When California Baptist University swept both cross country titles back in the fall, it showed its ability to dominate on both the men’s and women’s side of a sport. The Lancers continued that trend in the winter, most noticeably in basketball. CBU was one of 20 institutions to send both basketball teams to the NCAA Division II postseason, and the only one to advance both to the regional championship round.
In their first NCAA playoff appearance, the Lancer women punched their ticket into the Elite 8 in their first NCAA playoff run by winning its three West Regional games by an average of 19.3 points. On Tuesday, it advanced to the Final Four with a victory over New Haven. By virtue of its Final Four appearance alone, CBU has guaranteed itself the best-ever finish in Division II by any Lancer program.
In addition to being an All-West Region selection by Daktronics, Darsha Burnside was named the West Region Tournament MVP for CBU, which also had Cassidy Mihalko receive all-tournament honors. Burnside and Mihalko were joined on the All-PacWest teams by Kamille Diaz and Courtney Nelson. This well-rounded squad takes a 28-6 and 16-4 in conference record into its Division II semifinal game with 2nd-ranked Limestone on Wednesday in Sioux Falls, S.D.
For the second year in a row, CBU’s men’s basketball made the postseason and hit the Sweet 16 after a successful regular season campaign. The Lancers finished the season and conference with 26-7, 16-4 respective records. CBU exacted some revenge on Chico State in the first round of the West Regional and then defeated Seattle Pacific on a buzzer-beating putback from Trevone Williams.
Gelaun Wheelright and Taj Spencer were rewarded for their heroics on the court, with each garnering All-PacWest and All-West Region honors. Wheelwright was named the PacWest Newcomer of the Year and an All-West Region Tournament player.
After setting the standard for all other Lancer programs to follow with an institution-best ninth-place finish in Division II back in 2014, CBU women’s swim/dive one-upped itself in 2015. Behind 13 All-American performances (nine individual, four relay), the Lancers took eighth place in Division II this season. It came on the heels of another dominant Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference campaign, as it claimed its second conference title. The Lancers dominated the four-day event, finishing with a staggering 1,053 team points, almost 300 points more than their runner up. The women won event after event and set 11 new RMAC records, 10 Colorado Mesa pool records and seven CBU records. They won 16 of the 21 events with three relay gold medals and 13 individual titles. Mary Hanson and Alena Rumiantceva helped destroy a lot of those records and both were named Swimmer of the Meet. Hanson also added Swimmer of the Year to her accolades. On the diving board, Lauren Skinner swept the awards with both Diver of the Meet and Diver of the Year. Rick Rowland was also named Coach of the Year for the second straight year.
After entering the Division II Championships with a #16 ranking, CBU men’s swim/dive sealed a 10th-place performance in Division II after finishing 10 spots back a year ago. The Lancers did so with the help of 18 All-American feats (14 individual, four relay).
CBU also took second in the RMAC after being expected to finish third, breaking records along the way. Josh Hanson was named Swimmer of the Meet after a stellar performance. Freshman Zach Parry picked up the Diver of the Meet honor after sweeping both the 1-meter and 3-meter events. Parry had to battle round-after-round on the one-meter platform to take the event.
For the second year in a row, CBU wrestling produced an NCAA Division II All-American. Jacob Waste gave the Lancers their fourth NCAA All-American in two seasons by taking fifth in the 184-pound bracket at the Division II Championships after winning a Super Region IV title. Nolan Kistler also qualified for the national tournament by taking fourth in his region.
Waste and Kistler’s individual achievements were the icing on the cake for another historic team season for CBU. After setting a program-best for wins in a season in 2014, California Baptist University one-upped itself this year by going 13-5, 6-2 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. The Lancers defeated two NCAA Division I teams in Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Grand Canyon and two top-20 ranked squads, while peaking at No. 12 in the D-II rankings themselves. Waste also became the first D2Wrestle.com Wrestler of the Week in program history for the Lancers, as well.