By Ryan Tarletsky, sports editor
The year in athletics at Friends University has been one for the record books.
From the fall to the spring, Friends athletes have shared experiences of success, growth and teamwork.
In the fall, the headlines were all about the record success of the cross country teams, as they finished with a combined team ranking of third in the nation after ending a 31-year conference chokehold by Southwestern College. Men’s soccer and volleyball also experienced a high level of success, as both would win at least one game in their conference tournaments.
Football and women’s soccer, however, struggled even though preseason expectations were high. Both fell short of their conference tournaments.
For the winter, women reigned supreme as the Falcon basketball team made it to the National NAIA tournament and advanced to the Sweet 16 until the Falcons had to play the top-ranked team in the nation. After winning an impressive 24 games this season, the Falcons have set the foundation for the future of basketball at Friends.
Although the men’s basketball team struggled, the winter may have been the most successful season of all across the athletic department as the men and women won the first-ever Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference indoor track and field meet.
As the spring season comes to a close, the softball team and track and field program are expecting a prolonged season including national competition. The baseball team and tennis teams continue to struggle, however, and hope to rebuild and stock up for next season while finishing this year strong.
Standing as is, the Falcons have four athletes who have earned All-American honors; three of them are in track and field and one in football. To date, the Falcon programs have a combined winning percentage of 49 percent with 98 wins on the year.
The year can be summed up with its comparison to a rollercoaster. Each season brought its highs and lows with not only conference contenders but national title contenders who made every one of us proud to be a Falcon. Although other teams lacked the success students have come to expect from Falcons athletics, we know that no one settles for mediocrity at Friends, and with each season and school year ending brings a summer of preparation for the next year.