The USC Upstate softball team finished runner-up in the Big South Tournament this season and freshman Bre Cooper took home Freshman of the Year honors. Sarah Price and Peyton Darnell earned All-Big South First Team honors, while Cooper, Tiffany Domingue and Mallie Brown earned a spot on the second team. Savannah Brown earned a spot on the All-Freshman team alongside Cooper, Darnell and Domingue.
Hunter Fry became the first male golfer to win a Division I conference championship and is only the third Spartan to reach the NCAA Regionals in the Division I era. Fry ended his senior season with a pair of wins and three top five finishes. Freshman Max Dupree earned a spot on the Big South All-Freshman team and recorded a top-five finish this season.
The women’s golf team had their best season in school history. The Spartans recorded their lowest stroke average in school history (297.23) and recorded the best team winning-percentage in program history (.896). As a team, the Spartans won two tournaments in the same season for the first time ever and finished inside the top 3 in all but one tournament. Beem Pabsimma became the first female golfer in school history to capture a conference championship. With the victory, Pabsimma became the first female golfer in program history to play in the NCAA Regionals. She finished with the second lowest scoring average for a season in program history with a 73.73. Praew Nontarux earned Big South Freshman of the Year honors. Both Nontarux and Pabsimma finished with a school record best .895 winning-percentage this season.
Men’s soccer fielded one of its best seasons in Upstate’s Division I era, led by Big South Coach of the Year Scott Halkett. The Spartans got off to a 5-0-1 start in conference play and ended the season with a 6-4-2 overall mark, the program’s second-most DI wins. Upstate tied for the No. 2 seed in the final conference standings and advanced over Campbell via penalty kicks in the conference semifinals to make it to the program’s first-ever Big South Championship Final match.
The Spartans got off to a 1-7 start in their 2021 spring campaign, but after dropping the first set against Presbyterian on March 11, Upstate would not lose another set the rest of the season. Upstate won six straight matches to set a DI program record for conference wins in a row. Additionally, Upstate's five straight sweeps and 18 straight sets won were also DI program-bests. Head coach Ronda Shirley notched her 600th career win in the season finale sweep against Radford.
The Spartans welcomed Becky Burke as the 15th head coach in Upstate’s program history ahead of the 2020-21 season. Burke and her staff led the Spartans to the program’s most-ever Big South wins, including the program’s first-ever win over Hampton and first Division I win over Gardner-Webb. For the first time ever, the Spartans hosted their first round game of the Big South Championship, and won the first round game for the second consecutive year.
XC, Track & Field
The spring 2021 cross country season was highlighted by Jared Keklak, who was named Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year. On the men’s side, Jonathan Loy and Michael Tardella each ran a top-40 time in program history in the 8K at the Winthrop Invite. For the women at the Big South Championships, Jamie Connelly ran the program’s seventh-best 5K time, and Mia Davis was close behind with the program’s ninth-best time. Allie Leavitt, Stecy Cherono, and Heaven Allen each ran a program top-50 time in the 5K.
Outdoor track and field season was highlighted by four school records, three gold medals and 10 podium finishes at the Big South Championships, and a trio of Spartans who competed at the NCAA East Region Preliminary Round. Tony Auguste shattered the school record in the hammer throw and shot put, and qualified for the NCAA East Prelims in the hammer throw. Jared Henderson and Megan Deimeke each set a school record, in the 100m and hammer throw, respectively. Individual conference champions this season included Adanma Uzor in the triple jump, Cameron Smith in the 110m hurdles, and the quartet of Stephen Dauway, Jared Henderson, Javin Holston, and Antoine Nance in the 4x100m relay. Uzor qualified for the NCAA East Prelims in the triple jump and was joined by Angelnique Bryant in the 100m.
In just his second season at the helm of the Spartan program, head coach Mike McGuire led USC Upstate baseball to its best season in program history. The Spartans started the season undefeated at 11-0 and finished with an all-time program best 37 wins at 37-16. The season was highlighted by road wins over Clemson and nationally ranked Georgia Tech, and Upstate rose as high as 34 in the RPI rankings and consistently received votes in the USA Today Top 25 Coaches’ Poll. The Spartans finished second in the conference rankings and were one of just four teams to make it to the 2021 Big South Baseball Championship. Friday night ace Jordan Marks broke three school records on the year, including strikeouts and wins in a single season and career wins. He also became the first-ever Spartan to be named to the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List and was named Big South Pitcher of the Year.