Small College Notebook: USF baseball heads to Stockton, Golden Gators earn nine all-region track nods, Academy of Art’s Mobolade Ajomale earns conference’s Men’s Track Athlete of the Year

As spring sports begin to wind towards their climax in national meets and conference tournaments, we have a round-up of the local goings-on in San Francisco’s small college scene, including all-conference and all-region honors, and a potential playoff run up on the Hilltop.

University of San Francisco

BASEBALL — The Diamond Dons are headed to Stockton for the West Coast Conference Tournament, to be held at Banner Island Ballpark, Thursday through Saturday. The tournament is a double-elimination bracket, with the No.4-seed Dons facing No. 1-seed Pepperdine in the opener on Thursday at 3 p.m.

Three Dons made the All-WCC First Team, including catcher Riley Helland, right-handed pitcher Riley Ornido and infielder Mike Perri. Junior right-handed pitcher Thomas Ponticelli was named to the conference’s Second Team, and Jon Allen earned honorable mention.

MEN’S BASKETBALL — It was announced on Tuesday that the Dons men’s basketball team will head to Ireland this winter. San Francisco is one of eight programs around the country that will participate in two, four-team brackets of the Belfast Classic on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Ireland. University campus-round games will lead up to the actual trip to Ireland. Other teams included will be Albany, Buffalo, Dartmouth, LIU Brooklyn, Marist, Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Stephen F. Austin.

Academy of Art University

TRACK AND FIELD: With the Ubran Knights’ sixth straight appearance at the NCAA Division II Outdoor National Championship on the horizon, two members of the men’s team were recognized in Tuesday’s announcement of the 2018 Pacific West Conference Track & Field awards.

Head coach Kevin LaSure was selected as the PacWest Men’s Coach of the Year, while the conference named Mobolade Ajomale as its Men’s Track Athlete of the Year. The Canadian sprinter and owner of an Olympic bronze medal defended both of his 2016 individual titles in the 100m and 200m at the conference championship meet, in addition to contributing legs of both the 4x100m and 4x400m championship relays. He was also twice the PacWest Track Athlete of the Week (Mar. 22, Apr. 19) before taking home Athlete of the Meet honors at the PacWest championships.

BASEBALL — Three Urban Knights were named to the All-PacWest teams following the Academy of Art’s most successful season on the diamond. Junior infielder Elijah Smith, and senior pitchers Alex Fernandez and Chris Rost were each named to the All-PacWest Team, the second-most recipients in the program’s 10-year history.

San Francisco State

TRACK AND FIELD — Head coach Kendra Reimer has been named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association West Region Coach of the Year. The award is Reimer’s second outdoor Coach of the Year award (she earned the distinction last spring, as well) and her third overall. She was also named West Region Coach of the Year following this season’s indoor slate.

Under Reimer, the Gatorswon the program’s first ever CCAA Championship, thanks to a weekend that included 11 first-place finishes back on May 5. In addition to the team’s title, Destiny Mack-Talalemotu earned the CCAA High Point Award, given to the highest point earner from the championship weekend after she notched 31.

The Gators opened the season ranked No. 1 in the country, and are currently at No. 9, having maintained a top-ten ranking the entire season. SF State will enter the NCAA Outdoor Championships on Thursday with 11 student-athletes competing in 13 events.

The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced the All-Region honorees for the 2017-18 NCAA Outdoor season on Thursday, with nine San Francisco State athletes earning a total of 21 nods.

Janelle Bandayrel earned All-Region honors for the 100m and 4×100, while Timarya Baynard, Maya Cook and Jazmine Smith were also recognized for the relay. The team currently has the 10th-fastest time in the country (45.95 seconds), which is also the second-fastest in program history.

Baynard also added All-Region recognition in the 200m, 400m, and the 4×400, the second straight year she’s earned the award in four events. She took first at the CCAA Championships in the 200m (24.08), running the third-fastest time in program history.

Joining Baynard as All-Region honorees for the 4×400 are Bianca Bryant, Cook and Smith. That quartet ran the third-fastest time in the nation at the Mt. Sac Relays (3:40.86).

Bryant added All-Region honors for the 800m, with a program-record 207.68.

Smith ran a 55.05 in the 400m at the conference championships, good for fourth in the nation, earning her All-Region nod.

Other Gators to earn All-Region included Vaness Koontz (400m hurdles), Monisha Lewis (100m hurdles, 100m), Destiny Mack-Talalemotu (discus) and Courtney Massengale (discus, shot put, hammer).

BASEBALL –After reaching the conference tournament for the first time since joining the California Collegiate Athletic Association in 1998, two Gators were named to the D2 Conference Commissioners Association Baseball All-West Region Second Team.

Middle infielders Brady Dorn and Jackson Kritsch both earned the second-team nods, with Dorn also being named to the National College Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) NCAA Division II All-West Region First Team. Dorn, a first-team all-conference selection for the CCAA, was fourth in the CCAA with a .370 batting average and led the team with 23 walks, while rattling out 68 hits and driving home 33 runs.

Kritsch, named to the 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-District Team — selected by CoSIDA — hit .362 and earned All-CCAA Second Team honors. He led the Gators with  75 hits, scored 45 runs and had 10 stolen bases. His 50 appearances and 49 starts were second most on the team. He also boasts a 3.96 cumulative grade point average, and was also named the CCAA Championships Scholar.

Ryan Gorcey

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