UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | January 26, 2023

Dixie Athletics wrap up another successful season

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Dixie State University athletic programs are pretty familiar with winning, and for the most part, this year was no different. 

During the fall semester, several teams competed, including men’s and women’s soccer, cross-country, football and volleyball.  

In soccer, the men continued to struggle, while the women posted their first 10-win season since 2010. The men finished with a record of just 2-12-2. 

In an otherwise uneventful season, sophomore defender Brian Baugh was named to the All-PacWest team as an honorable mention. Head coach Danny Ortiz will not return next season and will subsequently be replaced by former professional player Josh Pittman. The team is returning all but five players from last year’s squad, and Pittman said he is looking forward to the future of DSU soccer. 

“I’m excited for the opportunity at Dixie State,” Pittman said. “We expect to create an elite-level program here, both regionally and nationally.” 

The women’s season went a little differently. DSU bounced back from a .500 season to notch its first 10-win season in five years. Finishing with a 10-7-1 record, the DSU women won their final three games of the season and finished just three games behind first-place Point Loma University. 

Senior forward Jennifer Mason became the all-time leading scorer in DSU history with 40 career goals and was named to the All-PacWest team. 

DSU cross-country teams also had successful seasons. The men and women both finished with top-25 rankings.

George Barlow led the men’s team with a school record in the 10k en route to a No. 22 national ranking. For the women, sophomore Skyler Storie led the way. Storie finished 17th in the NCAAs with the team finishing in 18th. 

The football team, however, did not fare as well.

Winning just one game all year, DSU finished last in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference. Even though it only won a single game, DSU had six GNAC All-Stars.   

Junior receiver Nate Stephens, freshman lineman Lucas Beddow and senior defensive end Jake Miller received second-team honors, while senior defensive tackle Saula Taufa, junior linebacker Robert Metz, and senior corner Zac Christian all garnered honorable mention. 

The final fall sport to wrap up was volleyball, and it did so in exciting fashion. DSU squeaked into the national tournament after a 20-8 regular season. The Storm would become the Cinderella story of the tournament as they beat the No. 1 team in the country, Northwest Nazarene, in the first round. 

Led by seniors Kendahl Weiland and Nichole Koehler, DSU also went on to defeat the No. 5 BYU-Hawaii before being downed by Sonoma State. Finishing just one game away from a national championship appearance, it was the deepest postseason run in the school’s Division II history.

The basketball season was much like many of the past years, as the mens’s team continued its sheer domination of the Pacific West Conference, while the women struggled to pick up wins. 

The men finished with a 20-8 overall record, the sixth consecutive 20-win season and fifth conference championship in the last six years.

Led by seniors DeQuan Thompson and Zach Robbins, DSU took down six nationally ranked teams. Thompson and Robbins, along with junior guard Mason Sawyer, received All-PacWest honors. Robbins was named as an honorable mention to the Division II All-American list. 

“I’m so proud of my guys,” head coach Jon Judkins said. “In my years of coaching, I don’t know that I’ve ever had a group of players that were so close on and off the court. It was a truly memorable year. Winning the conference championship on our home floor is something I’ll always remember.” 

The women’s season did not go quite as well. After a dramatic offseason, head coach Catherria Turner was terminated, and assistant Jenny Thigpin took over. Under Thigpin, the team went a 7-13, and she was subsequently named permanent head coach. Despite missing the postseason, senior guard Kaylah Miller made history by becoming the all-time leader in 3-point field goals and also climbing to No. 2 on the scoring list. She was named to the All-PacWest third-team.

In women’s tennis, DSU played in the No. 1 conference in Division II and was often outmatched and beaten, but the team continued to focus and play hard. Led by sophomore Ashley Anderson, DSU finished the season 6-9. 

“We’re a young team,” head coach Eric Pelton said. “It was great to see the underclassmen stay poised and focused throughout the year. It shows great potential for the programs future.” 

The spring semester saw the both men’s and women’s golf tee off after their winter break, along with baseball and softball. 

Last week, the golf teams hosted the PacWest tournament. The men’s team won its first-ever conference championship thanks to clutch performances from junior Kenny You and senior Cody Wass. The women finished in second place, led by senior Haley Dunn.

Dunn went on to win the individual championship in dramatic fashion. She sunk a birdie putt in a sudden-death playoff round to retain her title, which she also won in 2013. Both teams now await the NCAA regionals in May. 

Softball and baseball, although still in the midst of their conference play, have already had some memorable moments this season.

Senior John Conquy threw the first no-hitter in Division II history in a 1-0 win against Fresno Pacific.

The softball team has also been carried by its strong bullpen: senior Michelle Duncan is currently 23-0 this season, and Aryn Feickert (18-5) slung the first perfect game in DSU history. Both teams are currently in first place in the PacWest and ranked No. 4 and No. 15, respectively.

The teams will close out their seasons at home before looking to make a postseason run in May.