ST. GEORGE — The Dixie State University athletics programs hit new heights in 2012-13.
Competing in Division II as a university for the first time, the 2012-2013 school year was certainly a successful one as both individuals and teams garnered many achievements and honors.
Several student-athletes were named to All Conference and Regional teams and one athlete finished her season with the title of All-American. Another athlete not only competed in multiple sports, but led both teams in different categories. The school year also saw the departure and arrival of a few coaches, most notably, women’s soccer coach Linda Huddleston, who won over 70 percent of her games in the 11 years she coached at Dixie.
Coach Scott Brumfield’s third year at the helm started drastically when his lone returning All-American, tight end Joe Don Duncan, and defensive star Dustin Goza were both lost for the season with leg injuries. After an opening loss, the team rebounded with two wins. However, the Red Storm were only able to eke out one more victory through the season, ending the year 3-8. Kick returner Cache Morgan earned first-team all-conference honors. Teammates Nick Garibay, offensive lineman, and Zack Fox, wide receiver, earned second-team honors.
Rachel Young set the bar for all future Dixie State cross-country runners. In 2012, Rachel was the first Dixie State runner to qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Championships and the first runner to be named to the All-American team, finishing 28th overall with a school-record time of 21:10.2. The top 40 competitors are awarded All-American honors. Coach Justin Decker’s women’s squad placed fourth at the PacWest Conference Championships, qualifying for the NCAA West Regionals, where the Red Storm placed 13th. The men’s squad, led by sophomore Rodney Warr, also placed fourth at the PacWest meet and placed 17th at the NCAA West Regionals.
“Home Sweet Home” seemed to describe coach Danny Ortiz’s squad’s season. Posting a respectable 5-3-1 record at Hansen Stadium, the team fared much worse on the road, 0-8-1. The season highlight was the upset of No. 8-ranked CSU-LA in the season-opener. Freshman Ryan Benevente led the team in goals and assists, while junior Tyler Walters anchored the defense as goalkeeper, posting two shutouts and .742 save percentage.
Coach Linda Huddleston’s last season as the Womens’ Soccer Coach started 6-3-2 before ending the season with a rough seven-game slide. Huddleston ended her 11-year tenure with a final record of 145-62-12, a national championship in 2003, along with several conference championships and 17 players named to All-American teams. Despite the late-season slide, the team still placed five players on All-Regional/All Conference teams. Sophomore Jennifer Mason led the region in goals and points, repeating as a West Region selection. Joining her with conference honors was senior Kelsey Tesoro and sophomores Kasia Goodman, Shelby Christensen and Kristin Page.
In Coach Robyn Felder’s first season, the team finished 7-14. Felder’s first year was spent melding six incoming freshmen to a team with only two seniors. The frustrations of growth and rebuilding were tempered with the magnified potential the talented roster provided for upcoming seasons. The team was led in total kills by freshman Mercedes O’Neal (184), blocks by freshman Makenzi Bird (61) and digs by senior Brita Jensen (294).
Coach Jon Judkins was named PacWest Conference Coach of the Year after recording DSU’s fourth straight season as conference champions Dixie State also won the inaugural Pacific West Conference Tournament. The team secured a fourth seed, but lost in the first round of the West Regional to CS-Santa Barbara to finish the season with a 22-7 record. Zach Robbins was named to the All District Team by the National Association of Basketball Coaches and also to the West Region Team. Robbins led the Red Storm in scoring (13.3), rebounding (8.6) and blocked shots (1.8) per game. Robbins was also named to the PacWest Conference First Team. Also sharing conference honors were teammates Dalton Groskreutz (second team), McKay Massey and Steven Larson (both third team). “Mack (Massey) stepped up for us this year and was a good floor leader,” said Judkins. “DeQuan Thompson started to transition into that spot towards the end of the season. Though we will have a lot to replace next year, that transition will certainly make things easier.”
In Coach Angie Kristensen’s final year at the helm, the women’s team finished the year with a 15-13 record. Garnering West Region Second Team honors was junior Forward Johnna Brown who led the team in scoring (16.6), rebounding (11.7), assists (3.1) and steals (2.3) per game.
Sporting a roster with six underclassmen and no seniors, Coach Eric Pelton’s squad finished the year 6-13 with a schedule rife with nationally-ranked opponents. Freshman Joy Naigeon led the team in singles wins, followed by junior Lindsey Jones and freshman Ashley Anderson.
The Red Storm baseball team finished its most successful season in Dixie’s history as a Division II school, both as a team and individually. The team finished the year with a 32-17 record, good enough for a three-seed in the NCAA West Region Bracket. The Red Storm hosted the bracket at Bruce Hurst Field, but ended the season with a disappointing 1-0 loss to Chico State. DSU placed eight players on the Region’s first and second teams. Senior 2B Colton Yack was named to the First Team, while seniors Jordan Hanley (OF), Cedric Johnson (OF), Mitch Manning (C), Josh Mooney (P), and junior Kris Kaplan (DH) made the Second Team. Manning was also named to the Region’s Gold Glove Team for his outstanding defensive performance. “Our senior leadership was outstanding in all areas this past year and a key to our success,” said first-year coach Chris Pfatenhauer.
Coach Randy Simkins team finished the year with a record of 40-14, with a handful of those losses by only one run. The team fell one win short of competing in the NCAA West Super Regional. Senior SS Johnna Brown was named to the West Region First Team despite missing the first 20 games of the season while competing for the women’s basketball team. Teammates Kylee Buffton (senior second baseman) and Siera Phillips (freshman DP) made the All-Region Second Team. Brown led the team in both batting average (.412) and slugging percentage (.784). Defensively, sophomore C Marla Reiter led the team in fielding percentage (.990) with only three errors all season.
Coach Brad Sutterfield’s first season as the Red Storm’s golf coach successfully ended with a third-place finish at the PacWest Conference Championships, qualifying the team for the NCAA West Regional, where they placed 17th. This success came in spite of the roster having only two spots filled with upperclassmen. The team was led by freshman Kenny You with a round average of 73. Sophomore Hayden Christensen scored the lowest round of the year with a 67 at the Thunderbird Invitational.
Sophomore Haley Dunn led the women’s golf team to a third-place finish at PacWest Conference Championships. Dunn qualified to compete individually at the NCAA Women’s Golf Super Region 4 Tournament. Dunn had to start and stop several times during the two-day affair due to lightning. The stoppages affected her play the second day, dropping her eight spots where she finished 17th overall. She led the DSU squad with a round average of 78.
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