Director of Athletics Debby De Angelis.
Summer has arrived on campus and although things have slowed down in the Athletics Department, we are already getting ready for an exciting 2012-13 season. In addition, the honors are still rolling in for our amazing student-athletes after a great first season as an active member of NCAA Division II.
The water polo team continues to grab the spotlight following their best-ever finish at WWPA Championships. First, junior Claire Pierce became the first Pioneer to earn Capital One Academic All-America honors since our return to Division II in 2009-10. One of the top scorers in the nation this season, Claire also shines in the classroom, posting a 3.79 grade point average as a kinesiology major. She was one of just two water polo players to earn a spot on the Division II Academic All-America Team and was the only WWPA student-athlete to earn the honors.
If the Academic All-America honors weren’t enough for Pioneer water polo, the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches followed up by honoring three East Bay players as Division II All-Americans. Both Claire and senior goalie Jayme Pekarske earned a spot on the Division II All-America First Team, while senior driver Erica Crain was named to the All-America Second Team. The trio guided the team to a program best third-place finish at WWPA Championships and seven wins against Division I opponents during the 2012 campaign. The honors mark the first time since 2009 that the Pioneers have had three players earn All-America status and gave East Bay the most All-America selections from any school in Division II.
In addition to celebrating the graduation of our Pioneer seniors during last month’s commencement ceremonies, we were also excited to have a Pioneer Hall of Famer and major benefactor honored with an honorary doctorate. Former Pioneer baseball player and local entrepreneur Rich Sherratt was recognized by the College of Business and Economics at its June 16 commencement ceremony. A member of the 2002 Cal State East Bay Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Class, Rich played baseball for the Pioneers in 1968 and 1969, pitching as both a starter and a reliever.
In addition, Rich and his wife Susan created the Richard and Susan Sherratt Athletic Scholarship Endowment, the university's first scholarship endowment for student-athletes. With their $25,000 gift in 2009, the Sherratts established the endowment which annually provides scholarship money for a number of Pioneer student-athletes. Each year since its inception, the endowment has grown thanks to contributions from Sherratt, other Pioneer alumni and proceeds from the annual Cal State East Bay Athletics Golf Tournament. We are proud to have Rich as an alumnus, Hall of Famer and friend to Pioneer athletics.
This past year saw our teams reach two NCAA regionals and compete at five conference championships in just our first season of eligibility for the postseason in Division II. In addition, our student-athletes collected three All-America certificates and earned seven all-region selections. We also had two CCAA Freshman of the Year honorees, 16 student-athletes named to all-conference teams and eight collect conference Player of the Week honors, while a pair earned Capital One Academic All-District recognition.
While we are excited and proud of all the success we’ve found during this first year of competition as an active member in Division II, we are even more excited for next year. We love building on the Pioneer tradition of excellence and we are working hard to make sure we continue that trend next season and beyond and we can’t wait to bring our fans and the Cal State East Bay community along with us on the journey.
In the meantime, enjoy your summer and go Pioneers!