Top 10 Torero sports moments of the year
1. Football makes FCS history with playoff win
The University of San Diego football program had a season to remember, winning the Pioneer Football League with an 8-0 mark, the first time the Toreros had gone undefeated in conference play since 2006. The boys in blue weren’t done. On a rainy night in San Luis Obispo, USD made history by taking down the Cal Poly Mustangs in a first-round playoff matchup. The win was not just the first playoff victory in school history, but also the first time a non-scholarship school had beaten a scholarship program in Football Championship Series (FCS) playoff history.
2. Men’s tennis wins 4th consecutive conference title
On the backs of seniors Filip Vittek and Josh Page, the Toreros’ tennis team took home its fourth straight West Coast Conference crown with a dominant weekend in Southern California. Upset wins over the top two seeds in the tournament, Portland and Pacific, clinched an automatic bid to the first round of the NCAA championships, where the Toreros will face Wisconsin this Friday.
3. Jamal Agnew drafted by Detroit Lions
USD football isn’t known for graduating players into the NFL ranks. This year was the exception for senior defensive back Jamal Agnew, who was drafted in the fifth round by the Detroit Lions. The school’s career leader in passes defensed, Agnew became the first Torero drafted since quarterback Josh Johnson was taken by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008.
4. Volleyball wins 18 straight matches
USD volleyball has established itself as a preeminent power on the West Coast and asserted its dominance once again this past season. The Toreros came within one win of equaling the school record for consecutive victories, winning eighteen straight matches over the course of nearly two months of action.
5. Senior night standouts
Senior night is often one of the most special games of the year for athletes and their families. This year, two Toreros upped the ante even more, chipping in with late-game heroics in their final games at Alcalá Park. First, it was midfielder Michael Turner of men’s soccer coming up with a goal in extra time to topple Santa Clara. Three months later, Katherine Hamilton of women’s basketball joined the party, hitting a jumper with three seconds left to lead the Toreros to a win.
6. Bill McGillis hired as athletic director
In December, USD introduced its new executive director of athletics, Bill McGillis. McGillis, who formerly served as the athletic director at the University of Southern Mississippi, attacked his new position with energy and enthusiasm. McGillis joined the men’s basketball team on the road just three days after moving in, and he hopes to continue to grow Torero athletics in the seasons to come.
7. Drama on the diamond
Spring brought its fair share of late-inning victories to USD’s baseball and softball programs. First, it was freshman phenomenon Sara Silveyra smacking a game-winning triple against University of California, Davis to clear the bases and clinch a 7-6 win for USD softball. Less than two weeks later, Colton Waltner and Riley Adams hit back-to-back home runs to open conference play for baseball with a walk-off win over Portland. Recently, reserve outfielder Chris McCready joined in as well, hitting a two-run homer in extra innings just a week after the passing of his mother to lead the Toreros to a victory over Loyola Marymount.
8. Runners rewrite record books
The Toreros also showed off their speed this past year. Last October, cross country runner Max Pedrotti set a school record in the 8K with a 24:46 mark. This spring featured two strong weekends from female track stars Sarah Kapple and Andrea Hughes. Kapple broke school records in the 3K steeplechase in her first time running the event competitively and the 800m. Hughes set new marks in both the 3K and the 5K.
9. Briggs’ weekend in the water
In February, sophomore swimmer Mackenna Briggs had a meet to remember at the MPSF Championships. The event serves as the conference finals for the Toreros and other swim teams in the western United States. Briggs’ individual times in the 200m freestyle and 500m freestyle both set school records, and she was part of the Toreros’ record-breaking relay team in the 800m freestyle. The performance would land Briggs All-MPSF honors in both individual events.
10. Men’s basketball wins triple-overtime thriller
Senior Brett Bailey and sophomore Tyler Williams carried the men’s basketball team to a victory in three overtimes against Bethune-Cookman last November. Bailey had a game-high 26 points, and Williams scored 10 of his 16 points in overtime as the Toreros won the longest basketball game in school history.
Honorable mention: Bryant’s banner year
USD alumnus Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs had a season to remember. The third baseman batted .292 with 39 home runs, 102 runs batted in, and 121 runs, garnering an All-Star nod and the National League MVP award. He capped it all by recording the final out in the World Series as the Cubs ended a 108-year championship drought, the longest in the history of Major League Baseball.
By Noah Hilton, Assistant Sports Editor