TMU Insider: Two falls and a full spring

Travis Yenor (30) and The Master's University men's hoops team ended the season in the NAIA Division 1 Men's National Tournament. Courtesy photo.

Last week, The Master’s University’s men’s and women’s basketball teams wrapped up their respective seasons while TMU track and field and baseball continued to battle through the thick of spring…

Men’s basketball

Last Friday, TMU’s historical turnaround came to an end in a heartbreaking 77-75 loss to Texas Wesleyan at the NAIA Division I Men’s National Tournament in Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri.

The day before, TMU throttled Benedictine of Kansas in its 85-56 NAIA National Tournament first-round win.

After recording just four wins last year, the Mustangs reversed field dramatically in 2016-17, going 27-5, winning the Golden State Athletic Conference tournament for the first time in program history, earning a No. 8 ranking prior to the national tourney, and returning to the tournament for the first time since 2000.

The five losses equaled the fewest in school annals, matching the 1993-94 and 1994-95 national tournament squads that went 28-5 and 31-5, respectively.

Coach Kelvin Starr, who oversaw the about-face, would have liked one less loss and another game toward a possible national championship, but couldn’t help but be effusive in his praise following the game, saying, “I’m so proud of this group of young men that made the historic turnaround possible.  I’m also thankful for my assistant coach, Troy Leaf.  His value to the program is huge.”

After a respectable first half of shooting, the Mustangs managed just 28 percent accuracy in the second stanza Friday, finishing at 36 percent.

Delewis Johnson and Hansel Atencia paced five Mustangs in double figures, scoring 16 points apiece.  Reid Shackelford, playing his final game in the blue and gold, and Lawrence Russell threw in 13 points each while Travis Yenor finished with 10.

Women’s basketball

Last Friday, TMU squared off against No. 1-overall seed Freed-Hardeman University (Tennessee) in the second round of the 37th annual NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship. The day before, the Mustangs edged Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) 85-83.

After four quarters Friday, the Lions handed the fifth-seeded Mustangs a 79-58 loss. The 17th-ranked Mustangs’ season concluded at 23-9 following their second straight appearance in the tourney’s round of 16.

Notably, TMU’s 2016-17 campaign marked its twelfth 20-win season in program history.

Additionally, TMU’s trip to the national tournament marked its fifth straight national tournament appearance and their twelfth overall in program history. Of their 12 total trips to the national tournament, the Mustangs now have a combined 8-12 NAIA post-season mark.

TMU freshman Hannah Forrar led TMU in scoring with 15 points. Playing her final game as a Mustang, senior forward Bianca Cubello scored 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds.


Max Maitland’s two-run single in the last of the sixth inning drove in the tying and go-ahead runs as The Master’s University salvaged a doubleheader split with Biola on Saturday afternoon at Lou Herwaldt Stadium.

Maitland’s clutch base hit to center field gave the Mustangs a 5-4 victory in the nightcap after they had dropped the opener 4-3 to the Eagles in 10 innings.

The previous day, the Mustangs fell short to the Eagles 7-4.

Friday’s loss and Saturday’s split left the Mustangs at 15-15 overall and 6-9 in the GSAC, six games behind first-place Menlo College.

After their second doubleheader split of the season, the Mustangs take a brief break from GSAC play on Tuesday when they host Simpson in a 3 p.m. start at Lou Herwaldt Stadium. This weekend, TMU will compete on the road in Phoenix, Arizona, against Arizona Christian.

Friday’s first pitch is slated for 3 p.m., while Saturday’s doubleheader will begin at 11 a.m.

Men’s track and field

Last Saturday, TMU posted a number of qualifying marks at the Point Loma Nazarene University’s Ross & Sharon Irwin Invitational, which means several Mustangs are headed to the 66th annual Men’s Outdoor Track & Field National Championships from May 25-27 at the Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Leading the way for TMU was Alec Franco, who ran a spectacular season-debut in the 3000-meter steeplechase.  Winning the race and posting a national qualifying mark, Franco crossed the line in 9 minutes and 30.54 seconds. Alec joins teammates Joshua Sherfey and Tim Gutierrez on the national roster; both Sherfey and Gutierrez are slated to compete in the marathon at the national meet.

In the 1,500, Skyler Mikesell represented TMU well in the first, and fastest, heat of the event.  Winning the race and hitting a national qualifying mark along the way, Mikesell crossed the line in 3:55.43.

Next up for the Mustangs is the Westmont Classic in Santa Barbara. The event starts Thursday.

Women’s track and field

Last Saturday, TMU competed at the Ross & Sharon Irwin Invitational, hosted by Point Loma Nazarene University.

Mikala Fairchild, Morgan Pedrick, and Rachael Ingoldsby represented TMU in the first, and fastest, section of the 1500, posting times of 4:38.01, 4:42.15, and 4:42.91 respectively.

Fairchild’s mark cleared the NAIA’s “B” standard (4:40.00) and qualified her to compete in the national championships from May 25-27 at the Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium in Alabama, making her the second Mustang to do so thus far this season.

Fairchild will join Ingoldsby, as the senior runner qualified last weekend to compete in the 3,000 steeplechase at the Ben Brown Invitational.

Rylee Bishop also competed in the 1,500, clocking in at 4:58.52, just two seconds off her lifetime best.

Next for the Mustangs was Madison Cole in the pole vault.  Cole cleared three heights, and matched her season best of 2.79 meters.

Competing in the 100, Tess Thompson won her heat and ran a new personal best of 13.31.  Thompson returned to the track later in the day to run another lifetime best in the 200 (27.30).

Emily Hess also competed in both the 100 and 200, posting marks of 14.2 and 29.59 respectively. Notably, Hess’ 200 mark was a new lifetime best.

Doubling back in the 800 was Pedrick, Ingoldsby, Fairchild, and Bishop, with times of 2:23.68, 2:24.28, 2:25.66, and 2:26.8 respectively.

Ariana Sciarra also competed in the 800, running 2:30.81 and winning her section.

Next weekend, the Mustangs will compete in the Westmont Classic in Santa Barbara.

For more information about The Master’s University Athletics, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @TMUAthletics.

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