3-PEAT! Sandburg Wins 3rd Straight Arrowhead Conference All-Sports Title

  Aaron Frey
  Friday, May 10, 2019 1:13 PM

Galesburg, IL

Make it a three-peat for Carl Sandburg College.

The Chargers won their third straight Arrowhead Conference All-Sports Award in 2018-19, thanks in large part to a historic season that saw them claim three conference titles for just the second time in program history.

The Arrowhead Conference All-Sports Award is determined by calculating the percentage of teams a school finished ahead of in the final standings for each of the league’s six sports (volleyball, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball, softball and men’s golf).

Sandburg finished ahead of 86 percent of conference opponents during the 2018-19 season (compared to 78 percent last season and 71 percent in 2016-17), giving the Chargers — who had never won the award prior to 2016-17 — their third straight title in runaway fashion.

“Our program has had a lot of success the past few years, but all things considered, this might be our best season ever,” Sandburg Athletic Director Mike Bailey said. “The athletes and coaches do all the work on the field, but there are a lot of people behind the scenes who help make this happen, too. To win this award not just one time but three straight years now, it’s a top-to-bottom effort that includes everyone who has a hand in our athletic programs.”

Highlighting the year for the Chargers were an undefeated conference championship in volleyball (its first since 1990), a repeat conference title in baseball for the first time ever and the school’s first-ever Arrowhead championship in softball. It marked just the second time Sandburg has won three conference titles in a single academic year (volleyball, men’s basketball and women’s basketball accomplished the feat in 1984-85).

Sandburg also had second-place showings this season in women’s basketball and men’s golf, and the men’s basketball team finished third in an abbreviated conference schedule because of an abundance of inclement weather.

The Chargers had a winning Arrowhead record in each of the five sports whose standings are determined by wins and losses. Volleyball went 8-0, baseball 17-1, softball 16-2 and both basketball teams finished 6-2. Together, those five teams combined to go 53-7 in conference play — an astounding .883 winning percentage.

Sandburg had plenty of success outside of the conference, too.

  • Volleyball won its second straight Region IV championship to advance to the NJCAA national tournament in back-to-back years.
  • Led by freshman Nancy Jebet (Eldoret, Kenya/Tulwo) — who broke the 5K and 6K school records and became the first Sandburg woman to win the Region IV title — the women’s cross country team was runner-up at the region championship meet and advanced to nationals.
  • Sophomore men’s golfer Brady Grafton (Orion, Ill./Orion) qualified for the NJCAA Division II national tournament to be played later this month, marking the seventh straight season and 11th time in the last 12 years the team will be represented at nationals.
  • The women’s golf team won a tournament for the first time in program history when it took home the Illinois College Invitational title in September. The Chargers added another championship last month at the Galesburg Spring Invite and will compete next week in the NJCAA Championship for the first time ever. 

Carl Sandburg College athletes, coaches, administrators and support staff gather for a department-wide photo after winning the 2018-19 Arrowhead Conference All-Sports Award, marking the third straight time the Chargers have won the title.

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Aaron Frey