PALATINE HILL -- The first season of the 2019-20 academic year was one of the best in the last few decades for the Lewis & Clark Pioneers.
Lewis & Clark produced its first NCAA Division III Championships qualifier since 2016 when Sean Richardson placed ninth overall at the NCAA Div. III West Regional last November. Richardson placed second overall at the Northwest Conference Championships and was named All-West Region and All-NWC First Team. Freshman Madeline Swanberg also earned All-NWC First Team plus earned NWC Freshman of the Year. Under first-year head coach Matthew Barreau, the Pioneers improved from last to third place in both team standings at the Northwest Conference Championships.
- 10 of the Pioneers' 13 returners set all-time bests in their longest distances during the 2019 season with Richardson accomplishing the fourth-fastest time in school history
- Along with Richardson, five from the women's team set marks among the top 50 ever at Lewis & Clark
- Additionally, Owen Deffner and Swanberg set top-50 fastest times by a first-year competitor
- Richardson was the third-fastest West Region qualifier at the NCAA Div. III Championships
- Miguel Haro Ruiz was named All-NWC with a ninth-place finish at the NWC Championships
- The Pioneers had three top-20 finishers in the men's race and five of the top 35 in the women's race at the conference meet
The Pioneers won four games for the first time in a season since 2012 and won three home games for the first time since 2011. Junior defensive end Cameron Chang became the first Pioneers student-athlete to earn All-West Region honors since 2011 and finished the season among the top 15 in the nation for sacks. Lewis & Clark finished the year with two 100-yard rushers in a 33-21 win over then-second place Puget Sound, the first time the Pios had a pair over 100 yards rushing since 2009.
- Tawayne Malone tied a school record with three interceptions in the season finale against Puget Sound, the first Pioneers student-athlete to do so since 1984
- Junior wide receiver Aidan Verba-Hamilton broke a 17-year-old record when he totaled 331 yards receiving on nine receptions against Whitworth on Oct. 12; he went on to average 24.2 yards per reception for the season, the eighth-best total in the country
- Along with Chang, Devon Franklin was named to the All-NWC First Team after the Pioneers allowed their fewest sacks per game since 2014 while totaling their most rushing yards (1,214) in a season since 2011, an average that was second in the NWC (134.9 per game)
- Running back Michael Abraham and Verba-Hamilton were selected All-NWC Second Team; Abraham had his most rushing touchdowns (11) in a season ever, which was the second most in the NWC and among the top 35 nationally
- Lewis & Clark's passing offense was 56th in the country after throwing for their most yards (2,152) in four seasons
- Led by Chang, the Pios were 54th in the country and second in the conference in total sacks
- Freshman Huero Lopez was 32nd nationally and second in the NWC in kickoff return average (25.5)
- Defensive backs Makana LaBoy and Anakin Mares were 15th in the country in passes broken up
- Lewis & Clark's win at Pacific Lutheran was its second over the Lutes since 1990
Lewis & Clark earned its best Northwest Conference season since restarting the program in 2004 and won an all-time best eight games in the NWC. The result placed the Pioneers fourth in the final standings and was fueled, in part, by their lowest goals-against average (1.01) and total goals allowed (21) in any season since 2004.
- Despite the Pios' unprecedented success, freshman Julia Markmann was Lewis & Clark's only All-Northwest Conference selection after her stellar debut season that included three game-winning goals, the second-most in a single season by anyone at Lewis & Clark
- Markmann tied for the lead in goals scored on the team and led the Pios in assists with four, the latter the fourth-most all-time in a single season by a Lewis & Clark student-athlete
- She was the first at Lewis & Clark to have four consecutive games with a point since Anna Thorndike in 2013 and only the third in Pios history
- To finish the season, the Pioneers lost only twice over their last 10 matches and went undefeated against George Fox, Pacific and Whitman for the year
- Lewis & Clark was only swept by one NWC opponent and won at Puget Sound for the first time since the program restarted in 2004
- Senior Caroline Hennes finished her career fourth all-time at Lewis & Clark for goals scored (15), while Kennie Beighle, who had the third-most goals on the team in 2019, cracked the top 15 through her junior season
- Anna Saucedo was third on the team in assists in 2019 and moved to seventh all-time for assists in a career (7)
- Both Hennes and Saucedo ascended into the top 15 all-time in total points
- Megan Sawyer ended her career in the top six all-time for games played, games started and total saves by a goalkeeper
The Pioneers finished the season with double-digit wins for the second straight year, a feat that gives Lewis & Clark its first back-to-back seasons with at least 10 wins since 2014 and 2015. Similarly, the Pios had their first consecutive seasons with at least six Northwest Conference wins since 2010 and 2011.
Kendall Malone earned an All-NWC honor after she led the conference in attacks per set and finished second in kills per set. Michelle McGinn was fourth in the NWC in assists per set and earned an All-NWC Second-Team pick. Of over 1,100 setters in the country, she was one of 18 with at least 85 kills, 708 assists, 285 digs and 10.5 blocks. Additionally, of those 18 setters, McGinn was the only to lead her team in assists, digs, aces and hitting percentage.
- McGinn's 734 assists are the most for the Pioneers since 2013, and her 1,124 career total through her first two seasons ranks sixth all-time at Lewis & Clark
- Emma Ehlers led the Northwest Conference in blocks per set and was the first Pioneers student-athlete with double-digit solo blocks since 2015
- In two different matches, Kelsey Parker and Ehlers tied the school record for block assists (8) in a single game
- Lewis & Clark's 22 block assists against Puget Sound on Oct. 26 tied the sixth-most in a single match in school history
- Kendall Malone, who led the NWC in kills per set at times during the season, had the most total kills for Lewis & Clark since 2015
- The team's 1,640 digs and 238 block assists both rank sixth in school history
- The Pioneers went 4-4 in the non-conference schedule; combined with their seven victories against non-NWC opponents in 2018, the 11 wins are the most for Lewis & Clark in back-to-back seasons since 1997 and 1998
- Lewis & Clark's 15-8 mark at home over the last two years is its best since at least 2008