As Keene State gets set to start its 15th year as a member of Division III and the Little East Conference in 2011-12, Owl athletes, both past and present, along with their families, friends, and fans can look back at the College's athletic success over the years with a good deal of satisfaction. The divisions and conferences might have changed, but Owl teams and athletes have a common bond that has led to a tradition of success.
Each era had its share of memorable moments. The Owl baseball team claimed NETCC titles, the men's basketball and soccer team shined in NAIA national tournaments, and the women's gymnastic squad had the distinction of hosting the historic last AIAW Division III championship.
Moving on to NCAA play, Keene State cross country and track teams began their impressive run of All-Americans and national berths, ski teams excelled on the slopes, the field hockey team made its first NCAA tournament appearance, and the Owl soccer programs kicked their way onto the national scene. As a Division II and NECC competitor, women's soccer and softball teams advanced to regional and national tournaments, and the Owl women's basketball team made its inaugural trip to the NCAAs. The KSC women's soccer team advanced to the national championship game in 1989 and the final four in 1988.
Keene State teams have flourished since moving to Division III and the Little East in the 1997-98 season. Honored as the top program in the LEC the past eight years and consistently ranked among the top public Division III institutions in New England, Keene State has been perennial contenders for conference championships and made a name for themselves in regional and national competition.
During this time, the men's cross country squad has twice been national runner-up, men's and women's soccer and softball teams have advanced to NCAA regional finals, and the men's basketball team reached the Elite-8 and Sweet -16 of the NCAA tournament.
In addition, the KSC field hockey team has made five NCAA appearances and captured an ECAC title. A growing Owl men's lacrosse team moved into the national spotlight and earned four NCAA berths while the Owl women's lacrosse team claimed their second NCAA berth in 2011 with an LEC tournament championship on the road for the second time in three years.
Regionally, the women's swim team won four New England II-III championships and had its first swimmer earn All-America honors at the NCAA meet and Owl teams have won a combined seven ECAC titles. In 2007, the women's track team finished fourth at the NCAA indoor and outdoor NCAA championship and produced two national champions. The KSC baseball team set a record for wins and claimed its first LEC tournament title in 2008, the men's soccer team earned its tenth NCAA berth since joining Division III while the women's volleyball captured the LEC regular season championship for the first time in 2008.
Add multiple regional, and LEC championships, not to mention a growing list of individual track national champions and All-Americans, and it's clear to see that the future is bright for Keene State athletics.
The NETCC Years
7 Conference Championships
The NAIA Years - (1970-81)
1 National Champion
18 NESCAC Championships
10 NAIA District Championships
12 National NAIA Tournament Appearances
5 AIAW Tournament Appearances
The Early NCAA and Independent Years (1981-86)
2 EAIAW Tournament Appearances
2 AIAW Championship Appearances
2 NEWISA Tournament Appearances
1 NCAA Division II Eastern Championship (men's skiing)
9 NCAA Division III Tournament Appearances
11 NCAA Division II Tournament Appearances
28 All-New England
NCAA Division II Years (1986-1997)
1 National Champion
10 ECAC Championships
2 NCAA Division I Championships Appearances (women's skiing)
11 NCAA Division II Championship Appearances (Women soccer advances to final four in 1988 and national championship game in 1989)
3 NECC Championships
136 All New England
NCAA Division III Years 1997 - Present
9 National Champions
11 Academic All-Americans
43 NCAA Tournament Appearances (Team)
606 All-Region/All- New England
14 ECAC Championships
1194 All-Little East Conference
12 NEWLA/Pilgrim All-Conference
34 LEC Regular Season Championships
54 LEC Tournament Championships