Teams Qualify Nationally In A Year Like No Other
| by Carol Best firstname.lastname@example.org
COVID-19 Athletics Schedules Changes for Fall 2020
The National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has released new guidelines for competition which results in a modified (shortened) schedule. All sports competitions except football may begin on September 5. Football may begin September 12.
Cross Country: 7 meets
Football: 9 games
Men’s & Women’s Soccer: 14 games
Volleyball: 22 dates
All reductions are proportional to the shortened schedules. See MNUsports.com for periodic updates.
Women’s and men’s basketball earned spots at their national tournaments, which were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
MNU women’s basketball qualified for the national tournament for the ninth straight season along with five other league teams in a loaded Heart of America Conference. Whitney Clampitt (1st team) and Mackenzie Loe (2nd team) earned All-Conference honors. Clampitt was named Honorable Mention All-America after averaging 15.6 points per game.
The Pioneer men’s basketball squad earned a spot at nationals before the tournament was cancelled. Freshman Anthony Brown (1st team, Freshman of the Year) and senior Dakota Quinn (2nd team, Defensive Player of the Year) were both named All-Conference and Honorable Mention All-America.
The MNU Indoor Track & Field season was highlighted by great finishes at nationals, including a national champion when Senior Camry Bradford (above) won the 60m hurdles. The men’s 4x400 relay team finished national runner-up by a mere .01 seconds. At the conference level, Ardeen Walker was named Conference Athlete of the Week three times and led the women’s team to a dominant Heart Conference Championship. She was named Athlete of the Year and Head Coach Nate Wiens was named Women’s Indoor Conference Coach of the Year.
The MNU softball season had just gotten started before getting cut short. The Pioneers looked very good in their handful of games, going 8-3 (including a late loss to the team ranked #2 in the nation) behind a .344 team batting average and a 1.96 team ERA. Sophomore outfielder KK Bayless was hitting .576 (fifth in the NAIA), and freshman pitcher Alexis Wilds was fourth in the NAIA with 10.6 strikeouts per game. The promising start should carry over to 2021.
The Pioneer Baseball team completed about one- third of their season before everything was shut down. MNU was off to one of their best starts ever, boasting a 15-6 overall record and a 9-2 start in conference play. Junior pitchers Kyle Waller (4-1, 3.19) and Easten Garrett (5-1, 3.21) were building great seasons on the mound. And juniors Joshuan Sandoval (.354, 7 HR) and Ryan Leo (.371, 5 HR).