2011 - Another unforgettable year for Viking Athletics!
Dec. 21, 2011
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Men's pole vaulter Ryan Brown and women's distance runner Sarah Porter ended their magnificent careers with history-making performances and the women's rowing team won a seventh straight national championship to highlight an unforgettable calendar year of 2011 for the Western Washington University athletics program.
Brown won national pole vault titles at the NCAA Division II National Championships for indoor and outdoor track and field, both for the second straight year. At nationals, his first-place indoor mark was 17-2 3/4 and his outdoor mark was 17-1 3/4.
Porter took the national outdoor title in the 10,000 meters, her winning time of 33:17.39 being the best of the year for any NCAA division. She also placed second in the outdoor 5,000 and was third in the national indoor 5,000.
Porter won or shared WWU Female Athlete of the Year honors for the third straight year last spring, and Brown was the school's Male Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive time. They also were the Great Northwest Athletic Conference men's and women's Athletes of the Year.
Heading the Vikings' team achievements was women's rowing, which won its seventh straight NCAA II national crown, the longest streak by any school in any division. WWU, which was ranked No.1 nationally all season long, dominated both the four and eight grand finals at nationals. Earlier in the season all four of its entries won grand finals at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship Regatta.
Three members of the varsity eight received Collegiate Coaches Rowing Association All-America recognition with coxswain Samantha Oberholzer and stroke Siri Carlson being first-team picks and Casey Mapes receiving second-team recognition. John Fuchs was named WIRA Coach of the Year.
WWU placed seventh among 310 NCAA II schools in the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup national all-sports standings for 2010-11, extending its string of top 10 finishes to three. It was the second highest finish in school history, the best being sixth. And the Vikings won a third straight and seventh overall GNAC all-sports championship.
In all, the Vikings had eight athletes earn GNAC Athlete of the Year recognition in 2011. Brown and Porter were picked in both indoor and outdoor track and field. WWU began 2011 by winning the GNAC regular-season title in women's basketball. Carmen Dolfo was the league and West Region Coach of the Year, directing the Vikings to a 26-4 record, and guard Amanda Dunbar was a second-team Division II Bulletin All-American and GNAC Player of the Year.
WWU placed 21st and 31st, respectively, in the men's and women's divisions at indoor nationals. Brown earned USTFCCCA National Male Field Athlete of the Year honors.
The Vikings enjoyed one of their most dominant spring sports campaigns. Besides the national rowing title, they tied for sixth at nationals in women's outdoor track. Besides Porter's heroics, Monika Gruszecki won her second national title in the javelin with a school-record throw of 163-6. WWU also placed 28th at nationals in men's track.
The WWU women's golf team placed 11th at nationals, Sophie Elstrott receiving honorable mention National Golf Coaches Association All-America recognition and GNAC Athlete of the Year. Both the women's and men's links squads won GNAC titles with Bo Stephan and Steve Card being the respective conference Coaches of the Year. Dylan Goodwin was the GNAC men's Golfer of the Year and a third-team Golf Coaches Association of America PING All-American.
The Viking softball team, directed by first-year coach Amy Suiter, was ranked as high as No.6 nationally as it finished 36-16 and reached the West Sub-Regional. Suiter earned GNAC Coach of the Year honors and pitcher Erika Quint was the league's Pitcher of the Year, being ranked 10th nationally in both wins and strikeouts.
This fall, despite graduating four All-Americans in 2010, WWU placed 10th in the men's division and 12th in the women's division at the NCAA II National Cross Country Championships. It was the fourth straight top 10 finish for the Viking men.
WWU had a 10-5-3 record in women's soccer, going unbeaten in its last five games (4-0-1), all of them shutouts. Goalkeeper Jamie Arthurs tied a school record she already shared with one other player, notching 11 shutouts. The Vikings ended the season with a scoreless stretch of 476 minutes and 43 seconds.
Although struggling this season, the WWU men's soccer team had one of the biggest performances of the year, twice coming back to tie nationally No.1-ranked Simon Fraser, 2-2 in overtime, and end the Clans' unbeaten streak at 16.
This fall, the WWU golf teams have both gotten off to outstanding starts. The men are ranked ninth nationally, winning two and placing among the top three in all five of their tournaments. The women are 12th nationally and have won or tied for first in the last three of their four tourneys.
The WWU men's basketball team, which missed out by one ballot point of being rated in the latest National Association of Basketball Coaches/NCAA II Top 25, is off to 11-2 start with three wins over nationally ranked opponents. Head coach Brad Jackson is just two wins shy of reaching the 500 plateau, which would make him just the fifth men's collegiate coach in the state of Washington to reach that figure.
The Viking women hoopsters, despite having only one senior, have won seven of their first 10 games, winning both the Lynda Goodrich Classic and the Great Western Shootout.
And WWU accomplished all this while maintaining rates 14 to 15 percentage points higher than the national averages in both the federally mandated graduation rate and the NCAA Academic Success Rate.
|Email this article||Printer-friendly format|