With the Seattle University athletic teams about to begin play within their new conference, starting with the volleyball team hosting New Mexico State Thursday, Sept. 13, at the Connolly Center, GoSeattleU.com is featuring a series of 10 articles introducing Redhawk fans to the 2012-13 membership of the Western Athletic Conference. This is the first in the series of stories about the current WAC schools.
Besides the 10 full members of the Western Athletic Conference, several schools participate within the league as affiliate members in the sports of gymnastics, women's swimming and diving, and baseball. Because Seattle University does not offer gymnastics as a varsity sport, this article will concentrate on the teams the Redhawks will face in women's swimming and baseball.
Women's Swimming - CSU Bakersfield
The CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners finished in seventh place at the 2012 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships in Monterey Park, Calif. Soon after being accepted as an affiliate member of the WAC, CSU Bakersfield finished what CollegeSwimming.com calls a recruiting class to watch, led by Oregon State transfers Allison Gillespie and Delise Batiza. Chris Hansen is the director of swimming at CSU Bakersfield, entering his second season of overseeing the women's squad. Returning seniors Lily Donohue and Jordan Reed will bring experience to the pool for the Roadrunners. CSU Bakersfield will host Seattle University at the Hillman Aquatics Complex in Bakersfield, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 20, and then the two schools will face off at the WAC Swimming and Diving Championships Feb. 27-March 2 in San Antonio, Texas.
Women's Swimming - North Dakota
The University of North Dakota enters its second year as an affiliate member of the WAC in women's swimming, finishing in eighth place at the 2012 Western Athletic Conference Championships. There were five seniors on last year's swimming and diving roster, meaning that many North Dakota student-athletes who competed at the conference meet last year return to give this year's squad a significant experience factor. Steven Parsons is back for his fourth season as head coach of the North Dakota women's swim program. Seattle U and North Dakota, which went through the Division I reclassification process at the same time, will see each other in the pool Jan. 18-19 as part of back-to-back meets hosted by Air Force in Colorado Springs, Colo., before meeting again at the WAC Championships Feb. 27-March 2.
Women's Swimming - Northern Arizona
Northern Arizona is coming off a second-place finish at the 2012 Western Athletic Conference Championships with 622 points, behind only conference champion San Jose State. The Lumberjacks were led by five-time WAC Diver of the Week Kristy Ardavanis, who will enter her senior season, as well as returning juniors Rachel Palmer, Jordan Burnes, and Emma Lowther and senior Fi Connell, who has won the WAC title in the 200 backstroke three straight times. Andy Johns enters his 17th season as head coach of the Lumberjacks, who have been an affiliate member of the WAC in women's swimming and diving since the 2004-05 season. Seattle U and Northern Arizona will compete against each other at the WAC Swimming and Diving Championships Feb. 27-March 2 in San Antonio, Texas.
Women's Swimming - Northern Colorado
The Northern Colorado Bears move to the WAC from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, where they finished in a tie for eighth place at last year's conference championships. Kelly McClanahan is entering her fourth year as head coach of the Bears swimming and diving program. Northern Colorado will have a very experienced squad for the 2012-13 campaign, as the Bears lost only three seniors to graduation from the 2011-12 team. Senior diver Sara Moldenhauer and junior swimmers Gina Riggle and Courtney Van Oost will lead the way for the Bears this upcoming season. Seattle U and Northern Colorado will not see each other in the pool until the WAC Championships in San Antonio, Texas, Feb. 27-March 2.
Baseball - CSU Bakersfield
The CSU Bakersfield baseball squad finished the 2012 season with a 25-30 overall record as a Division I independent. The program has been in existence for only four competitive seasons, but the Roadrunners have quickly established a respected program, including a 33-22 record in 2011. Bill Kernen has been the head coach of the Roadrunners since it was established in 2007. Oscar Sanay led the team with a .312 batting average in 2012, while Cael Brockmeyer led the squad with six home runs and 32 runs batted in. On the mound, Jeff McKenzie posted a 6-5 record with a 2.67 earned run average and 69 strikeouts in 107 2/3 innings of work. All three players mentioned above are eligible to return for the 2013 campaign. Seattle U will make the trip to Bakersfield for a three-game series against the Roadrunners during the spring season.
Baseball - Dallas Baptist
The Dallas Baptist Patriots enter the Western Athletic Conference after eight seasons as a Division I independent which included trips to the NCAA Tournament in 2008, 2011, and 2012. The Patriots advanced to the Super Regional in 2011 and to the regional title game last season. Dallas Baptist will open Joan and Andy Horner Ballpark at the start of the 2013 season, an improvement on the current ballpark. Dan Heefner enters his sixth season as head coach of the Patriot program. Boomer Collins batted .374 in 2012 with 13 home runs, 58 runs batted in, 37 walks, and 15 stolen bases. Taylor Massey went 9-4 with a 3.10 earned run average and 76 strikeouts in 87 innings of work. Collins enters his senior season, while Massey graduated. Seattle U makes its second trip to Dallas Baptist in three years for a three-game WAC series during the 2013 campaign.
Baseball - Sacramento State
The Sacramento State Hornets have been an affiliate member of the Western Athletic Conference in baseball since the 2006 season after previously playing in the WAC from 1993 to 1996. In 2012, Sacramento State posted a 31-28 overall record, including an 11-7 record within the Western Athletic Conference, good enough for a tie for first place with New Mexico State and Nevada in the final conference standings. The Hornets advanced to the WAC Tournament title game before losing to Fresno State in 13 innings, 4-3. Outfielder Rhys Hoskins, the WAC Freshman of the Year, led the team with a .353 batting average, 10 home runs, and 53 runs batted in. Senior second baseman Andrew Ayers also returns for the Hornets after earning WAC Player of the Year honors. Reggie Christiansen enters his third season as head coach at Sacramento State, coming off his own honor as WAC Coach of the Year. Seattle U will host Sacramento State in a three-game series during the 2013 baseball season.