When campus shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, it stripped students of experiences such as club banquets, intramurals and award ceremonies.
Spring sport athletes, who just started conference play, also met an early, unexpected end to their season.
On Sunday, March 15, the Lone Star Conference announced the conclusion of all spring sporting events.
According to Oklahoma Christian University Sports Information Director Murray Evans, “The decision was reached by the Lone Star Conference Council of Presidents with the health, safety and wellness of student-athletes, coaches, administrators, athletic staffs and fans as the top priority.’
When the NCAA shut down all collegiate sports, the 2020 season for track, softball, baseball and golf ceased. In concurrence with the NCAA regulations, Oklahoma Christian also opted to end 2020 competition for Eagle club sports, Ultimate and bowling.
Additionally, the swim team had just finished their season and were awaiting the results of qualifications for the NCAA championships.
The ending results and the final games from each sport are wrapped up below:
Track and Field
On February 21 and 22, the Eagles track and field team ended their indoor season in Lubbock, TX, at the Lone Star Conference Indoor Championships.
For the men’s team, senior Kelton Reynolds ran the mile in a personal season-best time of 4:25.75, earning two points for the Eagles. Junior Caleb Bozarth finished eighth and junior Colton Meyers finished seventh in their respective races.
In the field events, sophomore Jonathan Olsson finished ninth in the shot put, with a throw of 47 feet, 1 3/4 inches and set a personal-best throw in the weight throw at 48 feet, 4 1/2 inches to place eighth.
The distance medley relay team, including senior Kelton Reynolds, senior Riley McKnight, sophomore Reid Little and freshman Colten Brown placed seventh on the first day of competition.
For the women’s team, sophomore Kenya Bailey finished sixth in the 5,000 meters in 18:22.84. Bailey also placed the highest of any Oklahoma Christian athlete. She finished fourth in 3,000 meters.
In the distance medley relay, senior Kelsey Castillo, junior Destiny Johnson, senior Addy Clift and sophomore Caroline Schwab placed fifth. Castillo also ran the mile individually and placed eighth.
Senior Lawanda Harvey set a new school record in the qualifying 200-meter run, obliterating her own record with a time of 24.58 seconds.
Representing Oklahoma Christian in the field events, senior Destiny Grace threw a career best in the weight throw and in the shot put, placing seventh and 11th respectively.
The men finished in 10th place out of 11 teams on the final day of competition. The women placed ninth out of 12 teams.
The Eagles were set to start their outdoor season March 26-28.
After just starting conference play, the Eagles played four conference teams. Before the cancellation, their record in conference play was 6-2. On the season, they were 21-5, which set them up on a path for a successful season.
On their final game of the 2020 season, the Eagles split a double-header with No. 14 Texas A&M University-Commerce on Sunday, March 8. The first game ended in a 1-3 loss, and the second game was a win for the Eagles, 4-3.
The second game win came off of junior Daelynn Denny’s two-run homerun on two outs in the bottom of fifth inning.
After the split, Oklahoma Christian moved to No. 16 in the NCAA Division II Coaches Association’s poll.
The Eagles were 6-1 against ranked teams.
After starting the season immediately in conference play, the Eagles were 9-13 in the season.
They closed the season in a four-game series against the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith March 6-8, winning the series 3-1. They won the final three games of the series. In a double header on Saturday, March 7, they won both games, 5-4 and 4-1. The score in the final game was 11-9, with the Eagles winning a close game.
Freshman Michael DiFiore came out hitting big for the Eagles, driving in five runs with two home runs. Pitchers freshman Carter Hines and junior Noah Bates threw a no-run final three innings to seal the win for the Eagles.
On March 8, sophomore pitcher Ty Dudley was named Eagle of the Week and pitched the Eagles’ first complete game of the season in their 4-1 win over Arkansas-Fort Smith.
On Tuesday, March 3, the men’s golf team played their last tournament before the virus outbreak in the Las Vegas Desert Classic.
Senior Trevor Norby finished the last day with four birdies and an eagle, closing the tournament with an overall score of even-par 216, which was two shots behind the leader. Norby placed second in the tournament to help the team finish third overall.
After his performance in Las Vegas, Norby was named the Lone Star Conference player of the week, the fourth of his collegiate career.
The Eagles were ranked No. 7 in the NCAA Division II coaches’ poll before the season ended.
The women’s team played their last tournament Tuesday, March 10, in the Diffie Ford-Lincoln Invitational at Kickingbird Golf Course in Edmond, OK. They finished with an overall team score of 627.
Freshman Wilma Merenmies and sophomore Alexandria Bennett placed the highest for the Eagles, tying for 14th out of 94 women with a 6-over-par 76.
In their first season of competition, the Eagles were set up for several home preview games and club conference competition.
Their final game before the close of the season was their first home game in Eagle history on Saturday, Feb. 8. The Eagles defeated Oklahoma Baptist University 15-6.
Freshman Elliott Moore contributed seven assists, scored two points and recorded three deflections. Freshman Garrett Houston scored four goals, while both freshman Larry Crooks and junior Zachary Payne scored three.
The bowling teams were set to compete in postseason sectional tournaments as part of the Intercollegiate Singles Championship and Intercollegiate Team Championship.
Six women were set to compete in postseason. Freshman Morgan Pelkie held the team’s top scoring average of 185.57, with three top-five finishes this season.
For the men, seven bowlers were set to compete. Sophomore Joshua Imhoff and junior Sam Butler boasted the highest season scoring averages for the Eagles and both recorded top-five finishes this season. Imhoff scored a 198.84 and Butler had a 198.33.
Although the Eagles 2020 spring season ended prematurely, the NCAA granted all spring sport athletes an extra year of eligibility if desired.
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