IRVING, Texas – With the 2019-20 academic year slated to begin in less than two weeks, let us look back at the highlights from the University of Dallas 2018-19 year. Headlining the year was the men’s golf program capturing the school’s first Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Championship, while the men’s basketball team qualified for the championship game for the first time. The men’s basketball team was the fifth seed and after consecutive upsets would fall in the championship’s first double overtime to the host tournament school, Texas Lutheran University. Kevin McGuirk won an individual gold medal at the SCAC Track & Field Championship for the 400 Meter Hurdles. He is the second on the men’s side (Prince Giadolor – 2016 was other one) to achieve gold at an SCAC Championship, and second year in a row from UD (Diana Hassink – 2018).
The men’s and women’s soccer program played on their newly renovated field that included lights allowing for the first home night contests. The baseball program settled into the new clubhouse that added exterior logos to represent the latest additional support from the UD Booster Club – who were granted the St. Sebastian Award last spring. Other seating additions were made along the right field foul line on the hill, and dugout railings were replaced to continue enhancing the facilities.
The Crusaders had a trio of first-year coaches with Erik Grafton, Caitlynn Dykes, and Keith Loftis taking the helm of the baseball, softball, and men’s lacrosse programs, respectively. Bri Calver also joined the staff in the spring to become the latest women’s basketball head coach. The department finished its second year with graduate assistances, as men’s soccer, men’s basketball, track & field, women’s lacrosse, softball, and sports information all hired one.
The women’s soccer and softball teams earned the sixth seed in the SCAC Tournament but provided thrilling upsets in their respective postseasons. The women’s soccer team forced a 2-2 tie with third-seeded Texas Lutheran University and would prevail in the shootout to reach the second round for the first time since 2014. The softball team won only two conference games but upset third-seeded Schreiner University in an elimination game. Both setbacks for the Crusaders in the tournament were by a run to host Centenary College.
The men’s soccer program defeated Trinity University at home, giving the team three wins in the past four years to the conference powerhouse. The Crusaders also were the second team in the SCAC to edge Trinity in consecutive seasons, with the other being Centre College in 1994-95. The volleyball team captured a winning season with a 20-13 record and hosted the SCAC Tournament as the fourth seed in what was a three-way tie for the last three seeds. Dallas would win its opening round matchup to Centenary College in a five-set thriller. Baseball was another program that posted its most wins (18) in numerous seasons since 2013. The highlight for the Crusaders on the diamond was a 4-3, 12-inning victory over No. 5 Texas Lutheran University. However, the team’s most notable moment came preparing the field after heavy rainfall prior to Senior Weekend. (Video)
Garrett Smith undoubtably was voted SCAC Coach-of-the-Year for leading the Crusaders to first-place finishes at the end of all three rounds of the SCAC Championship. Dallas had never finished higher than fourth in a previous Conference Championship with the league. Dayjah Whyte collected SCAC Newcomer-of-the-Year, which was the third time a Dallas player has earned the accolade in the past two years (men’s soccer and men’s basketball in 2017-18).
Another freshman that paced the Crusaders was women’s cross country and track and field runner, Anna Wilgenbusch. She had three top five finishes in cross country and was the fastest time for UD on the women’s side in all six meets. She earned United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) All-American First Team and was on the All-SCAC Second Team. In track and field, she set a school record in the 5000 Meters and grabbed a quintet of top-three finishes in either the 5000m or 1500m.
Speaking of records, the Crusaders had a bunch this year from the men’s lacrosse team. Joshua McClendon set the individual game faceoff record twice, Tyler Smith shattered career records in points and goals. Jake Frederick took the assists single-season record and holds the career mark as well. Bogar Trout III eclipsed 50 caused turnovers for the all-time best. The Crusaders poured 27 goals over University of Louisiana-Lafayette for the team scoring record. UD also broke their season record marks for goals (144), assists (74), and points (144) back-to-back years. The first SCAC Men’s Lacrosse Tournament since 2014 was also hosted in Irving.
In women's lacrosse, Mason Cosgrove set the school record for ground balls in a campaign with 54. Cosgrove, Erika Keever, and Ella Pedrozo were ranked in the top three in SCAC for ground balls/game at 4.00, 3.36, and 3.00, respectively. Lexi Leite scored 59 goals in a season to shatter the record. She also finished with the all-time lead for assists (24) and was top two in goals (159) and points (183). Cosgrove would rank top-five all-time in ground balls (104 - 3rd) and caused turnovers (35). Keever produced top-five finishes in her career with 97 points (4th), 86 goals (4th), 110 draw controls (3rd), and 90 ground balls (5th). Alex Parkey secured the game-high 22 draw controls against Oglethorpe University.
McGuirk put his name in the record books for the 400m hurdles on five straight occasions. Michael Jaquez legged out a pair of triples versus Dallas Christian College to place him in an eight-way tie for the single-game record for baseball. Men’s Basketball Head Coach Jarred Samples became the winningest coach for the program and now has 121 wins. In the game he surpassed the previous high was also a game the Crusaders drained a record-setting 15 three-point field goals at Colorado College. UD’s other active winningest coach, men’s soccer’s David Hoffmann, increased his win total to 148 and winning percentage to .550.
Gabe Vazquez of men’s cross country was named UD Scholar-Athlete at the annual end-of-the-year athletics banquet. There ended up being 37 SCAC All-Conference selections, 13 USCAA All-Americans, 15 USCAA National All-Academic Team selections, and 99 on the SCAC Academic Honor Rolls.
Cody Worden, Jared Lee, Ryan Meske, and Brian Spinner got inducted into the University of Dallas Hall of Fame. The first three names formed a trio representing men’s soccer, while Spinner added to baseball’s strong roster of inductees since the inaugural 1998 Class.
Dallas got involved in the community with the department-wide support with the Irving Police Department and Fire Department with Blue Christmas. Baseball’s Grafton headed the arrangements to have the local responders come to campus and plan to make it an annual event. The baseball team also worked on several community projects on their own. UD women’s lacrosse volunteered at North Texas World Vision, men’s basketball helped at a soup kitchen during the holiday season, and volleyball did Love in Motion in February. Katelyn Lazarek (softball), Mark Peterson (baseball), Gillian De La Cruz (volleyball), and Michael Wambsganss (men’s basketball) earned the SCAC Character & Community award. Wambsganss accepted an internship with the NCAA this summer with the inaugural NCAA College Basketball Academy.
With more excitement planned for the upcoming year, we hope fans keep up with their Crusaders on the newly redesigned udallasathletics.com. You can also follow us on Twitter (@UDallasSports), Facebook (University of Dallas Athletics), and Instagram (udallasathletics). #WeAreUD