.

“I know I could trust in them and they were there for me on and off the court,” Bauernfeind said. “I never had to use them before for life situations.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com