The University of the Pacific and Visit Stockton will host three NCAA Championship Events the NCAA announced Tuesday, with both the Men's & Women's Water Polo Championship coming to Chris Kjeldsen Pool in the 2019-20 seasons and the Division I Men's Golf Regional in 2022 coming to The Reserve at Spanos Park.
The NCAA Championship will come to Stockton for the first time in water polo, and the first time in any sport since the 1986 Women's Volleyball Final Four in the Alex G. Spanos Center.
Chris Kjeldsen Pool hosts the 2019 Men's Water Polo Championship and the 2020 Women's Water Polo National Championship. The venue has previously hosted the MPSF Men's Championship in 2013, the 2015 Golden Coast Conference Women's Championship, and the inaugural Golden Coast Conference Men's Championship in 2016.
The hosting bid is the culmination of the rise of Pacific water polo. The Tigers hosting of the 2013 MPSF Men's Championship introduced free high definition streaming online, as well as a food court area outside the venue with video screens so fans wouldn't miss any action. The bar-raising performance was replicated for the 2014 Kap7 NorCal Classic, and subsequent GCC Tournaments. Coinciding with the Pacific men's program finishing in the Top 5 national in three of the last four seasons, with a run to the 2013 NCAA Championship Final led to the nickname "Water Polo U."
The Pacific women's program has also climbed to new heights, being ranked in the Top 10 for most of the 2017 season. The Tigers have been on the cusp of an NCAA tournament bid, falling in sudden death overtime in the GCC Final at San Diego State last season.
"We're extremely excited to be hosting in both men's and women's water polo in the 2019-20 season," Pacific men's and women's head coach James Graham said. "It really feels like we were rewarded by the NCAA for all the hard work our administration and staff have put in hosting marquee water polo events like the MPSF, GCC and NorCal tournaments. We viewed each event as a challenge to do more for the participants, the fans and for the sport of water polo; to innovate and really raise the bar for the way those events were hosted. And now we're looking forward to doing that for the NCAA Championships in men's and women's water polo."
In 2022, the Tigers will host the Division I Men's Golf Regional at The Reserve at Spanos Park. The course is a renowned links-style golf course designed by Andy Raugust and rated 4.5 stars in Golf Digest's "Places to Play."
"It is very exciting to be hosting regionals again at The Reserve at Spanos Park," Pacific men's golf head coach John Cook said. "The new tees that have been built will stretch the course out to almost 7,300 yards, which will be a great test for the collegiate players."
The course, featuring rye grass fairways, opened in 1999. Originally 7,132 yards from the Championship tees, the course is completing a reconfiguring of the championship tees which will lengthen the yardage to nearly 7,300 yards.
Pacific is serving as the host of the NCAA Division II Men's Golf Regional at Brookside Country Club on May 8-9, one year after the course served as the host venue for the NCAA Division II Women's Golf Super Regional last year.
"We are excited to continue our partnership with the University of the Pacific and have a chance to continue to build our relationship with the NCAA," said Tim Pasisz, the Director of Sports & Tourism Development for Visit Stockton. "Having a chance to host a NCAA event is a special opportunity and we look forward to giving the student-athletes special memories while they are here in Stockton."