DSU male athletes set records

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Throughout the history of Dixie State University, many students see the scores of the games and star players who have stood out — what they may not see are the records being broken behind it.

The athletes of Dixie State have set a new standard and have broken numerous records in the last year, said Dixie State Athletic Director Jason Boothe. These unsung leaders are setting standards for future athletes at DSU.

Junior forward Zach Robbins, who has played for three years for the Dixie men’s basketball team, is the DSU Division II leader in both offensive and defensive rebounds with a total of 505 rebounds in his career. Robbins beat guard RyanSanchez, who was previously No. 1 with 474 rebounds in 2009. Robbins, who is also No. 1 with 115 blocked shots over his career for Dixie, broke the record for the most blocks the end of his freshman year.

“Ryan is still the Division II scoring leader and has a pretty healthy lead on that,” Potter said. “I don’t know if there is anybody in this class that will have a shot at it, but Zach definitely has a possibility.”

Potter said other than the scoring leader, Sanchez still has a couple of records he has claimed, but he thinks they are highly attainable records.

“The more guys that break my [records], the better,” Sanchez said. “That means we are getting good players. I am all for it. If all of our guys break those records, it’s fine with me.”

The DSU men’s basketball team also beat University of Nevada, Las Vegas 71-70, which is the first time it has ever defeated a Division I team. DSU was also ranked No. 7 in the National Association of Basketball Coaches/Division II poll for 2014, the highest the team has ever ranked on a national level.

Senior tight end Joe Don Duncan has broken many records for football while attending Dixie State.

Duncan, who is ranked No. 1 for the most pass reception yards, beat the record with 949 yards in 2012. He beat the same record last season with 1,045 yards. He also led the team with 71 pass receptions and 13 touchdowns for the 2013 season.

Those accomplishments did not go unnoticed as Duncan accepted an offer to play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl, which will be held Jan. 25 in Mobile, Ala. You can check out information for the Senior Bowl at www.seniorbowl.com.

Senior quarterback Griff Robles also broke records for the Dixie State football team. He is now No. 1 with 28 total passing touchdowns in a single season in the history of Dixie State, as well as No. 1 in total passing yards with 2,988 yards for the 2013 season. Those numbers beat Judd Thompson, who was the previous owner of those titles, with 19 touchdowns and 2,784 passing yards in 2009.

Along with those numbers, Robles also claimed the No. 1 spot with nine rushing touchdowns, 725 rushing yards and 144 rushing attempts in a single season.

The DSU baseball team also broke records last year as pitcher Sam Friend was named the first Dixie State player to earn the Jewish Sports Review All-American team. Friend was named one of the two honorees on the west side of the Rocky Mountains.

Senior catcher Mitch Manning was also awarded the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings West Region Gold Glove, where he was announced as the defensive player in the West Region 3. Manning set the record for DSU as the third player to earn the award, joining infielder Ammon Zitting and second baseman Colton Yack in 2012.  

Yack, who graduated last year, also broke the single-season hits record with 192 hits in Dixie State history, as well as breaking the record of 25 stolen bases in 2013.

“[I spent] countless hours in the cage,” Yack said. “Things like tee work and front flips helped me fine-tune my swing to be able to react to any given pitch. But mostly it was understanding my approach.”

Yack said his job at DSU was to get on base and give the three, four and five hitters a chance to drive him in. He said whether it was a drag-bunt single or a stolen bag, it didn’t matter as long as he got on base.

Pitcher Mike Dedrick broke DSU baseball records from 2011-2013. Dedrick broke the record for the most wins in his career with 18 games won while starting 40 games. Dedrick and Friend also tied for the No. 1 spot in shutouts. Both men had three shutouts in the history of Dixie State.

Breaking more records for Dixie State is freshman Nick Watson’s record in the George Kyte Invitational for cross country in Flagstaff, Ariz. Watson broke the Dixie State team record for that course with the top time of 27:26 on the 4.96-mile course.

“The Flagstaff race was a good start to a great season for Nick,” head coach Justin Decker said. “He finished the season as the PacWest Conference ‘Freshman of the Year.’”

Along with these men, senior goalkeeper Tyler Walters broke the record for the most saves in the history of Dixie State with 245 saves, as well as ranking first with 19 wins. Walters is also at the top of the list for the most shutouts for DSU. Walters had 10 shutouts throughout his career, topping Ben Brooksby with three in 2011.

Boothe said all of the records being broken right now are impressive, and it shows DSU is getting to that elite athletic program in the West and in the nation where it wants to be.

“What it comes down to is [the] comparison between players who were here early in the program versus those who [are] here now,” Potter said. “It’s kind of neat to see.”

Potter said it is men like Robbins who will leave their legacy for future athletes to strive for in basketball. He said this just goes to show that Dixie State is starting to build a history that it can compare itself to.