Steady improvement day by day

Gymnastics raises score again, track gears up for GNAC championships

Daniel Newman, Sports Editor

This Week In Falcon Sports, Falcon gymnast Darian Burns tied a school record on the vault, the men’s basketball team escaped with an 83-82 win over Western Oregon, and some members of the track and field team travelled to Boise, Idaho while others travelled to Portland, Oregon to compete. 


In every gymnastics meet this season, the team has improved their team score. This was a goal that first year Head Coach Sarah Jean Marshall has expressed from the very beginning of the season.


“We want to gain consistency and confidence, so that we are at our very best at the end of the season,” Marshall said. 


The team is on their way to doing just that as the team posted their highest score on the season Saturday, Feb. 8 with a total score of 193.750, defeating the Air Force Academy and Illinois State University. 


Having lost to the Air Force Academy earlier in the season, this was a chance for the Falcons to improve their scores against a familiar opponent. 


Senior Darian Burns had a historic meet, tying a university record high score of 9.900 on the vault and posting the second highest all around score in Falcon history, totaling a score of  39.375. The total was Burns’ highest in her career. 


Burns’ totals in other events were 9.800 in both the uneven bars and the balance beam, and a 9.875 in the floor exercise.


The Falcons best team event in this meet was the floor exercise. Burns won the event and junior Jadacie Durst placed fourth with a score of 9.825 and freshman Alixandra Pierce tied for fifth with a 9.800. Pierce also placed sixth in the balance beam with a score of 9.750.


Next up, the Falcons will take on two meets in St. Charles, Missouri. They will begin with the Gymquarters Invitational on Valentine’s Day, and compete in another four-team meet Sunday, Feb. 16.


The men’s basketball team is also having a highly successful season. They’ve now won 17 of their last 18 games, and one of these wins took place Thursday, Feb. 6 against Western Oregon University. 


The Falcons came out a bit slow, as WOU started out with a 9-2 lead, but soon hit their stride, going on a 23-5 run. They led 50-30 at halftime, led by freshman Filip Fullerton’s 13 points and five rebounds. 


But the Wolves began their comeback with a 26-9 run, eventually taking a 66-64 with eight minutes to go in the game. The Falcons retook the lead soon after, and while the Wolves stayed within five points the rest of the way, Wolves forward Darius Lubom missed his second free throw with the Falcons leading 83-82. 


The Wolves never got the ball back, as Falcons sophomore guard Divant’e Moffitt missed a jumper, but junior Medhi El Mardi grabbed the offensive board to seal the win for the Falcons.


Falcons’ freshman Shaw Anderson made all five of his three-point attempts on his way to 22 points, and Moffitt also had 18 to the Falcons.


Emanuel Gant had 19 points off of the bench for the Wolves, and Jaylyn Richardson had 17 points as well.


After their homecoming game, the Falcons had a quick break before playing another game, this one against Saint Martin’s University on Tuesday, Feb. 11. Sophomore Braden Olsen scored a career high of 24 points, as the Falcons beat Saint Martin’s 86-75.


“I’ve been struggling shooting my threes, so it felt good to have them go down tonight. When I make threes it opens up everything else for my game,” said Olsen


In Boise, Idaho this weekend, both sophomore Peace Igbonagwam and junior Renick Meyer won an event and GNAC track athlete of the week honors, with Igbonagwam winning the 60-meter-dash and Meyer winning the long jump. 


Igbonagwam also placed second in the triple jump and third in the long jump, while Meyer finished fourth in the 60-meter-hurdles. 


Some other Falcons who had great results while in Boise were senior Kate Lilly, who finished third in the mile, and senior Scout Cai, who finished fourth in the pole vault. 


Senior Grace Bley and junior Julia Stepper tied for second in the 200-meter-dash with a time of 25.11 seconds.


The Men’s track team headed to Portland Sunday, Feb 9, and sophomore Colby Otero finished fourth in the mile, running it in four minutes and 17 seconds. 


Sophomore David Njeri finished fourth in the 60-meter-hurdles and tied for fifth in the long jump.