This is an exciting time of year as our student-athletes, coaches and staff prepare for the start of competition in the fall athletics season. We look forward to seeing the campus bustling with students in the coming weeks, but until then, I’m proud of the work our student-athletes have put in during the summer to ready their bodies and minds for an excellent year in the classroom, in their community and in competition.
August was a particularly eventful for the Pioneer baseball team, which had the tremendous privilege of traveling to Japan for a week of cultural immersion and friendly competition with the Fukuoka Institute of Technology (FIT). During the last week in August, 26 baseball players had a chance to stay in the FIT dorms, play six games against the FIT collegiate team, sight-see in the city of Fukuoka and attend local events like a judo exhibition and a professional baseball game. FIT was a gracious host, and the trip was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many of our student-athletes. It was a unique opportunity for them to act as ambassadors for the University and grow as citizens of the world.
Pioneer fans can get a firsthand account of the team’s activities in Japan by reading senior baseball player Kenny Uyetake’s blog posts. FIT also posted online a wonderful photo album of all the major events of the trip.
Not every summer features our student-athletes competing in a foreign country, but one thing that always happens this time of year is the release of post season academic awards. 2012-13 was an outstanding year for Pioneer Athletics, with nine of our teams and 57 percent of our student-athletes accumulating grade points averages of 3.0 or higher.
At the beginning of August, the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) announced the 2012-13 All-Academic award winners, honoring 37 Pioneer student-athletes who represent all 12 of the University’s CCAA-sponsored sports. Then, at the end of the month, 25 of our student-athletes received Academic Achievement Awards from the Division II Athletics Directors Association. I’m proud of what our student-athletes accomplished in the classroom this past year, and I expect them to strive for further excellence in 2013-14.
The start of the fall season is nearly upon us. The Pioneer men’s soccer team will kick things off with their home opener on Thursday, Sept. 5 against Simon Fraser University. After that, we launch into a busy month that features nine home soccer games, eight home volleyball matches, and three cross country meets.
Be sure to mark your calendars for the weekend of Sept. 13-15. The men’s and women’s soccer teams play their first home CCAA games of the year against Chico State and Cal State San Bernardino. Meanwhile, the volleyball team is co-hosting the Route 92 Showdown at Pioneer Gym and will play four matches on Friday and Saturday. I hope to see you all out there, and go Pioneers!