Top 10 Mustang Moments of 2016

December 29, 2016

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – 2016 proved to be another exciting year for The Master’s University Athletics. Across the board, TMU’s student-athletes produced some of the most memorable moments in school history.

Below are 10 exciting moments that defined TMU Athletics in 2016...

1.) TMU Men's Cross Country Earns Seventh-Straight GSAC Title

On November 5, The Master’s University men’s cross country team stampeded its way to an unprecedented seventh straight GSAC title.

The Mustangs’ first-place team finish was backed by a collective team time of 2:05:12. 

Individually, the Mustangs claimed the top three competitors as Joshua Sherfey won the race in a time of 24:45.3.  TMU newcomer Alec Franco placed second in 24:52.8, while Andrew Orona earned a third-place finish in 24:54.4.

Skyler Mikesell finished 10th in 25:14.8, Richard Buckelew placed 13th in 25:23.8, and Michael Sciarra earned a 15th-place finish in 25:32.9. 

Based on their stellar performances, Sherfey, Franco, Orona, Mikesell, and Buckelew earned All-GSAC honors.  Sherfey has now earned All-GSAC honors for four consecutive years (2013-16), while Buckelew has earned all-conference honors for three straight seasons (2014-16).  Repeating their all-conference honors were Orona (’14 & ’16) and Mikesell (’15 & ’16).

Benefiting from his team’s outstanding showing, TMU’s Zach Schroeder was pegged as the GSAC’s Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year for the seventh season in a row. 

TMU’s men’s team went on to earn an unprecedented fifth-place finish at the 2016 NAIA Men’s Cross Country National Championship at the North Farm Cross Country Course in Elsah, Ill., by clocking a collective team time of 2:08:48.60.

Capping off the fall, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) named Sherfey the 2016 Men’s Athlete of the Year for the West Region, while Schroeder was named the region’s Men’s Coach of the Year.

2.) Karis Frankian Wins NAIA National Track Championship 5,000m Title

On May 28, 2016, Karis Frankian became the first athlete from The Master's University women's track & field program to earn an individual championship title after winning the 5,000m final in 17 minutes and 16.51 seconds at the 36th Annual Women's Outdoor Track & Field National Championships at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Frankian’s performance earned her NAIA All-American honors in the 5,000m for the second time in her prolific career.

Frankian was also a four-time Golden State Athletic Conference champion in the 5,000m (2013-2016), earning all-conference honors each season.

3.) Shackelford's Record-Setting Night Against Embry-Riddle

On November 11, Reid Shackelford buried a school-record 10 three-pointers and scored 51 points to lead The Master's University past Embry-Riddle Aeronautical of Arizona 124-78.

Shackelford's record-breaking performance, edging past Mustang Hall of Famer Mike Penberthy's mark of nine treys set in the 1995-96 campaign, was part of a team barrage that produced new standards for three-pointers attempted (39) and made (21).

Shackelford's career-high point total came on 15-21 shooting from the field, featuring 10-15 from behind the arc, and an 11-12 showing from the line.

That same evening, Shackelford also cleared the 1000-point mark for his career.  He's the 31st player in program history to reach that point plateau.

4.) Baseball's GSAC/NAIA Postseason Run

2016 was a banner year for The Master’s University baseball team.

TMU’s 42 victories (42-19) were the second-most in school history, topped only by the 44 wins recorded in 2013.

On May 12, the Mustangs outlasted Biola 10-7 in the 2016 GSAC Tournament Championship game on the campus of Westmont College in Santa Barbara.

A week later, TMU went 3-0 in the 2016 NAIA Opening Round Tournament after beating Madonna (Mich.) 7-1, Westmont 1-0, and William Carey 5-4 also on the campus of Westmont College. TMU’s NAIA Opening Round Tournament title punched the school’s third-ever ticket to the NAIA World Series.

Unfortunately, TMU’s season came to an abrupt halt on May 30 when Sterling (Kan.) eliminated TMU from the national tournament, beating the Mustangs 9-7 at the 60th Annual Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series in Lewiston, Idaho.

The Mustangs’ campaign was also highlighted by TMU head coach Monte Brooks' 600th career victory, Nick Covello and Michael Sexton earning All-GSAC honors, John Brazil, Justyn Lee, Thomas Olson and Covello earning both NAIA and GSAC Scholar-Athlete Honors,  and Covello earning NAIA Gold Glove honors.

Covello was also named the Cliff Hamlow Award recipient, TMU earned a collective Champions of Character Award, and Justyn Lee earned the individual Champion of Character award and the NAIA’s Hank Burbridge Champions of Character Award.

5.)  Mustang Golf Doubles Up on GSAC Titles

For the second consecutive year, The Master’s University golf team won the conference crown after carding a collective score of 904 (300-302-302) at the 2016 Golden State Athletic Conference Championship on the greens of the Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms.

TMU’s Blake McPherson took home the individual title as the junior transfer finished the two-day tournament with a final score of six-over 222 (74-75-73).

Close behind was teammate Joey Downey who shot a 226 (75-74-77) and finished third overall, while Josh Delo tied for fifth place after carding a 230 (77-77-76). Samuel Eisenhuth finished eighth at 231(79-76-76) and Daniel Kim tied for 15th after shooting a collective score of 239 (74-81-84).

The 19th-ranked Mustangs beat No. 13 Arizona Christian by twelve strokes as the Firestorm finished the tournament with a score of 916 (306-303-307). Receiving-votes William Jessup placed third overall at 924 (309-316-299), Biola followed in fourth place at 957 (321-327-309), tournament host Hope International finished sixth overall at (999), while College rounded things out by carding a 1018 (337-356-325).

The conference tournament victory, TMU’s only win in the spring, capped off the Mustangs’ regular-season schedule, one in which they were outscored only once by a GSAC opponent.

Nearly a month later, TMU’s Josh Delo tied for 36th overall after carding a collective score of 299 (78-74-72-75) at the 65th Annual Men's Golf National Championships at TPC Deere Run Golf Club in Silvis, Ill.

Delo represented TMU as an individual as the Mustangs failed to make the final 17-team field cut after finishing 22nd overall at 919 (312-301-306) by the end of the third round of the national tournament.

By the end of the season, Downey earned NAIA All-American honors.

6.) TMU Women's Cross Country Earns Fourth Straight GSAC Runner-up Title

One of The Master’s University women’s cross country team’s most notable accomplishments in 2016 occurred on November 5 when the Lady Mustangs placed second overall at the Golden State Athletic Conference Championship for the fourth straight year. TMU placed second out of the GSAC’s nine teams with a collective time of 1:29:51. The Lady Mustangs’ time at the conference championship marked the overall fastest team time in TMU women’s cross country history.

Abigail Frankian placed second overall after recording an outstanding final time of 17:23. The junior runner’s time was the fastest individual time in TMU program history. Close behind Frankian was Morgan Pedrick, who finished fifth in a time of 17:39.5. Mikala Fairchild earned a sixth-place finish at 17:48.4, while Rachael Ingoldsby finished ninth in 18:04.6.

Based on their stellar performances, Frankian, Pedrick, Fairchild, and Ingoldsby earned All-GSAC honors. Frankian earned All-GSAC honors for the third straight year (2014-16), while Pedrick repeated these honors from 2015.

Two weeks later,TMU placed 10th out of a field of 36 teams with a collective time of 1:33:04.26 at the 2016 NAIA National Championships.

At the conclusion of the 5k national championship race run on the North Farm Cross Country Course in Elsah, Ill., the Lady Mustangs, who finished 10th in the NAIA Top 25 postseason poll, claimed 369 points and clocked an average time of 18:36.86.

Frankian highlighted TMU’s performance as the junior runner placed 13th overall out of a field of 334 competitors at 17:35.35. Frankian’s performance earned her NAIA All-American honors as the top 30 finishers at the national championships earn this accolade.

Frankian repeated these honors from last season where she finished the national championship race in 17:51.8. In the record books, Frankian’s performance eclipsed older sister and TMU alumni Karis Frankian’s program-leading time of 17:37.7 at the NAIA National Championships.

7.) TMU Volleyball beats Biola

On September 20, after two hours and thirty minutes of hard-fought volleyball in front of a wild crowd at Bross Court, The Master’s University volleyball team outlasted then-No. 13 Biola University in a five-set (25-20, 19-25, 23-25, 25-18, 16-14) thriller.

Notably, TMU’s win snapped a nearly 30-year long losing streak to the Eagles.

In the victory over the Eagles, Kayla Sims posted a match-high 43 assists, Aubrey Pyburn paced all competitors with 20 kills, Emily Clark tallied 22 digs, and Morgan Koch claimed eight blocks.

The trio of Koch, Pyburn, and Sims continued to highlight TMU’s season-long success following the historic win over the Eagles.

In 2016, Pyburn, a senior outside hitter, tallied 325 kills, 166 digs, 32 blocks, 14 assists, and posted a 0.206 attack percentage. Pyburn was named to the AVCA NAIA Southwest Region, earned NAIA All-American honors, and was tabbed All-GSAC. Based on her performance in the classroom, Pyburn was named a GSAC and NAIA Scholar-Athlete for the second straight year.

Sims, a sophomore setter, earned a spot on the AVCA NAIA Southwest Region team and was named an NAIA All-American after posting 1,024 assists, 238 digs, 82 kills, 57 service aces, and 28 blocks. Sims’ outstanding season also earned her All-GSAC honors and the GSAC’s Volleyball Setter of the Week on four separate occasions.

Finally, Koch, a junior middle blocker, appeared in all of TMU’s 31 matches and tallied 249 kills, 77 total blocks, 72 digs, while posting a 0.332 attack percentage. Koch earned All-GSAC honors for the second straight year, landed on the AVCA NAIA Southwest Region team, and was named both an NAIA and a GSAC Scholar-Athlete. 

Under the leadership of third-year head coach Allan Vince, The Master’s University volleyball team went 20-11 overall and 12-4 in Golden State Athletic Conference play in 2016. This year's campaign marked the second time since 2012 that the Lady Mustangs have posted 20 regular-season victories.


8.) Men's Soccer Reaches Multiple Milestones

On December 6, Humphrey Mahowa made TMU history when he was named a NAIA Men's Soccer All-American.

The junior-eligible from Malawi, Africa became just the second player in program history to earn that honor three times, joining former Mustang great and all-time leading scorer Chris Palm (1987, 1989, 1990) in very select company. 

However, not even Palm collected that accolade three consecutive years, something Mahowa, a honorable mention choice, solidified in 2016 with another outstanding season.  The speedy striker put 14 more shots between the pipes, the second-highest total in the Golden State Athletic Conference.  Assisting on five other goals, Mahowa posted a team-high 33 points, a career-high and good for second in the GSAC.

Over the past three years, Mahowa has posted 90 points on 39 goals and 12 assists.

Earlier in the season, a 6-3 victory over Bethesda on September 16 marked the 300th career victory for 26th-year head coach Jim Rickard. Rickard’s teams have displayed wonderful consistency over those years, posting 19 winning campaigns and qualifying for the postseason a jaw-dropping 22 times.  Finishing the season with 306 career wins, Rickard is the 17th-winningest coach in NAIA history and eighth among all active coaches.




9.) TMU Women's Basketball Competes In NAIA Tournament For 11th Time In Program History

The Master’s University women’s basketball team posted an outstanding 25-6 (14-2 GSAC) record during the 2015-16 season and earned a spot in the NAIA National Tournament for the 11th time in program history.

The third-seeded Mustangs beat Loyola of Louisiana 59-57 in a thrilling first-round game before falling to second-seeded Campbellsville of Kentucky 62-55 in the tournament’s second round.

Notably, TMU’s impressive record marked its eleventh 20-win season in program history. The Lady Mustangs are 7-11 record in NAIA Tournament play.

Capping off outstanding campaigns, Bianca Cubello and Megan Lindsley were named to the 2015-16 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball All-America squad for the second time in their respective careers.

Cubello (Riverside, CA), a two-time All-GSAC junior forward and conference defensive player of the year, led TMU in scoring (13.5ppg), field goal percentage (a GSAC-best 54.4%), rebounding (263, 8.5rpg), assists (2.6apg), and steals (52). Scoring in double figures 23 times, Cubello’s campaign was highlighted by a season-high 25 points against Arizona Christian on February 6.  In addition, Cubello notched 10 double-doubles, pulled down 10 or more rebounds on 12 occasions, and grabbed a season-best 17 rebounds against San Diego Christian on February 27.

Meanwhile, Lindsley (Vancouver, WA), an All-GSAC selection for the second year in a row, led TMU in free throw percentage (82.9%) and was second on the squad in scoring (12.3ppg) and three-pointers (39). Lindsley was second on the club with 62 assists, tallied in double figures 21 times, and scored a season-high 26 points against Hope International on January 14.

The selections mark the 16th time in the past 18 years that one or more Lady Mustangs have earned All-American honors.

10.) TMU Women's Soccer Outlasts Hope International In PKs During GSAC Tournament

On November 4, The Master’s University’s Janae Garcia put the ball between the pipes in the sixth round of a penalty shootout to beat Hope International in a first-round GSAC Tournament match that ended in a 1-1 tie through regulation and two overtimes on Reese Field.

Garcia’s conversion was the last of six in a row for the Lady Mustangs who had just one miss. TMU, whose initial miss came in the first round, scored on its last five penalty kicks. 

With just under fourteen minutes left in the second half (76:30), TMU’s Stephanie Albright snapped the scoreless affair by scoring off an assist from Sierra Carrasco.

The Royals matched TMU’s lone goal twelve minutes later when Amanda George scored on a penalty kick at the 88:47 mark.

The two clubs then battled through two scoreless overtime stanzas where HIU narrowly outshot TMU 5-4.

Still tied at 1-1, the match went to a shootout where HIU scored on its first four tries. After missing their first attempt, the Lady Mustangs didn’t miss again as Garcia’s heroics propelled TMU into the tournament semi-finals.

Collectively, TMU outshot the Royals 21-14 and was led by All-GSAC performer Lynnae George who tallied five shots and two shots on goal over the course of 105 minutes. TMU goalkeeper Jessica Zubia, who also earned all-conference honors, tallied three saves by the end of Friday’s match.

Unfortunately, TMU’s season ended a week later on November 10 when Vanguard beat the Lady Mustangs 1-0 in overtime in the GSAC Tournament semifinal held on the campus of Biola University. TMU’s overall record in 2016 settled at 8-7-5 and 4-4-2 in GSAC play.