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2011-12 TMC Year in Review: Running to the front

Posted: July 3, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: July 3, 2012 1:55 a.m.

The Master's College soccer player Bobbie Roberts.

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The 2011-12 year of athletics at The Master’s College was highlighted mostly by the prowess of the cross country and track and field programs.

A lot of that had to do with two runners in particular, juniors John Gilbertson and Anthony Pizzo.

Of TMC’s six National Association of Intercollegiate Athletic All-American athletes this season, three of them were runners.

Gilbertson and Pizzo each garnered NAIA All-American honors in cross country for the second straight year after leading TMC to a 10th-place finish at the NAIA Cross Country National Championships on Nov. 19 and a second consecutive Golden State Athletic Conference title on Nov. 5.

At the NAIA championship meet, Gilbertson finished third individually and Pizzo, a Canyon High graduate, took fifth.

On the women’s side, it was a record-breaking season for the cross country team, which also came in 10th in its first-ever trip to the NAIA finals.

Sophomore Holly Kopp, another NAIA All-American, was TMC’s best individual finisher at 28th.

Zach Schroeder, the school’s head cross country and track and field coach, was named the GSAC Cross Country Coach of Year.

Pizzo and Gilbertson parlayed their fall success into the spring with track and field, swapping places as the school’s record holder in the 5,000-meter throughout the season.

Gilbertson has the event’s current best time at 13 minutes, 56.56 seconds, which he set on April 20 in Walnut.

However, a foot injury hampered him at the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships on May 26, and resulted in a disappointing 14th-place finish nationally.

Pizzo finished 12th in the same event in Marion, Ind., which was the highest individual finish of any of the seven TMC athletes at the NAIA Track and Field finals.

During the same week, another NAIA All-American was fully immersed in competition across the country in Salem, Ore.

It was sophomore Thane Ringler, who was consistently the Mustangs’ best golfer this season, and he qualified individually for the NAIA Men’s Golf National Championship.

Ringler recovered well from a tough opening round at the NAIA finals to finish tied for 13th with a four-round score of 295.

The strong finish gives Ringler an automatic exemption into next year’s NAIA championship in addition to his All-American nod.

One of the more anticipated teams coming into 2011-12 was men’s basketball.

The team got off to very promising start, ripping off six straight wins to start the season and, at one point in late January, earning its highest national ranking in school history at No. 10 in the NAIA coaches poll.

But after starting 16-6 overall, 8-3 in GSAC play, the Mustangs lost seven of their last eight games to finish 17-13 overall and sixth place in the GSAC with a 9-9 record.

TMC did get a spark in the postseason, winning the National Christian College Athletic Association West Regional and eventually finishing fifth in the NCCAA Division I National Tournament in Winona Lake, Ind.

Anthony Cammon was an NAIA All-American honorable mention after averaging a team-high 15.2 points per game to go with a 3.4 rebounding and 3.6 assists average.

The only other Mustang athlete to make an NAIA All-American list was women’s soccer player Bobbie Roberts, who was an honorable mention.

TMC women’s soccer took seventh in the GSAC and lost in the opening round of the NCCAA West Regional tournament.

Other than men’s basketball and the two cross country teams, no other team made it beyond the NCCAA West Regional.

A young but promising baseball team showed it could hold its own in the highly ranked GSAC, finishing fourth place before making an early exit in the GSAC Tournament.

The team opted against playing in the NCCAA tournament, but did see one player — GSAC Pitcher of the Year Charlie Gillies — get drafted by a Major League Baseball team.

Gillies, a West Ranch High graduate and former College of the Canyons pitcher, signed with the Detroit Tigers on June 13 after being selected 334th overall in the 10th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft.

The senior finished the year 8-6 with a 2.17 ERA and 118 strikeouts.

Athletes like Gillies give hope to the younger, up-and-coming names at TMC as strides continue to be made across the school’s athletic landscape.

661-287-5535

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