The North Texas men's basketball team is once again the Conference USA West Division champion and played in the National Invitation Tournament for the first time in the program's history.
With two games still remaining in the regular season, the Mean Green defeated Louisiana Tech to clinch the division title in front of a home crowd of 8,522, the fourth-largest in Super Pit history. In early March, the team won a program-record 15th straight game with a victory over UTSA in San Antonio.
The men made it to the semifinals of the Conference USA Tournament and then, as a No. 2 seed, to the NIT. At the Super Pit, they defeated Texas State University in the first round of the NIT before losing a heartbreaker in overtime to Virginia, 71-69, in the second round. The team finished with 25 wins, a single season program record, and had the nation's best scoring defense.
Meanwhile, the women's team clinched a No. 2 seed in the C-USA tournament, making it to the semifinals, and played in the opening round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament, losing to Tulsa at the Super Pit.
This season is the first time the women's basketball program has won back-to-back double-digit conference games in consecutive seasons since 2000-01 and 2001-02. They set a program record for most consecutive C-USA victories with six. And they finished the season with 17 wins overall (conference and nonconference), the fifth-most in program history.
"I'm proud of how our team battled all season long," says head coach Jalie Mitchell. "They never gave up."
Junior Ashley Peters was named the Conference USA Pitcher of the Week in late February. She earned the honor for the first time in her career after pitching in all four games in the Tracy Beard College Classic and recording a 3-0 record and one save.
Through four games in Melissa, Peters finished with 15.0 innings pitched, 2 runs allowed, 1 earned run allowed, 13 strikeouts, no walks and a 0.60 earned run average. In the last game of the classic, she pitched a complete game against Abilene Christian, did not allow an earned run and set a new single-game career high of seven strikeouts.
This season's team welcomed back five returners from last year including three all-conference honorees -- Lucie Devier, Maria Ponomareva and Saki Oyama -- along with three talented and experienced newcomers who make UNT one of the deepest teams in Conference USA as they are in pursuit of another league title.
So far this season, the team has won matches against universities including ACU, Arkansas State, NMSU, MTSU, USF and Marshall.
That's how many feet North Texas track and field athlete Chris Samaniego, a senior from Monahans, surpassed in the weight throw to take down the previous two records he already had set this season. His first record-breaking throw took place at the J.D. Martin Invitational in Norman, where he recorded a mark of 61-00.25 (18.60m) to take down the school record set by John Garrish in 2013.
Sliding headfirst on an ice track at speeds up to 90 mph with only a small sled to carry her is Kellie Delka's ('11) idea of pure joy.
For more than a decade, she's been traveling across the world to compete in the sliding sport of skeleton. Most recently, the UNT alumna's global success earned her the title of Olympian, a distinction she's dreamed of since childhood.
"It still doesn't feel real to me," says Delka, who represented Puerto Rico as its sole competitor in women's skeleton for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
While at UNT, Delka was a pole vaulter and part of the North Texas Cheerleaders. At that point, she had never heard of skeleton, and might not have even entered the sport if it weren't for fellow UNT alum and Olympic bobsledder Johnny Quinn ('06).
As she was finishing up her bachelor's degree in kinesiology, Delka came across a social media post from Quinn about a combine in McKinney hosted by the USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation. She showed up to give it a try and was catapulted toward a path in skeleton.
The sport can be mentally and physically taxing, but lots of fun, Delka says.
"I'm an adrenaline junkie and a fighter," Delka says. "I'm the crazy one who will take tons of runs in one day."