Most of you know that I write for the official website of the NCAA as well as the relatively new Division II website. I have shared a few stories this season on my own blog that I felt we’re interesting stories on more than simply the collegiate level. This week, I was fortunate to have three such stories.
Chico State’s 50 year dream closer to reality
Last year, I became a huge fan of collegiate golf after spending eight days in Bradenton covering the DI National Championships. In fact, many of you watching The Masters are familiar with last year’s Individual Champion Bryson DeChambeau who is holding his own as some of PGA’s most legendary golfers missed the cut.
(Here’s some footage of me interviewing DeChambeau last year in Bradenton. I’m the hand holding the microphone and the trembling voice).
Out on the West Coast in Division II, another remarkable story is taking place. Head coach T.L. Brown — in his ninth season — has turned the Chico State Wildcats into a golf powerhouse. They are a team that has made it to the final rounds of the DII golf championships — known as the medal match rounds — in three of the last four years, yet they just can’t capture that National Championship.
Now the No. 1 the country, Chico State is poised to claim their stake behind the play of three All-American seniors. The best part of the story? This is the 50th anniversary of their last title, a team that had many parallels and similarities.
“Every single year you want to win the National Championship,” senior All-American Lee Gearhart — the two-time defending conference player of the year — told me. “We would have liked not to have 50 years between our National Championships, but the 50th anniversary would be a pretty cool year to get that championship back into Chico. It’s definitely been on our minds.”
The entire story is pretty interesting, so please click the link below and check it out:
Hannah Perryman is DII’s new queen of the K
This past weekend also saw one of DII’s most prestigious softball records go down at the hands of University of Missouri-St. Louis’ senior pitcher Hannah Perryman. She set the mark for most career strikeouts by a pitcher on the DII level.
While that seems like an exciting enough story on its own, there’s more. UMSL’s conference rival is UIndy as both are battling it out for the Great Lakes Valley Conference title. UIndy’s star pitcher Morgan Foley (whom I interviewed the week prior here) was chasing the strikeout record as well. They are arguably two of the best pitchers in the entire country on any level right now.
“Our conference is so good,” Perryman told me. “There is not one team that isn’t hard to beat. Foley — she’s one of the best pitchers I’ve ever had the pleasure of pitching against. It’s always a good game between us, we push each other to work harder every season. It’s fun to know that we’ll be seeing [UIndy].”
It’s an amazing story to witness how these two seniors have been instrumental in turning both of their schools into serious threats for the national title over the four years in the circle. You can read it below.
LCU Women’s team wins Basketball title behind an undefeated season
It seems like an undefeated season in any sport is newsworthy on its own, but for the Lubbock Christian Lady Chaps, it’s even more remarkable.
LCU, just a few seasons prior, was an NAIA school. As they transitioned into the Heartland Conference and DII, they were ineligible for postseason play. This season, they became the first team in DII history to take the National Championship in their first season of postseason eligibility. And they did it behind an undefeated season, taking down some of DII’s biggest programs in the process.
“I can not believe that we are undefeated, it blows my mind,” senior point guard (who nearly quadruple-doubled in Monday’s championship game) Nicole Hampton said. “We had a lot of good opponents to overcome. To be undefeated really shows the character, heart and endurance of this team. A National Championship is what every girl dreams of, being undefeated is that cherry on top.”
It is a remarkable story of a bond like no other. They saw the sacrifice of seniors to take this team to the next level, and they didn’t leave an ounce of doubt on the court. LCU is now the top team in the land. Read their story here: