DSU has grown into a well rounded Division ll university. After 14 years, it's taking the next step and starting its journey as a Division l university. Photo by Breanna Biorato.
In its 14-year run as a Division II institution, Dixie State University Athletics had multiple memorable seasons and all-time records.
Let’s highlight the best seasons and all-time records set within DSU’s DII history.
Since transitioning to DII play in 2006, the football team had a bad reputation of having losing seasons. The tides turned when the Trailblazers set a new program record for most wins during the 2019 season.
During this 2019 season, DSU finished with an 8-3 overall record, 7-3 in conference play, and placed No. 3 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Offensively and defensively, the Trailblazers ranked in the top five in nine different offensive and defensive categories among other RMAC teams.
Defensive lineman Dylan Hendrickson, a sophomore accounting major from St. George, said it’s always good to set new records and leave DII with the most wins the team has had.
Quarterback Kody Wilstead, a sophomore accounting major from St. George, said the new coaching staff, new players and the passing of Abraham Reinhardt all had an impact on the team, whether for good or bad.
Wilstead said: “The fact that we still came out and competed and did as well as we did was incredible. It showed the type of athletes and players we had. We weren’t always comfortable with what the schemes were, but we were still able to make plays. Being from St. George, I haven’t seen [DSU] do well in football since the juco days. So, to be able to be a part of it was something incredible for me personally.”
The football team will be joining the Football Championship Subdivision Independents next season.
Men’s Cross Country
The men’s cross country all-time 8-kilometer record was broken multiple times within the past two years. What makes this record stand out is freshman Kyler Miller, a general studies major from Herriman, who came into the 2019 season and claimed the record for himself.
Miller broke the all-time 8K record not only once, but twice in the same season. The first time was at the Sacramento State Capital Cross Challenge on Sept. 28, 2019, where Miller set his time at 24:42. A month later, he improved his record-setting time by 11 seconds at 24:31 at the RMAC championships on Oct. 26, 2019.
Miller said he felt incredible for breaking the all-time school record and thanked his coach for helping him transition from high school races to collegiate races. He said he owed his team because they made him feel at home.
“My teammates were there to help push me and motivated me to accomplish what I didn’t think I could do,” Miller said.
Since Miller is only a freshman, it’s possible he can break his own record again with the three years he has left in his collegiate career.
Women’s Cross Country
If it was impressive for someone to break an all-time record twice in the same season, how about breaking an all-time record three times in the same season?
Billie Hatch, a junior criminal justice major from Logan, broke the women’s cross country all-time 6K record three times in the 2019 season. The first time was at the Sacramento State Capital Cross Challenge on Sept. 28, the second time at the RMAC championships on Oct. 26, and the best time at the NCAA championships with a time of 20:26 on Nov. 9.
Hatch said she was thrilled to break her own record at the Sacramento State course and have the opportunity to set a new record at the same course for the NCAA championships.
Hatch said: “At nationals, I wasn’t focused on breaking my record, but going out with the lead pack and finishing well. The top group was mostly RMAC runners and I was able to race them at previous meets, so I was confident I would be able to race well with them. I wouldn’t have been able to set this record without the help of my coaches, teammates and the competition at those meets.”
Moises Medina, a senior general studies major from Mesquite, Nevada, owns more than a dozen all-time records in DSU’s men’s soccer program history.
The most clutch all-time record Medina owns is knocking in 15 career game-winning goals.
Medina said owning the all-time career game-winning goals record makes him proud of his work and makes the team more competitive at DSU now. He said his favorite game-winning goal was against in-state rival Westminster College last year on Nov. 7.
“There was about five minutes left in the game and it was a rivalry match,” Medina said. “Josh Pittman was the coach who recruited me and he was there to witness it. Family and friends were also there and it was a big deal for me.”
The women’s soccer team’s 2019 season is an obvious pick for the program’s best season.
The Trailblazers finished No. 3 in the RMAC with a 12-4-6 overall record and 8-2-3 conference record. DSU’s impressive season earned them its second NCAA DII tournament berth. Then, the Trailblazers went on to win the South Central Regional title and advanced to the National Quarterfinal round.
Defender Kilee Allsop, a senior business administration major from Smithfield, said it was an exhilarating and surreal feeling to hoist up the trophy while being surrounded by her teammates.
“Beating out top-ranked teams, exceeding everyone’s expectations in the DII NCAA tournament and proving ourselves to the nation was an incredible feeling for sure,” Allsop said. “To have a moment like this where our team was able to accomplish something as significant as gaining this title and being recognized as the South Central Region Champions will definitely remain as a top highlight for me at DSU. It was truly an amazing way to be able to finish my soccer career.”
One stand-out athlete on the women’s swimming team is Hannah Hansen, a senior exercise science major from Lehi.
Throughout Hansen’s time at DSU, she has improved every year at every race she has competed in. This can be demonstrated by the six all-time records she owns in the program’s history; including the 100-yard butterfly with an official time of 56.43 seconds, 100-yard breaststroke with an official time of 1:03.24 and 200-yard breaststroke with an official time of 2:17.34.
Hansen has left behind a legacy of consistent improvement at DSU.
Lauren Gammell, a senior communication studies major from Spanish Fork, was a key contributor to the women’s volleyball team who dominated defensively.
Gammell owns six defensive all-time records in DSU’s volleyball program history. The largest numerical all-time record is Gammell’s 424 career total blocks.
Gammell said she couldn’t get the all-time record in career blocks without her teammates because blocking requires communication, timing, trust and connection.
“We worked so hard in practice every day with blocking and technique; it felt like all the reps that were practiced finally paid off,” Gammell said.
While this season record could’ve been broken by the 2019-20 men’s basketball team, the 2017-18 Trailblazer team still holds the program’s record with 23 wins in a season.
DSU had an impressive season by becoming the first Pacific West Conference team to sweep both regular season and tournament titles twice. The Trailblazers appeared in the NCAA West Regionals as the No. 2 seed, its best seeding in program history. DSU was also ranked top five in ten different categories among other PacWest teams, according to the official PacWest website.
DSU alumnus Trevor Hill was a key component of the 2017-18 Trailblazer team. Hill averaged 15 points per game, five rebounds per game, four assists per game and two steals per game. Hill was named the conference player of the year, conference defender of the year and had an all-region and all-American selection.
Hill said what lead to the team’s success was experience and sacrifice. He said the team having six seniors also played a big part in winning games.
Hill said: “We didn’t get off to a great start that year, but we showed our resilience. We won a lot of close games that we didn’t the year before. Having so many upperclassmen can be tough. Lots of guys definitely deserved more minutes, but we were all willing to put the team first to achieve our goals.”
Hill said what it’s going to take to get more than 23 wins in a season is not thinking about it and instead breaking the season into different sections.
Another all-time record that came close to being claimed was by Forward Ali Franks, a senior communication studies major from Redding, California.
Franks was 51 points shy of becoming No. 1 in career points in DSU’s women’s basketball program’s history. Still standing at the top since the 2012-13 season in all-time career points is DSU alumnus Johnna Brown with 1,212 points.
Franks said she was proud of herself for what she was able to do.
“I think never getting a chance to play in a postseason game the first three seasons hurt my chances of reaching my end goal of beating that record,” Franks said. “It was fun chasing it the whole year and I’m glad I was able to be so close.”
Franks said in order for a different player to break the all-time record, they have to be a scorer from the start.
Franks said: “I don’t think my role was ever the scorer for my first couple of seasons; I had to earn that. So, when a [freshman] comes in and takes that role on for four seasons, I think it’ll be broken easily.”
During the 2016 season, the baseball team put together a special season that will be hard to top.
The Trailblazers reached a program record of 40 wins. DSU finished second in the PacWest, made an NCAA West Baseball regional appearance and was ranked top three in hitting and pitching categories among other PacWest teams.
A player who helped bring success to that team was DSU alumnus Drew McLaughlin. McLaughlin had a batting average of .406, was successful getting the ball in play with 91 hits and scored 54 runs.
McLaughlin said the main reason the baseball team was successful that year was the bond the team had.
“We had the talent to play with anybody on any day, but the way that team played loose and had fun led to the success,” McLaughlin said. “We went into each game knowing we were going to win. Losing a game was always a shock that year.”
McLaughlin said talent and having a good bond off the field is the key to having a successful season like in 2016.
McLaughlin said: “Coach Chris Pfatenhauer and the rest of the staff have brought in the right guys for the system and program. After that, they have to buy in, put the program ahead of themselves and work hard. [In] 2016, the team was always together hanging out on our off time. You can have the most talent, but if they don’t click off the field, chances are they won’t click well on the field.”
The strong 2014 campaign made by DSU softball was seemingly too difficult to follow up. The team finished its season 51-10 overall, 27-5 in conference play, became PacWest Co-Champions, NCAA West Super Regional Champions and made a college world series appearance.
The 2015 Trailblazer team, however, proved that wrong by improving to a program record of 52 wins, becoming PacWest Champions, NCAA West II Regional Champions, NCAA West Super Regional Champions and an NCAA National runner-up.
History can repeat itself and the proof is most certainly there in the record books.
During the 2018-19 season, men’s golf made its way into the spotlight and shined.
The Trailblazers finished second in the RMAC, hosted regionals and claimed their first-ever NCAA team victory. DSU went on to play in nationals and placed No. 9 out of 20 teams.
Head coach Brad Sutterfield said his team worked hard to achieve what they did last year given the fact they were also a young team.
“I was impressed with how well we performed under the circumstances having been the host of regionals and it being our first time to qualify for nationals,” Sutterfield said. “All around, it was a fun year to watch our athletes achieve what they did.”
Sutterfield said it would be extremely difficult to replicate what the team did last year, but he’s confident in the group he has now because of the experience gained from last year.
Women’s golf has had two good seasons, but four years apart. DSU finished second in the PacWest during the 2014-15 season and finished with the same result in the RMAC in 2018-19.
Given the fact it took four years to put on another good run, let’s see if the Trailblazers can change that habit.
Women’s tennis is a DSU athletic program with a bad streak of losing seasons. In the 2018-19 season, the Trailblazers flipped the script and put together a good year.
DSU went 13-4 overall; this is the highest single-season winning percentage in the program’s history. Then, the Trailblazers went on to claim the RMAC tournament.
Whatever changed for women’s tennis needs to continue if they are going to put on another good run as they did in the 2018-19 season.
Women’s Track & Field
The all-time records for DSU women’s track and field that blew the rest out of the water were accomplished by Abby Monson, a sophomore pre-medical radiography major from Washington.
Monson set the new shot put all-time record at 11.43 meters and set discus at 41.36 meters. Monson is another freshman who still has three years to beat out her own record.
The Trailblazers made a lot of history throughout the years, but now it’s time to turn the page to the next chapter as the Trailblazers transition to Division I on July 1 as members of the Western Athletic Conference.