CSUC’s intercollegiate team lineup

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Chico State University has 12 teams—including men’s and women’s—currently competing in eight intercollegiate sports. Here is a brief description of those teams.

On the links last season, the men’s golf team remained as strong as it has been for several years. Much of the team’s success is credited to golfing sensation J.J. Jakovac. In his senior year, Jakovac was the nation’s top Division II golfer and for the third time was named an All-American. In addition, Jakovac lead the Wildcats to a second-place finish in the National Championships.

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State enters the upcoming season on top of the rankings in Division II golf, and Coach Keith Thomas boasts a returning crop of talented golfers.

In only its third year of intercollegiate play, the women’s golf team has established itself among the elite in Division II play. Coach Kathy Dias’ team finished ninth out of the 25 teams in the Western Region last year and 14th in the nation. “That shows how tough the Western Region is,” said Dias. Six of her 12 players are returning from last year’s squad and will be joined by “four promising freshmen.” In the last two years, the team has had two players reach the Regionals; this year, Dias said, the goal is to have the whole team go.

Chico State comes into the 2004 season a whole new team almost. The Wildcats lost nine of their 14 players in the off season, and Coach Cody Hein will have to rely on a team full of youngsters, including eight freshmen. Last season the team was 14-12 overall and was lead by senior outside hitter Stacy Clifton. Clifton earned Second Team All-CCAA honors after leading the team in kills, kills per game and digs. The team kicks off its 2004 campaign in San Diego Aug. 27-28.

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Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams reached the NCAA Division II tournament last season. However, both were eliminated in the first round. For the men, coached by 18-year veteran Puck Smith, guard Brian Faulstich earned All-CCAA honors. For the women, sharpshooters Michelle White and Kim Abts each earned All-CCAA honors. The women are coached by Lynne DeYoung. Both teams return key players to the hardwood this November.

Last season, the Wildcats made their fifth trip to Alabama for the Division II College World Series in the last eight years, during which they have twice brought home the championship. The most recent trip didn’t last long, however, as the team was knocked out in its first two games, but it still finished seventh in the nation. Since Lindsay Meggs took over as coach in 1994, he has produced 14 All-Americans. This includes Chico State relief pitcher Nick Burger, who earned the honor last season by saving 14 games. The team’s top slugger in 2004 was third-baseman Brian Lucas, who hit .381, cranked four home runs and drove in 52.

Last year’s softball team finished the season with a .500 percentage, going 27-27. Seniors Lindsay Himmelspach, Kamala Kiffe and Bridgette Overstreet and junior Katie Stokx lead the team, and each earned All-CCAA honors. Kiffe was the ‘Cats’ top batter, leading the team in batting average, hits and home runs. The team is coached by Terri Rupp.

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Cross Country
Chico State’s men’s and women’s cross country teams have been extremely good over the last couple years. Last year both won the conference title and the regional title, and both finished fourth at the National Championship race. The men’s team lost All-American Tyler Graff in the off season but still returns three All-Americans in Pat Boivin, Joel Martinez and Chris Eggers. The women return All-Americans Kelly Ortlieb and Jennifer James. Both teams are coached by Gary Towne.

Last season, the Chico State men’s soccer team was the best the school has ever fielded. The team went 25-5-1 overall and made it all the way to the National Championship game before losing to Lynn University 2-1. Wildcats goalie Dominik Jakubek and forward Chris Wondolowski led the way, and each earned All-American honors. Head coach Mike O’Malley also brought home some hardware, as he was named the Division II coach of the year. Chico State returns 14 players from last year’s squad and opens up the season at home against Humboldt State University Aug. 26.

The women’s soccer team, under the guidance of Coach Kim Sutton, was no pushover last season either, going 10-8-2. Junior Amy Swanson led the team with 11 goals, nine assists, 31 points and 73 shot attempts. This year the team has added 10 recruits, who join the 14 returning ‘Cats. With a young team, Swanson will again be counted on to lead.

Track and Field
Chico State’s track-and-field team is full of amazing athletes. Both the men and women shattered several records last year. Peter Paplanus lead the nation in the 800 meters, with a time of 1:48.89, a Chico State record. At the NCAA National Championship, eight Wildcats brought home 12 All-American honors. The men, who are coached by Kirk Freitas, finished 11th in the nation, while the women, coached by Oliver Hanf, took 15th place.