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Between the Lines | Colleges

Northridge Athletes Honored by Big Sky

April 15, 1998

Joe Criner, Billy Bush and Beth Burton of Cal State Northridge have been honored as Big Sky Conference track and field athletes of the week.

Criner, a senior, was selected as the men's track athlete of the week after winning the 200 meters in 20.98 seconds and finishing second in the 100 in 10.73 in a meet against Stanford, Nebraska and Fresno State on Saturday.

Bush, a junior, won the shotput with a conference-leading 58-5 in that meet to earn men's field event athlete of the week honors.

Burton, a senior, was selected the women's field event athlete of the week after finishing second in the shotput with a school record of 52-9 and placing fourth in the hammer throw at 177-4 in the meet against Stanford, Nebraska and Fresno State.

BASEBALL

Hennes a hit: Craig Hennes, formerly of El Camino Real High, leads College of the Canyons with a .381 batting average and ranks third on the team with 19 runs batted in. Hennes has been hit by pitches eight times this season and has a team-high .506 on-base percentage.

Lucky 7: Cal Lutheran (19-3-1) is ranked No. 7 in the American Baseball Coaches Assn. Division III poll.

SOCCER

Independence day: The Cal State Northridge men's soccer team will compete as an NCAA Division I independent next season, temporarily ending its six-year membership in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. The team will rejoin the federation for the 1999 season.

Al Beaird, the federation's executive director, said the decision to drop Northridge was made in August, when the MPSF member schools began to finalize 1998 men's soccer schedules.

Beaird said Matador Coach Marwan Ass'ad "indicated on Aug. 28 . . . that Northridge would not have a program in 1998 and recommended scheduling without them."

Ass'ad's program was briefly eliminated last summer, along with three other men's teams, because of budgetary and gender-equity concerns. Private funding for the 1997 season was ultimately obtained and in December, Northridge President Blenda J. Wilson said the university is committed to future funding for the team.

Ass'ad said Northridge's 1998 schedule has 15 games, 12 on the road. NCAA rules allow Division I teams to play a maximum of 20 games. The Matadors were 7-11-1 last season.

Ass'ad said four games against MPSF teams, five games against West Coast Conference members and two against teams from the Western Athletic Conference give the Matadors a respectable schedule.

"It was scary a month ago when we didn't have many games but we're fine now," Ass'ad said.

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