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Athletics The Scholar-Athlete

Spring Sports Update

Track athletes place at nationals, shatter records

By Mark Moschetti | Photo by Andrew Towell

Maria HundleyAt the newly christened Doris Heritage Distance Festival, named for the legendary Seattle Pacific athlete, senior Turner Wiley (center) broke an outdoor school record in the 10,000 meters.

The Seattle Pacific Falcons sent eight women to Kansas for the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships in March — and six of them came back as All-Americans.

Lynelle Decker, a senior, earned three such awards. She ran to a second-place finish in the 800 meters with a personal-best and school-record time of 2 minutes, 7.52 seconds. That broke the old record of 2:07.57 set by legendary Jessica Pixler in 2008.

Decker also led off the 4,000-meter distance medley relay, followed by senior Jahzelle Ambus, sophomore Chynna Phan, and senior Anna Patti They finished an All-American fifth place. The Falcons concluded their trip to Pittsburg State University with senior Jalen Tims, Decker, junior Cheryl Hong, and Ambus racing to No. 3 in the 4x400 relay, also good for All-American status.

Seattle Pacific tied for 11th in the team standings with 18 points. In February, they finished second in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference meet, as Ambus (200 and 400 meters) and junior Michaella Kahns (pole vault) won individual titles.

Also on the track, senior Turner Wiley became the first SPU man to break 15 minutes in the indoor 5,000 meters (14 minutes, 56.77 seconds on January 29 at the UW Invitational in Seattle) and 31 minutes in the outdoor 10,000 (30:53.09 on April 1 at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival).

An impressive postseason streak continued for the men’s basketball team. The Falcons followed up their 21–7 regular season with a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the 12th consecutive year. It didn’t last as long as they would have liked, as Azusa Pacific scored a 77–66 first-round victory in Monmouth, Oregon.

Senior forward Mitch Penner, who led SPU in scoring at 18.6 points per game, was named to the All-GNAC first team, and was on two All-West Region squads as a second-teamer. Senior Brendan Carroll made GNAC All-Academic team for the third straight year, the only three-time honoree on the list.

After a tough January, the women’s basketball team finished with a strong February, winning six of its final eight games. Sophomore forward Courtney Hollander, the Falcons’ leading scorer (12.8) and rebounder (8.1) and sophomore guard Jordan McPhee both made All-GNAC honorable mention.