Southern Utah College lastly opened the 2020-21 season on Oct. 17 when the boys’s and ladies’s cross-country groups competed for the primary time in almost a yr. As extra sports activities joined in and had been capable of open their seasons, it was clear that the Thunderbirds had been greater than outfitted to deal with the challenges they confronted.
Regardless of the fixed COVID testing, cancellations, postponements and shortened seasons, Southern Utah Athletics put collectively certainly one of their most profitable seasons in current reminiscence.
The Thunderbirds received three Huge Sky Championships (two staff and one particular person) and despatched two groups and 12 people to compete for varied NCAA championships. They put 42 athletes on All-Convention groups, received two convention Coach of the Yr awards and 5 convention particular person participant awards. T-Hen groups went a mixed 42-14 (.750) when competing at dwelling, making Cedar Metropolis one of the vital troublesome locations for opponents to play.
Southern Utah completed within the prime 5 on either side of the Huge Sky All-Sport Trophy standings, with the boys ending in second place and the ladies ending in fifth place.
Every particular person staff broke information, set new requirements and proved that they’ve what it takes to compete with anybody within the nation.
The lads’s basketball staff received their first Huge Sky Convention Common Season Championship in program historical past, as they completed the season 12-2 in convention play. Their .857 profitable share towards Huge Sky groups blew out their earlier excessive of .450 from the season earlier than, and their general profitable share of .864 was the best in Southern Utah’s Division I historical past. In addition they went undefeated (14-0) at dwelling for the primary time since 2000-01.
Head coach Todd Simon was named Huge Sky Coach of the Yr and Nationwide Affiliation of Basketball Coaches Co-Coach of the Yr for District 6, and he was awarded the 2021 Jim Phelan Award, an award introduced yearly to the nation’s prime Division I coach.
Tevian Jones was named to each the NABC All-District First Group and Huge Sky All-Convention First Group, making him the primary Thunderbird to ever accomplish that. Jones was the Huge Sky’s fourth-highest main scorer, averaging 17.1 factors per sport by means of the course of the yr. He additionally clocked 600 minutes on the season, scored a team-high 377 factors, had 91 rebounds, 27 assists and 15 steals.
John Knight III and Maizen Fausett had been each named to the Huge Sky All-Convention Second Group, and Dre Marin was named to the Honorable Point out staff. It marked simply the second time in program historical past that the Thunderbirds put a number of student-athletes on the Huge Sky All-Convention groups.
The 2020-21 version of the Thunderbirds completed the common season with the perfect scoring offense within the Huge Sky, averaging 84.2 factors per sport. In addition they had the best scoring margin (+15.8), rebounding margin (+9.0), and completed first within the league in defensive rebounds (28.5) and three-point subject objectives per sport (8.9).
The Thunderbirds entered the Huge Sky Convention Championship Event because the No. 1 seed, however noticed their season come to an finish within the semifinals, falling to Montana State in extra time.
The lads’s cross nation staff claimed their second Huge Sky Convention Championship in program historical past, knocking off the eventual 2020-21 Nationwide Champions Northern Arizona on the Huge Sky Winter Cross-Nation Championships.
Head coach Eric Houle was named Huge Sky Males’s Cross-Nation Coach of the Yr for the second time in his profession, after main his staff to the convention title. Stefan Rasmuson, Aidan Reed, Nate Osterstock and Christian Ricketts all earned All-Convention honors as properly.
Santiago Gaitan was named Huge Sky Freshman of the Yr, after ending as the highest freshman on the convention championship race.
The win gave the Thunderbirds an opportunity to compete on the NCAA Nationwide Championship for the sixth time within the final seven seasons, the place they completed in ninth place, their highest end in program historical past.
Ricketts completed in thirty first place individually at nationals, incomes All-American honors for the primary time in his profession.
The ladies’s cross-country staff opened their delayed 2020-21 season with a bang, taking second place on the Oklahoma State Invitational behind solely the eventual 2020-21 nationwide champion BYU.
The Thunderbirds completed in fourth place on the Huge Sky Convention Championship race, their fifth top-four end within the convention during the last 5 seasons.
Alison Pray completed the race in third place with a time of 17:19.7, incomes her All-Convention honors and a visit to the NCAA Nationwide Championship as a person.
Pray completed the Nationwide Championship race in fiftieth place with a time of 21:04.4.
The ladies’s basketball staff completed their 2020-21 season 11-9 general and 6-5 in Huge Sky play. Their .545 profitable share towards Huge Sky groups was adequate for fifth place and earned them their first bye within the Huge Sky Convention Championship Event for the reason that 2013-14 season. It additionally marked the primary time in program historical past that the T-Birds completed Huge Sky play over .500 in back-to-back seasons.
The Thunderbirds completed the season with the perfect rebounding margin (+9.2) and the perfect free throw share (.783) within the Huge Sky. They had been additionally second in blocked pictures (4.50 per sport) and third in scoring margin (+4.3).
Liz Graves and Cherita Daugherty each earned Huge Sky All-Convention honors, with Graves being named to the Second Group and Daugherty being named to the Honorable Point out staff.
Graves completed the common season second within the Huge Sky in scoring, averaging 16.9 factors per sport. She was additionally second within the convention in rebounding (9.2 RPG) and third in subject objective share (.485). The senior additionally scored 34 factors in a loss to BYU to set the best single-game mark within the Huge Sky for the season and the sixth-highest single-game complete in SUU historical past.
Daugherty completed the common season second on the staff and 18th within the Huge Sky in scoring, averaging 11.8 factors per sport. She was additionally eighth within the Huge Sky in free throw share (.821) and eighth in assists, averaging 2.9 per sport.
The Thunderbirds took on Northern Colorado within the quarterfinals of the Huge Sky Event, ending their season with a slender 59-63 loss to the Bears.
The Flippin’ Birds earned their eighth-straight journey to the NCAA Regional Championship in 2021, ending the common season because the No. 21-ranked staff within the nation. In addition they set a brand new program report for staff meet rating, scoring a 197.275 contained in the America First Occasion Heart towards Utah State.
The Thunderbirds had been ranked as excessive as No. 15 on two separate events all through the season, which was their highest rating for the reason that 2017 season.
Aubri Schwartze was named the 2021 Mountain Rim Gymnastics Convention Freshman of the Yr on the finish of the season. She completed 2021 ranked No. 4 on beam, No. 6 on ground and No. 17 on bars within the convention. Schwartze additionally earned All-Convention Second Group honors on beam and ground.
4 different Thunderbirds earned MRGC All-Convention honors. Morgan Alfaro was named Co-Vault Specialist of the Yr with Utah State’s Mikaela Meyer and likewise earned MRGC First Group honors on the occasion. Karley McClain earned MRGC First Group honors on each ground and the all-around, and she or he was additionally named to the MRGC Beam Second Group. Rachel Smith was named to the MRGC Vault Second Group, and Shylen Murakami was named to the MRGC Bars Second Group.
The Flippin’ Birds wrapped up their season with a third-place end in session one of many NCAA Regional Championship Semifinals. The Flippin’ Birds scored a 195.975, their highest rating on the regional championship since 2015.
The volleyball staff completed their 2021 spring season with a 9-8 general report, giving them the best profitable share in program historical past (.529). It was simply the second time that the Thunderbirds completed a season with a profitable report with the one different time coming in 2010 after they completed 16-15.
In addition they completed Huge Sky play with a profitable report for the primary time since becoming a member of the convention in 2012.
The T-Birds received their first Huge Sky Convention Championship Event sport in program historical past, upsetting No.3-seeded Montana State within the first spherical.
Stacey Hone earned Huge Sky All-Convention Second Group honors and have become simply the second Thunderbird to ever be named to a BSC All-Convention staff in back-to-back seasons. She completed the common season eighth within the Huge Sky in factors, averaging 3.45 per set for a complete of 183 factors. She was additionally second on the staff in kills per set, averaging 2.75 per set and a complete of 146 kills.
Hone was additionally a contributor on the defensive aspect of the ball, main the staff in complete blocks with 43 and averaging .81 blocks per set.
The Thunderbirds took on Northern Colorado within the semifinals of the Huge Sky Event however fell to the Bears 0-3.
The soccer staff completed their 2021 spring season with an general report of 5-3-1, giving them the best profitable share in program historical past (.611). In addition they completed 3-3 in Huge Sky play for the best profitable share towards convention opponents since 2014.
The Thunderbirds led the Huge Sky in objectives scored with 22 objectives in 9 video games performed, averaging 2.44 objectives per sport. In addition they led in assists with 16 and complete factors with 60.
Kate Schirmer was second within the convention in objectives (8), factors (18) and game-winning objectives (2). Rachael Hunt and Kamryn Farro had been tied on the prime of the Huge Sky in assists with three every and had been third and fourth respectively in factors.
Jennifer Kovisto completed third within the Huge Sky in saves per sport (5.38) and fourth in save share (.827).
The Thunderbirds missed out on making the smaller-than-normal subject for the Huge Sky Convention Championship Event however ended the season on a four-game profitable streak.
The Thunderbird soccer staff completed their shortened spring season with a 1-5 report. Their solely win of the season came to visit Cal Poly after they beat the Mustangs in San Luis Obispo for the primary time since 1986. It was additionally their first highway win for the reason that 2017 season.
The T-Birds led the Huge Sky in sacks with 18 and in subject objectives, going 5-for-5 on the season. In addition they put 9 gamers on the Huge Sky All-Convention staff with three one the First Group, three on the Second Group and three Honorable Mentions.
La’akea Kaho’ohanohano-Davis, Francis Bemiy and Braxton Jones had been all named to the First Group on their respective sides of the ball. Kaho’ohanohano-Davis led the convention in sacks (7) and was additionally second within the convention in complete tackles (57) tackles for loss (9). Bemiy was second within the convention in sacks, trailing solely Kaho’ohanohano-Davis, with 4 complete sacks, and Jones was a vital a part of an offensive line that led the Huge Sky in fewest sacks allowed, solely permitting 5 all season.
Landen Measom, Treyson Johnson and Alonzo (L.J.) Davis had been all named to the Second Group, and Justin Miller, Judd Cockett and Manny Berz had been all named Honorable Point out.
Kaho’ohanohano-Davis earned a number of nationwide postseason recognitions, incomes All-American standing from Stats Carry out, the Related Press and Phil Steele whereas additionally being nominated for the 2021 Stats Carry out Buck Buchanan Award, which is awarded yearly to the nation’s prime defensive participant.
Jones was named to the Phil Steele FCS First Group All-America, and Miller earned the primary nationwide honor of his profession when he was named to the FCS Sophomore All-America Group by HERO Sports activities.
The Thunderbirds will open their 2021 Fall Season on August 28 towards San Jose State.
The lads’s golf staff mixed for 4 top-three finishes as a staff this season and completed runners-up on the Huge Sky Convention Championship. Three Thunderbirds earned All-Convention honors with Jake Vincent being named to the First Group, Ali Hameed being named to the Second Group and Tyler Jones being named Honorable Point out.
Vincent was additionally named Huge Sky Participant of the Yr for the second consecutive season and have become the one Thunderbird to ever qualify for the NCAA Regional Championship twice when he acquired an at-large bid to compete as a person.
Vincent was the highest participant within the convention all season lengthy, profitable three Huge Sky Participant of the Week awards and was persistently the top-ranked Huge Sky participant within the nationwide rankings. He additionally received his fourth profession event this season, posting a 201 (67, 67, 67) on the Jackrabbit Invitational hosted by South Dakota State at Boulder Creek Golf Membership.
The senior wrapped up his profession with a 51st place end on the 2021 Cle Elum Regional.
The ladies’s golf staff had two top-six finishes all through the season and completed seventh on the Huge Sky Convention Championship.
Chanikan (Pluem) Yongyuan earned All-Convention First Group honors for the third consecutive season in her profession, and at one level within the season was the highest ranked golfer within the NCAA. She completed the common season with the third-lowest single-season stroke common in program historical past and can head into her senior season on the prime of the profession leaderboard.
The Thunderbird softball staff completed Huge Sky play because the second-best staff within the convention with a 10-8 report, essentially the most convention wins since 2017. They entered the Huge Sky Convention Championship Event because the No. 2 seed and made all of it the way in which to the championship sport, the place they completed runners-up.
They received 20 video games general for the primary time since 2015 whereas additionally main the Huge Sky in dwelling runs (60) and runs scored (259). The T-Birds additionally set a brand new program report for single-season slugging share, slugging .484 as a staff.
Brooke Brown was named Huge Sky Prime Newcomer of the Yr and earned All-Convention First Group honors. Brown broke the single-season dwelling run report at Southern Utah by hitting 17 dwelling runs in 2021. She led the Huge Sky in dwelling runs and RBI (53) and was second in slugging share (.767).
Josey White and Tyler Denhart additionally earned All-Convention honors with White being named to the Second Group and Denhart being named Honorable Point out. Denhart was named Huge Sky Pitcher of the Week twice all through the season, turning into the primary Thunderbird to ever win the award a number of occasions in a single season.
Kalena Shepherd set two new Southern Utah single-season information herself in each batting common (.433) and slugging share (.788).
Denhart, Shepherd and Reilly Williams all earned Huge Sky All-Event honors on the conclusion of the event.
Ladies’s monitor & subject
The ladies’s monitor and subject staff completed in sixth place on the Huge Sky Convention Outside Championship and despatched two athletes to the NCAA West Regional Prelims in Alison Pray and Alexis McAllister.
In addition they captured an Particular person Huge Sky Championship within the lengthy leap as Elizabeth White received the occasion on the out of doors championship with a leap of 19’ 3.5”. White broke this system report within the lengthy leap earlier within the season with a leap of 19’ 7” on the UVU Collegiate Invitational.
McAllister took dwelling the silver medal within the girls’s javelin throw on the championship meet, incomes All-Convention honors with a throw of 164’ 6”. She shattered this system report earlier within the season with a throw of 170’ 2” on the UNLV Spring Opener. The senior completed in thirteenth place on the West Regional, narrowly lacking out on a spot on the Nationwide Championship.
Pray completed second and earned All-Convention honors within the 1,500m with a time of 4:22.00, the second-fastest in program historical past. She additionally set the second-fastest time in program historical past within the 5,000m on the OSU Excessive Efficiency Meet with a time of 15:59.63. She certified for the regional meet in each the 1,500m and the 5,000m, ending in twenty ninth within the 1,500m and twenty second within the 5K.
Sinclair Watson earned All-Convention honors in each the 100m and the 200m, ending in third place in each occasions. She set the second-fastest time in program historical past in each occasions, operating an 11.81 within the 100m on the BYU Robison Invitational and a 24.19 on the Huge Sky Outside Championship.
Amy Pouliot earned All-Convention honors within the discus throw, ending second on the championship with a throw of 160’ 10”. She set the fourth-best mark in program historical past with a throw of 161’ 4” on the Aggie Invitational.
Haley Tanne set the third-fastest time in program historical past within the steeplechase on the UNLV Spring Invitational with a time of 10:39.80.
Males’s monitor & subject
The lads’s monitor and subject staff completed in seventh place on the Huge Sky Convention Outside Championship and despatched eight athletes to the NCAA West Regional Preliminary Spherical.
Aidan Reed captured the bronze medal in each the 5000m and 10,000m on the Huge Sky Outside Championship to earn All-Convention honors on each occasions. He set the third-fastest time in program historical past within the 10K on the Hayward Premiere with a time of 28:44.68. The senior certified for regionals in each the 5,000m and the ten,000m the place he completed twenty third and 18th respectively.
Chase Clement completed in third place within the javelin throw on the championship to earn All-Convention honors on the occasion. He set the fifth-highest mark in program historical past together with his throw of 213’ 1” and certified for the regional meet. He completed in nineteenth place at regionals, narrowly lacking a spot on the Nationwide Championship.
Jeff Rowley additionally certified for the regional prelims within the javelin throw and threw a season better of 209’ 0” to complete in sixteenth place.
Nate Osterstock set a brand new report within the out of doors mile on the BYU Robison Invitational with an altitude transformed time of three:57.35. This was solely the third sub-four minute mile at school historical past and was additionally a brand new report within the 1,500m with a transformed time of three:39.79. He certified for regionals in each the 1,500m and the 5,000m the place he completed in thirty sixth and twenty sixth respectively.
Dallin Snyder took second within the excessive leap on the Huge Sky Championship to earn All-Convention honors on the occasion. His mark of 6’ 10.75” is tied for third-highest in program historical past and was adequate to ship him to regionals the place he completed in a tie for thirty first place.
Max Spence, Travis Feeny and Christian Ricketts all additionally competed on the NCAA Regional Preliminary Spherical as Spence and Feeny completed in thirty eighth and forty third respectively within the 1,500m, and Ricketts completed in twenty third place within the 10,000m.
Southern Utah seems to be to proceed constructing momentum in all of its packages and carry it into the transfer to the Western Athletic Convention within the 2022-23 season.
Written by KYLE BIRNBRAUER, SUU Athletics strategic communication.