Hornets take home eight conference championships

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Hornets take home eight conference championships

Senior Greg Mayo finished fifth place in the long jump final on the first day of Sacramento States Mondo Mid-Major Challenge with a jump of 22 feet and 10 inches.

Senior Greg Mayo finished fifth place in the long jump final on the first day of Sacramento States Mondo Mid-Major Challenge with a jump of 22 feet and 10 inches.

Senior Greg Mayo finished fifth place in the long jump final on the first day of Sacramento States Mondo Mid-Major Challenge with a jump of 22 feet and 10 inches.

Senior Greg Mayo finished fifth place in the long jump final on the first day of Sacramento States Mondo Mid-Major Challenge with a jump of 22 feet and 10 inches.

Anthony Honrade

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Sacramento State has shown it can compete with the best in the respective conferences by winning eight championships between the fall 2010 and spring 2011 seasons.

In the past academic year, the Hornets won titles in men’s indoor/outdoor track and field, women’s indoor/outdoor track and field, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, men’s and women’s tennis.

The men’s track and field team won its third Big Sky Indoor Championship by just half a point, while the women won its second straight indoor title by 50 points over second-place Idaho State, making this the women’s third championship victory in the last four years.

The teams’ successes have also allowed head coach and director of track and field Kathleen Raske to win the Big Sky Men’s and Women’s Coach of the Year award, making it her eighth and ninth since coming to Sac State in 2003.

Raske recognized the success of the team could not be accomplished without help of her staff.

“It’s not just me, it’s an entire staff,” Raske said. “Every single person contributes and it’s a collective effort because we have 90 athletes in six different sports.”

Raske’s Coach of the Year awards are something she shares with her staff because of contributions they have made to the program.

“I cannot thank my staff and extended staff enough for all they contribute, and also the support of the alums that give back to the program,” Raske said. “When they give a coach of the year award, obviously it’s given to the head coach, but it really should be staff of the year in my opinion because it takes every single person on staff to make it work for success.”

By winning the Big Sky men’s and women’s outdoor championships this past Saturday, Sac State’s track and field team has gone perfect on the year by winning both the men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor championships – something that has only been accomplished in the Big Sky Conference by Northern Arizona in 1990 and Weber State in 2002.

“It was awesome, it was like a dream come true,” said senior Andi Behring. “We’ve been talking about it since I first came here and for it to actually come true is kind of unreal.”

The Sac State women’s tennis team has also continued its dominance in the Big Sky by winning its 10th straight title, while the men have won three straight titles, making it their ninth overall title.

Tatsiana Kapshai and Kiryl Harbatsiuk both took home the Big Sky Most Valuable Player Award for their respective teams. This is the ninth straight year that a Sac State women’s player has been named Most Valuable Player and is the fifth straight year that a men’s player has won.

In soccer, the women’s team won its second Big Sky Championship in the last four years, while the men have won two straight championships in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Center back Rory O’Day helped the team win its second straight championship by scoring the winning goal in overtime in the MPSF Championship match against CSU Bakersfield.

If he was to score a goal, O’Day planned a celebration similar to Terrell Owens’ infamous popcorn celebration that came when Owens scored a touchdown. O’Day never predicted he would be scoring the biggest goal of the season for the Hornets.

“When I scored, I took off my shirt, ran over to where the popcorn was and started eating it and then my whole team just tackled me. I didn’t really have any feelings, I was just going off my reactions,” O’Day said. “It was kind of planned out, but I never anticipated scoring the winning goal in overtime or anything like that.”

O’Day was also selected to the MPSF All-Tournament team with his performance.

The Sac State rowing team was also able to medal in five events at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship.

The Hornets earned gold medals in the second varsity eight, varsity four and novice lightweight four races. Sac state also received silver in the novice eight, and bronze in the varsity eight. Sac State’s victories at the WIRA Championship were the first time in school history that the Hornets were able to medal in each of the Dad Vail Regatta’s four most prestigious races: the varsity eight, second varsity eight, varsity four and novice eight.

In the fall season, the sports that will be competing for Sac State will be men’s and women’s basketball, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball.

Since coming to Sac State in 2006, Behring has noticed the changes that has allowed Sac State to become more accomplished as a program.

“I definitely think we’ve come a hell of a way since I came here in 2006. We had a team or to in the past but we weren’t dominant like we are now,” Behring said. “The better we are, the more exposure and support we get. I think that we’ve grown tremendously, and I think that growth is what helps teams win.”

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