The Daily Evergreen

WSU athletics’ featured moments of 2016-2017

CHRIS ARNESON | Evergreen columnist

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Cougar football is representative of WSU athletic successes this academic year, from the highs of the eight-game winning streak to the lows of the Holiday Bowl loss to the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

It may be easy to concentrate solely on the rocky windup of the football season, as the Cougars dropped their final three games in epic fashion. However, there are many sports at WSU besides the pigskin that deserve our attention. This leads us to an overview of WSU Athletics’ top moments in the 2016-2017 school year.

In late February, the WSU swim team took eighth place in the Pac-12 Championships at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. WSU also broke four school records in the multi-day conference championship and ended its season on a hot streak, winning four consecutive dual swim meets.

The highlight of the season for the men’s and women’s track and field teams was without a doubt the Cougar Invitational, which was held on Saturday at Mooberry Track. The Cougars crushed the competition at the 17th installment of the meet, winning more than three-quarters of the events. Cougar athletes on both teams combined to rack up 41 personal bests.

The women’s basketball team had a solid finish to the season, marching all the way to the final four of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. The high point of their year was their 74-66 defeat of the Iowa Hawkeyes en route to the semifinals, led by sophomore guard Alexys Swedlund’s 20 points.

The men’s golf team won the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate at Palouse Ridge Golf Course on Sept. 13 for the second straight year. Senior Nick Mandell won the individual title and junior Derek Bayley tied for second place as the Cougars shot 10-under as a team.

The climax of the WSU football season was the team’s 42-16 road win over No. 15 Stanford to mark the third win of an eight-game winning streak. Then-redshirt junior quarterback Luke Falk’s four touchdowns and 357 passing yards led the Cougars to the huge mid-season win.

WSU’s women’s soccer ended its season on a high note, shutting out the Washington Huskies 2-0 on Nov. 3 at Lower Soccer Field to extend its winning streak to 13 against its rivals.

For the volleyball team, its season peaked on Dec. 1 when the Cougars triumphed over the Marquette Golden Eagles in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Although WSU was unable to pull off the “Badger State two-step,” falling to No. 3 Wisconsin in the second round a day later, the win over Marquette punctuated WSU’s 22-win season and the team’s return to the postseason for the first time since 2009.

Lastly, the capstone moment for baseball thus far is the team’s combined no-hitter on March 5 in a 7-3 defeat of the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks at Bailey Brayton Field. The no-hitter was the program’s first since Kurt Waananen’s no-hitter against Rockford College in 1985.

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WSU athletics’ featured moments of 2016-2017