COSTA MESA, Calif. – The summer of changes within Vanguard Athletics reaches its final stage as Elizabeth Sheplay is brought on board as the Senior Administrative Assistant. This move coincides with a reshuffling after the retirement of Bob Wilson and departure of Nolan Steputis who spent a combined 30 years in their respective roles, including the promotion of Rhett Soliday and hiring of Jeff Bussell, within the Athletic Department. Sheplay becomes the fifth member of the administrative team that supports the 11 intercollegiate sports sponsored by Vanguard University.
This spring, Vanguard Baseball had an electric season and the success did not stop with those currently in the Lions' uniform. Former Lion Michael Bair guided Laguna Beach High School to the State Championship in his fifth season as skipper. Bair was a center fielder for the Blue and Gold from 1999-2002 and batted lead off in the order. The CIF Southern Section title was the first for the program in 78 seasons and added a 42nd championship to the schools record books. The Breakers won their league for the fourth straight season, claiming a comeback victory over Calvary Chapel on Vanguard's very own field.
Adding to the bliss of capturing the crown, the team was honored at Angel Stadium on June 14th against the Minnesota Twins. Head Coach Bair was given the opportunity of a lifetime to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. During the seventh-inning stretch, the club was invited atop the dugout and led the chorus of fans in "Take Me Out To The Ball Game". Further highlights of the night included the CIF Championship celebration being played on the JumboTron in right field of the stadium. Laguna Beach High School finished the year with the 2016 CIF Southern Section Division IV championship, ending the year with a 20-12 record – which is made more impressive after a 0-6 start to the campaign.
COSTA MESA, Calif. – The 2016 Major League Baseball Draft began June 9 in Secaucus, New Jersey and ran through June 11. A total of seven locals were taken in the draft, including Vanguard University standouts, Sean Isaac (SR/Redondo Beach, CA) and Jose Rojas (SR/Anaheim, CA). The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim selected Isaac and Rojas in the 35th and 36th rounds. Both players were also named NAIA All-Americans earlier last week after being named Golden State Athletic Conference Pitcher and Player of the Year, respectively, in May.
COSTA MESA, Calif. – The Golden State Athletic Conference and the NAIA announce academic awards at the conclusion of seasons of competition. For student-athletes to receive this prestigious recognition, they must meet the requirements of junior standing and holding a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or higher. This spring, Vanguard University had 10 upper classmen slot in a Scholar Athletes both at the conference and national level.
COSTA MESA, Calif. - Just under seven months ago, the Blue and Gold was celebrating a historic season in which they accomplish two feats never done in program history: winning the Golden State Athletic Conference and reaching the Quarterfinals of the NAIA National Tournament. Upon the end of the season they lost five seniors to graduation and needed to reload to continue the chase for the ultimate prize. Finally, the Lions have secured the last two members of the 18-player roster.
Santa Ana High School was the site of a tremendous day of basketball and ministry as Vanguard University Athletics teamed up with Triple Threat Mentoring, Emmaus Church Santa Ana, and Corey Maggette for a Saturday Afternoon of impacting our local community. Using the three principles of Passion, Sharing, and Impact the four groups gathered to uplift the inner city through the sport of basketball. Children from ages six to 15 were present for the event and we treated to basketball skill development, prizes, lunch, and the special dunk contest featuring members of the Vanguard Men's Basketball team and Corey Maggette himself!
COSTA MESA, Calif. – The NAIA has announced the members of the 2016 Baseball All-America Teams as determined by the NAIA-Baseball Coaches Association All-America Committee. Jose Rojas (SR/Anaheim, CA) and Sean Isaac (SR/Redondo Beach, CA) were selected as First Team members of the squad for their senior campaigns, which pushed the Lions to a 40 win season and the third straight trip to the Opening Round. Previously, Rojas and Isaac had been named as the GSAC Player and Pitcher of the Year. Rojas also reached the Golden State Athletic Conference Gold Glove team for the shortstop position.
COSTA MESA, Calif. – Following the conclusion of the 2016 softball season, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association has announced that over 170 student-athletes from more than 70 programs have received NFCA NAIA All-Region status. Vanguard was represented on the list by Alexandra Olvera (SR/Gilroy, CA), Taylor Wilson (JR/Modesto, CA), and Kaitlin Estes (SO/Costa Mesa, CA). All three of the student-athletes were recognized as second team members of the West Region in addition to the All-GSAC awards they won in April.
COSTA MESA, Calif. – Vanguard University brings Jeff Bussell aboard the Athletic Department for the newly created Senior Associate Athletic Director position. With 19 years of administrative, teaching, and coaching experience, he will elevate the Athletic Department into the next decade of excellence following the departure of Bob Wilson. Bussell will work directly under Director of Athletics Rhett Soliday with oversight over some of the University's 11 intercollegiate sports, work towards identifying areas of growth, and fiscal management for the department.
GULF SHORES, Ala. - A strong showing in the Men's Decathlon event pushed Winston Lawson (FR/Santa Ana, CA) to a career high 6,801 points. Lawson's two-day point total ranks second all-time for VU in the Decathlon and was the highest score since Steve Alexander's 6,936 point tally in 1974. Earlier this year at the NAIA Indoor National Championships, he finished third in the Heptathlon to earn his first national nod. Lawson's score of 5,009 points in the two-day Heptathlon competition broke his own school record set earlier this season by 176 points.