When students return to class for the fall quarter, new classes are not the only things that will be starting on campus. Here is a list of 10 Cal Poly athletes to keep your eye on this fall:
Men’s soccer – Eric Branagan-Franco
The senior goalkeeper owns a bevy of school records including save percentage, goals-against average, shutouts in a season and career shutouts. Branagan-Franco saved his best for big games last year, as he had seven saves in Cal Poly’s upset win over then-defending national champion UC Santa Barbara last season.
Football – Ramses Barden
A likely NFL draft pick, the 6-foot-6 senior wide receiver was named to every preseason Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) All-America team and is currently on the watch list for the Walter Payton Award (given to the FCS’ best offensive player). Barden became Cal Poly’s all-time leader in receiving yards in the second week of the season.
Women’s basketball – Megan Harrison
The 6-1 senior forward was named to the All-Big West Conference First Team after averaging 13.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game in leading the Mustangs to the Big West semifinals last season.
Women’s volleyball – Kylie Atherstone
The senior opposite is possibly the most decorated volleyball player in Cal Poly history. She was an American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America Third Team selection last year after helping lead the Mustangs to the regional semifinals. The two-time defending Big West Player of the Year is trying to become the first three-time winner of the award since Olympic gold medalist Misty May.
Men’s tennis – Andre Dome
An incoming freshman for coach Justin McGrath, Dome was rated the 10th-best tennis prospect nationally by TennisRecruiting.net and was pursued by many powers, including USC, which even tried to lure Dome by introducing him to football coach Pete Carroll. Ultimately, the Arroyo Grande native decided to play his college tennis closer to home, at Cal Poly.
Men’s basketball – Trae Clark
A 5-11 senior point guard, Clark has improved his scoring average in each of his first three seasons as a Mustang. Along with junior shooting guard Lorenzo Keeler, Clark led the team in scoring last season by averaging 10.3 points per game. He also distributed a team-high 3.4 assists per game.
Women’s soccer – Carrie Andrews
The junior defender was named to the All-Big West First Team for the second time last season. She scored two goals and was third on the team with 29 shots. A year prior, Andrews was also named the co-Big West Freshman of the Year.
Cross country – Daniel Gonia
A junior transfer from San Diego Mesa College, Gonia earned Big West Runner of the Week honors after his first race as a Mustang, the UC Santa Barbara Lagoon Open on Aug. 30, when he broke the course’s 8k record in 24 minutes, 23 seconds. Gonia won the 2007 California Community College State title, claiming the 5k and 10k races.
Wrestling – Chase Pami
As a sophomore last season, Pami entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 9 157-pounder in the country. He was the Pac-10 Conference champion in that class.
Swimming and diving – Peter Kline
Kline took part in Olympic qualifying in June, when he raced against swimming icon Michael Phelps in the 400-meter individual medley. Not only does the sophomore already hold three individual school swimming records, but he was also a member of two record-breaking relay squads, as well.