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Athletics The Scholar-Athlete

Top Gymnast Takes Two National Crowns; Women’s Track Wins Conference

Spring Sports Update

By Mark Moschetti | Photo by Andrew Towell

Maria HundleyOn June 4, Maria Hundley was named Seattle Pacific’s Ron Grady Athlete of the Year for the second straight time.

When gymnastics season started in January, Maria Hundley didn’t know when — or even if — she would be competing this year. But after overcoming an injury, not only was the Seattle Pacific University junior back in action — she was back on top.

One day after helping the Falcons snare a second consecutive third-place trophy at the USA Gymnastics Collegiate Championships, Hundley made it two straight national titles on the uneven parallel bars and balance beam.

The native of Littleton, Colorado, posted a 9.875 on the bars and a 9.900 on the beam at The Palestra in Philadelphia. Her beam score was the second-highest in school history. Hundley now has five national crowns — more than any SPU gymnast ever.

Joining Hundley with top-10 finishes at nationals were sophomore Tracie Villanueva, sophomore Kristi Hayashida, freshman Ariana Harger, senior Sydney Clark, and sophomore Paige Blaney. Hundley also made the vault finals, tying for sixth.

Falcon junior Lynelle Decker bagged her biggest prize as a distance runner. Decker raced to seventh place in the women’s 800 meters at the NCAA Division II outdoor track and field nationals in Allendale, Michigan, clocking 2:08.42.

By placing in the top eight, the graduate of Mountain View High School in Vancouver, Washington, became an All-American for the first time.

Earlier in May, the Falcon women won their seventh Great Northwest Athletic Conference outdoor track team title. SPU, which came in as a slight underdog, outscored rival Alaska Anchorage, 183-154.

Bad weather limited the number of competitive opportunities for the Falcon rowing teams. When conditions did cooperate, the spring was highlighted by the men's varsity four and novice four both winning their races in the annual dual regatta against Pacific Lutheran.

Both basketball teams made it to NCAAs. After defeating Western Washington for their third straight GNAC tourney title, 81–68, the men downed Brigham Young-Hawaii in the first round of the West Regionals, 81–69. But in the next night’s semifinals, California Baptist prevailed on a buzzer beater, 78–77.

The women won their West Regional first-rounder againstHumboldt State, 77–62, then fell to Cal Poly Pomona in the semis, 90–74.