Making Our Mark: Four Team Championships Highlight Mason’s Inaugural A-10 Season

Posted: July 7, 2014 at 5:01 am, Last Updated: July 7, 2014 at 7:57 am

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This week, marking its one-year anniversary as an Atlantic 10 Conference member, George Mason University can reflect on a lasting first impression it made in its first year in the league. The Patriots won team championships in the fall, winter and spring seasons.

George Mason student-athletes brought home four team championships—men’s soccer, women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, and baseball—the most team titles of any school in the conference. Mason student-athletes also excelled off the playing field, with 11 earning A-10 All-Academic Team honors.

After winning the A-10 Conference, the men's soccer team received an automatic bid to the NCAA Division I championship. The team gathered at Brion's Grille to watch the announcement of their NCAA opponent. Photo by Alexis Glenn.

After winning the A-10 Conference, the men’s soccer team received an automatic bid to the NCAA Division I championship. The team gathered at Brion’s Grille to watch the announcement of their NCAA opponent. Photo by Alexis Glenn.

In the first championship of the 2013‒14 season, Bethany Sachtleben became Mason’s first individual A-10 champion by winning the women’s 5K at the conference’s cross country championships, outpacing more than 100 competitors at Pole Green Park in Mechanicsville, Va. Sachtleben finished in 16 minutes, 54.6 seconds—eight seconds faster than her nearest competitor.

The Mason men’s soccer team won the university’s inaugural A-10 team championship. The Patriots, in Dayton, Ohio, defeated Saint Joseph’s, Virginia Commonwealth University and Saint Louis for the program’s 11th NCAA Tournament berth. Alex Herrera, named the tournament most outstanding player, converted on a penalty kick with less than nine minutes to play for the 1-0 championship win over Saint Louis.

Mason defeated William and Mary in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before falling 1-0 to New Mexico in the second round. Five Patriots were selected as All-Conference award winners, four were named to the All-Mid-Atlantic Region team and three were selected to the All-State team. Freshman goalkeeper Steffen Kraus was voted the A-10 Rookie of the Year and was named a Division I National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-American, the seventh in program history.

Women's track and field team wins A-10 Outdoor Title. Photo courtesy of Mason Athletics.

Women’s track and field team poses with their trophy after winning the A-10 Outdoor Title. Photo courtesy of Mason Athletics.

The women’s track and field team captured indoor and outdoor conference titles. At the indoor championships in Kingston, R.I., Mason won four events. The 4×400-meter relay team of Caela Williams, Taylor Wheaton, Daianna Barron and Dominique Graham prevailed, as did Graham in the high jump, Mandissa Marshall in the pole vault and Chantel Richardson, the A-10 rookie of the year, in the long jump. Marshall went on to finish ninth overall in pole vault at the NCAA Indoor Championships, earning All-American honors.

At the women’s outdoor championships in Amherst, Mass., the Patriots won four events—Marshall in the pole vault, Sachtleben in the 5,000 meters, Shavon Briscoe in the 100-meter hurdles and the 4×400 relay team of Wheaton, Barron, Graham and Williams.

Head coach Andrew Gerard was voted the A-10 Women’s Coach of the Year in both indoor and outdoor track and field.

The men’s track and field team finished second overall at the indoor and outdoor A-10 Championships. The 4x400m men’s relay advanced to the Outdoor NCAA Finals, where the Patriots finished 17th overall in the semifinals to earn an All-American honorable mention.

Mason’s baseball team had a milestone season, winning the A-10 Championship and making its seventh NCAA regional appearance. At the A-10 Tournament in St. Louis, Mason won four consecutive games over Dayton, Saint Joseph’s and twice over Virginia Commonwealth University to earn the conference crown. Three of the four tournament wins were by one run, and two required extra innings, including the championship.

The Mason baseball team celebrates their win at the A-10 conference. Photo courtesy of Mason Athletics.

The Mason baseball team celebrates their win at the A-10 conference. Photo courtesy of Mason Athletics.

The Patriots’ baseball team traveled to Houston, Texas, for the NCAA Regional round where they fell to nationally ranked Rice and Texas A&M. Mason senior second baseman Chris Cook received A-10 All-Conference First Team honors.

Mason earned 11 spots on the A-10 All-Academic Team. The student-athletes were nominated based on their athletic and academic performance and voted on by the league’s sports information directors. The Patriots also had more than 120 student-athletes named to the A-10 Commissioners Honor Roll based on earning a 3.50 GPA or better on a 4.00 scale.

The Patriots look to build on their conference success with a new leader in Intercollegiate Athletics, Brad Edwards, who began his tenure as athletic director on July 1. He replaced Tom O’Connor, who retired in March after 20 years at the helm of Patriot athletics.

Davidson became an official A-10 member July 1, joining George Mason, Dayton, Duquesne, Fordham, George Washington, LaSalle, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Richmond, Saint Joseph’s, St. Louis, St. Bonaventure and Virginia Commonwealth.

A detailed list of champions is available on gomason.com.

Write to Preston Williams at pwilli20@gmu.edu

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