Men’s relay team clocks speedy finish

SPU hosted regatta features former Falcons in friendly competition

Isabella Tranello, Sports Editor

Sophomore sprints runner Jeff Gordon leans to the line. (Rio Giancarlo)


The Falcons stayed relatively close to home as they traveled a mere 33 minutes to Tacoma, Washington on Saturday, April 9, to compete in the Pacific Lutheran University Invitational at the PLU Track and Field facility. The weather at the meet was not ideal and the cold temperatures sent chills up the backs of the athletes as they ran against the vicious gusting winds. 

Despite the gloomy and piercing wind, the Seattle Pacific University Falcons won five total events. The men’s team captured four of the five wins and the women only won one event. 

Senior sprinter Jenna Bouyer was the first and only female SPU victor as she clocked a time of 57.07 seconds in the women’s 400-meter dash, which automatically qualified her for the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championship meet.

Right behind her in second place was senior jumper and sprinter Peace Igbonagwam with a time of 57.56 seconds. Her time also qualified her for the GNAC Championships.

Although senior pole vaulter Madison Licari did not win the women’s pole vault competition and was unable to join her fellow teammate in victory, she did take second with a height of 3.56m. 

On the men’s side of the competition, a long-awaited comeback story began to blossom. Sophomore sprinter and jumper Darius Holmes has been on the sidelines for most of the 2021-2022 indoor and 2022 outdoor seasons due to an assortment of injuries that kept him from competing, but now is his time to shine. 

Holmes competed in his first race on the track since the men’s 4×400 relay race at the GNAC Championships in May 2021. Holmes laced his tennis shoes up and stepped onto the track alongside junior sprinter and runner David Njeri, sophomore sprinter and jumper Jeff Gordon and sprinter Julius Shepherd in the men’s 4×100 relay race. 

Holmes ran the anchor leg of the race and brought the baton across the finish line in a speedy fashion with a first-place time of 43.65 seconds. 

Later that same day, Shepherd reappeared on the track and captured his second victory of the meet, but this time he did it as a solo runner in the men’s 400-meter hurdles. Shepherd won the event with a time of 57.28 seconds. This was his second win of the season in this event, having won the first at the Peyton-Shotwell Invitation in Tacoma, Washington on Saturday, March, 27. 

After a long indoor and outdoor season of countless PRs and unrelenting hard work, sophomore pole vaulter Kainoa Lee cleared a career-best height of 4.52m and won his second-ever collegiate men’s pole vaulting event. 

Sophomore distance runner Jon Owen did not win the men’s 800-meter run, but he won second place with a time of 2:01.19. He narrowly missed the time of first-place winner from Western Washington University Jonah Bloom’s time of 2:00.21. 

The final event that the Falcons won was the men’s 400-meter dash. The event was not won in any ordinary fashion either, it was won with an outstanding sub-50 by freshman sprinter Isaiah Archer. 

He is the first Falcon to run the men’s outdoor 400-meter dash in under 50 seconds since former Falcon Justin Ramsey clocked a time of 49.54 seconds on May 6, 2017, in the Ken Shannon Invitational at the University of Washington’s Husky Track. 

Archer clocked a time of 49.58 and narrowly missed breaking Justin Ramsey’s five-year standing outdoor 400-meter record. 

The Falcons’ next meet will take place in Azula, California on Thursday, April 14, and Friday, April 15, at the Bryan Clay Invitational. 


The Seattle Pacific rowing team charging down the water during the regatta on Saturday, April 9th. (Shianne Heeraman)

The water sparkled brightly and rippled softly as the Falcons placed their boat into the Lake Washington Ship Canal for a day of regattas hosted on SPU waters on Saturday, April 9. The Falcons are currently ranked No. 6 in all of NCAA Divison II and won two of the races against No. 5 NCAA Divison II ranked Western Washington University and No. 7 NCAA Divison II ranked Cal Poly Humboldt. 

The two races that the Falcons won were the first flight of the Varsity Eights and the second flight of the Varsity Fours, where they only competed against Cal Poly Humboldt. The Western Washington Vikings only competed in the first flight of the Falcon Fours, which they won with a speedy time of 7:50.09. 

Once the Vikings were taken out of the equation,  the Falcons were able to pull ahead and capture the second flight win with a time of 8:04.1. They crossed the finish line a whole eleven seconds before Cal Poly Humboldt finished the race and clocked a time of 8:15.5. 

This top-four oared crew was comprised of junior novice coxswain Jessica Vester, senior Jennifer Hoag, junior Nicole Svoboda, freshman novice Ingrid Erickson and senior Avalon Tarbet-Mendoza. 

The Falcons’ second win of the day in the Varsity Eights was won by a much smaller margin. SPU narrowly completed the 2000-meter course and won the race with a time of 6:51.6. The second-place team Cal Poly Humboldt completed the race only .03 seconds behind the Falcons and the winner was decided by a photo finish. The winning Varsity Eight team was led by senior coxswain LeeAnn Arrington. 

The Falcons lost all the remaining races that weekend. 

In the final race of the regatta, a special eight-oared crew of former Falcons raced in a 500-meter exhibition race against the Falcons’ current novice eight boat. The alumni boat, which consisted of men and women from SPU’s past teams, shook off the inactive rust quickly and expertly defeated the current first-year Falcons by a margin of six seconds. 

The alumni boat, which was coxed by 2021 graduate Cecilia Krause, finished the race with 1:41.1 followed by the novices, who finished in 1:47.4. 

The Falcons’ next regatta will take place on Saturday, April 30, at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships in Gold River, California on Lake Natoma. It will be a two-day competition that will begin on Saturday, April 30, and end on Sunday, May 1. 

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