Category Archives: Sports
The baseball team is heading to regionals May 18 with the majority of the Northwest Conference all-league team. Leading the team are head baseball coach Scott Brosius, coach of the year, and senior catcher Cole Bixenman, player of the year.
Not only did Linfield earn two top awards, but the team won 14 awards in the NWC selection. Bixenman also won first team all-league, along with junior shortstop Kevin Allan, freshmen Clayton Truex and Tim Wilson; and pitchers junior Ryan Larson and seniors Robert Vaughn and Evan Hilberg.
“I think it was just a combination of being in the right place at the right time and being a senior. I have been around the league for a few years now and just having that experience under my belt I think really helped me out this year,” Bixenman said. “I could have never accomplished any of it if it weren’t for my teammates surrounding me. Baseball is a team game and I have great teammates.”
Bixenman has played baseball all four of his years at Linfield, starting his freshman year on the junior varsity team.
“I feel I have grown a lot as a person first, in my time at Linfield. Going to college to play sports is exciting because you have to start back at the bottom of the totem pole and work your way back up again. It’s been fun to go through that growth to being a senior now,” Bixenman said. “I definitely think being a senior now I have been much more comfortable and relaxed. Just being completely comfortable and at ease with your surroundings and teammates makes a big difference.”
Not only was Bixenman a baseball player for the Wildcats, but he played quarterback as well. He also balances school as a finance major with an outstanding 3.78 GPA. According to Linfield’s athletic website, Bixenman was named to the CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-District DIII Baseball Team for academic honors. He was named part of the team, along with junior infielder Kevin Allan.
Bixenman is one of two players who has started all 40 games this season. He also is tied for Linfield’s home run career mark with 32 runs. He has proven himself as a leader on the team.
Senior Gunnar Cederberg agreed that Bixenman is a leader.
“He leads by example and gets the job done during our games,” Cederberg said. “I think he has grown in the understanding of how the other team is going to get him out, and he has worked hard at turning that knowledge into productive at bats, which has led to his success.”
After graduation, Bixenman has an internship at R.V. Kuhns, an investment consulting firm in Portland, Ore., working as an analyst in the Investment Manager Research division.
As for playing baseball, Bixenman’s Linfield career is quickly approaching an end as the team heads to Texas next week, and possibly to Wisconsin the following week.
“I would love to continue playing baseball. Who wouldn’t want to play a game and get paid for it,” Bixenman said. “We will see where it might take me. For now we have a few big goals to accomplish as a team first though.”
Corrina Crocker/Sports editor
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Hey ’Cats. With less than two weeks remaining before finals, it’s time to slam on the gas and never look back until summer vacation is ours at last. Make sure to take breaks while studying, folks, for as the saying goes: all work and no play makes Jack want to stab his study buddies with a sharp pencil…something like that. Anyway, when you do decide to take a chill pill to de-stress for a bit there’s still going to be plenty of sports action around Linfield and beyond to keep you busy.
Early Thursday morning, our top-ranked softball team had its first matchup at the NCAA Division III softball playoffs at Central College in Iowa. Their opponent was Anderson College, the surprise champion of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference who had to claw its way through 12 innings of hard play in the HCAC title game just to make it to the playoffs. But the Ravens of Anderson were no match for our ’Cats, and led by the ace pitching of senior stud Claire Velaski, Linfield romped to a 10-0 shutout. Velaski only allowed a single hit in six innings while three Linfield sluggers (juniors Emilee Lepp, Stacy Doucette and Jaydee Baxter) nailed homers, extending the team’s own NCAA single-season home run record to 86.
Some days before the game, star Anderson pitcher Monica Crowe made a bit of an error that surely only fired up the ’Cats future when she went on record to the Herald Bulletin.
“I think it will feel good after we beat them. This is like when we got to Florida and we don’t know the other teams but they don’t know us. I think this is to our advantage,” Crowe said.
Oops. While Crowe’s impressive season (a 1.84 ERA with 130 strikeouts in 112 innings) is certainly something that deserves accolades, perhaps somebody should have told her how Catball plays when they have extra motivation.
In other news, the women’s tennis team went off to the NCAA D-III playoff regional in Claremont, Calif., to face the University of Texas-Tyler in first-round action.
They triumphed in dramatic fashion in a 5-4 victory, including impressive wins by Abby Olbrich (1-6, 6-4, 6-4) and Sarah Click (7-5, 6-4). This is the second time Linfield has advanced to the second round in the last four years. Linfield faces the University of Pomona-Pitzer at 10 a.m. on May 13.
Look for more playoff updates as they come online at www.linfield.edu/sports and on The Linfield Review’s sports blog. Go ’Cats!
Chris Forrer/For the Review
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The Linfield men’s and women’s track and field team competed in the fourth annual Pacific Twilight meet in Forest Grove, Ore., on April 29 and 30. The meet was a last-chance qualifier for the NCAA Division III Championships. A total of 25 teams competed in this meet with a total of 996 athletes.
Top performers on the women’s side included junior Catherine Street, placing second in the women’s pole vault and breaking the school’s pole vault record for the third time this season.
“I could not have asked for a better season so far,” Street said. “I still feel like I’m on the way up, and my personal record breaking is not done yet. I’m extremely excited about nationals this year.”
Senior Chelsea Machida tied for first place in the women’s high jump. Freshman Kate Shear won third place in the javelin throw.
“I want to break the school record, and next season, I want to break that record,” Shear said. “I also want to make it to nationals.”
On the men’s side, freshman Michael Moreland landed in third place in the men’s high jump. Sophomore Lester Maxwell finished sixth place in the men’s 800 meter.
Other athletes competing for the Wildcats included freshman Anna LaBeaume, who took fifth place in the women’s shot put. Freshman Mimi Seeley finished in 10th place in the women’s 5000 meter run. Sophomore Melany Crocker placed 13th in the women’s 100 meter dash, and senior Cory Parrish finished in 16th place in the men’s 300 meter dash.
The team has seen some positive changes with its new coaching staff.
“I love vaulting for [head coach] Travis [Olson],” Street said. “He’s one of those coaches who can talk you down when you are nervous, and I find that extremely important. He has done an amazing job his first year as head coach.”
Although some will continue on to nationals, the season has come to an end for the track team.
“Overall, we had a really successful season for boys and girls,” Crocker said. “Many of us had rough starts to the season but the peaking cycle had great results, and we finished with great marks.”
Select athletes will compete in the Oregon Twilight meet on May 6 in Eugene, Ore., in preparation for the NCAA championships later in the month.
Kelsey Sutton/Staff reporter
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Baseball began the month of May with in three victories against Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash., on April 30 and May 1, as the team prepares for regionals.
Senior second baseman Eric Evenson said the Wildcats went up against tough competition.
“PLU is always a tough team to play because they are well coached and competitive. You know that any time you play PLU, you will have to beat them,” he said. “They won’t give you anything easy.”
The ’Cats took the first game, 9-4, against the Lutes with three runs in the fourth inning when senior catcher Cole Bixenman and sophomore center fielder Tim Wilson were on base and sophomore first baseman Clayton Truex hit a home run down the left field line.
Keeping up with their strength at the plate, Linfield brought in three more runs during the fifth inning. Truex hit a home run and brought in Bixenman and Wilson.
The next run brought in by the Wildcats happened in the sixth inning and was scored by senior right fielder Gunnar Cederberg.
Bixenman and freshman left fielder Kramer Lindell finished off the ninth inning of the first game with two final runs.
Junior Ryan Larson pitched strong in the first eight innings, and junior Jacob Nolte relieved him in the last inning.
The Wildcats pulled out another win on April 30, 3-0. Wilson had Linfield’s first run during the fourth inning. The team brought in two final runs when Wilson and Bixenman were at bat in their last inning.
Freshman Zach Brandon pitched for the game’s first eight innings before being replaced by senior Evan Hilberg.
Refreshed and ready to play, the ’Cats came out May 1 to compete in the third game against the Lutes.
Not waiting to start things off, Linfield scored the first two runs in the first inning. Wilson and senior third baseman Dustin Smith scored the first runs. Bixenman scored the next run in the sixth inning with a home run.
Trying to make a comeback in the sixth inning, Pacific Lutheran scored a single run. Linfield came back in the seventh inning, with Cederberg and Smith scoring two more runs.
The game ended with three final runs during the ninth inning. Cederberg scored the first of three runs on a wild pitch from Pacific Lutheran senior pitcher Bret Handy. Wilson and Smith scored the last two runs after a hit by Truex. Pitching for their final game in Tacoma were sophomore Zach Manley and junior Spencer Crepeaux. Only eight hits came off of the two of them.
Brandon reacted positively after going up against Pacific Lutheran’s strong pitching staff and coming out with three wins.
“I think overall we played really well in all phases of the game. All of our pitchers did a great job, and our defense was great in backing them up all weekend,” he said. “Offensively, we were able to get some timely hits which was big also.”
Evenson also positively responded to the game.
“The highlight of the weekend had to be our focus. Having already clinched a spot in a regional tournament it could have been easy to lose focus,” he said. “We wanted an outright conference championship. More importantly, we want to continue playing good baseball heading into regionals, so getting a sweep is one step closer to our goals.”
After four years of playing for Linfield, Evenson has come out with an experience that is hard for him to explain.
“These four years have been unbelievable. It’s really hard to put it into words. The relationships I’ve built and the memories I will be able to take away are invaluable and something I wouldn’t trade for anything,” he said. “We are all really blessed to be part of this program. I couldn’t have asked for a better four years.”
The Wildcats will travel to Lewiston, Idaho, for a final series that will prepare them for regionals in Texas on May 6-8. The team will compete against familiar teams such as PLU, Lewis-Clark State College and George Fox University.
Kaylyn Peterson/For the Review
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Several Wildcat tennis players were tested against the top singles players and doubles teams in the west during the 111th Ojai Valley Tournament on April 27-30.
Senior Sarah Click and junior Abby Olbrich represented the women’s team in singles and doubles. Both lost first-round singles match-ups but then beat juniors Katie Thaxton and Abbie Zaretsky of Master’s College in the first round of the women’s doubles tournament, 6-1, 6-1. That was as far as the pair advanced.
The duo lost to the top-seeded Point Loma Nazarene University in the second round, 1-6, 1-6. Point Loma became the women’s doubles champions.
Olbrich said the tournament was a valuable experience.
“It was good preparation for regionals and was a good learning experience to have in general,”she said.
Men’s head coach Carl Swanson also noted the value of the tournament.
“For the women, it was basically preparation for the team regional tournament. It was a chance to go down to southern California, play in that environment and play top players because it’s a similar type of environment that we’re going to see at regionals,” Swanson said.
Click and Oblrich, along with the rest of the women’s team, will play in the NCAA Division III regional tournament May 13-15. The location and opponent have yet to be determined.
The tournament provided an opportunity for singles players and doubles teams to play their way into the NCAA national championship. However, none of the Linfield men’s singles players or doubles teams advanced beyond the second round.
Seniors Tal DeWitt and Mark Magdaong both fell in the first round of singles action. Senior Brent Kingzett defeated Chapman University sophomore Dylan Tevlin, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, in the first round but followed that with a 0-6, 0-6 loss to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps College’s senior Russel Brocket.
Kingzett did not finish as well as he anticipated, but he reflected positively on the season and the team’s work ethic.
“Despite losing several close matches and not achieving the success we were used to, the way we prepared for matches and battled to win never wavered,” he said.
Kingzett and Magdaong competed in the men’s doubles tournament, but the team lost in the first round.
DeWitt and senior Tim Wagar edged out California Institute of Technology freshmen Devashish Joshi and Luka Mernik, 9-8, in the first round but also lost in the second round against sophomore Parker Larsen and senior Brian Pybas of the University of California, Santa Cruz, 4-8.
Swanson said he was happy with the mens’ performances, especially since no men’s singles player from the Northwest Conference advanced past the second round.
“It’s the experience of being there, knowing they belong and being a part of it and enjoying some success,” he said. “In terms of how we performed relative to our peers, we did a good job.”
As the tournament marked the end of the road for the men’s players, Swanson noted a few of the mens’ attributes that will be missed.
“As a program, you are going to miss their experience, you are going to miss their leadership, and you are going to miss their competitiveness,” he said.
Kingzett said he hopes to have instilled some of these qualities with the underclassmen.
“I hope to have left them with a sense of motivation and a will to win and to make the best of these years that they can, because it goes by quickly,” he said.
Rae Smith/Staff reporter
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