A PacWest Season To Remember

We wrapped up our PacWest conference meetings on the final day of May. I hope you don’t mind me doing a little bragging, because we had a great year!

We started the year by officially becoming the largest NCAA Division II conference in the West – up to 14 schools from Hawaii to Northern and Southern California to Arizona and Utah. Then, we ended the year with one of our universities winning another national championship!

For the first time since 2010, when Hawaii Pacific earned the NCAA D-II title in softball, one of our PacWest teams took home the top prize in an official conference sport. Academy of Art University became the first school in history to win an outdoor track and field championship in its first year of NCAA active status. The Urban Knights, who just began fielding athletic teams five years ago, won the D-II women’s outdoor title in Colorado over Memorial Day weekend. Earlier, this winter, Art U won the women’s indoor title.

Also this spring, PacWest teams made quite a run in sports such as tennis and baseball. BYU-Hawaii and HPU were both ranked in the top five in the nation in women’s tennis, and both made the national semi-finals. The Seasiders took it one step further by finishing as national runner-up for the second year in a row.

Meanwhile, Grand Canyon, which plans to jump to Division I next year, became the first PacWest team to win the NCAA D-II baseball West regionals, as it advanced to the national championship tournament in North Carolina. Grand Canyon also won the 2012-13 PacWest Commissioner’s Cup for the first time and has all but clinched the DII Director’s Cup for this year.

Hawaii teams had a great year, too. The University of Hawaii at Hilo won a share of its first PacWest softball title in several years, tying Dixie State for top honors and earning a spot in the NCAA regionals. The Hilo men’s golf team also made it to regionals, and we bid aloha to Big Island coaching greats Joey Estrella and Jeff Law.

Earlier this year, BYU-Hawaii ran away with the PacWest title in women’s volleyball on the way to securing the No. 1 seed in the NCAA West region championships. The Seasiders then advanced all the way to the national semi-finals. It was another historic effort by National Coach of the Year Wilfred Navalta, who announced his retirement at the end of the season.

HPU was the top seed in the inaugural PacWest women’s basketball tournament, and head coach Reid Takatsuka was named Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year. The HPU men’s tennis team won the inaugural PacWest men’s tennis tournament title, and longtime SeaWarriors softball coaching legend Howard Okita officially announced his retirement, too.

Chaminade had its best softball season in many years, putting together a streak that spanned 16 wins in 17 games at one point. And the Silverswords men’s basketball team played Giant Killers again by storming to a first-round victory over powerful Texas in the Maui Invitational.

We did all of this while our PacWest student athletes compiled a grade point average of above 3.0, and also made great efforts in the community.

It was definitely a PacWest season to remember. Thanks so much for your support along the way!