Hutchins, Hyland Named Cal Poly's Athletes of the Year

Hutchins, Hyland Named Cal Poly's Athletes of the Year

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Cal Poly men's cross country standout Clayton Hutchins, the 2016 Big West Conference individual champion, and softball star Sierra Hyland, a two-time Big West Conference Pitcher of the Year and the first Mustang in eight years to earn NFCA Division I All-America praise, have been selected as Cal Poly's male and female athletes of the year for the 2016-17 academic year.

The awards were presented at the annual Night of the Mustang by Block P, Cal Poly's letterman's club, on Sunday night in Chumash Auditorium.

Hutchins, who has one more year of eligibility, helped lead Cal Poly to a nearly-perfect championship meet score of 18 points at the Big West finals, 35 points ahead of UC Santa Barbara, for the conference's best score since 2007.

A graduate of Drake High School in San Anselmo, Calif., Hutchins earned All-West Region honors by placing 13th in the regional meet at Sacramento. He won the Lagoon Open at UCSB and also earned top-five finishes in the UC Riverside Invitational and Stanford Invitational.

Cal Poly claimed its 14th Big West title under head coach Mark Conover, as well as the 26th conference championship in cross country since 1969.

A graduate of El Diamante High School in Visalia, Hyland (24-13) closed her senior season ranked third among NCAA Division I pitchers in shutouts (12), fifth in ERA (1.10), 10th in strikeouts (275), 20th in hits allowed per seven innings (4.38), 22nd in victories (24) and 51st in strikeouts per seven innings (7.3).

A two-time USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week selection this year and a five-time Big West Pitcher of the Week honoree in 2017, Hyland featured a 4.9-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, averaged 1.1 strikeouts per inning and produced eight double-digit strikeout games. She also threw two perfect games and one no-hitter in 2017.

She broke her own single-season program record for strikeouts and became the Big West Conference's all-time strikeout leader, finishing her career at 965. She also matched the Big West all-time record for appearances at 161 and finished third in conference history with 942.2 career innings pitched and sixth with 82 wins.

During 2017, Hyland also became Cal Poly's all-time leader for shutouts (38), complete games (104) and starts (122) and, with a 1.56 career ERA, ranks second in program history.

Offensively in 2017, Hyland led all Big West hitters with 41 RBI and Cal Poly with a .352 (64-for-182) batting average. Her 64 hits also ranked fourth in the Big West.

Hyland was an All-NFCA West Region honoree four times and also was honored by the Big West four times -- three on the first twam and once on the second unit. The fourth overall selection in April's National Pro Fastpitch Draft, Hyland will join the Chicago Bandits franchise in the coming month.

Other male athletes nominated for the Athlete of the Year award were baseball sophomore center fielder Alex McKenna, basketball senior guard Ridge Shipley, football senior quarterback Dano Graves, golf senior Cole Nygren, soccer senior defender Kody Wakasa, swimming junior Zach Cootes, tennis senior Corey Pang, track & field junior runner Swarnjit Boyal and wrestling senior 157-pounder Colt Shorts.

Female athletes nominated for the award were basketball senior forward Hannah Gilbert, cross country and track & field sophomore Peyton Bilo, golf junior Desiree Gillaspy, soccer senior defender/midfielder Kendra Bonsall, swimming and diving freshman Makenzie Kamei, tennis freshman Susanne Boyden and indoor and beach volleyball junior setter Taylor Nelson, the 2015-16 Cal Poly Female Athlete of the Year.

Cal Poly's Scholar-Athletes for the 2016-17 school year are women's basketball junior guard/forward Mary Kate Evans and men's track & field junior 400-meter runner Liam Martinez. Evans, a graduate of Atascadero High School, is a biomedical engineering major while Martinez, a Burlingame High School graduate, majors in mechanical engineering.

Men's golfer Jesse Yap, a senior industrial engineering major from Singapore, and women's cross country junior Molly Haar, a business administration major with a concentration in finance from Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Calif., were named Cal Poly's 2017 Big West Conference scholar-athletes in March.

Senior middle blocker Taylor Gruenewald of the Mustang volleyball teams, a business administration student from Southlake, Texas, has served as President of Block P, Cal Poly's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, the past year.

Members of the organizing committee for the Night of the Mustang were Gruenewald, Sage Speak (women's swimming) and Stephanie Heyward (softball).

Sadie Strain, a senior on the Mustang women's golf team, represented Cal Poly at the NCAA's Student-Athlete Leadership Forum last November in Baltimore.