College sports suspended for safety
Due to the pandemic, in March the NCAA canceled all winter and spring championships and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference halted all spring competitions. The decision impacted SPU’s spring sports — outdoor track and field, and rowing — as well as the men’s basketball team, which was in the midst of the Division II West Region tournament, and indoor track and field athletes competing at the championships in Alabama.
Men’s basketball wins division title
The men’s basketball team won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference tournament and advanced to the NCAA championship in March. They were scheduled to face Chico State when the tournament was canceled due to COVID-19. It marked the Falcons’ return to the NCAA playoffs for a second straight season under Coach Grant Leep.
Women’s cross country finishes top 12
At the NCAA Division II cross country championships in November, SPU junior Dania Holmberg ran to an All-American 21st-place finish, senior Kate Lily jumped nearly 70 places from last year, and SPU was 12th among the 34 teams, their best team finish in a decade. The Falcons were fourth among the seven West Region qualifiers. Holmberg became the 18th cross country All-American (awarded to the top 40 individuals at nationals) in SPU history.
SPU Athletics wins prestigious academic award
For the ninth year in a row, Seattle Pacific Athletics was awarded the NCAA Presidents’ Award for Academic Excellence. As one of only two NCAA Division II institutions to win this award in each year of the award’s existence, SPU student-athletes have graduated at a rate over 90% for each of those nine years. This year’s 93% academic success rate was the highest in the Falcons’ conference.
Conference adds women’s rowing as sponsored sport
The Great Northwest Athletic Conference began sponsoring women’s rowing this year; the GNAC includes five rowing teams, all of them ranked among the top-seven nationally. Seattle Pacific’s varsity four boat, which decisively won its season-opening race in March, received the inaugural women’s rowing Crew of the Week award from the conference.
Soccer player receives honor
SPU men’s soccer standout Travis Swallow received his second consecutive Academic All-American honor. The junior defender, who’s earned a 3.98 GPA, was featured on the list of 33 NCAA Division II men’s soccer student-athletes for both his classroom and his on-field performance. A third-team honoree in 2018, Swallow was named to this year’s 10-man second team in December. Swallow is the 12th player in the history of the Falcons men’s soccer program to achieve recognition on Academic All-America team.