Sports Update – Spring 2018
The inaugural season of Ryne Lightfoot ’10, ’13, was a successful one, finishing with 22 wins, the second-most in a coach’s first year in program history, and the program’s 15th trip to the NAIA Division II Men’s National Basketball Championship. Lightfoot became the second-quickest coach in Crossroads League history to achieve 20 career wins (in just 27 games) and senior Gage Ott finished his career All-Conference, with NAIA and NCCAA All-American honors, becoming the only player in program history with at least 1,500 points, 500 rebounds, 100 blocks, and a .600 field goal percentage for his career.
Women’s Basketball (2)
The team finished their season at 7-23 overall, highlighted by junior Kamala Glenn being recognized with a Crossroads League Honorable Mention. Glenn was one of 10 players in the NAIA to average 16.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 2.0 steals per game. Freshman Kelsey Brickner was named to the All-Freshman team with 10.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. Senior Kaitlyn Elsasser finished her career at fifth in program history for blocks (with 82) and 14th in program history for rebounds (with 558).
Men’s Indoor Track & Field (3, 4)
Senior Erik Escobedo and junior Jordan Downs rewrote the record books in the weight throw and long jump, respectively. The two won national championships in both the NCCAA and NAIA championship meets, while Escobedo broke two national records with a 21.12m throw in the NCCAA meet, followed by a 21.73m throw at the NAIA meet – also a program record. Escobedo was named the Outstanding Performer of the meet, the highest individual honor one can receive. Downs set the program record in the long jump with a 7.96m mark. Overall, the men finished the indoor season with five NAIA All-Americans and two individual national champions; 12 NCCAA All-Americans and five individual national champions — Escobedo for weight throw and shot put, Downs for long jump, Jamique Mitchell for the 60m dash and Ezra Griffith for the heptathlon.
Women’s Indoor Track and Field (5)
The women continued their outstanding performance during indoor season as freshman Kelsey Heitzman won the individual NCCAA National Championship in the pole vault to headline 14 All- American performances at the NCCAA indoor meet. Junior Danielle Wojciechowski was named an NAIA All-American in the pole vault with a fourth-place finish. Wojciechowski set and broke her own school record in the pole vault, which now stands at 4.12m, the top mark in the NAIA. The women began their outdoor track season on March 24.
Coming off a 22-win season and their second 20-win season in as many years, the Pilots are looking to prove their “Cinderella” run in the Crossroads League tournament was no fluke. Sophomore Brandon Diss returns off a Gold Glove-winning season a year ago in the outfield, but the Pilots will have to find players to step up in the absence of All-Conference performers Heath Brooksher, Jared Laurent and Austin Branock. Seniors Eric Kelver, Jesse Zepeda, and Collin Affolder will look to carry the load offensively, combining for 20 doubles and 68 RBIs last season. Junior Josh King and sophomores Kory Goodrich and Justin Rasmussen will lock their opponents down on the mound. The Pilots used a 4-0 fall record to propel them into spring, when they returned to action on Feb. 23, before opening up at Patterson Field on March 16.
Coach Scott Reese is looking for marked improvement over last season. Seniors Rachel Najdek, Victoria Ebersol, Mackenzie Orphanidis and Allena McElfresh will lead an eager squad featuring junior Hunter Brummett, the team’s leading hitter with a .290 average and six home runs a season ago. The Pilots opened their season on March 3, in The Spring Games in Clermont, Fla., before debuting at Gardner Field on March 14 against Grace.