10 Former Lions Named to Women's 25th Anniversary Teams
The 2009-10 season marks the 25th season of the WCC sponsoring women's athletics.
Feb. 11, 2010
SAN BRUNO, Calif. - The 2009-10 athletic season represents the 25th season of the WCC sponsoring women's athletics. As part of the celebration, 10 former Lion female athletes have been named to the WCC 25th Anniversary Teams. In total, six players were named to the 50-member first team, while four more garnered honorable mention accolades. Four of the six players named to the first team hailed from LMU's women's volleyball program. Jill Austin (rowing), Kim Blankinship (volleyball), Tracy Holman (volleyball), Sarah McFarland (volleyball), Kate Murray (basketball) and Sarah Noriega (volleyball) were all listed on the first team. Bryn Britton (basketball), Laura Mickelson (cross country), Edit Pakay (tennis and cross country) and Tracy Sharp (soccer) each earned a spot on the honorable mention list.
With a tradition that includes national championships, All-Americans and countless NCAA Tournament appearances, the West Coast Conference has established itself as a national force in collegiate women's athletics.
"The West Coast Conference and its member institutions take a great deal of pride in the tradition of success that we have shared in women's athletics," said WCC Commissioner Jamie Zaninovich. "Countless outstanding female student-athletes have competed in the WCC, establishing it as one of the premier conferences in the nation for women's athletics. These 50 individuals represent the elite of their respective sports at the collegiate and international levels."
The WCC began sponsoring women's athletics in 1985 with volleyball, cross-country, basketball, and tennis entering their first years of conference competition. The WCC added women's soccer as a conference sport in 1992, followed by women's rowing and women's golf in 1997.
Members of the WCC Women's Athletics 25th Anniversary Team represent all seven of the Conference's sponsored women's sports with multiple representatives from all eight league schools. The WCC will honor one representative of the Women's Athletics 25th Anniversary Team from each school at the 2010 Zappos.com WCC Basketball Championships. The WCC will also spotlight each member of the 25th Anniversary Team through the spring sports season.
The 25th anniversary team was selected by a voting panel consisting of institutional and conference staff and select media members. In addition to the 50-person anniversary team, the Conference recognized the next 29 highest vote-getters as honorable mention.
In 25 years, the WCC has established itself as one of the premier women's soccer conferences in the country, winning three national titles. In women's volleyball, the WCC is one of the most competitive conferences in the nation, sending the highest percentage of teams from one conference into the NCAA Tournament in 2008. Women's basketball has been equally as impressive sending multiple teams into the postseason for 10 consecutive seasons. In women's tennis, San Diego's Zuzana Lesenarova won the NCAA singles championship in 1999, while in women's golf, Pepperdine has established itself as a perennial national power with four top five finishes in the NCAA Championship. In women's rowing, Gonzaga has won 12 of the previous 13 WCC Championships, while Portland has dominated the WCC Cross Country Championships, winning 19 of the 25 conference titles.
Blankinship, a three-time All-WCC selection, led LMU volleyball to three WCC Championships and NCAA postseason appearances, including a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 1996. Following her senior campaign in 1996, she was named to the Volleyball Magazine All-America third team, becoming the third athlete in program history to earn such an honor. Blankinship was also named WCC Co-Player of the Year as a senior, after garnering Defensive Player of the Year accolades as a junior. For her accomplishments as a senior, Blankinship was honored as the LMU Female Athlete of the Year upon graduation in 1996. She was posthumously inducted into the LMU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007.
A 2005 LMU Athletics Hall of Fame honoree, Holman is currently the all-time career assist leader (5,362 assists, 13.24 apg) at LMU, ranking second in WCC history. After leading LMU to its third-straight WCC title as a junior, she earned Volleyball Magazine All-America honorable mention accolades. Holman guided LMU to four NCAA Tournament appearances over her career, including a spot in the Sweet Sixteen in 1996. Individually, she was a four-time All-WCC first-team selection, and started her career as the 1994 WCC Freshman of the Year. Holman was honored on the AVCA All-West Region second team in 1994, and the All-District VIII team in 1996. Upon graduation, she was named WCC and LMU Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year, an honor she also earned at LMU in 1996-97.
McFarland, a three-time All-WCC first-team selection and two-time LMU Female Athlete of the Year (1999-2000, 2000-01), became the first athlete in program history to earn AVCA All-American honors in consecutive seasons, doing so in 1999 and 2000. In 1999, it was a second-team All-America selection, but by 2000, she was a first-team All-American. Over her time at LMU, she helped guide the Lions to three NCAA Tournament appearances. McFarland led the nation in kills for two straight years, posting an incredible 762 kills in 2000. Her single-season kill total is tops in the LMU and WCC record books. In addition, her 6.43 kill per game average still ranks first in NCAA history. She had a 52-kill performance at home against No.14 Ohio State on Sept. 10, 1999, a mark that came just four shy of the NCAA five-game record of 56 kills and led her to her first of two career AVCA National Player of the Week awards. Overall, she holds five NCAA national records, the most by any one player. She was inducted into the LMU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007.
Murray was named WCC Player of the Year and LMU Athlete of the Year in 2004. Showing her devotion both on and off the court, she also garnered WCC Scholar Athlete of the Year and LMU Scholar Athlete of the Year that same season. A two-time first team All-WCC selection, she is currently LMU's second all-time leading scorer with 1,566 points. Murray helped lead LMU to the program's first two postseason appearances, and its first WCC Championship.
Noriega guided LMU to three consecutive WCC titles from 1994-96, and four NCAA Tournaments appearances, including a spot in the Sweet Sixteen in 1996. Noriega still holds the NCAA record for most kills in a four-set match, as she collected 47 on November 7, 1997. In 1997, Noriega became the first LMU player to earn AVCA All-America first team honors, as well as Volleyball Magazine All-America second-team accolades. A three-time All-WCC first team selection, she was voted the 1997 WCC Player of the Year. Noriega was a three-time All-District VIII honoree, LMU's Female Athlete of the Year (1997-98), a participant at the U.S. Olympic Festival (1995), a World Games participant, and a 2000 Olympian. Cementing her name in LMU history, she was inducted into the LMU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009.
Britton, a four-time All-WCC selection, helped LMU to its first-ever postseason appearance in the 2001 WNIT. She still ranks in the LMU top-10 in career points, scoring average, games played, rebounds, assists, steals, field goals, three-pointers, free throws, and free-throw percentage. Inducted into the LMU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009, she is currently LMU's career leading scorer with 1,662 points, placing ninth in WCC history.
Mickelson was a two-time LMU Female Scholar Athlete of the Year, earning the award in 2006 and 2007. A three-time WCC All-Academic selection, she finished first at the WCC Championships in 2006 and second in 2007. Named to the All-WCC first team on three occasions, she was also named USTFCCA first team All-Region in 2006 and 2007. Mickelson was the first female in LMU history to qualify for a NCAA Championship in cross country. Earning only the eighth Academic All-American selection in LMU history in 2007, she was named a recipient of a NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship.
Pakay was named LMU Female Athlete of the Year for 2001-02. A first team All-WCC selection in singles for the 2002 and 2003 seasons, she also earned honorable mention All-WCC accolades for doubles play those same years. Pakay, a National Scholar Athlete in 2002 and 2003, appears in the top-10 of LMU's record books in singles winning percentage, single-season singles victories, and single-season individual doubles victories. A two-sport athlete, she won the 2001 WCC Cross Country Championship before helping the LMU women's tennis team to its only WCC Championship, and only NCAA Tournament appearance as a team, in 2002.
Sharp was named first team All-WCC in 1998 and 1999 before garnering second team recognition in 2000. An honorable mention College Soccer News All-American in 1999, she earned a spot on the NSCAA All-West Region first team that same year. Named to the third team NSCAA All-West Region in 2000, she was a three-time Soccerbuzz.com All-West Region selection. Sharp is currently the LMU career leader in goals-against-average, wins and shutouts. She was inducted into the LMU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007.
25th Anniversary of WCC Women's Athletics Team