Taking down records, setting high scores

Otero sets school record in indoor 5000 meters, Gymnastics gains season high point total

Daniel Newman, Sports Editor

This Week in Falcon Sports, sophomore Colby Otero set a Falcon record in Track and Field, Gymnastics improved their team score by two points to win their first meet of the season and women’s basketball split their two games in Alaska. 


Fifty one years is a long time for a record to stand. For fifty one years, Walt Notter held the record time of 14:39.6 in the 5,000 meter indoor race, set in 1969. On Friday, Jan. 31, that mark was moved to number two, as Colby Otero ran the race in 14 minutes and 35 seconds, 22 seconds faster than his previous indoor best. 


I had nothing to lose, so my plan was to insert myself into the big pack from the get-go and let them carry me to a time,” Otero said.  “I knew that if I was able to compete well and stay stubborn, then I would be happy with the results.”


Otero wants to use the performance as motivation to run even faster in his events throughout the rest of the indoor and outdoor seasons. 


“I’m grateful to have opportunities where I can continue to chase things like that,” Otero said.


Other Falcons that took part in the University of Washington Invitational at Dempsey Indoor Stadium included junior Dania Holmberg, who finished the women’s 5,000 meter race in 16 minutes and 49 seconds, the sixth-fastest time in Division II this season. 


In the field events, sophomore Peace Igbonagwam finished third in the long jump, and sophomore David Njeri finished fifth in the triple jump.


“This sport is all about taking advantage of opportunities and I feel that many of our student-athletes were able to do that.” said associate track and field head coach Chris Reed.


Before Friday, Jan. 31, the Falcon gymnastics team’s previous high score on the season was 191.575. After Friday, the Falcons boosted that score to 193.575 and defeated Sacramento State University and the University of Alaska Anchorage to give them their first meet win of the season. 


Junior Shelby Spivey tied for first in the uneven bars with a score of 9.800, but the Falcons’ two best events were the balance beam and floor exercise.


On the balance beam, the Falcons had four competitors scoring 9.775 or higher, those being seniors Darien Burns and Miyuki Matsune, junior Haven Lanzador and freshman Alixandra Pierce. The Falcons posted a season-high total score of 48.825 in the event.


The Falcons took the top four spots of the competition in the floor exercise, as sophomore Kayla Chan won the event with a score of 9.775, Pierce and junior Jadacie Durst tied for second, and Burns tied for fourth with Alaska Anchorage’s Sophia Hyderally.


Women’s basketball hit the road to Alaska on Thursday Jan. 30 and began their road trip by taking on the last place University of Alaska Fairbanks. The game was a bit closer than the Falcons may have wanted through the first three quarters, as they only led by eight at halftime. In the fourth quarter, the Falcons completely dominated, outscoring the Nanooks 21-8 and making eight out of their 12 shots. 


The Falcons were led by the 15 points and six rebounds of sophomore Ashley Alter and senior Hailee Bennett’s 13 points. Jocelyn Gandara led the Nanooks with 13 points and 11 rebounds


Next, the Falcons took on Alaska Anchorage, the top team in the conference. The Falcons hung around with Alaska Anchorage for three quarters. Unfortunately, the Seawolves outscored the Falcons 25-10 in the second quarter, and the Falcons were never able to recover. 


Alter led the Falcons again with 12 points, and the Falcons got a season-high 11 points and five rebounds from sophomore Natalie Hoff off of the bench. The Seawolves were led by the 15 points of Lauren Johnson.


The road will not get any easier for the Falcons, who are currently tied for sixth in the conference with Montana State Billings — although Montana State has the better overall record. They will return home to take on the two teams tied for third place in the conference, Western Washington University on Thursday, Feb. 6, and Simon Fraser University on Saturday, Feb. 8.

Correction: Feb. 04, 2020. A previous version of this story stated that Darian Burns is an Urban Studies major. She is an Urban Studies and Social Justice and Cultural Studies major.