SLCC Athletics posted another solid year in 2011-12. All five teams within SLCC’s Athletic Department are perennially competitive in their respective sports, but the success doesn’t stop there. The Bruins were standout performers in the classroom as well, and the administrators of SLCC Athletics didn’t do so bad themselves.
SLCC Athletics Director Norma Carr was inducted into the University of Utah’s Crimson Club Hall of Fame for her contributions as a coach, administrator and ambassador for women’s collegiate athletics.
The College was host to three Region 18 Championship Tournaments; The Region 18 Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Softball and Baseball Champions were all decided on SLCC’s home turf, to a resounding tune of positivity from those involved in the events.
Bruin student-athletes turned in an excellent academic year, with SLCC Women’s Basketball leading the way with a team grade point average (GPA) of 3.40. Bruin Women’s Basketball earned the No. 1 ranking in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Top 25 Academic Honor Roll. SLCC Softball had a team GPA of 3.04, Bruin Baseball came in at 2.95 and Volleyball turned in a team GPA of 2.76. The Bruin Men’s Basketball team GPA is undetermined at the time of print.
Bruin Volleyball was a force once again in 2011, finishing the season ranked No. 7 in the nation. Head Coach Sue Dulaney led SLCC to a 22-7 overall record and second place finish in the Scenic West Athletic Conference (SWAC) with an 8-2 league record.
Led by solid sophomores Kelli Turner and Whitney Ashton, and using the explosive talents of freshmen Leyla Redondo, Betty Van Lith and Maddie Bushman, SLCC picked up several marquis wins last season.
The Bruins defeated the likes of No. 12 Miami-Dade College, No. 18 Jefferson College and No. 9 College of Southern Idaho (CSI) en route to their seventh straight top 20 finish in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) polls.
SLCC’s season ended in the Region 18 Volleyball Championships at the hands of rival CSI in a five-set thriller. Though Salt Lake played well all year, Dulaney wanted more and is excited for what’s to come in 2012.
“The way last year ended was disappointing, CSI is always a team we have to gear up for,” said Dulaney. “A lot has happened since then, and it’s hard to look back at the year as a whole, but I’m very excited about where we’re at going forward.”
SLCC Women’s Basketball
Despite a 2011-12 season that had its share of ups and downs, last year’s SLCC Women’s Basketball team played hard and played well in the postseason. Head Coach Betsy Specketer led the Bruins to an overall record of 18-13, 7-8 in a hard-fought SWAC season.
As hosts of the Region 18 Basketball Championships, the Bruins defeated rival CSI and dispatched defending NJCAA National Champion North Idaho College (NIC) before falling to Snow College 60-57 in heartbreaking fashion in the Region 18 Championship Game. SLCC was left to wonder what might have been, finishing as Region 18 Runner-Up for the third consecutive season.
“I think that getting to the Championship Game is really difficult, and to get there and come up short—especially on our own floor was very disappointing,” said Specketer. “Though I was happy with the way last season ended in that we were playing our best basketball when we should have.”
Led by sophomore standouts Marissa Robbins, Sofia Hepworth, Katie Walker and Nicole Newbold, SLCC posted a year to be proud of. With solid play from freshman guards Diamond Marchand and Hayli Shurtz, the Bruins picked up several big wins including victories over No. 9-ranked NIC, No. 12 Jefferson College and rival CSI.
SLCC Men’s Basketball
SLCC Men’s Basketball began the 2011-12 campaign on a mission, and won 12 straight games before suffering their first loss. Head Coach Todd Phillips was brought on full-time, and his team responded. Under Phillips, the Bruins posted an overall record of 22-9, 9-6 in a fierce SWAC season.
The SLCC Men saw their season come to a close in the first round of the Region 18 Basketball Championships at the hands of NIC. Despite a furious comeback, the Bruins, hosts of the Region 18 tourney, came up just short and fell to the Cardinals 81-76.
With the leadership of sophomores Gabe Kindred, Marquis Horne, and Louis Garrett, SLCC climbed as high as No. 5 in the NJCAA rankings. With the aid of transfer additions Agustin Ambrosino and Darian Cartharn, SLCC was a tough matchup for any opposition. Coach Phillips looks forward to a new year in 2012-13 with a lot of new faces on the roster.
“We had a really great year, finishing second in our league,” said Phillips. “We have a completely new team, and we just need to build on what we did last year and get better. I’m excited about the season ahead, and it’s a busy time for us right now.”
Bruin Baseball was the talk of Utah college baseball in 2012, with eighth-year Head Coach DG Nelson wielding a roster that was loaded with professional-caliber hardball talent. Ranked as high as No. 2 in the NJCAA at one point, the Bruins took a 40-8 overall record with them into the postseason.
SLCC hosted the Region 18 Baseball Championships at Cate Field in West Jordan, UT and swept all three ballgames to earn the right to host the Division I Western District Playoffs. The Bruins defeated Lamar CC twice in the District Playoffs, but fierce rival Western Nevada College was too much, ending SLCC’s season by beating them twice.
With lights-out pitching from sophomore slingers Tanner Banks, Ruddy Acosta and AJ Carman, SLCC was tough to score against all season. Fellow sophomores Dominique Taylor and Braden Anderson destroyed baseballs all year, blasting 127 combined hits and leading the Bruins to an overall record of 45-10 and a SWAC mark of 31-6.
“I’m really proud of the guys. I feel like we did a great job all year long, right through our last ballgame,” said Nelson. “I couldn’t be happier with the way they played and with how they represented SLCC. We return a key group next year, and have a great recruiting class. We expect more of the same out of the group we’ve got coming in.”
Ever so close. That’s the sentiment around SLCC Softball after Head Coach Mary Kay Amicone’s Bruins finished the year ranked No. 2 in the NJCAA for the second consecutive season. Bruin Softball was ranked No. 1 in the nation for a chunk of the season, finishing the year with an overall record of 59-9 and a 46-5 mark in the Scenic West.
“It’s really a difficult thing to stay on top, I’m proud of what our group did this year. I think the consistency that we’ve shown says a lot about our program,” said SLCC Head Coach Mary Kay Amicone. “For next year—we’ve got talent coming in and talent returning, it’s just a matter of making sure that we stick with the plans and keep working hard.”
The Salt Lake Softball squad battled its way into the NJCAA Softball National Championship Game(s) in St. George, UT where they fell to Chattanooga State twice by scores of 8-7 and 4-1. Though the year ended one step short of the ultimate prize, SLCC Softball laid down some staggering statistics in 2012.
The Bruins smashed 65 home runs on the year, outscored their opposition 563-151 and didn’t have a single pitcher on the staff with an earned runs average over 1.90. Offensively, the Bruins had five players post batting averages above the .400 plateau. The team tallied 713 hits, good for more than double what they allowed at 334. Fans can find out more about SLCC Athletics at slccbruins.com.