From the Great American Conference
Eric Moyer, Associate Commissioner for Communications
RUSSELLVILLE – Arkansas Tech University secured the 2015-16 Great American Conference All-Sports Trophy after a strong spring season enabled the Wonder Boys and Golden Suns to roar back from standing in fourth place after the winter season.
ATU finished the 2015-16 athletic year with a total of 81 points, two points ahead of Harding. For the third-straight spring, the competition came down to the final weekend of the spring season as a victory by the Wonder Boy baseball team enabled them to hold off the Bisons.
The Golden Suns won their second-straight GAC Women’s Golf Championship and their first softball crown. Tech added second-place finishes in women’s tennis and men’s golf to help overcome a 14-point deficit. For the 2015-16 season, Arkansas Tech earned regular-season titles in volleyball, women’s basketball, women’s golf and softball.
The Bisons, second for the fifth consecutive year, finished the year with three GAC championships – women’s cross country, women’s soccer and men’s basketball. The women’s cross country advanced to the NCAA Nationals for the first time since 2009 and the women’s soccer qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004.
Southwestern Oklahoma State made the biggest jump in the All-Sports standings from a season ago as the Bulldogs matched their best finish in five seasons, third, after placing eighth in 2014-15. SWOSU closed the year with the program’s first GAC title in baseball, a third-place result in women’s golf and a fourth-place showing in men’s golf. All three programs advanced to the NCAA Tournament. During the 2015-16 season, the volleyball and football also advanced to the postseason as the volleyball team won the GAC Championships and the football team earned a berth in the Live United Texarkana Bowl.
Southern Arkansas posted its best finish in the All-Sports race by finishing fourth. The Lady Muleriders finished second in the softball regular-season standings, but went on to win the GAC Tournament, host and win an NCAA Regional, defeat Arkansas Tech in the Super Regional and finish fourth at the NCAA National Championships. Consistency spearheaded SAU’s strong season as seven sports earned at least seven points towards its All-Sports total.
Henderson State took fifth for the third-straight year. The men’s golf team won the GAC title for the third time and the women’s team took second. Both qualified for the NCAA Regionals for the fourth-straight year. In the fall, the Reddie football team won their third GAC title and won their first NCAA Division II playoff game.
East Central placed sixth, followed by Southeastern Oklahoma State and Southern Nazarene. ECU won GAC titles in men’s cross country and men’s basketball. Southeastern Oklahoma State won its second women’s tennis title and took third in both softball and baseball. SNU, in its second season eligible for the trophy, moved up a spot from last year and finished eighth.
Arkansas-Monticello and Ouachita shared ninth while Northwestern Oklahoma State rounded out the standings. The Weevils took second to SWOSU in baseball but added a win at the GAC Championships and advanced to the Central Regional title game.