By: Isabella Urbani, Sports Editor
SFU was denied a back-to-back Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship on November 5, after Western Washington captured both the men’s and women’s titles. SFU’s men’s team placed second with 52 points, while the women placed third with 86 points. Sophomore Charlie Dannatt finished first among the Red Leafs, placing second in the 8 km race with a time of 24:03.4 minutes. Seconds behind him was junior Sebestian Brinkman, earning All-GNAC honours alongside Dannatt for a top-10 finish. The fastest runner on the women’s side was junior Grace Chalk, who clocked in with a time of 21:45.4 minutes to place 10th. She was the only Red Leaf on the women’s side to earn All-GNAC honours.
The men’s and women’s swim team had a good showing on November 5–6 at the UBC Odlum Brown Colleges Cup Pacific, placing seventh respectively. Senior Jordan Doner shone in both her relay and individual races. The swimmer recorded four personal-bests over the two-day period, finishing fast enough to swim in three A-final events. Two of her personal bests came in the 50m and 100m breaststrokes. With a time of 32.55 seconds in the 50m breaststroke, Donner became the third-fastest SFU swimmer in that category. Dylan Kormendy and Tori Meklensek also recorded personal bests, moving into third and fifth place at SFU for the 100m individual medley and 200m freestyle, respectively.
The women’s volleyball team has started November on a roll, winning both of their matches against Saint Martin’s and Western Oregon at home. SFU won their first two sets in front of 200 plus fans before surrendering one to Saint Martin’s in a close 25–23 decision. SFU won the next set to seal the victory, and won their first home game after a two-game road trip. After dropping their first set to Oregon on senior night, the Red Leafs rallied together to win the next two sets before Oregon forced a fifth and final set, which SFU won. Kalissa Beltran led SFU in digs in both games. Eva Person led both games in assists, and Kalyn Hartmann led the team in blocks in game one and aces in game two.
The men walked away with first place on November 5 at the SFU open, while the women placed third among their competition. Across the board, seven SFU wrestlers placed first in their weight class. Aizayah Yacapin won the 57 kg category, Ryan Hicks won the 70 kg category, Patrik Leder won the 74 kg category, and Taniela Felicano-Takafua won the 125 kg category for the men. For the women, Victoria Seal won the 55 kg category, Paige Maher won the 72 kg category, and Katja Osteen captured the 90 kg category.
The men’s football team played their final road game of the season on November 5 against Western Oregon. The Red Leafs fell short in that contest by a score of 32–7. After failing to score in the first quarter, SFU closed out the first half with an Ethan Beselt touchdown — his team-leading fifth touchdown of the season. Quarterback Justin Sieber finished with 11 out of 30 completions in the game, and defensive back Ryan Barthelson led the Red Leafs with 11 tackles. In December, SFU will suit up for their first Shrum Bowl meeting with UBC since 2010.
The women’s season came to an end on November 3 after being shutout by the number one seed, Western Washington, in the semifinal of the GNAC Championship. The women previously lost to Washington at the 2018 GNAC semifinal, and have not been able to advance to the final since. New addition Isabella Muzzolini made history for the women’s team, being the first SFU women’s player to win the GNAC Newcomer of the Year award. Last year’s GNAC Newcomer winner Conrad Cheng and the men’s team have won four of their last five games. However, their 11–5–1 record was not enough to finish first in their conference and automatically send them to the Division II NCAA soccer championships. Both Mark Talisuna and Devin O’Hea, who finished top five in scoring on the team, earned first team GNAC honours. Talisuna was also named GNAC Player of the Year.