The only way to describe the Pioneer’s 2015-2016 sports year is thrilling. From buzzer beaters to heartbreaking losses, this year had it all and is a year to be remembered.
The biggest shock came from women’s soccer. The team was picked dead last in the GLIAC preseason poll, but the team went on to qualify for the GLIAC Tournament. The Pioneers would qualify by beating cross-town rival Walsh Cavaliers 1-0 at home to advance and sending their rivals packing for the season.
Men’s soccer thumped Walsh in a game where there appeared to be more Malone students at the game then Walsh students.
The volleyball team had a stunner at Walsh as well. Malone sealed the victory in the fourth game by winning eight of the final ten points on the road.
Success came in more matchups than those against Walsh.
Men’s cross country, for example, placed 22 at Nationals and as the GLIAC runners-up. Ryan Roush, senior, was awarded the GLIAC Commissioner’s Award for excellence both on and off the field. Roush was one of only six male recipents.
The women’s team also had a great season. Hannah Campbell, junior, led the team and became a two time all-American by finishing 38 overall.
Football faced some tough losses to Michigan Tech, Lake Erie and Northwood, but the team looks to new leadership for a comeback season next fall.
Winter sports also faced a roller-coaster ride over the course of the season.
The men’s basketball team lost ten games by an average of five points or less, including a buzzer beater at the hands of nationally ranked Ashland University.
Senior guard Christian Graves said, “[It’s] a learning experience. It was not easy for our fans to go through not satisfied.”
Swimming and diving broke barriers this season. Marta Jankowska, senior swimmer, became the first pioneer ever to compete in the NCAA Division II Swimming championships by qualifying in three events.
Although spring sports are still in the heat of the season, early results already demonstrate a strong showing despite some rough weather.
Senior mid- distance runner Erika Rector said, “As bad as the weather has been, things have been going pretty well. We are mentally and physically tough. No teammate can pick up the slack for you.”
Crystal Barber, senior sprinter, broke the 60 and 200 meter record runs in indoor track earlier this year. Duke Taylor, senior thrower, is in the top ten in the nation for discus and the hammer throw and looks to finish his final season as a Pioneer incredibly well.
What a year in sports for Malone. Thrilling is the only way to fully capture all of the ups and downs in one word.
Seth Byrd is the Sports Editor for The Aviso