Rowing has impressive performance at Windermere Cup

SPU dominates women’s pole vault

Isabella Tranello, Sports Editor


Junior Sophie Sandahl, sophomore Lucy Sandahl, junior Nicole Svoboda, freshman Meghan Rustemeyer, freshman Emma Ely, sophomore Bella Sangston, freshman Ingrid Erickson, sophomore Megan Rouse, and freshman Addie Clark of the Falcons’ Open Eight crew make their way down the cut. (Rio Giancarlo)

On Saturday, May 7, the Seattle Pacific University rowing team returned to the Montlake Cut in Seattle, Washington to compete in the Windermere Cup hosted by The University of Washington. This event is one of the world’s premier rowing showcases and the event drew a full crowd of spectators who lined the narrow waterway.

The regatta on Saturday was the fifth-straight Windermere Cup that SPU has competed in, but they have been involved with it for many years prior. SPU took a small break from the Cup from 2012 to 2016 due to scheduling conflicts. However, this year worked out perfectly. 

The Falcons impressively sailed across the water to gain two second-place finishes and one third-place finish. In the Varsity Fours, SPU fared well against their fellow Division II crew Western Washington University and Division I Seattle University, but they were not able to best the host of the regatta. 

The University of Washington began the race with a burst of energy and quickly took the lead over the three other boats. As hard as the Falcon crew tried to close the gap, it could not be done. Washington gained a huge open-water advantage over SPU, which continually grew throughout the race and gave them the decisive victory with a time of 7:12.32.

SPU crossed the finish 56 seconds after UW with a finishing time of 8:08.30. They were nine seconds ahead of third-place Seattle University and 18 seconds ahead of Western, who took fourth. 

The Varsity Four crew from SPU was made up of junior coxswain Moxie McCandless, sophomore Megan Popielack, senior Avalon Tarbet-Mendoza and freshmen Audrey Rekedal and Kristin Grassell. 

The Falcons also finished in second place to UW in the Open Eights. SPU found themselves docked on the water with only this formidable opponent next to them. They knew that it would be a tough race and the desire to win needed to be at an all-time high. Yet, UW seemed unstoppable. 

They pulled off of the starting line at a rapid speed and quickly gained a massive lead over the Falcon crew. They did not let up on their lead at any point throughout the race and crossed the finish line 33 seconds before the Falcons with an end time of 7:04.41. The Falcons finished in a time of 7:38.14. 

The sister duo of sophomore coxswain Lucy Sandahl and junior Sophie Sandahl, who sat in the bow seat position, led the Falcons’ Open Eight crew on the water. Their boat was also occupied by sophomore Megan Rouse, freshman Addie Clark, sophomore Bella Sangston, freshman Emma Ely, freshman Meghan Rustemeyer, junior Nicole Svoboda and freshman Ingrid Erickson. Six of the rowers on this crew are novices in their first collegiate rowing season. 

In SPU’s final race of the day in the Varsity Eights, they came in third just below the winners from UW and the second-place team from Western, who narrowly pulled away from the Falcons. 

UW controlled the race and destroyed the hope of their competitors to win as they crossed the finish line 20 seconds before any other boat. They were so far ahead of the Falcons and the other two teams, that the actual race was more between SPU and Western. For the majority of the race, the Vikings held onto a small lead of only two seats over the Falcons but in the last 500-meter stretch, they pulled away by one more seat length and won second place in  6:54.45. 

The Falcons finished five seconds later with a time of 6:59.19. Senior coxswain LeeAnn Arrington directed the Varsity Eight boat with fellow senior Jennifer Hoag in the stroke seat. They led a crew of six other rowers across the finish line for the conclusion of the Falcons’ incredible weekend on the water. 

 SPU will take to the shining waters once again on Saturday, May 14, at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships in Lowell, Oregon. 


Freshman sprinter Isaiah Archer makes his way around the track during the DMR at the University of Washington invite. (Rio Giancarlo)

The hardworking and determined SPU track athletes traveled to two different meets on Saturday, May 7, both of which took place in the state of Oregon. The first event of the weekend took place at the Linfield Open hosted by Linfield University, where sophomore pole vaulter Lizzy Daughtery stole the spotlight. 

Daughtery competed in the women’s pole vault event and not only took first place with a final height of 3.76m, but she also beat her new outdoor personal best three times and her overall best twice. She reached new heights with each passing attempt. Her final mark was enough for her to move onto the NCAA Division II provisional qualifying list. 

She has also moved into the SPU history for the women’s pole vault, where she is now tied for third overall with Ally Struder who reached the same height in 2003. She is also ranked No. 8 in all of GNAC history following the meet on Saturday. 

However, she was not the only Falcon to excel in this event. Junior Charlie Hill and senior Madison Licari tied for second with a height of 3.36m. Technically, Hill placed second above the four other girls with the same marks because she got it in fewer attempts. 

The second of the track meets that took place over on Saturday was the Portland Twilight at Griswold Stadium in Portland, Oregon. At this event, freshman sprinter Isaiah Archer won the men’s 400m dash in an exciting fashion. 

With the pressure stacked against him at the finish line by unattached athlete Sam Baricevic, the winner of the race was not certain even after they had both crossed the finish line. It was that close of a race. The scoreboard flashed between the two names as the scorekeepers tried to decide who had won the photo finish. Luckily, Archer came out on top with a finishing time of 49.17 seconds. 

His time ranks as the sixth-best in SPU history, and he beat his previous personal best time of 49.58 set at the Pacific Lutheran University Open on April 9 by only 41 hundredths of a second. Sophomore sprinter Evan Carpenter also competed in the men’s 400m dash and came in third with a time of 50.52 seconds. 

In the men’s 400m hurdles, sophomore sprinter Julius Shepherd bounded over the hurdles at high speeds to claim second place. He finished the race in 58.36 seconds. Shepherd also competed in the men’s 4×100 relay race alongside junior sprinter and jumper David Njeri, sophomore sprinter and jumper Jeff Gordon and sophomore sprinter Darius Holmes. 

This team of four Falcons won second place and completed the relay in 43.17 seconds. They were only about a second off of the winning time of 42.03 seconds set by Eastern Oregon University. 

The only event the SPU women won at the Portland Twilight was the women’s 100m dash, where senior sprinter and jumper Peace Igbonagwam clocked a time of 12.31 seconds. Senior sprinter Vanessa Aniteye tried to do the same in the women’s 400m dash but fell just short of the win and placed in second with a time of 55.83 seconds. The winning time was marked by Grace Conrad from Trinity Western University, who finished in 54.47 seconds. 

The Falcons’ next meet will take place at the GNAC Outdoor Track Championships in Ellensburg, Washington on Friday, May 13, and Saturday, May 14.