The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Cougs beat everybody in stunning Pullman weekend amid Conference uncertainty

Volleyball, Football, Soccer, Cross Country all heating up
Fans+rush+the+field+and+celebrate+with+Back+Home+and+the+Cougar+Fight+Song+after+win+against+Wisconsin%2C+Sept.+9.+
BRANDON WILLMAN
Fans rush the field and celebrate with “Back Home” and the Cougar Fight Song after win against Wisconsin, Sept. 9.

All eyes are on all of WSU’s athletic programs as the 2023–24 athletic Pac-12 Championships are the last ones with the current state of the Conference. While not the favorites to win any of them, the start to the fall sports years has been nothing short of spectacular. 

WSU volleyball, football, soccer and cross country are all looking strong on their young campaigns, with the first three ranking in the top 25 teams in the nation. Volleyball looks like one of the strongest teams in the Pac-12 and football has had crazier things happen, but it is still too early to tell. 

This season is the prove-it year for the Cougs to be a Power Five-level team. If the year ended right now, that would be the case and head coach Jake Dickert gave an impassioned postgame speech after his Cougs took down No. 19 Wisconsin that the team deserves Power Five recognition. 

Football

Speaking of Dickert’s team, his choice to hire offensive coordinator Ben Arbuckle has been the best hire of the college football offseason. The offense for WSU has looked electric to start the year, and the win over Colorado State was just the start. 

In game one at home, No. 19 Wisconsin came to town looking for revenge after last season’s upset loss. But the Cougs did not let that happen. After a dominant first half and clutch defensive play in the fourth quarter, the Cougs won 33-21 and secured their second-straight upset win over the Badgers. 

With the win, the Cougs ranked No. 23 in the nation in the AP Poll their first ranking since 2019 in the Mike Leach era. It was only fitting that the team honored the late coach with pirate-themed towels during Saturday’s game. 

With big matches against Oregon State, UCLA, Colorado, Washington and Oregon upcoming on the schedule, the Cougs can truly prove themselves to be among one of the best feel-good college football stories in recent history. 

Volleyball 

The highest-ranked team at this point of the fall sports, the Cougs rank No. 11 in the nation after starting the season 8-1 and already have a huge win over then-No. 8 BYU in Bohler Gym. Magda Jehlárová is already breaking records and Iman Isanovic, Pia Timmer and Katy Ryan are dominating the hitting game.

All around the team, the Cougs are looking strong and still have several tough matches set before they begin Conference play. Facing the defending National Champions in Texas and another ranked team in Baylor on their home courts, the Cougs will look to prove themselves even more as the nation’s best story. 

Soccer 

Starting the new season 6-1, WSU already has out-of-conference wins over some tough opponents, including Texas A&M on the road and Kansas at home. Ranked in three separate polls and as high as No. 15, it is just another great start to a great program.

Nadia Cooper has kept teams out of the net well to start the young year and Todd Shulenberger has his team poised for the best year yet, but only time will tell. 

Cross Country 

Out of the spotlight, the Cougs cross country team is yet another facet of WSU Athletics showing out in the last year of the Pac-12. Kelvin Limo set the all-time Washington State men’s cross country team home course record with a time of 17:24.3 to win the men’s 6k and Neema Kimtai recorded the third-fastest 4k time in women’s cross country history at 13:25.6. 

Just like Jehlárová and the volleyball team, these likely will not be the only records broken in 2023 for the Cougs as the 2023–24 season marches on. 

Around the Corner

Looking back at last year, the women’s basketball team shocked everyone and won the Pac-12 Tournament. As defending champs, the team still looks strong and ready to repeat, this time not being unknown contenders to the other team. 

Charlisse Leger-Walker is ready for another great season and the team remains mostly intact, so the winter schedule cannot come soon enough.

WSU tennis has several players that can make noise in the new season. Eva Alvarez Sande and Maxine Murphy are a great 1–2 duo at the top of singles, with Alvarez Sande especially stepping up after Murphy’s injury last season.

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About the Contributor
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2024 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.