Brian Ralph

Pacer Athletics Highlights

Athletics hosted 2022 Hall of Fame

WPU Athletics hosted the 2022 Athletics Hall of Fame this past spring. 

The Pacers have not inducted a new Hall of Fame class since 2012. The WPU Hall of Fame was established in 2001 to recognize the achievements of superior athletic careers at the University. 

The Hall of Fame recognizes those individuals who made exceptional contributions to WPU on the field or through support after leaving school. Championship and other exceptional teams are also eligible for Hall of Fame consideration.

In 2022, eight individuals were honored: Ashley Stansbury ’10, member of the women’s softball program;  Lauren Pleasant Bridgers ’07, member of the women’s softball program; Brooke Johnson ’04, member of the women’s basketball program; Kelly Key Gaines ’82, member of the women’s tennis program; Tia Saunders-Johnson ’06, member of the women’s basketball program; Glenda Cunningham Jenkins ’88, member of the women’s basketball program; Kelly Johnson, previous Athletic Director and Head Women’s Basketball Coach; and Virginia “Ginger” Lancaster Shields ’77, member of the women’s tennis program and mother of Men’s Basketball Coach Claude Shields. 

“We were so thrilled to induct our first class in over a decade to the Hall of Fame! It was a night that held special meaning in our family as we inducted my Mom, Ginger Shields,” said Claude Shields, Interim Director of Athletics. “As children, you sometimes forget that your parents had lives before you were born, and it just so happens that my Mom was a standout tennis player!”

The 2022 Athletics Hall of Fame reception took place during WPU’s Annual Alumni Weekend. This year’s Hall of Fame recipients were recognized during Alumni Weekend on April 21, 2023.

Baseball makes program history

Baseball made program history in the Spring 2022 season, receiving the most wins in a single season with 23 wins. The Pacers also picked up their first postseason win, defeating Methodist University.

All Fall Sports competed in post-season games

All three Pacer fall sports competed in post-season games in 2022. Along with this, both Men’s Soccer and Volleyball played in USA South Championship games. 

Men’s soccer sweeps USA South Player Awards

WPU’s men’s soccer swept the player categories of the USA South All-Conference Athletic Awards, receiving all seven conference selections. 

Women’s volleyball held record-breaking season

WPU Women’s Volleyball posted a new single-season win record with 27 wins. Additionally, the Pacers played in the USA South Conference Championship, battling in a tough 3-0 loss to Southern Virginia University. 

Two women’s soccer players named to United Soccer Coaches All-Region Teams

Women’s Soccer received their first All-Region athlete selections in program history as Raine Greene ’23 and Kyra Delaney ’23 were both named United Soccer Coaches Third Team All-Region. 

They helped lead the Pacers to the best finish in program history with an 11-6 record. The team also received six USA South All-Conference selections to complete their record-breaking season.

Sophia Swenson ’24 named Swimmer of the Year

Sophia Swenson ’24 was named the 2022 Independent South Swimmer of the Year. Swenson scored more points than any other swimmer during the Independent South Swimming Championships in February 2022, winning all three of her events.

Track & Field excels at USA South Championships 

Men’s and Women’s Track & Field excelled at the USA South Championships. The men’s team finished in 5th place with a total of 55 points, while the women finished in 10th with a total of 23 points.

Lacrosse picks up seven wins 

Men’s lacrosse posted the most wins in program history in the Spring 2022 with seven wins.

Claude Shields receives 100th career win

Claude Shields picked up his 100th career win on January 4, 2023. Coach Shields was hired in 2011 as the first Head Men’s Basketball Coach in school history. Shields also serves WPU as the Interim Director of Athletics.

Men’s Basketball Finishes Record-Breaking Season In Conference Final

WPU men’s basketball had its first appearance in program history at the USA South Conference Championship. They fell 80-61 to North Carolina Wesleyan University. The Pacers finished with an 18-9 overall record, recording a program record for most wins in a season.

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