Top Notch: Remembering the Year’s Greatest Performances

Ridley Eastland-Fruit, Sports Editor

With numerous conference and NCAA trophies headed to Sherwood Center’s display cases, it has been a memorable year for Whitman varsity athletics. Here’s a recap of five of the year’s top team accomplishments.


They were not the favorites–far from it. Going into February’s conference meet, the men were in fifth and the women in second place in the NWC. The Blues proceeded to blow their competitors out of the water, so to speak, as both the men and women claimed NWC championship titles and collectively broke nearly three dozen school, conference and championship meet records. Four swimmers represented Whitman at Nationals in Texas.

Men’s Tennis

Historically one of Whitman’s strongest programs, men’s tennis stuck to their narrative of success with a 12-0 conference record and three of its six overall losses coming against Division I teams. The men conquered George Fox and Lewis & Clark handily in the NWC Tournament, sealing the conference title and guaranteeing a spot in the national tournament later this month.

Women’s Tennis

The women entered the NWC championship match tied with Lewis and Clark at an 11-1 conference record. The season had progressed well, marked by a memorable win at the University of Redlands and a fruitful midseason trip to Virginia. Grinding past Lewis & Clark and Linfield in the NWC Tournament, the women claimed the NWC title and are awaiting their spot in the first round of this month’s national tournament.

Men’s Basketball

They knew that they deserved to go farther than they did last year, and made it their mission to prove it. Prove it they did, as the team spent weeks as the only undefeated NCAA men’s basketball team in the country, garnered national press and earned junior Tim Howell NWC Player of the Year. Coming from behind to surpass Whitworth 86-83 in overtime in the NWC Tournament final, the Blues’ season ended in the Final Four at the hands of Babson, the eventual national champions.

Women’s Basketball

A 12-4 regular season conference record was not bad by any metric, but few expected women’s basketball to reach as far as they did. Entering the NWC Tournament as the third seed, the team battled past George Fox and the University of Puget Sound to claim the surprise tournament title and an NCAA berth. The Blues overcame the Bruins and the Loggers again in the NCAA first round, reaching the Elite Eight in the NCAA national tournament.