With El Nino looming, the inaugural Sun West tournament will try to squeeze in its 93 games with 26 teams over a 19-day period. The round-robin tournament begins Monday and continues through March 27 at El Camino Park.
Chapman is hosting the tournament, which will also feature three-time NCAA Division III champion Central (Iowa), Pacific Lutheran (Wash.), the fifth-ranked team in the NAIA preseason poll, and Azusa Pacific, ranked 10th in the NAIA. Games will be played between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.
"Although softball season starts in February, it's hard for a lot of teams to get started because of the weather," tournament director Jim Moore said. "Some teams from the Midwest, the East, haven't even been outside yet.
"They have a tournament like this in Florida that gives teams an opportunity to play some games during their spring break. Now we have one out here."
Moore hopes the weather won't wash out significant portions of the tournament. However, there are contingency plans to keep it on schedule.
The tournament is using the two fields at El Camino Park, but the city of Orange also has agreed to let the tournament use Hart Park's two softball fields for any games that could be rescheduled because of inclement weather.
Chapman will play 20 games in the tournament, including matchups with Central on March 17 and Pacific Lutheran on March 22.
Honors: SCC's Elaine Whittemore was named GSAC women's basketball player of the year and SCC Coach Russ Davis was named conference coach of the year. SCC's Kristi Wright and Amee Pina and Concordia's Heather Carll and Jamie Gast were all-conference selections.
Whittemore led the conference in scoring (16.1), field-goal percentage (61%) and was third in rebounding (8.4). Davis led the Vanguards to their first conference title in the school's history.
SCC's Adam Dzierzynski and Terence Wilborn and Concordia's Josh Giles were selected to the GSAC men's basketball all-conference team. Dzierzynski led the conference in assists (7.2) and was second in scoring (18.3).
Azusa Pacific guard T.J. Walker and Westmont forward Brian Gomes were named co-players of the year and Azusa Pacific's Bill Odell was selected coach of the year.
Fast starts: SCC has won five of its first six men's tennis matches, its only loss coming against Azusa Pacific, ranked 14th in the NAIA preseason poll. Unranked SCC defeated 12th-ranked Point Loma Nazarene, 6-1, Feb. 21, and hosts Point Loma again Saturday at 10 a.m.
Concordia's track and field teams already have broken 17 school records. Last weekend in the Carl Rossi Relays at Claremont, freshman Matt Fischer set a school record in the 3,000 meters, finishing in 9 minutes 20.55 seconds.