GAME ON! A quick guide to varsity athletics at WSU

Sports Reporter

Volleyball


 

After finishing its school record ninth straight 20-win season last year, the volleyball team fell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Kansas State. However, with 2011 being the fifth-straight season the Shockers made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament and the 10th straight Missouri Valley Conference Tournament appearance, the 21-11 Shockers did not have a disappointing season. The Shockers return all-Valley outside hitter Emily Adney, who finished last season with 382 kills, 173 digs, 27 solo blocks and 49 block assists. 

Coach Chris Lamb will enter his 13th season with the Shockers holding a 282-120 record. The Shockers’ first game is August 24 in DeKalb, Ill., and the first home game is Aug. 30 against Colorado State.

Bowling


Only two years ago, the men’s bowling team completed its third three-peat at the Intercollegiate Team Championship. Both the men’s and women’s teams are prestigious throughout the ITC, with the men placing second last season and the women placing fifth. Of the 12 tournaments both teams competed in last season, neither team placed lower than fifth place, with the men taking first in three of the tournaments, and the women taking first in six of the tournaments. The bowling team recruits bowlers internationally, including Jazreel Tan from Singapore and Tannya Roumimper from Indonesia. Both play for their country’s national team.

 Softball


Although the softball team struggled last season and did not reach the NCAA Tournament, first-year coach Kristi Bredbenner led sophomore Rachel Milnark and freshman Sydney Stuever to the MVC all-conference second team. The youth of the team in addition to the three incoming freshmen and one junior college transfer should help the Shockers improve on last season’s record. Key returners include Milnark and Stuever, Erin Carney and ace pitcher Katie Armagost.

Rowing


Through the past two years, the men’s rowing team has steadily improved against national competition. At the Southern Intercollegiate Association Championships last season, the men’s team finished 17th out of 27. Last season, for the first time since the American Collegiate Rowing Association was established in 2008, all four of WSU’s boats received votes for national rankings. The four boats included both the men’s and women’s varsity eight, and the men’s and women’s novice eight.

Men’s Basketball


There is no doubt that basketball is the most popular sport at WSU, proven by the race for a front-row seat in the student section the moment the doors of Koch Arena open, and the countless sold-out or nearly sold-out crowds throughout the season. 

Throughout coach Gregg Marshall’s past five seasons at WSU, he has transformed the men’s basketball program, improving from 11 wins in his first season to a 29-win season in 2011 and a National Invitation Tournament title. Last season, Marshall obtained his 300th career win on the way to a 27-6 season, a MVC regular-season title and an NCAA Tournament appearance, the first for the Shockers since 2006. Although WSU lost five seniors from last year’s team, key returners include Demetric Williams and Carl Hall. Oregon transfer Malcolm Armstead is expected to be a big contributor to the team as well.

Women’s Basketball


When coach Jody Adams joined the WSU women’s basketball staff four years ago, few of the original players had confidence in her. Adams has since led WSU to three-straight winning seasons for the first time in 10 years. Adams also led WSU to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament in 2011, and again last season. The loss of two key seniors from last year’s squad will affect the team. But the team will look to rely on playing time Adams offered the younger players last season. Seniors Jessica Diamond, Jazimen Gordon and Chynna Turner will help lead the team this season as well.

Men’s & Women’s Tennis


The men’s tennis team finished seventh in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Central Region last season and had a 16-6 record. WSU also made an impression on the MVC all-conference honors including freshman of the year Tomislav Gregurovic, second-ranked doubles team Guililermo Nicol and Gregurovic, third-ranked singles player Gregurovic, fifth-ranked singles player Erick Reyes, sixth-ranked singles player Juan Estenssoro, and junior Matheus Pereira named to the all-select team with a 4-1 conference record. The team only lost one player from last year’s team and is keeping an optimistic outlook for this season. 

The women’s team won its fourth straight MVC title and made its fourth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament last season. After a 7-0 MVC record, and a 21-6 overall record, the women finished number 62 in the final national ITA rankings, and eighth in the Central Region rankings.

Cross Country


When it comes to distance running at WSU, Aliphine Tuliamuk is the bread and butter. From her first races on the WSU cross country and track and field teams, Tuliamuk has set new records, only to break and set new ones again. Tuliamuk finished first in the 6,000-meter race at the 2011 NCAA Midwest Regional Championships, and then broke the school record she set with a time of 19:57.7 and a 12th-place finish in the 6,000-meter race at the 2011 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships. Aside from the return of Tuliamuk, Marcos Bailon will run for the men’s team to work to avenge an upset in last season’s NCAA Midwest Regional Tournament, where the men’s team was ranked 11th but finished 60th.

Track & Field


The men’s and women’s track and field teams ended last season with a stunning appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, which included four athletes from each team. The men’s team finished second in the MVC Outdoor Championships, and third in the indoor championships. The women’s team finished first in the MVC Outdoor Championships for the second year in a row, and second in the indoor championships. Of the four men to compete in the NCAA Outdoor Championships, three were seniors, but all four women that competed in the NCAA Outdoor Championships will return this year. 

Baseball


Under coach Gene Stephenson’s 35 years of leadership, the WSU baseball team has 20 MVC regular-season championships, 17 MVC Tournament championships, 27 NCAA Tournament appearances, seven College World Series appearances and one national championship. The baseball team has a rich history paved mostly by Stephenson, who’s career record is 1,763-633-3 and sits second place on the all-time wins list of Division I baseball coaches. The team finished with a 35-25 record last season, losing in the first round of the MVC Tournament, but a good portion of the team will return this season with more experience. Returners include Johnny Coy, Erik Harbutz, Cale Elam and Taylor Doggett.

Men’s & Women’s Golf


The men’s golf team won its 17th MVC title last season to complete a five-year first-place streak in the conference. The team then finished ninth out of 13 teams at the NCAA Stanford Regional Tournament. The best news for this team is the return of every player from last season. Under coach Grier Jones’ 17 years of leadership, the men’s golf team has been nationally recognized by GolfWeek.com, GolfWorld and GolfStat.

Although the women’s team does not have the same winning streak as the men’s team, coach Tom McCurdy helped the Shocker women win two tournaments last season for the first time since the 1991-92 season. The women’s team finished sixth out of 10 teams in the MVC Championships last season, and will return top-shooter Gretchen Huhnerkoch this year. Both the men’s and women’s teams start their seasons on September 10.