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Wolves’ top five

Looking back at the biggest sports achievements of the year

By: Burke De Boer
Sports Editor

Indoor track team sets a Division II record
The indoor track season was a dominant one for Western Oregon track and field, capped off by a record-setting national title for the men’s distance medley relay.

Sophomore Dustin Nading, juniors AJ Holmberg and Josh Dempsey and junior David Ribich at anchor made up the team. They traveled to Birmingham, Alabama as part of the Wolves team that competed in the NCAA Division II national championships.

They ran a photo finish race, beating reigning relay champions Adams State by .001 second to win the national trophy.

Their finishing time was 9:40.144, which set a new Division II indoor track national record.

Baseball crowned conference champs
After a two year title drought, Wolves baseball reclaimed their place on top of the conference.

The baseball team only played a total of four games at home this year, as the baseball field didn’t dry out until the final week of the regular season. But the team used those few games to secure the GNAC regular season title in front of home fans.

They then went on to play in the conference playoffs and swept their way to the championship victory.

Road Warriors softball makes a late-season stand
While baseball got to play four games at home, softball was not so lucky.

They adopted the nickname the Road Warriors, as weather kept softball out of Monmouth. They also battled injuries early on, and after their first two months of play they were dead last in the conference.

But at the start of April the Wolves flipped a switch. Thirteen wins in April secured the final spot in the GNAC tournament.

The fourth-seeded Wolves were able to knock off top-seeded Central Washington, who had entered the tournament as the reigning champions. They ultimately finished second in the tournament, falling to Western Washington.

Football’s underdog upset
The football team finished 4-6, the first losing record since head coach Arne Ferguson first took over the program in 2005. The first game of the year, however, set the standard for competition from the team, as they toppled Division I Sacramento State, 38-30.

On offense, the game enshrined what could be accomplished by the dual-quarterback system of juniors Nick Duckworth and Phillip Fenumiai. Junior wide receiver Paul Revis amassed 175 all-purpose yards.

The winning touchdown came from first-year student Torreahno Sweet, a two-sport athlete who played both baseball and football this year. After starting from their own 20 late in the fourth quarter, the Wolves drove down the field and Sweet broke tackles to pic up the touchdown on a 30-yard run.

Men’s basketball makes a playoff run
The men’s basketball team took a 16-12 record into the GNAC playoffs for a third-place seed. They rode the playoff bracket all the way to the conference championship game.

The 2016 team had won the GNAC, won the NCAA west regional playoff and advanced to the national elite eight. 2017 was not as successful of a year, but the Wolves proved themselves a legitimate threat to the conference title yet again.

The Wolves came in as a three seed, and junior Tanner Omlid had two consecutive double-doubles to help lead the team to the championship final, where the Wolves surprised number one seed Western Washington and took an eight point lead into halftime.

Western Washington regrouped and went on a late scoring spree. The Wolves fell in the final seconds, 69-71, as sophomore Malik Leaks’ three-pointer missed and time ran out.

Contact the author at journalsports@wou.edu