Church College Sports Roundup
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“Church College Sports Roundup,” Ensign, Mar. 1997, 75–76

Church College Sports Roundup

To conclude an unusually long and successful season in which the Brigham Young University football team had a Division I record of 14 wins and 1 loss, the Cougars played their first-ever New Year’s Day bowl game. In a nationally televised contest, BYU beat Kansas State 19–15 in the 61st annual Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. The Cougars were the year’s Western Athletic Conference champions and finished the season with a number-five national ranking.

The BYU women’s volleyball team won the WAC championship and advanced to the NCAA national tournament, where they missed making the final four by one game. Although the team had a difficult time at the start of the season, they went on to win 24 games in a row later in the year. Coach Elaine Michaelis was named WAC coach of the year, and BYU players were recognized as player of the year, freshman of the year, and most valuable player in the tournament.

For their third consecutive time, the BYU—Hawaii Campus women’s volleyball team won the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Division II championship in a tournament held 4–7 December 1996 in San Diego, California. The title is the team’s seventh national title in 11 years. This year the Seasiders also won their conference championship for the ninth time in 10 years. They finished the season with 30 wins and 1 loss.

A national championship was also won by the Ricks College women’s cross-country team. In a meet held 16 November 1996 in Overland Park, Kansas, the Vikings earned their second-in-a-row National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association national championship by beating the runner-up team by 21 points. Six Ricks players earned All-American honors, and Coach Doug Stutz was named cross-country coach of the year for his second straight time.

Though the Ricks College football team was leading its opponent at halftime in the 10th annual Real Dairy Bowl in Pocatello, Idaho, the Vikings ultimately fell before Garden City Community College with a final score of 42–35. After starting the season with three losses and only one win, the Ricks football squad had rallied to win five games in a row, which led to the bowl invitation.

A scene from BYU’s Cotton Bowl football victory. (Photo by Mark A. Philbrick.)