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Stories by Esteban Ramirez

Sports Editor

 

Male athlete of the year: Mitchell Huxhold, swimming

As a walk-on to the CSU Bakersfield swimming team, senior Mitchell Huxhold never thought that he would achieve the level of success he has achieved this past year.

Huxhold, who grew up in San Diego, started swimming when he was eight years old. When came over to CSUB, he didn’t get a scholarships so to continue swimming he walked on to the CSUB team and has not looked back.

“I had no clue I was going to accomplish all that,” said Huxhold.

CSUB coach Chris Hansen said that what made Huxhold a special swimmer was his work ethic.

Photo by Marisel Maldonado/The Runner

Photo by Marisel Maldonado/The Runner

“He was fun to have around, and he worked hard,” Hansen said. “Talent and accomplishments aside, he was just fun to have around. I honestly miss him every day.”

Huxhold holds the school’s all-time best time in four different events. In the 200 freestyle, he is first with 1:35.35. In the 500 freestyle, he has a time of 4:16.71; in the 1000 freestyle, he has a time of 8:57.33 and in the 1650 freestyle, he has a time of 14:47.18, which is over 26 seconds faster than No. 2 Henry Holmberg.

Huxhold said that his first year he wasn’t being picked to go on the conference team, and that is what has motivated him to get where he’s at.

“The motivation to earn a spot on the conference team and to get the scholarship is what forced me to train harder and get to the next level,” he said.

At the beginning of this year, Huxhold had to deal with an injury and with a coaching change, but he was still able to reach the 2015 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships.

“I think I did really well,” he said. “With all the changes and to still make NCAA, it’s a big deal because it’s not easy to make.”

Even with all those hurdles to jump through, Huxhold was still able to repeat as 500 freestyle Western Athletic Conference champion on Feb. 26.

He added that his favorite race this past season was his 1650 freestyle race at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships because it was his last race of his college career and was his second fastest time in that event.

“My other races at NCAA were not the most impressive swims I have ever done, and I wasn’t expecting that much from that race. And when I did that well, I was really excited about that,” he said. “I think it was kind of a big deal because now I can look back and not feel disappointed. It was a feeling of satisfaction that I was able to hit one of my best swims on the last one.”

Hansen said that what he is going to miss the most about Huxhold is just how fun he was to have around.

Huxhold, who is majoring in computer information systems and is planning on graduating in the fall, said he wants to take a break from swimming. He added that he would really like to work in video game development, and would like develop massive multiplayer online games or MMOs.

 

Female athlete of the year: Tyonna Outland, women’s basketball

Between breaking the CSU Bakerfield’s women’s basketball all-time scoring record and leading her team to one of its best seasons in the program’s history, it’s safe to say that Tyonna Outland had a pretty good final year at CSUB.

After a slow start at CSUB in her first couple years and dealing with a knee injury, she was able to have her best season last year as she averaged 20.7 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game. This season she carried over that success by averaging 19.7 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game and 3.2 assists per game.

Additonally, on Jan. 22, she surpassed former CSUB women’s basketball player Katie McElree (1,798) for the school’s all-time scoring leader. Then on March 7, Outland became the 339th women’s basketball player to break the 2,000 career point mark in Division I.

“It’s great to know that my goals that I put forward, my long-term goals and my short-term goals are actually coming through,” Outland said. “It just makes me think that hard work is paying off and things that I’m praying for are coming true.”

According to CSUB women’s basketball coach Greg McCall, she is the best women’s basketball player CSUB has ever had.

Photo by Eric Garza/The Runner

Photo by Eric Garza/The Runner

“She’s the best player that has come through this university,” McCall said. “There have been some good ones that come through here, but she has been the best hands down.”

Outland led the Roadrunners this year to one of their best seasons ever. CSUB went 23-9 and 11-3 in the Western Athletic Conference and finished 16-0 at home.

Outland and CSUB did not get the end result they wanted as they lost in the semifinals of the WAC Tournament in Las Vegas.

However, her basketball career did not end there as she signed with the Los Angeles Sparks on April 16.

“I was just really excited and didn’t really know what reaction to do because there was a lot going through my mind,” Outland said. “My dream was actually coming true. It just makes me believe that faith and hard work works. A lot of people didn’t think I would be able to do it because the situation of the small school and everything. It just proves to me that I can keep proving people wrong if I keep working hard.”

McCall added that he is very happy for Outland.

“It was weight-lifting, happiness, joyfulness and a lot of praying to God for the opportunity that she has gotten,” he said. “It’s such a huge blessing because this young lady has faced a lot of adversity in her life, and for her to fight through every bit of it to have the opportunity to become a professional player is huge for her and for our program.”

Outland has also earned her bachelor’s associate degree in criminal justice and is still working on her master’s degree in public administration.