2020-21: A Banner Season for BGSU Athletics
Falcons Successfully Navigate the Pandemic, Succeeding on the Playing Fields and in the Classroom
The 2020-21 academic year was a year unlike any other. No matter who you are, where you live or what you do, you were affected in profound ways by a worldwide pandemic. COVID-19 forced us all to make many changes in our everyday lives.
BGSU’s student-athletes, coaches and support staff navigated those obstacles and came through with flying colors in 2020-21, both on the playing field and in the classroom. Falcon teams won six Mid-American Conference regular season or tournament championships, the highest total in nearly 40 years (since 1982-83).
The Falcons achieved many more milestones in 2020-21. Some of these accomplishments are listed below.
- Men’s Basketball standout Justin Turner broke the school’s career scoring record and became the first Falcon in school history to be named to the NABC All-District First Team three times. Turner also was named to the All-MAC First Team for the third consecutive season, while Trey Diggs was named the MAC’s Sixth Man of the Year.
- BGSU Hockey went 20-10-1, marking the seventh consecutive season in which the team earned at least 20 wins. That is the second-longest active streak in the country. Junior defenseman Will Cullen was named the WCHA Co-Defensive Player of the Year.
- The Falcon soccer teams won MAC championships on back-to-back days at Cochrane Stadium. BGSU Women’s Soccer went 6-1-1 overall and topped Ball State 2-1 to capture a conference crown for the third consecutive season. Madi Wolfbauer was named to the United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-America Second Team, becoming just the second women’s soccer student-athlete in school history to earn Scholar All-America honors from the organization.
- Men’s Soccer won the MAC regular-season championship, advancing to the NCAA championships for the first time since 1997. It was the team’s first regular-season title since 2002. Eric Nichols was named MAC Coach of the Year and BGSU tied the school record with six All-MAC selections.
- Nichols and his coaching staff were named the NCAA North Region Staff of the Year by United Soccer Coaches, and senior Chris Sullivan was named to the Senior CLASS Award All-America Second Team. Falcon Men’s Soccer ended the season ranked No. 30 in the country in the College Soccer News national poll.
- The 2020-21 academic year marked the first time in school history that both the men’s and women’s soccer teams advanced to the NCAA championships in the same season.
- BGSU Volleyball ran roughshod through the MAC, winning the league regular-season crown as well as the conference tournament. The Falcons posted the best start to a season in Athletics department history, going 18-0 to begin the year, and BGSU advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012. Danijela Tomic was named MAC and Northeast Region Coach of the Year. Hanna Laube was the MAC Co-Setter of the Year.
- After being picked to finish 11th in the preseason coaches’ poll, the BGSU Women’s Basketball team won the MAC regular-season championship. Robyn Fralick was named MAC Coach of the Year, and Lexi Fleming was named MAC Freshman of the Year. BGSU recorded the second-best turnaround in the nation, with a 12-game improvement over the previous season’s record, and the Falcons advanced to national postseason play, participating in the WNIT.
- Kailee Perry won the MAC Cross Country championship as a freshman and competed in the NCAA championships. She was the first BGSU representative at that meet in 23 years and finished 11th among all freshmen.
- Stellar swimmer Daisy Platts won MAC championships in both the 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke, advancing to the NCAA championships and placing in the top 25 nationally in both events. For Platts, the 200 backstroke title was her third in as many years, and she was the MAC Champion in the 100 backstroke for the second year in a row.
- Another swimming standout, Lauren Sullivan, received an NCAA postgraduate scholarship.
- On the track, Savannah Nevels won the 200 and Iyanna Ross won the 400 at the MAC Indoor Track & Field Championships. In addition, the team swept the MAC titles in the relays as Nevels, Ross, Ryen Draper and Chasatea Brown won the 1600 relay, and Katerina Shuble, Jazzlynn Gaiters, Trinity Fowler and Kailee Perry won the distance medley relay.
- Two months later, the Falcons posted the highest point total in 22 years at the MAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The 1600 relay team of Brown, Draper, Nevels and Ross won the MAC title, as BGSU won three of the four relay MAC championships between indoor and outdoor track and field. Brianna Richards, seeded sixth in the triple jump, proceeded to win the MAC championship in that event.
- Seven Falcons advanced to the NCAA East Region preliminary round, and Kaila Butler finished fifth in the hammer throw to advance to the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships for the second time in her career. At the national meet, Butler finished ninth in the hammer throw with a career best of 219-feet-10 (67.01m), topping her previous personal best by more than four feet. She was named a second-team All-American for the second time in her career.
- Falcon Tennis finished third in the MAC with a league record of 9-5. It marked BGSU’s best conference finish since the 2012-13 Falcons tied for second.
- Falcon Softball went 27-27 overall and 19-20 in the MAC, finishing fifth in the league after being picked to place eighth. Redshirt freshman Payton Gottshall, despite missing nearly a month of the season due to injury, shattered the BGSU single-season records for strikeouts and strikeouts per seven innings. Madi McCoy hit .423 in MAC play, the highest average by a Falcon in 15 years.
- Both Gottshall and McCoy were named to the All-MAC First-Team, while McCoy was named to the NFCA All-Mideast Region Second Team. The duo became BG’s first all-conference first-team selections since 2014, and the Falcons had not had multiple first-teamers since 2012. McCoy was BGSU’s first all-region honoree in a decade.
- Falcon Baseball won six of the final seven games of the season and won 20 games for the first time since 2015. The Falcons’ 18 MAC wins were the most since 2010. Nathan Rose was named to the All-MAC First Team, and Kyle Gurney was the MAC Freshman of the Year.
- Gurney was named to the Collegiate Baseball Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America Team, becoming the first catcher in school history and the fifth Falcon ever to earn freshman All-America honors.
- Two members of the Department of Athletics won prestigious awards from the University within days of one another. Assistant AD for Sports Medicine Dan Fischer was named BGSU’s 2021 Michael R. Ferrari Award winner, while Senior Associate AD/SWA and Deputy Title IX Coordinator Stacy Kosciak was named BGSU’s 2021 Newcomer of the Year.
- In early June, representatives of four BGSU teams — men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball and women’s basketball — were recognized at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus for their MAC Tournament Championships and national postseason appearances.
- BGSU finished second in the MAC’s Jacoby Standings for the 2020-21 academic year. The Jacoby Award is given to the MAC’s top overall women’s athletic program, and this is the highest finish for the Falcons since they also finished second in 2007.
- BGSU student-athletes finished the 2020-21 academic year with a cumulative GPA of 3.42, which is the highest on record. Fifteen percent of Falcon student-athletes have a cumulative GPA of 4.0, with 80% achieving at a 3.0 level or better.