April 19, 2017
SEATTLE, Wash. – The 2016 NCAA Division II National Champion Western Washington University Women's Soccer team was honored by the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday evening at Safeco Field with senior defender Erin Russell delivering the ceremonial first pitch.
The Vikings were recognized on the field prior to Tuesday’s Mariners game vs. the Miami Marlins with game highlights shown on MarinersVision along with coach, athletic trainer and player introductions. Russell (Brier, WA/Mountlake Terrace HS) threw the ceremonial first pitch to reigning American League player of the week James Paxton.
The trip to Safeco Field continued a strong tradition of WWU programs being recognized by the Mariners, with the women’s soccer team joining the 2013 men’s and women’s basketball teams, the 2012 men’s basketball national championship team, the 2007 women’s volleyball team that reached the national championship game and the women’s rowing program that was honored several times during the string of seven consecutive national championships from 2005-2011.
The Vikings were crowned the national champions after beating three-time defending national champion Grand Valley State 3-2 on December 3 at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Missouri. In addition to winning the first national championship in program history and the 10th team title in WWU history, the Vikings completed an undefeated 24-0-1 season that included winning a record fifth consecutive Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular-season title and a fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA II Tournament. Over the last five seasons the program has combined to go 100-9-7 (.892), the second-best winning percentage in Division II.