With our spring sports in full swing, there is a great deal to be excited about over the next several weeks. However, it will be a tall order to out-perform the month of March, which was a truly remarkable one for Pioneer Athletics, featuring several historic accomplishments by our student-athletes.
March began just as the swim season was coming to a close, and Head Coach Ben Loorz’s squad capped it off impressively. For the third straight year, the Pioneers were recognized as a Scholar All America Team by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America for their 3.28 collective team grade point average. The East Bay swimmers then traveled to Birmingham, Ala. to compete in the NCAA Division II National Championships for the first time since 1992. In the four-day event, the Pioneers competed in eight races and reached the finals in five of them.
The 200 freestyle relay team of Caitlin Denise, Jenel Lopez, Erica Crain, and Brittany Rojo placed eighth in the nation, earning all four swimmers All-American honors. Denise and Lopez were also named Honorable Mention All-American thanks to their individual finishes in the 100 butterfly and 200 freestyle, respectively. The team also swam in the 400 and 800 freestyle relay B Finals, setting a new school record in the 400 and gathering additional Honorable Mention All-American accolades in the process.
The swimmers weren’t the only ones to reach new heights this past month; the East Bay baseball team is having its best season since we joined the CCAA four years ago. Following a three-game sweep of Holy Names, the Pioneers are 22-8 for the season and 19-4 at home. They climbed to the No. 4 ranking in the March 25 West Region Top-10 Poll conducted by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
The baseball team also earned a spot in the Collegiate Baseball National Top-30 Poll for the first time since 1977. They have been ranked for two consecutive weeks and reached the No. 22 spot in the Mar. 18 poll. In addition, two baseball student-athletes were recognized with weekly awards in the last month. Sean Becker, for the second time this season, was named both CCAA and West Region Pitcher of the Week after his his complete game victory over No. 10 Chico State on Mar. 9. Two weeks later, Charlie Sharrer batted .692 with two home runs in the series against Holy Names, earning the senior both CCAA and West Region Player of the Week honors as well.
The CSUEB golfers have also had a successful spring season thus far. The men’s team placed second at their home tournament, the first annual Tim Tierney Pioneer Shootout at Hiddenbrooke Country Club in Vallejo. Matt Lee finished as the individual champion, and as a result, was named CCAA Golfer of the Week on Mar. 6. The following week, the Pioneers played their best event of the year, winning the team championship at the Argonaut Invitational, hosted by Notre Dame de Namur at Poppy Ridge Golf Club in Livermore. Chris Herzog was the top individual golfer, and he too earned CCAA Golfer of the Week honors in the process.
Not to be out-done, the women’s golf team followed up their victory at the Tim Tierney Pioneer Shootout with an impressive second-place finish at the Chico State Invitational, hosted at Canyon Oaks Country Club. The Pioneers were led by junior Andrea Castellanos, who finished second in the overall field at Chico and third in our home tournament.
A perennial contender, our women’s water polo team has won eight of its last 11 games and sits right in the thick of the WWPA race. So far this year, the squad has played nine games against Division I schools and seven games against teams ranked in the top-20 nationally. Kate McAfee tops the WWPA in assists, while Sara Hudyn leads the conference in goals after netting a season-high nine scores against Cal State San Bernardino.
The men’s and women’s track teams hosted an event at Pioneer Stadium for the first time in over a decade, welcoming in San Jose State for a dual meet. The men, led by Gavin Ramos and Will Weekes, were victorious in every one of their nine events. Both teams followed that up by competing well the next week against Division I opponents at the Hornet Invitational, hosted by Sacramento State.
On the softball diamond, the Pioneers picked up a victory against UC San Diego after winning twice against No. 18 Sonoma State. The team will kick off the month of April by competing in the annual Mizuno Tournament of Champions, hosted by Cal State Stanislaus, which is always a fun event.
In addition to our exciting spring sports action, we’re just over a month away from our 17th annual Cal State East Bay Golf Classic and dinner. The event will take place on Monday, May 13 at TPC Stonebrae in Hayward, a gorgeous course just up the hill. The entry fee supports the Richard and Susan Sherratt Athletic Scholarship Endowment and includes greens fees, golf cart, polo shirt, team and individual awards, tournament gift bag, lunch, and dinner. If you are not a golfer, please join us and enjoy the benefit dinner, which will feature both a silent auction and raffle.
Sponsorship opportunities are also available for both individuals and businesses at a wide range of levels. All proceeds from the tournament, dinner, raffle, and auction help provide Pioneer student-athletes with scholarships, so we appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you out at Stonebrae!
We’re also getting closer to the first annual Hayward Hills 5K at East Bay, which kicks off the golf classic weekend on Saturday, May 11. Pioneer Athletics will host a 5K run/walk, as well as a free “Fun Run” for kids ages 12 and under. The race will run through our beautiful campus, and afterwards there will be an expo with food and entertainment. Join us for what promises to be a fun-filled day, and help support the track and cross country teams.