THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The 2016-17 academic year was another one to remember for the Cal Lutheran athletics department. With 536 student-athletes occupying roster spots for 27 varsity and junior varsity programs, a number of milestones were met including the first NCAA Division III baseball National title in school history to round out the year.
For the first time, the Kingsmen were the last team standing in Appleton, Wis. at the 2017 DIII Baseball College World Series, coming from behind in a best-of-three series to win the final two games of the spring before hoisting the biggest prize. First-year relief pitcher Miguel Salud set a single-season saves record for the Violet and Gold with 14, which also led all DIII players. Senior starting pitcher Marshall Pautsch started more games, 18, than any other DIII hurler in 2017. Salud was selected as the SCIAC Newcomer of the Year while six teammates earned All-SCIAC accolades after Cal Lutheran (40-11, 18-6 SCIAC) clinched its fifth consecutive conference championship. CLU won the NCAA DIII West Regional and had six All-West Region selections by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) and D3basebll.com.
Women's volleyball (27-5) continued its dominance with a sixth straight SCIAC title during the 2016-17 academic year after a 14-2 league showing, which was capped off by a SCIAC Postseason Tournament title and automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championships. Senior Sarah Pappas was honored as the SCIAC Scholar Athlete of the Year from Cal Lutheran and is an NCAA Woman of the Year nominee.
In addition to the two team SCIAC championships was a handful of individual SCIAC champions. Benjamin Brewer (swimming), Nate Gray (golf), Kendall Guidetti (track and field) and Mardell Ramirez (swimming) all took home gold for Cal Lutheran this year.
Brewer, Guidetti and Ramirez each represented CLU at the National level as individuals following top performances in league action. Brewer, a freshman distance phenom, and Ramirez, a first-year swimmer, each set a new SCIAC, SCIAC Championships Meet and CLU record at the league Swimming & Diving Championships before representing CLU at NCAAs. Brewer, the first male representative to earn an invitation for the Violet and Gold came home with two All-America honors (1650 and 400 IM), also the first in program history. He set four school records throughout the season and Ramirez now holds four individual records with one relay to her name for the Regals. Guidetti, another freshman, got a taste of National competition as well after finishing atop the Long Jump podium for Cal Lutheran during the regular season finale. She set a new school record with a LJ mark of 5.75m. On his final collegiate shot, Graybecame the first Kingsmen golfer since the inception of the program to be crowned the individual SCIAC champion.
Overall, CLU brought home 12 All-America honors in 2016-17 from Brewer (2), Gray, Pappas, Zack Card (men's water polo), Chris Gardhouse (men's water polo), Michelle Lawrence (women's volleyball), Kristi McGee (women's water polo), Nikki Roed (women's water polo), Bailey Meyer (women's water polo), Victoria Rose Meek (women's water polo) and Hope Stewart (women's volleyball). Additionally, the Kingsmen and Regals racked up 19 All-West Region honors with one more for the men's track and field 4x100m Relay team that came from various sport-specific outlets. From the league, senior women's basketball player Jessica Salottolo was selected as the SCIAC Player of the Year and the trio of Guidetti, Salud and Caleb Richey (men's basketball) was honored as SCIAC Newcomer of the Year recipients for their respective sports. Additionally, senior Javelin thrower Cody Jones was chosen as the Dixon Farmer Character Award winner. In total, the Violet and Gold earned 57 All-SCIAC awards in 2016-17.
The Kingsmen basketball program worked to a second place finish and appearance in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament. Also qualifying for SCIAC Postseason Tournament play this year were women's soccer and women's basketball, pushing the CLU representation to five squad. Women's soccer has appeared in 11 straight tournaments while women's basketball has now advanced in six straight seasons.
A plethora of new school records have been achieved across the sports spectrum.
With all the baseball playoff games, Gabe Gunter and Max Weinstein moved into first in a single-season by playing in all 51 games for the Kingsmen this year. The duo also now holds the top two spots for at-bats in a season with Weinstein (219) having an edge on Gunter (208). Weinstein set a new single-season record for hits (84) to finish second in the nation, just three shy of the leader. On the hill, Salud appeared in 33 games, the most by any CLU pitcher in one season in the history of the program to go along this his record-setting 14 saves.
On the softball diamond, Courtney Sooy capped off her four-year tenure at Hutton Field ranked in six career pitching categories and was one shy, 94, of matching the school record for appearances (95). She became just the second player in Regals history to throw more than 500 innings, notching 530.2, while throwing 61 complete games.
Inside the Gilbert Arena on the court, Richey set a new single-season assists record by handing out 202. Salottolo reached the 1,000 point club and finished her career with 1,338 for fourth all-time at CLU. When the volleyball net was down, starting libero Nicki Tetherow concluded her standout four-year career as the leader in digs (1,737) for the Regals. Lawrence also reached the 1,000 kill plateau as one of seven players in the history of the program to do so, finishing with 1,014 in just three seasons. Nicholas Oertli reached a new CLU-best with 90 blocks during the second NCAA DIII season of competition for the Kingsmen.
In the pool, 13 individual records were broken between the men's and women's programs. Joining Brewer with multiple individual records this season was Zach Zamecki with three while Davy Thomas took over two events. Zamecki was part of all three record-setting relays for the men in 2016-17 and Jacob Frigard was on all three teams as well. While Ramirez earned four individual records, sharing the 50 free time with Grace Sanchez, the pair was also part of a record-setting 800 Free relay.
Gardhouse drew 73 ejections for the men's water polo team last fall, which was 18 more than the previous best in a single-season. Nick Loomis recorded 284 saves as the CLU goalie, setting a new single-season mark in that category as well. In the spring, first-year starting goalkeeper Bailey Meyer nearly reached the single-season saves record (289) with 281.
During the academic year, 18 different Cal Lutheran student-athletes earned SCIAC Athlete of the Week honors with Stewart, Haley Hodgson (women's basketball) and Ryley Settles (women's soccer) each garnering recognition twice apiece.
Tetherow, Amanda Lewis (softball)and Sinjin Todd (baseball) were selected as National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) All-American Athlete of the Year. CLU has had student-athletes honored with the award each spring since 2012.
On the sidelines, Marty Slimak surpassed 650 wins on the baseball diamond and sits just 12 away from the incredible number of 700 in his career. On the tennis courts, Mike Gennette earned win number 250 and currently has 255 at the helm of the men's program, though he also took over the women's program late in the spring. Finally, head women's volleyball coach Kellee Roesel inched closer to the 300-win mark with 292 to date.
At the end of the year, Cal Lutheran inducted 176 competitors into the Scholar-Athlete Society, the largest class in history, with 13 earning the award for four straight years. Jones and Pappas were chosen as the Cal Lutheran representatives for SCIAC Scholar Athlete of the Year honors. The league office announced its SCIAC All-Academic Team at the start of July and CLU landed 150 selections with a number of multi-sport winners.
All of the successes on the field of play and in the classrooms in 2016-17 keep the future looking bright for the Kingsmen and Regals.
By The Numbers 2016-17
1 – NCAA Division III Team National Champion (Baseball)
1 – SCIAC Player of the Year (Salottolo)
2 – SCIAC Postseason Tournament Champions (W Volleyball, Baseball)
2 – National Statistical Champions (Salud, Pautsch)
2 – NCAA Division III Team National Championship Appearances (W Volleyball, Baseball)
2 – SCIAC Championship Teams (W Volleyball, Baseball)
2 – SCIAC Scholar-Athletes of the Year (Jones, Pappas)
3 – SCIAC Newcomer of the Year (Salud (baseball), Guidetti (W Track & Field), Richey (M Basketball)
3 – NCAA Division III Individual National Qualifications (Brewer, Guidetti, Ramirez)
3 – SCIAC Individual Champions (Brewer (1650), Guidetti (LJ), Ramirez (200free))
5– SCIAC Postseason Tournament Appearances (W Volleyball, W Soccer, M Basketball, W Basketball, Baseball)
6 – Organizational Academic Team Awards*
11 – All-America Selections
18 – SCIAC Athlete of the Week selections
24 – All-West Region Selections
150 – SCIAC All-Academic Recipients
176 – CLU Scholar-Athlete Society Inductees
536 – Roster Spots