USF’s men’s and women’s teams saw their respective seasons come to a close at the West Coast Conference Championships, which took place at the Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Wash. from April 14-16. The women’s squad finished fifth overall at the event, and was led by sophomore Clare Sorensen, who finished in a tie for tenth place with a score of 228 (-10). The men, on the other hand, were able to capture third place overall behind strong final rounds from junior Jobim Carlos and sophomore Sebastian Crookall-Nixon.
Nine USF athletes traveled to Arizona on April 11-12 to compete in the Sun Angel Invitational, which was held at Arizona State and consisted of athletes from schools all over the country. While only a handful of Dons made the trip to Arizona to participate in the meet, many of them left the Grand Canyon State with top-10 finishes under their belt.
The highlight of the meet for the Dons was junior Sean Gomes‘ fifth place finish in the men’s 800-meter (0.5 mile) race. Gomes crossed the line with a time of 1:52.44, well ahead of most of the other competitors in the 26-person race. Running alongside Gomes for USF was freshman Omar Solis, who crossed the finish line just 3.94 seconds after Gomes to complete the race in fifteenth place.
“[Sean Gomes] matched his personal best at 800 meters, and will certainly be able to crank it up a few notches the next couple outings,” head coach Helen Lehman-Winters said.
No Don finished higher than fifth in an event, but freshman Asaundra Dalton broke the top 10 in her event, the 200-meter (0.12 mile) dash. Dalton finished in 25.31 seconds, good enough to earn her seventh place. Dalton’s time put her ahead of her teammate, freshman Lupe Medina, who came in fourteenth place with a time of 26.82 seconds. The duo of Dalton and Medina also ran in the women’s 400-meter dash, but their results were not as positive. Dalton finished eleventh overall, while Medina trailed her closely and came in thirteenth.
Like Dalton in the 200-meter dash, sophomore Eleni Fkiaras also finished seventh in the 400-meter (0.25 mile) hurdles. Fkiaras was hoping for a strong finish after earning second place and narrowly besting her personal record at the Stanford Invitational. Unfortunately, her time of 1:04.22 was not quite enough to separate her from the pack in a field that included runners from Texas A&M, Boise State, and Kansas. Megan Kelley of Boise State took first place in the race and ended the course less than two seconds ahead of Fkiaras.
Redshirt junior Kamilah Davis also finished amongst the top ten, dashing to the finish line in 12.53 seconds in the 100-meter (.06 mile) sprint. The event included 17 other sprinters from schools such as Arizona State, the host of the meet, and California schools UC Riverside and UC Davis.
In the field, junior Nile Norwood competed in the long jump event and grabbed eighth place after leaping 6.38 meters. Freshman Katoa Ahau and junior Cameron Farrell were both contestants in the men’s javelin throw, landing in seventh and eighth place, respectively, with throws 50.80 and 50.36 meters.
After having multiple runners finish near the top of the pack at the Sun Angel Invitational, the Dons will now prepare for the Mt. Sac Invitational, which will be held in Pomona, Calif. from April 17-19. USF will also send a group of athletes to the Bryan Clay Invitational in Azusa, Calif. from April 18-19. With only five events left on the calendar until the NCAA West Preliminaries, the Dons must continue to prove that they are able to compete with other major schools. Lehman-Winters was pleased with some of the individual efforts in Arizona, but acknowledges that there is room for improvement.
“We had a few highlights, but clearly we have more work to do to get where we need to be,” Lehman-Winters said.
This past weekend, the Dons competed in two separate track events, smashing school records at both the Stanford Invitational and the San Francisco State Distance Carnival. The weekend was headlined by redshirt junior Jose Madera’s incredible performance that blew the Dons’ old 10,000-meter (6.21 mile) record out of the water, beating it by more than 19 seconds. Madera was not the only San Francisco athlete to have a solid performance, however, with several other Dons placing amongst the top finishers as well.
Madera ran to eighth place overall at the Stanford Invitational, earning a time of 29:19.23 in the 10,000-meter race. Joining Madera at Stanford was junior middle distance runner Sean Gomes, who also earned a top-ten finish in his section of the 800-meter (0.5 mile) course. Gomes was a mere two seconds off of USF’s 800-meter record, coming in with a time of 1:54.39.
Meanwhile, other USF athletes competed at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival at San Francisco State University. Junior long jumper Nile Norwood, who competed in both meets, took first at San Francisco State with a jump of 6.99 meters on his final jump. Norwood came extremely close to breaking a school record that has stood since 1966, but was just two-hundredths of a meter short.
Several other Dons turned in top-ten finishes on the weekend. Senior runner Gustavo Mena finished 10th in the 1,500-meter (0.93 mile) event, and senior Adam Smith was seventh in the 3,000-meter (1.86 mile) race. Among the field competitors, freshman javelin thrower Katoa Ahau ended with a fourth-place result.
“We are pleased with how so many of our athletes stepped up this weekend,” head coach Helen Lehman-Winters told usfdons.com. “We had multiple personal bests with many others showing a ton of improvement. We walked away from this weekend with five NCAA qualifiers and look forward to picking up more later this month.”
USF’s female athletes competed at both the Stanford Invitational and the San Francisco State Distance Carnival this past weekend, and just like the men, they set multiple records in several different events. The highlight of the weekend was sophomore distance runner Elena Burkard’s record-toppling 5,000-meter run. Burkard, who hails from Germany, beat the previous record, which was held by teammate senior Jana Soethout, by a healthy six seconds.
Burkard placed in seventh after her record-setting time of 16:05.84. She was not the only Don to break a record, with sophomore hurdler Eleni Fkiaras besting her previous school record by a second, crossing the finish line in 66.0 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles event. Her time was enough to earn her second place in her section at Stanford. Junior Kamilah Davis also had a strong run at the Stanford Invitational, completing the 100-meter (.06 mile) dash in 12.51 seconds.
Fkiaras also took part in 4×100-meter relay, joining Davis and freshmen Asaundra Dalton and Lupe Medina. Together, the team of four runners were able to place in second with another record-breaking time of 48.42. Junior distance runner Kailey Ulland couldn’t add to the long list of new school records, but she ran to a personal best time in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing fifth at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival.
Both the men’s and women’s teams are scheduled to compete at the Sun Angel Invitational in Phoenix, Ariz. from April 11-12. Based on the three new USF records that were set at last weekend’s meets, the Dons seem poised to be among the top competitors in the Valley of the Sun.
USF shot scores of 293, 291, and 296 for a total score of 880 at The Goodwin, which took place at Stanford Golf Course this past weekend, March 28-30. Out of 18 teams fielded at the tournament, the Dons finished 17th, making for a disappointing finish to the regular season. The Goodwin was the Dons’ last tournament before the upcoming West Coast Conference Championships.
An unlikely alum showed his face on USF’s main campus on Sunday, March 23. 11-time NBA champion Bill Russell visited his alma mater to discuss his unfinished USF degree with the university’s president, the Rev. Stephen A. Privett, S.J. USF and Bill Russell have had bitter relations in the past because of a dispute over tuition, but San Francisco hoped to reconnect the NCAA and NBA champion with the school he once played for.
Russell, The Dons’ spindly basketball player that led them to back-to-back NCAA Tournament titles in 1955 and 1956, accepted Privett’s offer to come back to USF and discuss the completion of his degree. Unknown to many, Russell did not graduate from USF because he was 16 credits shy when he made his transition to the NBA.
Upon arrival at USF, Russell seemed pleased to return to the place that kickstarted his career.However, the pleasure was short-lived. Russell could not bear to eat the cafeteria’s food, and declined Privett’s offer after taking a single bite of lumpy orange chicken and limp cauliflower.
Sitting in the back corner of the cafeteria, unrecognized by many students, the six-foot-nine Russell towered high above the university’s president, eyeing his food. Russell selected food from the cultural foods section of the cafeteria, ordering servings of orange chicken, spring rolls, and mixed vegetables. He sat with Privett, discussing the logistics of his future at the USF. Russell looked distraught as he peered down at his food, hesitant to take a bite.
Several students had spotted Bill Russell at this point, and word spread that the NBA legend was in USF’s cafeteria. Curious students looked on as Privett talked with Russell, who was still avoiding his food. Noticing the gathering onlookers, Russell summoned the courage to take a bite.
The courage quickly dissipated. After Russell’s bite of the cafeteria food, he reached across the table and grabbed Privett’s hamburger, desperate to get the taste out of his mouth. However, his reacted to the burger was no better. After a single bite, Russell stood up, murmured something to Privett, shook his hand, and walked out of the cafeteria without saying another word.
Privett sat in shock. Students watching the entire scene sat in bewilderment, eyeing their own food and wondering if it was really that bad.
Russell was not to be found. Phone calls were made to try and convince him to return and give USF another chance. Russell could not be reached by phone, however, and his whereabouts were unknown. Once again, USF found itself trying to track down the man that made the school legendary.
Russell later released a statement summarizing his visit.
“My relations with my alma mater are just as bitter as the orange chicken I ate on the day I decided to return to University of San Francisco,” Russell said via his newly installed twitter account. I will not be completing my education at USF.”
DISCLAIMER: This piece was printed as part of The Foghorn’s April Fool’s Day issue on April 1st, 2014. This article is intended to be satirical.
The Dons fell to the top-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs 81-68 in the West Coast Conference Tournament semifinals in Las Vegas, Nev. after narrowly defeating Loyola Marymount 63-62 in the first round.