Basketball players and cheerleaders celebrate their success at UF
By: Olivia Wile
Senior Day ended up being a great day both in and out of Croy Gymnasium.
From the sunshine and high of 68 degrees outside, to the celebration of Findlay’s senior cheerleaders and basketball players inside, Senior Day was a success.
The women’s basketball team kicked things off at 1 p.m. on Saturday against the Ashland Eagles. Although the score was not what Senior Karli Bonar was hoping for, she is still extremely thankful for her time on the UF women’s basketball team.
“The friendships I made while playing here will forever be a part of me and I really cherish those friendships,” Bonar says. I will miss playing of course, but I will miss my teammates and the time spent with them the most.
Later in the day at 3 p.m., the men’s basketball team rolled to an 85-65 win against Ashland. Although the win was impressive, the Oilers will lose two key senior leaders to graduation this year, in Tyler Stern-Tucker and Ricardo Smith.
Head Coach Charlie Ernst had nothing but positive things to say about the two contributors explaining that both players have, “stuck with it,” and helped the program by contributing over the past four years. “Kids these days are looking for instant gratification,” Ernst said. But in regards to Stern-Tucker and Smith, “Both got here the hard way. [They] overcame adversity both personal and on the court.”
Coach Ernst commended both Stern-Tucker and Smith for their dedication. “They have been a staple for our team,” he said, “They made a commitment to our team and what was best for the team.”
Forward Tyler Stern-Tucker explains what playing basketball at the University of Findlay has meant to him, “UF has offered me so many blessings between friendships and opportunities to interact with great people in this community.” Stern-Tucker is excited about the opportunities after graduation, such as pursing another degree or attending grad school.
In regards to what he will miss the most about playing basketball for the Oilers, Smith says he’ll miss two things more than anything else. “I’ll miss my best friends and college basketball,” he said. While he explained his post-graduation plans, Smith said that they are, “still in the works, but will be something good.”
Alongside the seniors from both the men and women’s basketball teams, there were three senior cheerleaders who cherished the day as well: Maykala Craft, Taylor Smith, and Alisa Wireman. All three have been cheering for most of their lives, and have made great memories while cheering for the Oilers.
Senior Taylor Smith had bittersweet emotions. “It makes me sad to see a chapter closing in my life but at the same time I’m so excited for my future and to see where that takes me,” she said. Despite the difficulty of managing a college sport and academics at the end of the day she said “there’s nothing like representing your school in your uniform and doing what you love to do with a smile on your face in front of a big crowd with your best friends.”
Senior Makalya Craft added her own special memories as well, saying that “there really is nothing like Oiler Nation. Every game I talk to the same older couple, and we talk about the future, the outcome of the games, etc.”
The women’s season ended this weekend while the men still have one more regular season game, and will play their first tournament game at home on Feb. 28.
Saturday was a successful day in celebrating the seniors in all three programs, and the University of Findlay wishes the best for this group of athletes.