TRACK AND FIELD:
On Saturday, April 30, the SPU men’s and women’s track teams split into two groups to attend two meets on the same day. A select group of Falcons stayed in-state to compete at the Ralph Vernacchia Invitational in Bellingham, Washington and the other half of the team made yet another trip to Clovis, California.
The athletes who journeyed to California competed at the Fresno State Invitational.
At the Ralph Vernacchia Invitational, freshman distance runner Nicki Yorges put all of her mind’s focus on the track and earned an impressive victory in her collegiate debut in the women’s 5000m run. Her finishing time for the race was 18:14.73.
Previously, Yorges’ longest race was the 3000m run that she competed in during the 2021-2022 indoor season in the winter. She only participated in this race twice in her collegiate career and has been primarily focused on the 1500m and 800m in the 2022 spring season.
Another first for the Falcons occurred on the Civic Stadium track when a trio of Falcons got the opportunity to compete in their first outdoor mile of the season. This event is not typically offered at meets because it is not an NCAA outdoor event, but these three Falcons took advantage of the opportunity.
Sophomore distance runner Annika Esvelt ran in the women’s outdoor mile and placed third after clocking a time of 4:53.32. This time was 13 seconds faster than her only indoor attempt at the mile on Dec. 11 2021 at the Spokane Invitational.
The other two Falcons to compete in the mile event, on the men’s side, were sophomore distance runner Jon Owen and Drew Thompson. Owen took 13th and Thompson took 14th place.
At the same meet, senior pole vaulter Madison Licari won second place in the women’s pole vault event with a height of 3.55m. She lost to PLU’s Lily Luksich who won with a height of 3.65m.
At the Fresno State Invitational in the hot sun of California, junior sprinter and jumper David Njeri bounded down the runway and expertly performed a 15.9m jump on his third attempt in the men’s triple jump into the sandpit.
His mind was set on winning, but unfortunately, Njeri fell just shy of the win and placed second. However, this distance became Njeri’s new personal best. He is now No.11 on the NCAA provisional qualifying list following this performance.
Although Njeri was the only Falcon in California to place within the top three, many other athletes achieved new personal records including sophomore sprinter Evan Carpenter. In the men’s 200m dash, Carpenter ran a time of 22.45 seconds and secured 27th place.
Senior sprinter Jenna Bouyer also set a personal best in the women’s 400m dash as she crossed the finish line with a time of 56.10 seconds.
The Falcons’ next track and field event will take place on Friday, May 6, at the Oregon Twilight in Eugene, Oregon. SPU will also be competing in the Portland Twilight in Portland, Oregon on Saturday, May 7.
The Seattle Pacific University women’s rowing team had a tough weekend ahead of them as they entered the heat races of the Western Collegiate Rowing Association Championships on Saturday, April 30.
The Falcons competed against some of the most well-known and successful rowing teams in the West, including nationally ranked Division II leaders, No. 2 Cal Poly Humboldt and No.3 Western Washington University. SPU is currently ranked nationally as the No.4 team in the West.
On Saturday the team competed in three heat races to determine if they qualified for the championship races on Sunday, The Falcons competed in their respective heats in the Varsity Eights, Varsity Fours, and Novice Fours.
In the Varsity Eights, the Falcons were overwhelmed by the speedy start of Western Washington and were unable to make up the distance needed to shorten the Vikings’ lead. Western Washington won the race with a finishing time of 6:57.53. SPU’s boat led by senior coxswain LeeAnn Arrington finished second with a time of 7:03.10, which was 13 seconds faster than third-place University of California Santa Barbara.
SPU also finished second with a time of 8:48.92 in their heat of the Novice Fours behind the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, who finished 19 seconds faster than the Falcons as they clocked a time of 8:29.44.
The first-year rowers featured in the Falcon Novice Four boat were coxswain Lucy Sandahl and rowers Olivia Pederson, Summer Frank, Greysen Swanson and Madison Raines.
In SPU’s final heat of the day, the Falcons competed in the Varsity Fours. The team of junior coxswain Moxie McCandless, senior Jennifer Hoag, senior Avalon Tarbet-Mendoza, freshman Audrey Rekedel and freshman Kristin Grassall won the regatta with the swiftest time of all competitors at the event.
The Falcons finished the 2000m course with a substantial lead over second-place rivals Cal Poly Humboldt and a time of 8:09.73. Their time was about three seconds faster than the other heat winner, Washington State University’s time of 8:12.64.
SPU’s performance in each qualifying race guaranteed each boat a place in the championship races on Sunday, May 1. The Falcons came out of the championship with three medal-worthy finishes and one sixth-place ranking in the Novice Fours.
The highlight of the weekend for SPU was the second Varsity Eight regatta. This race did not have a qualifier on Saturday, so the Falcons debuted their crew for the first time that weekend and came out of the water with a decisive victory.
The crew finished the race in 7:29.62 and beat the second-place crew from Pacific Lutheran University by 22 seconds and several lengths of open water.
The SPU Varsity Fours crew also had a successful day on the water as they snagged the second-place victory over Cal Poly Humboldt with a finishing time of 8:15.05. They lost to the winners from Washington State by only two seconds (8:13.16). SPU was the top NCAA Division II finisher in this race.
The final installment of the Falcons’ medal-capturing journey occurred in the Varsity Eights when the crew sailed into third place after a tight fight for control of the water with fellow Division II team, Western Washington and Cal Poly Humboldt. Western took first and Humboldt placed second over SPU by five seconds. SPU finished the race with a time of 6:59.91
The rowing team’s next regatta will take place on Saturday, May 7, at the Windermere Cup Regatta in Seattle.