On The Home Stretch

Regular Season ends at home before Mountaineers leave for year-end competitions

Nicholas A. Fischer/Staff Writer

The Mountaineers Basketball, Track and Field, Wrestling, and Swimming and Diving teams have entered the final stretch of their seasons with a plethora of home events before conference tournaments and Regional and National Championships.

On Feb. 12, Western’s Swimming and Diving team finished their RMAC season in third place finish and are competing in RMAC championships in Grand Junction between Feb. 9-12. For a second year in a row, Randy Yarnell will represent Western at the NCAA championships in Birmingham, AL from March 8 – 11. Not only did Yarnell secure a second visit to the National Championship she broke two school records, one in the 100 fly and the other in the 400 relay with fellow swimmers, Ma’alaea Lawrence, Akemi King, and Kate Hewson.

Mountaineer Wrestling was able to wrap up their home season with a pair of victories over Adam’s State and New Mexico Highlands on Feb. 10 and 11. In their senior seasons, Brandon Supernaw, Mick Dougharity, and RMAC champion Ronald Wardleigh have helped the Mountaineers to a 9-6 record before leading to the NCAA DII Super 4 Regional Championships in Golden, CO over Feb. 24-25.

With a record of 26-4 and 15 falls, Wardleigh is the second ranked wrestler in the nation and is the RMAC Champion for the 125 weight class. Supernaw is ninth in the nation at with a record of 23-7 and has 3 falls. In the 197 weight class, Dougharity is 18-8 and the team points from his 7 falls have helped keep Western competitive in duals ad tournaments this season.

Dougharity and Supernaw both said they are happy to see the team come together and finished strong and excited to head into the Regional Championships with this team.

Western’s Track and Field team will finish their indoor season with a meet on Feb. 18 with the Western Open in the Mountaineer Field House. This will be the chance for Mountaineers to qualify at home for the National Championships before heading to Spearfish, SD on Feb. 24 and 25 for the RMAC Championships. The NCAA Indoor National Championships will also be in Birmingham, AL on Mar. 10 and 11.

Noah Zorsky, Avery Roberts, and Cameron Gill have been jumping to new heights and lengths for Western. Meanwhile, Alicja Konieczek and Georgia Porter have been running through the school record books, while Elijah Gilbert has been sprinting through them.

Konieczek and Porter hold first and second place record times in the 3000-meters for Western. However, on Feb. 11 at the Husky invite in Washington, Konieczek beat her previous 3000-meter school record by 14 seconds. In addition, Konieczek holds third best time in the 800 meters and Porter has the second best in the 5000 meters. Meanwhile, Gilbert has Western’s top speed in the 60 meters dash and the second best time in the 200 meters.

Roberts posted a 6’9.75” mark in the high jump, grabbing sixth place on Western’s record book. Gill was able to go further in the triple jump with a distance of 49’1.75”, which put him in third for school history in that event. However, Zorsky toped them as he vaulted himself to the school record in the pole vault after clearing an impressive 17’9”.

When asked about what advice they will take with them to Nationals, Roberts said, “Work hard, never give up, and eat your veggies.” Cameron said, “Take care of business and everything else will take care of itself.”

All three Jumpers have posted qualifying marks for the National Championships and are looking to ensure their spots during the Western Open.

Both of Western’s basketball teams started the season with hopes of improvement from the year before and to be more competitive in games. While their seasons started slow, both teams were able to find some success throughout it, developing a will to fight through their struggles.

Sadie Stroup, Harley Williams, and Brianna Wiber have been sharing the load to lead the women’s team. Will Duggin, Brady Subart, Collin Smith, and Ben Beauchamp have been leading the men’s team with their barrage of three pointers this season. However, the two hardest workers on either team have to be Kaylynn Bush and Brandon Cosby-Lee, as they led their teams in two stats not officially tracked, taking charges and setting screens.

The Mountaineers have a chance to end the regular season strong as they play their final three games at home in the Paul Wright Gymnasium. The home games on Feb. 18, 24, and 25 will determine Western’s position in the RMAC tournament, and should be beneficial to them as both teams feed off the cheers of the Mountaineer crowd.