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Season of The Bears

June 22, 2005

And they said Baylor couldn't compete in the Big 12 Conference. Think again.

It has been a spring unlike any other in Baylor Athletics. On the last day of May, Baylor boasted one NCAA team, two NCAA individual and three Big 12 Conference championships, plus one team co-championship. Baylor athletic fans haven't been this giddy since the 1974 football season -- and that was a long time ago.

Nick Joos, associate athletic director/media relations, dug through the record books and came up with these statistics. In 82 seasons of Southwest Conference competition, Baylor captured 29 team championships (26 regular-season, three tournaments). In its nine years in the Big 12 Conference, Baylor already has won 17 titles (12 regular-season and five tournament). Only six schools have won more Big 12 titles than Baylor, Joos said.

Following is a short wrap-up of the teams in the title races. For a recap of the Lady Bears basketball season, see A Job Well Done. Visit www.baylorbears.com for all the latest news and rankings.


Women's tennis: Big 12 Champions

Women's singles: Zuzana Zemenova, NCAA champion


Freshman All-American Zuzana Zemenova won the women's title May 28, emerging as the nation's best women's singles player with a three-set, come-from-behind victory over third-seeded Audra Cohen of Northwestern. With the win, "ZZ," as she's known, became the first unseeded player in tournament history to win the singles championship. She also racked up numerous honors during her rookie season: Big 12 Player of the Year, Big 12 Freshman of the Year and Big 12 Champion at No. 1 singles with a 9-0 mark.

Before winning the individual title, ZZ led the Lady Bears to their second Big 12 title in school history; the team shared championship honors with Texas A&M in 2003. Baylor's 11-0 record also was the team's first undefeated conference season. They were runners-up to Texas in the conference tournament May 1 in Austin.

As the regular season Big 12 champion, the Lady Bears were seeded 15th as they began play in the 2005 NCAA Division?I Women's Tennis Championships, the eighth time they had been invited to the 64-team tournament. The women's team rolled into the round of 16 for only the second time in school history before falling short of an upset of No. 2 Florida, 4-2, on May 19 in Athens, Ga.


Men's tennis: Big 12 Champions

Men's singles: Benedikt Dorsch, NCAA champion


Adding to the women's singles title, Benedikt Dorsch capped his Baylor career May 30 with a heart-stopping series against the University of San Diego's Pierrick Ysern to claim the men's singles title. Dorsch's title made Baylor only the second men's team in three decades to bring home back-to-back singles titles with different players; Benjamin Becker claimed the 2004 crown.

In a showdown match for the men's tennis NCAA Championship, the UCLA Bruins bested the Bears in a marathon match. The Bears fell a point short of defending their national title, losing to the UCLA Bruins 4-3 on May 24.

Dorsch ends his illustrious three-year career as a six-time All America, three-time Big 12 Player of the Year, two-time Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Championships (2004, 2005), 2004 ITA Player of the Year and will undoubtedly duplicate the honor this season.


Baseball: Big 12 Co-Champions

4th seed in NCAA tournament


After missing out on the NCAA Baseball Tournament last season, the Bears roared back with a vengeance to claim a share of the Big 12 regular-season title with the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Bears also were runners-up in the conference tournament, dropping a 1-0 pitchers' duel to the Huskers on May 29 in Oklahoma City, Okla. As postseason announcements were made, the NCAA quickly validated Baylor's championship season with a No. 4 national seed and a 12th NCAA regional appearance. Even better, the Bears were chosen to host a regional at the Baylor Ballpark for the third time in school history.

Nine Bears were named to the Coaches' All-Big 12 baseball teams. Baylor leads all conference schools in Big 12 history in first-team Academic All-Big 12 selections (45) and is tied for second in all-time first-team All-Big 12 selections (24).


TRACK: Big 12 Outdoor Championships

Darold Williamson, men's 400m and men's 4x400m relay team


All-American sprinter Darold Williamson continued the Bears' domination of the 400 meters and the 4x400-meter relay at the 2005 Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field championships May 13-15 in Manhattan, Kan. The senior from San Antonio and Olympic gold medalist became the fourth Big 12 track athlete -- and the conference's first sprinter -- to complete the career sweep in the 400 meters as he claimed his fourth straight conference title in the event. He also anchored the 4x400-meter relay as the team claimed its fifth straight outdoor conference crown.


Three other spring sports played their way into the NCAA postseason. Softball, with a record 51 wins, advanced to the super regionals but fell one game shy of a berth in the College World Series. Men's and women's golf teams competed in NCAA regional competition, the men making their eighth and the women their sixth consecutive appearance. -- Compiled from Athletic Media reports

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