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Zags win men's WCC all-sports award

by IAN BIVONA
Sports Reporter | June 12, 2022 4:32 PM

SAN MATEO, CALIF. - The West Coast Conference announced several conference awards at its annual awards banquet last week, with the Bulldogs taking home the 2021-2022 Men’s All-Sports Award according to a press release by the school.

The men’s sports program was highlighted by the Gonzaga basketball team, who made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament for the seventh consecutive season. The Zags were a No. 1 seed for the fourth time in the last five tournaments and ended the regular season ranked No. 1 in both the Associated Press and coaches polls.

The Bulldogs finished the 2021-2022 season with a 28-4 record and won their 10th straight WCC regular-season title and won the WCC tournament for the third time in a row.

In baseball, the Zags reached the NCAA tournament for the 12th time in program history. They entered the top 25 as well, reaching as high as No. 10 - the highest ranking under head coach Mark Machtolf in his 19 years at the helm of the program.

Gonzaga won all nine of its WCC series and tied a program-best with 20 conference wins. They won their sixth WCC regular-season title and had 30 wins for the sixth year in a row. They fell in the Blacksburg Regional of the NCAA tournament.

The Zags’ cross country team saw themselves ranked No. 13, the highest ranking in program history. They made their second championship appearance after placing fifth in the NCAA West Regional. Three runners cracked the top-20 in the regional, highlighted by a fifth-place finish by James Mwaura. Mwaura also helped the Zags in their lowest-ever point total in the WCC championships, where the Bulldogs took second place.

In tennis, the Bulldogs won a program-best 18 dual matches. In head coach DJ Gurule’s first year, the Zags finished with a .750 winning percentage, the highest in Bulldog history. They finished the year undefeated at home, with an appearance in the semifinal round of the WCC championship and opened the season ranked No. 46 in the ITA Division 1 rankings.

Bulldog soccer won seven games for the first time in six seasons. They had a four-game winning streak and won their first conference opener since 2015. The Zags were one of the more improved teams in the country, according to a press release from the school.

Rounding out the top 3 finishers in the men’s all-sports award were Santa Clara and Portland. In other awards released by the WCC last week, BYU won the Commissioners Cup and the Women’s All-Sports Award. The Zags finished second in the Commissioners Cup and fifth in the Women’s All-Sports Award.

Ian Bivona may be reached at ibivona@columbiabasinherald.com.

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