BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Birmingham-Southern athletics followed up a historic season of championships with another year of top teams, titles, and broken records. The Panthers accounted for two NCAA Division III National Championships, five conference titles, 39 all-region selections, and over 100 all-conference nods among other honors.
The five SAA titles were spread across the winter and spring seasons. Women's basketball and baseball took home the regular season crowns, while men's and women's swimming and diving, and men's track and field won their respective championships. Each program's head coach was rewarded with the SAA coach of the year honor for their success: Mike Ricks (women's basketball), Toby Wilcox (women's swimming), Jan Weisberg (baseball), and Kenneth Cox (men's track and field).
Junior Jamal Watkins (Hampton, Ga./Dodge City CC) had a breakout season. The sprinter won the indoor 60 meter national championship and then went on to take the 100 meter title at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships. He was a three-time all-american, five-time all-region selection, the Southern Athletic Association track athlete of the year, and BSC's Male Athlete of the Year. A two-sport student-athlete, Watkins was also the SAA Special Teams Player of the Year in football.
BSC actually earned eight SAA player of the year honors, including three newcomers. Watkins was the only to earn two top honors. Emilee Olsen (Marietta, Ga./Lassiter HS) of women's basketball, Becca Erwin (Duluth, Ga./Duluth HS) of women's swimming, and Nico Medina (Davie, Fla./American Heritage HS) of men's swimming were named newcomers of the year. Chaz Brouillette (Cullman, Ala./Cullman HS) of men's diving was named SAA Diver of the Year in his first season. Stephen Himic (Birmingham, Ala./Indian Springs HS) of baseball took home the pitcher of the year award. And Carlee Petro (Birmingham, Ala./Mountain Brook HS) of women's tennis was named player of the year.
Erwin joined Watkins on the list of all-americans for her performance in the 200 freestyle. Fellow freshman Noah Young (Clinton, Miss/Clinton HS) also became an all-american at the NCAA swimming and diving championships in the 200 IM. Making the most of his first trip to national's, Kameren Morgan (Bowie, Md./St. Alban's School for Boys) took third place in the hammer throw to become an all-american in his sophomore season.
Men's track and field was the highest recognized team this season. They received 15 all-region nods to go along with 12 all-conference selections.