Sutton earns 250th career win in conference opener


In their conference opener at University Stadium the Wildcats defeated Cal State San Bernardino 2-1. They began the season 1-0 and allowed coach Kim Sutton to celebrate her 250th career victory as a head coach. 

The stands were filled with fans for Friday night’s game, from parents and students, to alumni and faculty to watch a historic game be played. Chico State President Gayle Hutchinson was in attendance as well. 

Sutton was on the verge of achieving this victory just over a week ago in Humboldt where she began her career. Taking care of business earlier would have been more ideal, although the celebration at home was nice to relish in. 

“I have to say having the president run on the field with the flag and the banner — that was really fun,” Sutton said. “It was definitely much sweeter for it to happen at home, not that I wanted to, I would have rather won the game at Humboldt.” 

Sutton laughed while mentioning that Hutchinson was stopped by security to show her badge when she tried to go onto the field after the match to celebrate with the team. 

Two first-half goals were enough for the Wildcats to get a victory. The game-winner came from freshman Emily Billena. 

Billena earned her first playing time and goal in their win against Holy Names three weeks ago. Now she is a starting forward and continues to make things happen for her team. 

She attributes her success to the chemistry among her teammates and the knowledge of her coaches. 

“I’ve become a lot more comfortable on the field and with my teammates,” Billena said. “I have learned so much from coach Sutton and Kat, allowing me to put the small details in action.” 

Coach Sutton’s 250th victory was bound to come at some point in the season, if not last night, but the Wildcats didn’t want to leave that to chance. 

“Last night’s game was our first CCAA game, it felt more exciting and nerve wracking than any other game we’ve played so far,” Billena said. “Everyone was hungry for the win and wanted to play hard for each other and Coach.”

Playing for such an accomplished coach makes it easier for this team, said junior Madison Parsons. 

“Playing for Coach Sutton has been an amazing experience,” Parsons said. “We can trust that her coaching will carry us throughout the entirety of the season.” 

Opening the season with a win was the perfect start to the California Collegiate Athletic Association season. Although, this trend of winning has been set early by the team’s mindset. 

“Since day one we set the tone for a winning season, we have one goal in mind which is to hold that banner at the end of it all,” Parsons said. “That’s something that will not change.”

Mason Tovani can be reached at [email protected] or @masonmtovani on Twitter