Balanced Cal Poly Women’s Softball Team Surprises the Experts

The Cal Poly Pomona women’s softball team was not listed in the preseason NCAA Division I rankings, but the Broncos have been impressive early in Big West Conference play.

Pomona is 7-1 in the Big West and 17-5 overall heading into a conference double-header at Nevada-Las Vegas at 11 a.m. Sunday. Las Vegas entered this week at 2-4 in conference play and 6-8 overall.

The Broncos have been led by the pitching of sophomore Nicky Luce, who has an 8-3 record, and senior Lori Thompson, 8-2. Pomona has received solid hitting from outfielder Nikki Bush, shortstop Shellie McCall and catcher Denise Correa.

Pomona suffered its first conference loss, 1-0, to 18th-ranked Pacific last week and then won its three games.


While Pomona was winning three of its four conference games last week, Las Vegas lost three of four. The Rebels are headed by pitcher Lori Harrigan, who is 4-6 with a 1.60 earned-run average, and catcher Sheree Corniel, who is batting .333.

Center Niki Bracken of Cal Poly Pomona, who led the Broncos to their eighth straight California Collegiate Athletic Assn. women’s basketball championship, has been named the conference’s most valuable player.

Bracken, a 6-2 junior from Compton who was second-team all-conference last season, has averaged 19.8 points and 8.6 rebounds to lead the Broncos into the NCAA Division II quarterfinals.

Pomona also placed guard Cathy Gooden on the first team while Cal State Los Angeles was represented on the first team by center Lupe Quintana.


Gooden, a 5-5 senior who was a first-team Division II All-American last season, is second in scoring for Pomona with 15.5 points and leads in assists at 5.6.

For Quintana, a 6-0 senior, it marked the third straight year that she was named to the all-conference first team. She finished her career with 1,200 rebounds--two short of the all-time conference record.

She is her school’s all-time third-leading scorer. As a senior she averaged 14.5 points and a conference-high 11.1 rebounds.

Pomona placed senior forward Susan Luckinbill (5-9) on the all-conference second team while Pomona guard Carrie Egan (5-8) and Cal State L.A. forward Tina Slatinsky (6-0) received honorable mention.

In men’s basketball, Pomona’s Forrest Barnes (6-5) was selected to the All-CCAA second team.

Center Amy Walter of Azusa Pacific University, who led her team to a share of its first Golden State Athletic Conference women’s basketball title, has been named NAIA District III Player of the Year.

The 6-2 junior averaged 22.3 points and 10.3 rebounds to lead the GSAC in both categories. She made 59.4% of her field-goal attempts and set a school record by scoring 30 points or more in eight games this season.

The Cougars, who finished with a 21-10 record and tied Fresno Pacific for first place in the GSAC at 10-2, also placed two other players on the NAIA All-District III team: junior forward Holly Ingersoll (5-11) and senior guard Tracey Emberley (5-6).


Ingersoll, a strong inside player, averaged 13.6 points and 9.5 rebounds. Emberley, considered the team’s top ball handler and defensive player, averaged 5.9 points and 5.4 assists.

Don Ruh and John Norton of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut have been selected state community college cross-country Coaches of the Year by the California Coaches Assn.

Norton coached the women’s cross-country team to the state community college championship and Ruh guided the men’s cross-country squad to third in the Southern California regionals and eighth in the state. For the women’s team, it was its first state title in the program’s 11-year history.

Glendora High School will play host to its second Spring Team Tennis Classic from Monday through Wednesday at the high school and Goddard Middle School Park.

Eight teams will compete in the event, including San Gabriel Valley schools Arroyo, Baldwin Park, Bishop Amat and Damien. Fountain Valley defeated El Toro for the title last year. El Toro and Burbank will also compete in the tournament along with the host team.