Exceptional Student-Athletes

On the 50th anniversary of its first National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championship, the Chico State men’s golf team once again reached the national stage, claiming a second-place victory. Leading the team’s extraordinary talent was Alistair Docherty, a Division II Golfer of the Year award finalist, the 2015–16 California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Male Athlete of the Year, and the only D-II men’s golfer picked for the Arnold Palmer Cup team, which pits the USA’s top collegiate golfers against their European counterparts. The 2015–16 Wildcats, who matched a program record by winning seven times, finished first or second in all 12 tournaments they played, setting a new program standard.

cross-country runners mid-race in an outdoor setting

Men’s cross country achieved its 14th-straight CCAA title in 2015, tying the CCAA record for most consecutive titles in any sport in its 76-year history. Standout athlete Will Reyes won the CCAA title and finished 10th at the NCAA Championships while also earning a pair of All-America honors on the track, finishing second in the nation in the 10,000 meters and fourth in the 5,000 meters.

The 2016 women’s softball team became just the second team in the program’s 48-year history to earn 40 victories in a season, with its 40-16 record. Its athletes also topped a school record by winning 14 straight games, were nationally ranked through most of the campaign, and reached the postseason for the fifth time since 2010.

The softball team in uniform celebrates a victory

Chico State teams won 6 of the CCAA’s 12 conference championships, and 11 out of 13 qualified for the postseason. The department finished 20th in the Division II Learfield Cup Standings, finishing inside the top 10 percent for the 12th year
in a row.

The Chico State Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) made dreams come true for a local 4-year-old girl with a severe illness by making her a princess at a Chico State baseball game in partnership with Make-a-Wish and sent her to Walt Disney World to meet her favorite princesses. She is the third local child adopted by the SAAC, which has representatives from each of the Wildcats’ 13 D-II teams.

Brooke Whitburn in track uniform launches a javelin

Brooke Whitburn had a sweet 2016. The junior broke the school record in the heptathlon, set new personal records in eight events, captured the CCAA heptathlon championship, was the national runner-up in the heptathlon in the NCAA Track & Field Championships, and earned CCAA Female Track & Field Athlete of the Year honors.

The 2015–16 men’s basketball team’s two consecutive CCAA titles and five straight NCAA Championship Tournament berths are unprecedented in the program’s history.

Ten Wildcats were honored nationally for academic success in 2015–16 by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Tanner Giddings jumps up to the basketball hoop, about to score at practice

Men’s basketball player Tanner Giddings became the second Wildcat in history to ever receive an NCAA Degree Completion Award, an elite scholarship that rewards exceptional students by funding their education after they exhaust their athletic eligibility