Igbonagwam leaps over competition

Women’s basketball snuffed out of third win, men’s basketball dominates Western Oregon

Isabella Tranello, Sports Editor


Peace Igbonagwam finishes strong in the 60m dash at the UW invitational. (Rio Giancarlo)

The Falcons boarded a bus on Saturday, Feb. 12, and traveled the nearly four-hour drive to Spokane, Washington for the Whitworth Invitational. The long drive was worth it for the Falcons as many SPU athletes walked out of The Podium with wins and new records under their belts. 

To start the day of competition off, senior sprinter and jumper Peace Igbonagwam and senior sprinter Jenna Bouyer competed in the women’s 60-meter dash. Igbonagwam placed third and Bouyer placed fourth in the preliminaries, which quickly set the tone for the Falcons in the finals. 

However, Igbonagwam did not place in the finals and left Bouyer as the lone SPU sprinter to place. Bouyer earned herself fourth with a time of 7.66 seconds. Bouyer also placed fifth in the women’s 200-meter dash with a time of 25.34 seconds.

Although Igbonagwam did not place in the 60-meter dash, she bounced back in a thunderous way in the women’s long jump. The Falcon senior jumped a distance of 5.60 meters, which is her best distance for the 2021-2022 indoor season.

In her inaugural indoor season, sophomore Annika Esvelt cemented herself as a nationally ranked distance runner in the women’s 5000-meter run with a time of 16:31.74 at the University of Washington’s UW Invitational. Her time ranked her as No.2 in the NCAA for the 5000-meter run.

At the Whitworth Invitational, Esvelt earned a national ranking once again, but this time it was in the women’s 3000-meter run. She dominated this event and ran in the front for the entirety of the race. In the last 1600 meters of the event, Esvelt broke away from everyone and ran practically on her own until she reached the finish line, winning the race with a time of 9:38.43. With that time, Esvelt also broke The Podium’s facility record for the 3000-meter race. 

In the women’s pole vault, senior pole vaulter Madison Licari placed in third with a height of 3.57 meters. She set her new personal best with this vault, which was previously set at 3.55 meters in Feb. 2020 at the Nike Jackson’s Boise Invitational. 

Junior jumper and hurdle athlete David Njeri set a new SPU record in the men’s 60-meter dash with a time of 7.00 seconds. The previous record was 7.12 seconds and was held by current Falcon sophomore Jeff Gordon, who had beat the long withstanding record from 2005 at the Spokane Invitational on Dec. 11. Njeri did not win the event but placed sixth overall. 

Although Njeri was unable to win the 60-meter dash, he did bring home the third SPU victory of the meet in the men’s triple jump. His first-place victory was marked by a distance of 14.61 meters. 

The Falcons’ next meet will be the GNAC Championships on Monday, Feb. 21 in Spokane, Washington. 

Senior guard Kaprice Boston lays the ball in past against Saint Martin’s. (Rio Giancarlo)


The Seattle Pacific University women’s basketball team had a busy week of games that began on Tuesday, Feb. 8 with a make-up game against Saint Martin’s University from Jan. 13. 

The Falcons began the game quickly with a solid jumper from senior guard Kaprice Boston after only a minute and 30 seconds of play. SPU kept the Saints from scoring for five whole minutes as they racked up a total of six points.

Saint Martin’s finally scored two points on a jumper after junior forward Claire Dingus stole the ball from SPU and helped put her team on the board. Although the Saints had begun to score consistently, they could not stop SPU’s barrage of baskets.

The Falcons ended the first half with a lead of 26-21 and held tight to that lead going into the second half. Even when the Saints began to rally in the second half due to a successful three-pointer by freshman forward Rian Clear, it was not enough to close the gap. 

By the end of the game, the Falcons pulled ahead by 20 points and ended the game with two good free throws by sophomore guard Malia Mastora. SPU won the game, 63-42. 

Three different Falcons scored points in the double digits this game. These athletes include sophomore guard Anna Eddy with 15 points, senior forward Natalie Hoff with 13 points, and sophomore forward Beth Pettingill with 12 points. 

The Falcon’s second game of the week was against the University of Western Oregon on Thursday, Feb. 10. SPU came out of this game with their second consecutive win of the week with a score of 67-54. 

The competition between the Falcons and the Wolves was intense. The first half of the game was marked by seven different shifts of the lead. Both teams continuously tied each other’s scores and did not allow the other to hold the lead for very long. 

SPU finally pulled away from the Wolves with only a minute remaining in the half. The Falcons ended the half with a lead of, 33-28. 

The second half of the game was in favor of the Falcons and their lead never faltered. The Falcons were dominant over the Wolves and ended the game with a strong score of 67-54. Eddy was once again the top scorer of the game with 14 total points.

In their last game of the week on Saturday, Feb. 12, the Falcons played the Saints again, but the outcome was much different. SPU was handed their first loss of the week in an overtime battle that halted the Falcons’ growing momentum. 

In the first quarter of the game, the Saints held a tight and narrow lead over the Falcons. However, the lead quickly shifted away from Saint Martin’s after SPU rallied back. The beginning of SPU’s rally for control began with a layup from Boston that put the Falcons in the lead for the first time in the game. The score was 16-15. 

The Falcons held onto the lead for the rest of the game, until the last few moments. The women’s basketball team had their third win of the week in sight but were unexpectedly blocked from achieving it after Saint Martin’s tied the game 46-46 with only 21 seconds remaining. 

The game was then sent into overtime where the Saints outplayed the Falcons and stole the win out from under them. The Saints won the game, 58-51. 

SPU’s next game will be on Tuesday, Feb. 15 against Western Washington University. 


Sophomore guard Zack Paulsen drives for a layup against Western Oregon. (Rio Giancarlo)

On Tuesday, Feb. 8, the SPU men’s basketball team had an incredible showing against the University of Western Oregon Wolves. The Falcons won the game, 76-65.

The Falcons did not hold back in the first quarter of the game and commanded the court with authority. SPU scored a total of 21 points in the first 12 minutes of the game while the Saints were only able to score two. 

Six of the 21 points were scored by sophomore guard Zack Paulsen, who was the high scorer of the game for the Falcons with 17 total points. 

The Saints were able to score more points by the end of the first half, but it was not enough to close in on the Falcon’s leading score of 40-21. SPU was still 19 points ahead of Saint Martin’s when the half ended. 

Despite the Saints’ best efforts in the second half, they could not overtake the game and beat the Falcons. SPU held tight to their lead and continued to score even when their opponents gained momentum and brought the score to a much closer 76-65. The Falcons ended the game with two free throws from senior guard Divant’e Moffitt. He scored just one less point than Paulsen and ended the game with 16 total points. 

The Falcons’ next game took place on Saturday, Feb. 12, and it flipped the narrative. In this game, the Falcons were the ones who struggled to gain any momentum against their opponents from the University of Montana State Billings. 

The Yellowjackets controlled SPU’s home court and ended the first half 14 points ahead of the Falcons, who failed to gather any speed until only 10 minutes were remaining in the half. 

SPU tried their best to gain the upper hand over the Yellowjackets in the second half, but it was not enough. Montana State Billings’ offense was aggressive and led to them taking the victory with a 16 point lead, 70-54. 

The top scorer for the Falcons was junior forward Shaw Anderson, who scored 15 total points against the Yellowjackets. 

The men’s basketball team will play their next game on Thursday, Feb. 17 against Simon Fraser University.