Biola’s student-athletes competed their way to one of the most successful years in university history in 2015–16, with five separate teams winning Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) championships and dozens of individual competitors earning national and conference-level recognition.
As of March, Biola had the nation’s top-ranked athletic program in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings, sitting in first place atop the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Final standings were expected to be released in mid-June.
After being picked to finish in fifth place in the GSAC at the outset of the season, the men’s basketball team shocked the conference in March by winning both the regular season championship and the GSAC championship tournament. The Eagles made it to the NAIA National Championship tournament as the No. 1 seed, but lost in the second round to Mid-America Christian University.
It was the first time in almost 20 years that the men’s team won more than 30 games in a season, finishing with a 30–4 record and remaining undefeated at home with 16 wins. Biola also had the nation’s No. 1 defense, allowing their opponents an average of 60 points in a game.
The season was particularly special for head coach Dave Holmquist, who crossed another major milestone in his storied career by earning his 900th collegiate win on Nov. 24, 2015, becoming just the eighth college basketball coach to reach that mark. He finished the season with a career record of 921–358 and was awarded the title of NCAB NAIA Division I basketball coach of the year.
Meanwhile, junior point guard Dakari Archer was named to the NAIA All-American first team and earned the title of GSAC player of the year.
The men’s soccer team made program history in November by winning its first-ever outright GSAC championship — claiming both the regular season and tournament championships. The team went on to compete in the NAIA National Championship tournament for the first time since 2011 and made it to the second round before losing in double overtime to Missouri Valley College. The men ended their season with a 15–5–1 record, with three athletes earning NAIA All-American Honors.
Senior midfielder Joey O’Keefe was named the conference player of the year, junior forward Leo Contreras was named conference newcomer of the year and head coach Todd Elkins earned his first conference coach of the year honors.
The women’s soccer team finished their season in November tied with Westmont College for the best record in the conference, making them just the second team in program history to earn a GSAC title and the second ever to make it to the NAIA National Championship tournament. Though they ended up losing in the second round of the tournament, the team finished with a 15–4–3 overall record, their most wins in a single season since the 2004 team won 16.
The women’s volleyball team advanced to the NAIA National Championship tournament for the 15th time in program history in December, making it to the quarterfinals for the sixth consecutive season before being knocked out. The team ended the season with a 30–4 overall record and a second-place GSAC finish. Seniors Joclyn Kirton, Alyssa Mason and Britta Blaser were honored with both GSAC All-American honors and NAIA All-American honors. Abbie Wright was named NAIA assistant coach of the year by the American Volleyball Coaches’ Association.
Track and Field
For the third time in the past four years, the women’s track and field team claimed the GSAC conference championship in April. The women also won several individual conference championships, including: Anika Gasner in both the 800-meter and 1,500-meter runs; Lyndee Dawson in the 3,000-meter steeplechase; Megan Crumley in the javelin and discus; Ambernicole Hollinger in the hammer throw; Nicole Falkenstein in the pole vault; and Teddi Wright in the triple jump. The women also won the 4-by- 800-meter relay.
Meanwhile, the men’s team earned a fourth-place finish to slide up one slot from last season’s fifth-place mark. Andrew Daedler closed out his career at Biola with the men’s only individual GSAC championship, winning the 1,500-meter run. Both the men’s and women’s teams were scheduled to compete at the NAIA outdoor championships in May (after this issue went to print).
Swimming and Diving
Three Biola swimmers claimed a total of five individual championships at the NAIA National Championships in March. Senior Shane Brinson placed first in the 3-meter dive and 1-meter dive, sophomore Lisa Tixier won in the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard freestyle, and junior Christina Ali claimed the title in the 200-yard breaststroke. Ali also set new school records in both the 100-yard and 200- yard breaststroke with a time of 1:04.86. Brinson was named the NAIA male diver of the meet, and Biola’s diving coach, Lisa Treguboff, was named NAIA male diving coach of the meet.
The women’s cross country team won its fourth-ever GSAC conference championship in November and went on to finish third in the nation at the NAIA championship. Senior Kellian Hunt finished her season on a high note, winning the individual title for both the NAIA and GSAC meets. Meanwhile, the men’s team placed second at the GSAC conference championship, where senior Kevin Horchler won the men’s individual conference title. At the national meet, Horchler placed seventh to earn his first All-American honors in cross country.