2015-16 Athletic SuccessNorth Texas boasts a history of stellar athletes and teams that includes national champions, Olympic medalists and Hall of Famers.
North Texas greats such as Abner Haynes, Don January, "Mean" Joe Greene, Hayden Fry, and Elmer and Delmer Brown charted a course that has been navigated over recent years by standouts Marilyn Marin, Chris Davis, Patrick Cobbs, Jalie Mitchell, Jamario Thomas, Casey Fitzgerald and many others.
Since 2001, Mean Green teams have been a part of six bowl games and have participated in NCAA postseason soccer, swimming, tennis, track and golf championships, as well as the NCAA basketball tournament twice.
During the 2016-17 school year, the Mean Green soccer team won its third-straight Conference USA regular-season conference championship and the football team played in the Heart of Dallas Bowl for the second time in the last four years. Individually, 48 Mean Green athletes were named all-conference and five were named all-region.
Nine competitors advanced to the NCAA post-season play with three golfers competing in the NCAA Regionals, and six track and field athletes advancing to the NCAA West Preliminaries. Maria Kononova ended the tennis season ranked No. 78 in the country, which is the highest ranking for a Mean Green tennis player in school history.
The future looks bright at North Texas with two freshman receiving conference specialty awards and five newcomers being named to all-freshman teams this past season.
The soccer team added to its trophy case with a 12th conference championship, winning its third-straight regular-season conference title in 2016. The Mean Green were unable to defend its conference tournament championship, falling in the semifinal round. Rachel Holden and Marchelle Davis capped stellar careers with second-team all-conference honors. Head coach John Hedlund recorded his 22nd consecutive winning season and recorded his 300th career victory in the season opener.
Under first-year head coach Seth Littrell, the football team was invited to the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl after a four-win improvement from 2015. Quarterback Mason Fine was named to the C-USA All-Freshman Team as well as defensive end LaDarius Hamilton. Punter Eric Keena ended his career on a high note with first-team all-conference honors.
The men's cross-country team finished fourth at the conference championships behind top-20 finishes by James Coleman, Florian Lussy and Mike Lowe. Lussy, a freshman, earned all-region after coming in 15th place at the regional meet.
Susannah Lynch placed fourth individually at the women's cross-country conference championship, helping the Mean Green to a sixth-place finish. The men's team finished the season ranked ninth in the NCAA South Central Region, and the women's team finished 12th.The volleyball team advanced to its fourth straight conference championship, falling in the quarterfinal round. Amanda Chamberlain and Holly Milam were both named first-team all-conference, while Emma Eakin was named to the all-freshman squad.
The swimming and diving team matched its best team finish since joining Conference USA with fourth place at the conference championship. The team earned all-conference honors in the 200-yard breaststroke, 200-yard individual medley and the 400-yard freestyle relay. Mean Green swimmers and divers set five program records.Mean Green Advance To Post-Season Play In The Spring
The men's golf team came up short in the conference championship but qualified three individuals for the NCAA Regionals. Cory Churchman, Ian Snyman and Thomas Rosenmueller were all named all-conference before continuing play in Austin at NCAA Regionals.
Women's golf showed marked improvement in its first season under new head coach Michael Akers. The team set a program record for lowest single round at the Johnie Imes Invitational in the fall, posting a team score of five-under par. Additionally, sophomore transfer Sol Lee earned third-team All-Conference USA honors, while freshman Elena Kim finished tied for fourth individually at the C-USA Championship, placing herself on the all-tournament team.
The youth movement was evident on the track and field team. Sixty-three percent of the roster were freshmen and sophomores. Four of the six athletes who advanced to the NCAA West Prelims were underclassmen.Brenna Eckels made her mark as a freshman on the track and field team. At the indoor conference championship, she was named freshman of the meet after placing first in the long jump. She followed that up with a second-place finish at the outdoor championship.
In the outdoor conference meet, it was Kristyn Archuleta's turn. She was named women's freshman of the year after winning the gold medal in the women's javelin throw with a school-record throw of 49.39-meters.Eckels had the top finish at the NCAA West Prelims with a 16th-place finish in long jump. She fell four spots short of a top-12 finish to qualify for NCAA finals with a personal-best jump of 6.22 meters, fourth best in school history.
The tennis team also showed a lot of promise with a young roster. Seven of the eight players on the roster were underclassmen. The Mean Green won 11 matches and reached the C-USA semifinals for the seventh time in the last eight years. North Texas ended the year winning five of its last six matches and had a program record five all-conference award winners.
Sophomore Maria Kononova broke nearly every singles season record and ended the year ranked No. 78 in the country for singles. She and her doubles partner Tamuna Kutubidze went 17-1 in doubles and were named first team all-conference for doubles for the second year in a row.
The softball team posted 25 wins with one of the toughest schedules in the nation and clinched a spot in the conference tournament after missing the cut the year before.
The Mean Green was led by a senior Kelli Schkade and freshman twins Lacy and Lindsay Gregory. Schkade was named first-team all-conference leading the team in average (.346), hits (64), runs (41), triples (five) and home runs (nine). Both Lacey and Lindsay were named to the all-freshman team after posting the second and third-highest batting averages on the team.