A March Madness Prediction
Image c/o ESPN
By Val Hill
With March Madness only a few days away and the AP Poll coming out with new rankings, the brackets are being dusted off and the bracketology has begun. Interestingly, this season was filled with teams moving all over the board. With conference championships around the corner for a lot of teams, anything can happen.
For starters Kansas University, who was tied with Purdue, dropped from their reigning spot at number one all the way down to seventh place. Now the current number one is the University of Houston, who stole the spot from University of Connecticut in the last week. This means that the bracket placement has the potential to be a powerhouse in some areas and others to have one team absolutely dominate. According to the NCAA 2024 Bracket Predictions, it has predicted that Houston (1) will go up against either South Dakoda or Norfolk State. The Gaels (17) are expected to go up against Boise State (10) in the first round as well.
However everything is completely subject to changes since this was the last week of the West Coast Conference regular season games and then championships in Vegas starting. So for the Gaels moving up from their beginning spot of 23 to be placed at 17 has to be a huge boost coming into their game against Gonzaga on March 2nd. Considering that Gonzaga started in 11th place and have dropped dramatically down to 23, there is a lot on the line for both teams.
Gael’s vs Gonzaga: the biggest rivalry in D1 history
Image c/o Piper Westrom
By Val Hill
The Gaels headed to the city of Spokane on February 3rd, to go up against their biggest rivals in the West Coast Conference (WCC). “The Kennel” was packed to the brim, with students from both schools packed and bringing all the energy they could. However, the Bulldogs took a massive 9-point lead within minutes, making the Gaels play catch-up for six minutes. With no shots to points within that time, Coach Bennett told Harry Wessels to stand down, trying to keep the Gaels out of foul trouble. Since most of the starting line-up had about two or three fouls each. The Gaels needed to breathe and find a way to win on the road. However, the Bulldogs weren’t making it easy for the Gaels to make their shots.
One player that played his heart out was Josh Jefferson. He played this game in such a way that it allowed Aiden Mahaney to find his rhythm. The biggest key in the Gaels plays is keeping Saxon on the floor and out of foul trouble. After the Gaels slowed down and found their flow again, the point gap closed until it was a point for point at the end of the first half, ending with a score of 33 to 34.
The second half picked up with Jefferson scoring every point in the first few minutes, taking control of the rhythm and flow of both teams. However, this didn't stop the Bulldogs, who forced the speed up and slowed down, forcing the Gaels into foul trouble.
There was one thing that affected both teams equally: the horrible sportsmanship from the Gonzaga student section. From them throwing drinks and food onto the court to their clear disrespect to the referees and announcers, players were slipping and falling on the court. This was arguably the worst display of sportsmanship that I have ever witnessed. The students were completely out of control and there should have been many technical fouls, but none were made.
Against all odds, Augustas Marčiulionis made an amazing three-point shot, allowing the Gaels to win with a score of 64 to 62, making the Gaels undefeated in the WCC.
Saint Mary’s successfully sought revenge Nov. 9 when New Mexico came to Moraga
Image c/o Jed Jacobsohn/Associated Press
By Drew Paxman
Editorial Designer/Sports Writer
Under the bright Thursday night lights in a packed University Credit Union Pavilion, the Gaels warmed up with only one thing on their mind: revenge against the team that broke their home winning streak a season ago, the New Mexico Lobos. The result was a 72-58 dominant victory for Saint Mary’s.
“I was ready to go from the jump,” said sophomore guard Aidan Mahaney, who scored a career high-tying 25 points in the game.
The game was a blowout from the get-go, in large part due to Maheney’s phenomenal 21-point first half performance.
“Whatever my team needs I’m here for it,” remarked Mahaney. “[Mickey] McConnell and the offensive coaches do a really good job at getting us some great sets. From there we just follow his execution and try to do it to the best of our ability.”
Sophomore center Harry Wessels dominated in the paint, scoring a career high-tying 12 points and career high four offensive rebounds. Wessels believes the key to the team’s success is maintaining the team’s “gritty not pretty” motto.
“We’re gonna be overlooked sometimes…and it’s not always gonna be easy but we’re just gonna go out there and try hard every time,” Wessels said. “We have guys that are extremely tough, and toughness is something we preach and pride ourselves on everyday.”
Wessels not only displayed physical toughness throughout his 14 minutes of action, but mental toughness as well. With 8:46 left to play, Wessels picked up his fourth foul. Despite having a career-day up to that point, the sophomore center knew he had to make a change.
“It’s just the focus on details as far as…showing the refs you’re playing clean,” he said. “You think about it a little bit–cleaning up. But you still got to go out there and play hard.”
Since their 72-58 win over the Lobos, the Gaels have fumbled into a three game losing streak on the road, losing their Top 25 AP Poll ranking. The season is still young, though, and the Gaels made improvements at home with a win against Davidson on Friday, Nov. 24. The Gaels look to continue to make improvements against Utah on Monday, Nov. 27.
Gaels beat Stanislaus State 107 to 28
By Val Hill
The Gaels came out strong right out of the gate against Stanislaus State, practically beating the Warriors in the warmup. The energy of the crowd fueling into the Gaels, giving off a dominating presence. Even though the Gaels were predicted to win, they didn’t let that get to the players' heads.
Warriors gave the Gaels most of their free points through fouls and an overly confident defense. The Warriors tried to force the Gaels to speed up and to try and get the upper hand. And they did for a few baskets, but the Gaels quickly locked in and took control of the game. One player that truly stood out among the rest for the Gaels was Mason Forbes. Forbes is a grad student who was a redshirt last season and did not play. Forbes has made such an impact on the court that I could see him being an all season starter.
Another outstanding player in that game was the hometown hero, Aiden Mahaney, a returning all star who set a new personal record for most points in a game. During that game Mahaney proved that he wasn’t just a second half player, but an all in player. From making almost all of his three point shots, to being an all around defensive and offensive player, Aiden was setting the tone for the rest of the season.
Since the Gaels were doing so well that game, head coach Randy Bennett decided to let everyone have some game minutes. Players such as Rory Hawke, Kevin Gad, and Cade Bennett finally made their debuts, all of which did not play last season due to redshirting. Freshman Jordan Ross got on the court and was starting to make himself known that game as well.
All eyes were on the Gaels to have a total shutout and they provided. The Gaels only lost their momentum for a brief moment, letting the Warriors get 9 turnovers. But that made the Gaels not only fight back, but completely dominate the game. And with this game the Gaels set a new school record for most points in a game since 2010. Thus the end game score was 107 Gaels and 28 for the Warriors.
The first WCC cross country championships after reigning first place team BYU left the conference- Saint Mary’s women secure third place spot
After years of sweeping the competition at the conference championship race, BYU’s departure from the WCC has left a notable impact on the racing field.
By Caledonia Buchanan
American Journalism Student
For five consecutive years, BYU’s women’s cross country team has swept the competition and won the
Since they were reigning champions for years, leaving the conference meant leaving the number one spot available in a way that it hasn't been in years. “There was a dramatic change not having BYU in the conference,” said St. Mary’s women’s XC coach Marty Kinsey. “Last year they placed 10 runners in the top 20. And 7 of the 15 ‘All WCC’ accolades went to BYU,” he added.
“The race definitely felt more open with BYU leaving the conference, and like every school had a chance to win,” said SMC senior cross country runner Emily Field.
“The focus was no longer just on how much BYU was winning by; there was a tight race between first and second, and the other team positions were up for grabs,” said Stanziano. Whereas previously, when BYU was still in the WCC; “Having that many talented runners in a team front loads the results and makes for an uneventful outcome,” said senior Molly Dreher from the St Mary’s team when asked about previous years competing with BYU. “You don't want one team to sweep every year,” Dreher added.
“BYU leaving had a profound impact [in a positive way] on the student athlete experience. They used to take it out really fast and it would stretch out the field in ways that made it more of a time trial for them and a barn burner for the rest of the field.” Kinsey said.
BYU competed in its first Big 12 conference championship race on October 28 of this year, and the women did in fact secure the winning spot in their debut race with the conference, finishing with five of their runners placing in the overall top ten according to the Big 12 championship recap.
“The competition field without BYU created more diversity among all-conference runners.” Stanziano commented ini reference to the new competition field and the room for runners to improve and secure higher placements now that BYU is no longer in the WCC. “I’m happy they are gone, I don’t think they would have dominated the conference forever but it’s nice to have variety and give athletes a goal of winning conference as a team.” Dreher remarked in regards to how the change has impacted athletes and teams and their ability to score higher as a team. “I’m a huge supporter of not having them in the field. BYU doesn’t resemble any school or team in the WCC. They have nearly unlimited funds and tuition there is about $6,000 vs. a WCC average of about $55,000. Having them in the conference was like putting a whale in a fishbowl.” Kinsey added.
In this year’s WCC championship race, Portland took home the winning title, with Gonzaga in second and our very own Saint Mary’s taking third. This is an improvement from the 2022 season’s 6th place finish, and outstanding performances from the team secured their spot. “We did great, an all around amazing performance that got us third!” Dreher said. With BYU gone, “I feel this made for a more exciting outcome, particularly our awesome third place finish.” Stanziano remarked. “Our team was able to implement a rewarding team strategy as well that normally is hard when the pace is that hard from the start. We fared well.” Kinsey remarked in regards to SMC’s team performance at the race.
Overall, the departure of BYU certainly left spots open and available for teams to shuffle and claim, and made it possible for the athletes to strive to win as a team, instead of having the expectation that BYU would take the title again. “This year there was a much better representation for All-WCC awards with USF, SMC, Portland, Gonzaga, all earning multiple honors and SCU with one as well, it wasn’t a BYU takes all moment which is better for the conference and student athlete’s experience.” said Kinsey. The Saint Mary’s women had a remarkable championship race, and continued on to race at the NCAA West regionals competition on Saturday November 11th, with the team finishing 17th out of 39 teams. Stanziano led the Gaels with a 44th place finish, and achieved her second fastest ever 6k time. Followed by Sophomore Kaylee Barnes and Senior Molly Dreher, the Gaels had three athletes finish within the top 100 racers for the first time in program history. “Our team is really strong this year so it will be exciting to build on in the future.” Field remarked.
Gaels make the AP Top 25 preseason rank
Left to right: Gaels' Alex Ducas, Aidan Mahaney, and Mitchell Saxen (Image c/o Tod Fierner)
By Val Hill
With Gaels men’s basketball season only 6 days away, the team is currently standing at 23 in the preseason AP Top 25 Poll. Last preseason, the Gaels weren’t ranked in the preseason AP Poll. And after last year's outstanding performance, the pressure is on for another exceptional season. This is not only for the freshman but also for Alex Ducas, who has come back for a fifth year. It will be up to Ducas to lead the team, along withAidan Mahaney. Both players truly stepped up to lead the Gaels to one of their most successful seasons.
Mahaney was an amazing leader last season, rallying the team behind him. No matter the game, win or lose, Mahaney was there making sure the team was flowing as one. The question remains, will the Gaels be able to outdo themselves yet again this season?
This season the Gaels might be able to finally claim first place in both the regular season as well as the WCC tournament.
The Gaels first game this season will be on November 6th against California State University, Stanislaus.This game might set the tone for the season. Only time will tell for the Gaels, and prove whether the team is back and better than ever.
The San Francisco 49ers start off the season well, but will the losses stay consistent?
(Image c/o Bruce Kluckhohn)
By Val Hill
The 49ers have had a fairly good season so far, only having two losses under their belt. As of their latest loss, the team sits at a five out of seven score. One of them being the Cleveland Browns, with a final score of 19-17. And the second consecutive loss to the Minnesota Vikings, with a final score of 22-17. The team seems to be off to a better start than last season, which had their earliest loss at game three to the Philadelphia Eagles.
However, this season’s preseason games against the Los Angeles Raider, Denver Broncos and the Los Angeles Chargers ended in a 1-3. With the only win being against the Broncos. So the potential that the 49ers have this season appears to be much different and one of not backing down. The team’s greatest asset right now is their star quarterback Brock Purdy, however it’s speculated that he has been on the decline this season so far. This can be concerning for how early in the season it is. Nonetheless, the team is on a losing streak and even a two game streak can make a difference this early in the season. So it will be critical for the team to pull through with a win, as to not continue the losing streak.
We will see if the team continues on a losing streak for the next game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday October 29th. This year is showing to be more consistent right off the bat, and may prove to be a great season for the 49ers.
Updates coming to the 2028 Olympics
(Image c/o Jose Auto Parts)
By Oliver Collins
The Paris Olympics are starting to gain momentum as teams across the world look to take home the gold in their respective events. 203 different countries will be competing for their respective countries, making it the highest in game history. The Olympics, which have been a staple point for unification in sports, is going on 212 years, and what better way to evolve than inserting a new variety of sports to the event list.
There have been many intriguing new sports added to the 2028 Olympic list, creating a new dream for young athletes around the world. Flag football, lacrosse, cricket, squash and baseball all bring the possibility of a new framework, adding to the tradition of including the world’s most watched sports. American football is one that has brought some hesitancy but also a lot of positive perspectives. CBS analyst Caitlyn O’Kane reported on the adage of an iconic American sport, “Football is one of the most popular sports in the U.S. Flag football, a safer variation of the sport often played by children, has never been included in the Olympics – until now. About 20 million people participate in flag football at the elite level.” It’s clear that America is welcoming the addition of the sport with open arms, but will the rest of the world be so quick to show its support?
One of the biggest benefits of new events being added to the Games, will bring generational dreams to a new variety of athletes. One of the most important parts of the sports process is evolution. Bringing these sports to the Olympics could truly change the future of the Games for decades to come. It’s just a matter of whether or not the fans will support it. One thing is clear, new event athletes are as hyped as you would expect them to be. Kelly Amonte Hiller, women’s lacrosse coach at Northwestern University in Illinois, was quick to share her reaction to the news, “There’s so many people that have dreamed about this,” she said of her initial reaction. “You always dream of being an Olympian, even if your sport isn’t in the Olympics.” - Amonte Hiller didn’t have to describe the players’ reactions. They were posted for all to see. While we do have almost 5 years to wait until the Olympics come to the States, all the better for these events’ athletes to prepare for the opportunity of their lifetimes.
(Image c/o ESPN)
By Oliver Collins
Year in and year out millions of “football experts” try their luck in fantasy football drafts across the United States. Finding a fantasy team owner who isn’t confident that “this year is going to be my year” or “my drafting skills are unparalleled” is hard to come by.
If you don’t know anything about fantasy football, here’s a quick rundown. It all starts with the draft. Each team picks the players they think will do well throughout the football season. Whether they get the most running back red zone touches or they’re a quarterback favorite receiver helps determine who to draft. Other factors like week-week opponent matchups, individual player highlights, or simply whether the player plays for their favorite team matter as well. High caliber players like Saquon Barkley or Travis Kelce usually go first, followed by lesser known athletes like Justin Herbert or TJ Hockenson.
Each team needs a quarterback (ie. Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert), two running backs (ie. Saquon Barkley, Christian Mccafferey, Josh Jacobs), two wide receivers (ie. Jamar Chase, Justin Jefferson, Davante Adams) and a tight end (ie. Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews). Depending on how well a player does determines the amount of fantasy points awarded to the players team, whoever has more points at the end of the week, wins.
Competition is high, and there is always plenty of trash talk across the league. Who’s got the most bench depth, who’s got the most potential, which team is projected to have the most points. Fantasy football gets extremely competitive, so be ready to talk your talk because once the season starts, it’s all out war. Trades being made for key players left and right, injuries to stars like Nick Chubb and Cooper Kupp. That’s the fun of fantasy football, you never know what’s going to happen.
By Derik Eaquinto
American Journalism Student
Madison Sciba '24,