Another elite offensive performance last weekend sent Fort Lewis College junior forward Riley Farris to his second Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference weekly award of the season.
Farris scored 26 points in each game, as FLC beat Regis and Colorado Christian at home last Friday and Saturday, respectively. He had 11 rebounds against Regis is the 80-79 win and had six in Saturday’s win against Colorado Christian.
For his effort, Farris was named the RMAC’s Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season.
“If you’re an All-American, you’re an All-American. He can just do it,” FLC head coach Bob Pietrack said. “He can do inside, he can do outside. He’s a really good passer. He makes clutch shots, makes his free throws, uses his left, uses his right. At this level, and Riley knows how I feel, you’re just not gonna find a better offensive center. You’re just not; there’s none out there.”
Farris, as he has all season, deferred credit to his teammates for spacing the floor and giving him opportunities to score. The 6-foot-9 redshirt junior power forward from Hutto, Texas, has been a one-man wrecking crew at times this season. He has scored 20 or more points in all but one of FLC’s games and has two 30-plus-point games.
At 24.9 points per game, Farris leads the conference and is seventh in all of NCAA Division II men’s basketball in scoring. He’s made 58.9% of his shots, 47% from 3-point range and 84.5% of his foul shots.
Farris and the Skyhawks (13-6, 7-6 RMAC) will be tested mightily at 7:30 p.m. Friday at home against No. 19 Dixie State (16-3, 11-2 RMAC).
SoftballThe Fort Lewis College softball team will hope for a successful season under first-year head coach Ashley Reeves. After the Skyhawks returned most of its lineup from last season, Reeves believes the Skyhawks can turn some heads.
Fort Lewis had two players honored for preseason accolades, as redshirt junior pitcher Mandy Lorenson and senior outfielder Taylor Hollestelle were named to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Players to Watch list.
Fort Lewis was picked to finish 11th out of 13 teams in the RMAC preseason coaches poll. Dixie State University edged Colorado Mesa for the top spot in the poll, as the Trailblazers picked up 133 points and seven of 13 first-place votes. Mesa was second with 131 points and three first-place votes, and Colorado Christian was projected to finish third with 125 points and two first-place votes. Metropolitan State University-Denver was fourth with 102, and Colorado School of Mines rounded out the top five with 99 points.
Fort Lewis received 31 points and was just ahead of 12th-place Black Hills State (29). FLC was well behind 10th-place Chadron State with 58 points and Adams State with 61. New Mexico Highlands was projected to finish last with 21 points.
Last season, Mesa won the RMAC regular season championship, while the Trailblazers won the RMAC Tournament.
The Skyhawks went 16-37 and finished 12th last year. Fort Lewis will return a veteran-heavy lineup.
“In the couple of weeks since preseason began, I’ve been impressed with what Taylor and Mandy have done so far,” Reeves said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what Taylor can do offensively, and she’s going to bounce around for us a little bit defensively as well and play a couple of different positions for us. She’s a senior and has been around, and I think she can help lead us to the next level. Mandy redshirted last year and is now healthy, and I’m super excited to get her back on the mound and hopefully lead our team to a winning season.”
Lorenson had her 2019 season cut short after two games. She went 1-0 with a 1.74 earned-run average and had 11 strikeouts. In 2018, she went 7-6 with a 4.20 ERA and struck out 84 in 80 innings of work.
Hollestelle had a big 2019 for FLC, as she recorded a .354 batting average with eight home runs and 35 RBIs. She was second on the team with 104 total bases and led FLC with seven stolen bases.
“Everyone is working really hard and we’re really coming together,” Reeves said. “We were projected to finish near the bottom, but I don’t see why we can’t go out and surprise some teams.”
The Skyhawks will open the season at 4 p.m. Feb. 6 against Western Washington at the 2020 Courtyard Classic in St. George, Utah.
LacrosseThe Fort Lewis College women’s lacrosse team had two players – junior attacker Abby Escandon and senior goalie Daris Wienk – named to the RMAC Preseason Players to Watch list, and the Skyhawks were projected to finish near the bottom of the RMAC.
FLC was picked to finish sixth out of eight teams, as the Skyhawks earned 23 points and were behind fifth-place Westminster (27) and fourth-place Colorado State University-Pueblo (29). Oklahoma Baptist (14) was picked seventh, and Adams State (7) was picked last.
Regis University received seven out of eight first-place votes and picked up 49 points to top the list. Colorado Mesa was second with 43 points and one first-place vote, and the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs was picked third with 32 points.
Last season, Fort Lewis went 2-8 and was last in the conference.
Now under first-year head coach Ashley Travis, the Skyhwawks have 13 freshmen, which matches the largest class in program history. In addition to a promising class, Travis will have a solid group of returning players, including Escandon and Wienk.
Escandon had a good sophomore season for the team, as she led the Skyhawks with a team-high 12 assists and 11 goals.
Wienk was excellent in goal for the Skyhawks, as she recorded 93 saves and had a .465 save percentage, both of which were career highs. Her 93 saves were the third best in a single season in program history.
The Skyhawks will open the season March 8 against Johnson & Wales University at the Aurora Sports Park in Denver.