A Banner Year For PacWest Conference
Wednesday - June 30, 2010
I’m currently on the West Coast, where we recently wrapped up the annual Pacific West Conference meetings, and I can’t tell you how proud I am, as the league commissioner, of this historic year in the PacWest!
During this past academic year, the PacWest continued to grow and excel, and truly strengthened its reputation. With nine schools from four states - Hawaii, California, Arizona and Utah - competing in 11 sports, the conference made a huge statement in 2009-10.
Perhaps nothing highlighted the conference’s historic rise any better than Hawaii Pacific winning a national championship in softball. The SeaWarriors, who featured many key local players in the lineup, fought through elimination games at both the sub-regionals and super-regionals, then won a nail-biter of a championship game in Missouri.
Also this past month, BYU-Hawaii claimed the national runner-up spot in women’s tennis, in what coach Dave Porter called “the gutsiest performance I’ve ever seen” in the national semi-finals. In that match, Seasider Ayako Ikeda actually went straight from an overnight stay in the hospital directly to the tennis court during the middle of the match to help propel BYU-Hawaii to a heart-pounding one-point victory. Then, in a show of great sportsman-ship in the championship match, the Seasiders were cheered on by coaches and players from PacWest rival HPU, who had earlier made it to the national semi-finals.
For the first time ever, a PacWest baseball team made it to the NCAA regionals when conference champ HPU was selected for the prestigious tournament. In a gritty show of how much they deserved respect, the SeaWarriors made it all the way to the regional finals before falling to the No. 1-ranked team in the country.
In all, a record 15 different PacWest teams made it to the NCAA regionals in competition where ranking criteria is utilized. Besides a national champ, national runner-up, national semi-finalist and regional final-ist in spring sports, the conference also had a record four participants in the West Region softball tournament, a regional runner-up in men’s basketball, and first-timers being selected to the regionals in women’s basketball and women’s soccer.
BYU-Hawaii came within one three-point shot of making it to the men’s basketball Elite Eight, while Hawaii Pacific earned the automatic bid to the women’s basketball regional tournament by becoming the first-ever Hawaii team to claim the PacWest title in that sport. Additionally, Dixie State of Utah earned its first-ever women’s soccer conference championship.
Two other Hawaii schools also claimed PacWest titles this year - BYU-Hawaii in women’s cross country and UH-Hilo in women’s volleyball.
The PacWest conference Commissioner’s Cup - for overall athletic success - was won by a Hawaii school for the third straight year. After UHHilo and BYU-Hawaii won the prestigious athletic honor the first two years it was awarded, this time it went to HPU. The SeaWarriors edged out Dixie State by winning conference titles in women’s basketball, softball and baseball, plus strong showings in women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s’ soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s basketball and women’s tennis.
PacWest conference schools also were outstanding in the classroom, with a record five schools having conference athletic programs with GPAs over 3.0. With Dominican University of California earning the PacWest Academic Achievement Award, two Hawaii schools were in that top five: Chaminade and BYU-Hawaii.
The bottom line is that the PacWest continues to achieve excellence on the field, in the classroom and in the community.
Watch for more historic news from the PacWest in the coming year at thepacwest.com.
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