2021-22 Athletics Preview

Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the September issue of The Mustang Connection, TMU’s official magazine.

The Master’s University Athletic Department is once again expected to compete for multiple Golden State Athletic Conference titles and berths into NAIA national tournaments this school year. As always, you can find the latest stats, scores and schedules at gomustangs.com. Here’s a snapshot of what to expect from each of TMU’s 17 intercollegiate athletic teams this year.

Men’s Cross Country (fall)

The Mustangs have won 11 straight GSAC titles, which is tied for the most consecutive conference crowns for any GSAC team, across all sports. Master’s entered the 2021 season ranked 14th in the NAIA Preseason Coaches’ Poll.

Key Returners

  • Senior Wesley Methum (2020 NAIA All-American – 20th place)

  • Senior Davis Boggess (2020 GSAC Individual Champion)

  • Junior Brint Laubach (2019 NAIA All-American – 30th place)

Key Newcomers

  • Freshman Andrew Cross (Christian Academy of Knoxville 5K record holder)

  • Freshman Connor Ybarra (top five in Centennial HS history in the mile)

Last Season

  • 1st at GSAC Championships, 14th at NAIA Championships

Women’s Cross Country (fall)

TMU is coming off its second-ever GSAC title and is looking to win back-to-back GSAC championships for the first time in program history. Master’s began the season ranked 15th in the NAIA.

Key Returners

  • Senior Arianna Ghiorso (2020 NAIA All-American – 27th place)

  • Junior Mariah Hildebrandt (2020 All-GSAC)

Key Newcomers

  • Hannah Fredericks (All-CIF, Foothill League cross country champion)

  • Emma Nelson (top 15 at Montana state championships)

Last Season

  • 1st at GSAC Championships, 17th at NAIA Championships

Men’s Golf (fall-spring)

A painful ending at last season’s GSAC Championships, falling one stroke short of the title, has reigning GSAC Coach of the Year Jacob Hicks and his No. 21-ranked squad motivated heading into the year.

Key Returners

  • Senior Jack Dudeck (2021 GSAC Individual Champion)

  • Senior Josh Kehl (2020-21 All-GSAC)

Key Newcomers

  • Freshman DonDon Bumacod (CIF individual runner-up, 2x CIF team champion)

  • Freshman Sam Sewell (won district team title at Guyer HS in Texas)

Last Season

  • Tied for 2nd at GSAC Championships

Women’s Golf (fall-spring)

TMU returns the entire roster from its inaugural 2020-21 season. The Mustangs also added a pair of incoming freshmen who should help the team take a step forward in year two.

Key Returners

  • Sophomore Bella Huff (13th at 2021 GSAC Championships)

  • Senior Sierra Pilgrim (14th at 2021 GSAC Championships)

Key Newcomers

  • Freshman Nicole Southard (2x all-conference pick at Norco HS)

Last Season

  • 5th at GSAC Championships

Men’s Soccer (fall)

After an injury-plagued spring 2021 season, TMU hopes to stay healthy this fall and compete for a spot in the GSAC Tournament. The Mustangs were picked to finish seventh in the GSAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll.

Key Returners

  • Midfielder Michael Nachfoerg (2020 All-GSAC)

  • Midfielder/Forward Aidan Rohde (2020 team leader in goals)

  • Defender Peter Mackay (team captain)

Key Newcomers

  • Forward Caden Zierenberg (Idaho Olympic Development Program)

  • Defender Cameron Berkwitt (Arizona semi-pro experience)

Last Season

  • 4th in GSAC East, 3-6-2 overall (2-5-1 GSAC)

Women’s Soccer (fall)

TMU fielded a young squad last season. That group gained valuable experience and is ready to contend in the GSAC. The Mustangs were picked fourth in the GSAC Coaches’ Preseason Poll and they received votes in preseason national rankings.

Key Returners

  • Forward Kyndel Borman (2x All-GSAC selection)

  • Defender Payton Williams (2020 All-GSAC)

  • Defender Lexi Baker (2020 All-GSAC)

Key Newcomers

  • Goalkeeper Ariana Romero (NCAA Division I transfer, Seattle University)

  • Midfielder Kate Merical (undefeated season with Windsor HS)

Last Season

  • 3rd in GSAC East, 7-6-2 overall (4-3-1 GSAC)

Women’s Indoor Volleyball (fall)

Coming off a GSAC East Division title, the Mustangs began the 2021 season receiving votes in the NAIA’s preseason poll. And with reigning GSAC Co-Coach of the Year Annett Davis entering her second season, TMU was predicted by conference coaches to finish second in the GSAC.

Key Returners

  • Middle Blocker Jessi Swenning (2020 All-GSAC)

  • Outside Hitter Emilye Grace Williams (2020 team leader in kills)

  • Libero Karli Stults (2020 team leader in digs)

Key Newcomers

  • Opposite Hitter Emily Clark (all-conference pick at Bakersfield College)

  • Defensive Specialist Brooke Scott (2x all-league selection at Eagle HS)

Last Season

  • 1st in GSAC East, NAIA Opening Round qualifier, 10-4 overall (8-2 GSAC)

Men’s Swimming & Diving (winter)

Master’s has added the first male diver in program history, and the team returns all but one swimmer from a season ago. So, with its combination of returners and talented newcomers (some of whom hold personal-best times that would set TMU records), the Mustangs continue to take steps toward becoming a top program.

Key Returners

  • Xavier Gutierrez (200 freestyle champion at 2021 GSAC Championship)

  • Spencer Grubb (200 butterfly, 500 free champion at 2021 GSAC Championship)

Key Newcomers

  • Darby Culver (first diver in program history, state title winner in trampoline and tumbling)

  • JT Sears (CIF sectional finalist)

  • Nilton Dos Santos de Oliveira (3x state qualifier)

Last Season

  • 7th at Pacific Collegiate Swim and Dive Conference Championships

Women’s Swimming & Diving (winter)

The Mustangs welcomed 11 new athletes to campus this fall as the program continues to expand entering its fourth season. TMU graduated only two seniors in May, so with the experience from last year, Master’s should continue to trend in the right direction.

Key Returners

  • Courtney Simpson (2020 NAIA All-American in 1M & 3M diving)

Key Newcomers

  • Tyler Coffman (second diver in program history, third place at Alaska state championships)

  • Delaney Phillips (USA Water Polo Olympic Development Program Zone Team)

Last Season

  • 11th at Pacific Collegiate Swim and Dive Conference Championships

Men’s Basketball (winter)

Despite a young team, which at times started three freshmen, TMU surpassed 20 wins for the fifth straight season in 2020-21. The Mustangs didn’t graduate any seniors, so they’re expected to compete once again for a GSAC title.

Key Returners

  • Guard Jordan Starr (2020-21 All-GSAC)

  • Forward Kaleb Lowery (2020-21 All-GSAC)

Key Newcomers

  • Freshman guard Tiago Soares (younger brother of decorated alumnus Tim Soares)

  • Freshman forward Anthony Peoples Jr. (2021 CIF champion with Centennial HS)

Last Season

  • 4th in GSAC East, 21-5 overall (5-5 GSAC)

Women’s Basketball (winter)

The Mustangs enter the Lisa Zamroz era, as the former Mustang point guard takes over as head coach. Zamroz inherits a talented roster, one that is expected to once again challenge for a GSAC title.

Key Returners

  • Forward Stephanie Soares (2019-20 NAIA Player of the Year)

  • Forward Rebekah Throns (2020-21 All-GSAC)

Key Newcomers

  • Guard Giani Wimbish-Gay (Area and District MVP at Victoria East HS)

  • Forward Lexi Hernandez (2x state champion at Lynden Christian HS)

Last Season

  • 3rd in GSAC East, 7-5 overall (5-3 GSAC)

Baseball (spring)

In May, after narrowly missing out on winning a GSAC East Division title, TMU graduated a record number of players. Nevertheless, Coach Monte Brooks has reloaded his roster for what appears to be a promising 2022 season.

Key Returners

  • Outfielder Will Batz (.365 batting average, 23 stolen bases last season)

  • Catcher Joe Terlizzi (.371 batting average last season)

Key Newcomers

  • Pitcher Mason Madalinski (graduate transfer from Olivet Nazarene University)

  • Tommy Gwinn (2x all-league selection at Santa Clarita Christian School)

Last Season

  • 2nd in GSAC East, 30-17 record overall (8-8 GSAC)

Men’s Outdoor Track & Field (spring)

TMU’s program has continued to grow, particularly in field events like the long jump and pole vault. Those events will now benefit from a new on-campus practice area. Overall, TMU track and field hopes to compete for multiple conference individual titles and high finishes at NAIA nationals.

Key Returners

  • Wesley Methum (2021 NAIA All-American – fourth place in the 5K)

  • Daniel Rush (GSAC Champion in the 5K)

Key Newcomers

  • Caleb Pouliot (Field Athlete of the Year and Valley Champion at Buchanan HS)

Last Season

  • 3rd at GSAC Championships

Women’s Indoor/Outdoor Track & Field (winter-spring)

A relatively young TMU squad impressed at last season’s conference and national championships. After graduating only two athletes, the Mustangs hope to build on those successes.

Key Returners

  • Arianna Ghiorso (11th at nationals in the 1,500)

  • Micaiah Scott (first in program history to compete in a throwing event at nationals)

Key Newcomers

  • Hannah Fredericks (All-CIF honoree, Foothill League cross country champion)

  • Emma Nelson (top 15 at Montana state championships)

Last Season

  • 4th at GSAC Championships

Women’s Beach Volleyball (spring)

Entering its third season, TMU has added several new players after graduating its top pairing from a year ago. After finishing middle of the pack in the conference in 2021, Master’s hopes to take the next step and join the GSAC’s top teams.

Key Returners

  • Senior Kasie Spencer (member of team’s No. 2 pairing last season)

  • Senior Tara Delk/Junior Chloe Johnson (team’s No. 3 pairing last season)

Key Newcomers

  • Junior Kassidy Wilson (second-team all-conference at Ventura College)

  • Evi Yates (Arizona’s 2A Offensive Player of the Year at Chandler Prep)

Last Season

  • 3rd in GSAC, 3-12 record overall (3-4 GSAC)

Men’s Indoor Volleyball (spring)

The combination of a strong recruiting class and a talented group of returners has positioned the Mustangs to continue climbing toward the top of the GSAC in the program’s third year.

Key Returners

  • Outside hitter Brandon Botdorf (2021 All-GSAC)

  • Opposite hitter Ben Herb (second on team in kills, blocks and digs last year)

Key Newcomers

  • Libero/outside hitter Diego Lopez (transfer from Pepperdine University)

Last Season

  • 3rd in GSAC East, 2-8 record overall (2-6 GSAC)

To learn more about TMU Athletics, visit gomustangs.com.

Faculty Focus: Geoffrey Branda

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