The Biola Eagles closed out their first season of NCAA Division II competition with strong team and individual performances, including NCCAA national championships in track and field and a ticket to the NCCAA World Series.
The men’s baseball team won the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) West Region Championship on May 12 when senior Colton Worthington hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to win an exciting game against the University of Saint Katherine, 3-2. With the regional championship, the team secured a spot in the NCCAA World Series beginning on May 23, after this issue of Biola Magazine went to print. (As part of the transition to the NCAA Division II, Biola is not eligible for NCAA playoff competition until the 2019–20 season, so the university is competing in the NCCAA postseason this and next year.)
Update: The men’s baseball team fell just short on May 26 in Easley, S.C., in a 9-7 loss to Campbellsville University in the NCCAA World Series Semifinal. Biola finished the year with an impressive record (34-22), winning more than 30 games for the third consecutive season.
TRACK AND FIELD
The track and field team finished their season strong, earning two individual national championships at the 2018 NCCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships on May 10–11. Senior Stephanie Croy won the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase with a finishing time of 11:31.74 — nearly 28 seconds faster than her closest competitor. Junior Crystal Jardines picked up the other national championship with her performance in the women’s 10,000-meter run, which she won by a full minute with a time of 39:42.66. Sophomore Corry Williams placed third overall in the decathlon, where he placed first in the shot put and high jump. Overall, the women’s team finished 6th out of 20 teams, while the men finished 12th out of 23.
The women’s softball team finished the season with a strong 33–19 record, including a 16–16 record in PacWest conference competition. Biola had three student-athletes land on the all-conference teams, with sophomore Kayla Neff earning second team honors, and junior Areana Ramos and freshman pitcher Paige Austin earning third team honors. Ramos was also recognized with the PacWest’s Newcomer of the Year Award.
In basketball, the men’s team finished 11–17 overall and the women’s team finished 14–12 overall in their first season of PacWest competition. Women’s senior point guard DeMoria White was selected to the NCCAA All-America First-Team and named West Region Player of the Year in a season where she finished at the top of the regional leaderboard in points per game (18.9) and three-pointers (92). White finished the season as the Eagles’ all-time leader in three-pointers, with a total of 251 over her career. Meanwhile, men’s forward Isaiah Jones won PacWest Freshman of the Year honors.
The golf teams put in a strong showing at the PacWest Golf Championship in April, where the women finished 3rd and the men finished 7th overall. Sophomore Alexis Gopfert finished in 8th place, earning her a spot on the All-Tournament Team — making her the first Biola golfer to earn that honor in the NCAA Division II era. On the men’s side, Junior Kyle McAbee finished in a tie for 12th place.
In tennis, the men’s team finished with a 7–15 record, placing sixth overall in their first season in the PacWest conference. The women finished 3–14, but ended the season on a high note by winning two of their final three matches at home.
SWIM AND DIVE
Finally, the swimming and diving teams put in a record-breaking performance at the 2018 Pacific Collegiate Swimming & Diving Conference Championships in February. Senior Lisa Tixier won the 50-yard freestyle (:22.98), the 100-yard freestyle (:50.03) and the 100- yard butterfly (:53.97), while also setting or being a part of seven new school records. She earned the title of Co-Swimmer of the Meet, and went on to win the title of 2017–18 Pacific Collegiate Swim & Dive Conference Female Swimmer of the Year. The women’s team set new school records in the 800-yard freestyle relay, the 400-yard freestyle relay, the 400-yard medley relay and the 200-yard medley relay, and sophomore Emily Silzel set a new school record 500-yard freestyle. On the men’s side, sophomore Raymond Kam set new school records in both the 200-yard breaststroke and the 100-yard butterfly.