When spring rolls around, Native college sports enthusiasts think of baseball, softball, lacrosse and track and field, and across North America, dozens of Native athlete sports' stars are playing significant roles on their respective teams.
Here are up and coming Native athletes that made their mark this season that you should keep an eye out for in the years to come.
University of Albany Lacrosse’s Eight-Native team
Albany’s Indian Country-heavy team has posted a 15-3 record on the season. Eight of their athletes are Native.
The University of Albany Great Danes finished the season ranked No. 4 in the country. This year’s squad includes Ron John, Jakob Patterson, Dalton Roundpoint, Mitch Laffin, K Tarbell, Chauncey Hill, Colyn Lyons and Cougar Kirby.
Albany scored an upset in the NCAA Tournament with a 15-12 win over North Carolina on May 13. But fell to Maryland 18-9 on May 21. The game was televised on ESPN2.
Native Athlete Elliott Barzilli: Texas Christian University Baseball
Elliott Barzilli (Nooksack Tribe) helped the Horned Frogs baseball team to a 39-14 record this season after a 2016 College World Series semifinals appearance. The team opens the postseason against Kansas in the Big 12 tournament.
He’s played in 53 games this season, with 44 hits (including 12 doubles and five home runs) and 22 RBIs. Barzilli was selected in the 29th round of last year’s MLB draft by the Houston Astros but elected to return to TCU.
Native Athlete Lovie Lopez: Oregon State Baseball
Lovie Lopez is an Oregon State softball player who represents the Wintu Tribe. The returning All-Pac 12 conference talent accumulated 53 hits (five home runs) and 28 RBIs. In the 2016 season and as a junior, Lovie Lopez hit 14 doubles — three shy of the school record.
The Beavers finished the year 28-27 after falling to James Madison (3-2) and Kent State (2-1) in the NCAA Tournament Regional Round.
Iowa State Runner Zach Black
The Cyclones are moving up in the conference behind Cherokee runner Zach Black. On May 15, the team finished seventh in the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Lawrence, Kansas. It was the best finish for Iowa State since 2005. Black took seventh at the event in the 1,500-meter run.
Black earned his first victory in January at the Penn State University National Open in the 1,000-meter run. His team participates in the NCAA West Preliminaries May 25-27 in Austin, Texas.
Nevada Pitcher Kali Sargent
The Nevada Wolfpack made the National Invitational Tournament this season behind a pitching staff that includes Native Athlete Kali Sargent (Washoe), who leads the team with a 4.40 ERA.
She’s holding opponents to a sub-.300 batting average this season in 25 appearances (9 wins, 8 losses).
Her team went 2-2 in the National Invitational Softball Championships, losing to Cal Poly 3-0 on May 18.
Memphis Pitcher Takoda Metoxen
Native Athlete Takoda Metoxen (Oneida) won his first career game in 2017. He’s a reliever for the Tigers, who boast a winning record at 30-28.
The freshman has 11 strikeouts and has appeared in 15 games this season. He looks to have a larger role for Memphis in the future. Memphis is awaiting the winner of Houston and UConn in the American Athletic Conference tournament on May 26.
Kansas Runner Avery Hale
This Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara track and field runner is often spotted wearing a bandana during races. He’s also been seen at the front of the pack. On May 14, he led the men’s team to second place in the Big 12 Championships in Lawrence, Kansas.
On April 28, his 14-minute, 51.2-second run in the 5,000-meter garnered him second place at the Rock Chalk Classic in Lawrence, Kansas.
Oklahoma State Softballers Hayleigh Galvan and Whitney Whitehorn
The Cowboys made the NCAA Tournament this season with a 38-25 record behind some powerful performances by Hayleigh Galvan (Cherokee) and Whitney Whitehorn (Osage).
Galvan, a freshman, broke a 4-4 tie in a 9-4 upset of No. 13 Baylor on April 30.
Whitney Whitehorn, who was featured on the cover of Oklahoma State University's booster magazine POSSE this year, is part of the softball team's pitching rotation.
The team nearly made the College Softball World Series, coming up a game short in a 5-0 loss to Florida on May 21.
Cary Rosenbaum (Colville Confederated Tribes) is a correspondent for Indian Country Media Network. Follow him on Twitter: @caryrosenbaum