By Andrew Kim
At the start of the 2017–18 season, the PUC Pioneers aimed to repeat, outperform and strengthen their performances from the 2016–17 season.
The Pioneers entered this season with a healthy group of returning athletes in addition to welcoming new members to the family, from cross country to volleyball and basketball. Throughout this season, the Pioneers intimidated, challenged and gave it their all from the field to the court to hills and valleys. At the end of the season, notable Pioneers elevated their status to new heights and received honorable recognitions for their competitiveness and endless efforts on and off the field.
The 2017–18 sporting season featured a series of highlights and honorable mentions from the Pioneers.
•The Pioneers Men’s Basketball team ended the season missing their opportunity in advancing to the Cal Pac tournament in a tie-breaker against Simpson University, but they concluded their season on a high note with a 10-14 record throughout the season, and 7-7 in the Cal Pac conference.
•Senior Noel Briones was named the 2017–18 Cal Pac’s Champions of Character athlete after being recognized for his exemplary character and sportsmanship on and off the court in this year’s men’s basketball season while senior Jayson Marquez, Pioneers’ lead point scorer who averaged approximately 13 points per game, was named to Cal Pac’s All Conference Second Team. Seniors Rae Hubbard and Brandon Franklin also received honorable mentions in the California Pacific Conference end-of-the-season honors. Seniors Briones, Marquez, Hubbard, Franklin and Devon Pinnock played their final home game for the Pioneers Men’s Basketball on Feb. 17, 2018, and were honored for their competitiveness and contributions to basketball both on and off the court.
•Imari Clinton, a sophomore at PUC who was named to Cal Pac’s second team in her freshman year, came back this season and elevated her status to earn the All Conference First Team honors in Women’s Basketball after averaging 16.19 points a game, establishing 2.43 assists, 1.9 steals and five rebounds. Sophomore Gabriela Lua was also recognized as the Champion of Character athlete throughout the 2017–18 season.
•Senior Makana KaaikalaCaban played her final home game for the Pioneers Women’s Basketball on Feb. 17, 2018, and was honored for her competitiveness and contributions to basketball on and off the court.
•Eric Daniels, a sophomore at PUC, emerged as the highest finisher for the men’s cross country team in the team’s two scheduled events this season. The men of the Pioneers’ Cross Country team finished the season in eighth-place out of 11 teams while the women of the Pioneers’ Cross Country team finishing in seventh-place out of nine teams. •Senior Cristian Paz-Velasquez played his final home game for the Pioneers Men’s Soccer team on Nov. 3, 2017, and was honored for his competitiveness and sportsmanship on and off the field.
•Senior Amanda Loeffler, who led the Pioneers Volleyball team with 272 scoring points, was named to the All-Conference First Team for the third consecutive year. Sophomore Morgan Spencer and junior Chace Rogers also received honorable mentions in the 2017 All-Conference awards. Pacific Union College and the Pioneers Athletics send their farewells to the senior athletes, all of whom delivered different personalities and exemplified dedication, true competitiveness and sportsmanship on and off the field, and wishes them the best in the next stages of their lives. The PUC Pioneers looks ahead to prepare for the 2018–19 season.
For more information or updates, visit the PUC Pioneers website for season/team recaps, season previews, schedule and player info, staff directory info, and to watch live events from GameCentral and follow the Pioneers via Facebook and Twitter.