Archive for April 2008
Meant to post this yesterday, but it slipped my mind. We’ve noted here before that Gonzaga is participating in the Old Spice Classic this Thanksgiving.
The rest of the eight-team field has been finalized. The only change from what was already known is that Memphis bowed out, replaced by Georgetown.
University of Idaho running back Ryan Lumbala was the ninth player chosen in the Canadian Football League draft.
Click the tab below to read more from this release from Idaho.
In track and field, this is/was the final week of the regular season for everyone but the 2A schools, who don’t have a pre-state regional.
Read the extended entry for notes and area leaders.
How the West was won in 2008 will always be remembered as one of the great hockey playoff series in Spokane Chiefs history.
It very well could have been one of the most disappointing, but the Chiefs did it. Now it’s on to the Western Hockey League final.
Let’s just skip the small talk. You can read all about it in my unedited game story below.
For the first time in its history, the Eastern Washington men’s tennis team has earned a berth in the NCAA tournament. And 80 miles south, the Washington State women celebrated Tuesday as they were selected as one of 64 teams in the women’s tennis tournament.
The Eagles will take on Pac-10 champion UCLA on May 10 at the Bruins’ home court in Los Angeles. The Eastern Washington men (18-6, 7-1 Big Sky) are in the middle of the best season in school history.
In the Big Sky championship match Sunday, the Eagles secured their tournament appearance with a 4-3 victory over Sacramento State. In the Bruins, they will face the fifth-consecutive Pac-10 champions and the No. 3 team in the nation.
The Cougars women, ranked 42nd nationally, are one of seven Pac-10 teams in the tournament. In the first round, Washington State will face No. 27 Louisiana State on May 9 in Berkeley, Calif.
This season, Washington State played to 16-9 overall, but registered a 2-6 record in Pac-10 play. In the powerhouse conference are No. 4 Stanford, No. 7 UCLA, No. 8 California, No. 10 USC, No. 21 Arizona State and No. 38 Washington - which the Cougars beat 4-3 on April 19.
Also in the Cougars’ first- and second-round bracket is California and Army. Rounding out Eastern Washington’s bracket are Washington and Wisconsin. The men’s and women’s NCAA tennis finals are May 15 to 20 in Tulsa, Okla.
EWU men’s basketball coach Kirk Earlywine has announced the signing of a high-scoring junior college forward to a national letter of intent.
You can read more here.
Idaho went north of the border to hire Jamie Oei, the head coach at Douglas College, as an assistant coach. Oei joins Mike Burns and Mike Score on new head coach Don Verlin’s staff.
Oei coached Bol Kong, a talented guard who is high on Gonzaga’s recruiting list, but the Sudan native is still working through the immigration paperwork process.
UPDATE: There are probably a dozen of these early Top 25s out there, but I haven’t seen one with GU ranked this high (No. 6). More here.
Three games remain in Greater Spokane League baseball and there still is unfinished business to attend to.
Tomorrow’s University at Mead (both 15-2) outcome may not officially determine a league champion, but it will assure the winner a first-round District 8 bye and spot in the double-elimination portion of the six-team tournament making the game important on two fronts.
UPDATED 4:20 p.m.
Sorry I wasn’t able to update until this afternoon. I spent all morning with the WSU rowing team at the Snake River.
The saga of Cougars defensive tackle Andy Roof continues. I like to call it the rise and fall and rise and fall of Andy Roof.
A brief story is after the jump.
The Spokane Chiefs are one win away from advancing to the Western Hockey League championship. If they can defeat the Tri-City Americans at the Arena tomorrow night, they will meet the Lethbridge Hurricanes in a best-of-7 series with a berth to the Memorial Cup on the line.
Read on for my unedited story that is running in tomorrow’s section.
Ex-University of Idaho linebacker David Vobora has a new nickname: Mr Irrelevant. He probably hopes it doesn’t last long.
Vobora became the 33rd player to become known as
‘Mr. Irrelevant,’ the moniker given to the last player chosen in the NFL draft. St. Louis, coached by ex-Vandals quarterback and assistant coach Scott Linehan, selected Vobora with the 252nd and last pick on Sunday afternoon.
Two of the last six Mr. Irrelevants are still on NFL rosters _ Ryan Hoag in 2003 and Kevin McMahan in 2006.
Check back later for more.
No. 2-ranked Spokane remained unbeaten with a 42-40 victory over division rival Central Valley on Saturday night at Selland Arena in Fresno.
Spokane improved to 4-0 overall, 3-0 within the West Division. The Shock are 3-0 on the road. No. 10 Central Valley, 0-5 vs. Spokane all time, dropped to 2-2.
We hired a correspondent in Fresno and we’ll post a game story, probably in the a.m. Meanwhile, click below for more details on the Shock’s latest victory.
As promised, I’ve posted an unedited version of the story that will appear in Sunday’s S-R on Eastern Washington’s annual Red-White football game below.
The Spokane Chiefs are in Kennewick tonight for Game 5 of their Western Conference championship series against the Tri-City Americans. The game - set to begin at 7:35 p.m. - will be televised live on Comcast channel 78. Here’s the game advance I wrote, which ran in today’s section.
Any thoughts to share?
There were some interesting comments from bloggers about the changes forthcoming in the Greater Spokane League-Big Nine regional playoffs, prompting this forum to provide for more discussion and some thoughts:
With the Big Nine League eventually having 12 4A schools and the Greater Spokane League dropping to six, the route to state tournaments became more taxing.
Columbia Basin schools, who earlier this year forced three from Kennewick to opt up to 4A now have used the numbers clout to sway regional tournaments to their advantage. With two-thirds of the 4A schools in Eastern Washington, the Big Nine will take three-quarters of the regional spots one year and five-eighths of them the next, limiting the GSL to two and three teams in an eight-team format.
The Spokane Shock have changed the starting time for their May 31st contest.
There is nothing major on the slate this morning, but I have run down a few interesting tidbits for your Thursday morning – water-cooler-type news if you will. So get ready to dazzle your friends with your knowledge of Cougar athletics.
As some of you noticed - and so kindly commented on - I didn’t post last night after the game. My computer has been super flaky on me lately, so I apologize about this being my first opportunity to get online today - trust me, I was as frustrated as you all were that I couldn’t post right away.
Here’s last night’s gamer from the Spokane Chiefs 3-2 overtime loss as the Tri-City Americans evened the Western Conference final 2-2. I am working on a feature for Saturday’s paper, and as you may have heard, the rest of the Western Conference championship - which is now essentially a best-of-3 series - will be televised on Comcast channel 78.
Game 5 from Kennewick is Saturday night at 7:30, Game 6 from Spokane is on Monday night at 7 and Tuesday’s Game 7, if necessary, is also at p.m. Tickets for Monday’s game are currently on sale.
North Central’s baseball team has been something of an enigma to coach Scott Harmon this year, a veteran team that hasn’t had much luck.
Tuesday’s 6-1 loss to Mt. Spokane in a game between GSL 3A schools vying for a top seed in sub-regional was another source of his frustration.
The Shock are back at work after a bye week. They take on Central Valley on Saturday in Fresno.
Click below for an unedited notebook that will run in Thursday’s S-R. And come back within the half hour for some other notes that didn’t make the article.
Larry Eustachy spent three seasons as the head coach at Idaho and five at Utah State before getting national attention with a Top 10 team at Iowa State. And then his world came crashing down. He resigned after photographs were published showing him at a college party. Today, the Southern Mississippi coach talks to kids about drinking. Click here for a link to a story in the Kansas City Star.
Spring football wrapped up at the University of Idaho last Friday with the annual Silver and Gold game.
It’s time to clean out the spring football notebook. Click the tab below to find some notes that I couldn’t get into my spring game story.
UPDATE: Idaho coach Robb Akey decided Monday that sophomore quarterback Nathan Enderle will continue as the starter and sophomore Quin Ashley will be the backup.
Akey said throughout spring drills that he wouldn’t shuttle the quarterbacks in and out. He wanted a defined starter and backup.
The Western Hockey League announced earlier today that Ed Chynoweth, WHL chairman of the board and president of the Kootenay Ice, passed away this morning in Calgary after a long battle with cancer. He was 66.
Here’s the link to the release, and I will have reactions later.
Monday afternoon we gathered together the six Division I Greater Spokane pitching arms for a photo shoot.
Seniors Andrew Kittredge (Ferris-UW), Rusty Shellhorn (CV-WSU), Trevor Shull (CV-Centenary)and Tyler Olson (U-Hi-Gonzaga U), plus junior Gonzaga futures Billy Moon (U-Hi) and Jacob Partridge (Rogers)will be the subjects of a future story in The Spokesman-Review.
They’ve been frequent topics on this blog speculating upon their futures. In a week or two they get their chance to comment. Will all of them pitch in college? Don’t be surprised if several become position players. Will they be drafted? Kittredge is drawing interest.
Those of you who were at the Arena tonight to take in the Spokane Chiefs 2-0 shutout of the Tri-City Americans certainly know it was an interesting night for a couple of different reasons, beginning with the fires.
Yes, a literal fire - an electrical short of some kind on the scoreboard that, once contained, left a smokey haze at the top of the Arena for most of the game. But also, the figurative fire that was lit under the Chiefs, who played a much more physical and passionate game then the Americans. After back-to-back, double-overtime 1-0 finishes in the first two games, this was a nice change of pace. And by that, I mean it had a pace that wasn’t glacial. And more than one goal was scored.
We’ll see if Spokane, now up 2-1 in the best-of-7 Western Conference championship series, can use tonight’s victory as momentum tomorrow night in Game 4 at the Arena. Until then, my unedited gamer and a link is below.
UPDATED 3:50 p.m.
Only good news has come out of Pullman City Hall ever since I got the bad-news phone call this morning that Glenn Johnson was hospitalized. Below is my unedited brief that should appear in Tuesday’s newspaper.
Also, I’ve got a few Web-only comments after the story.
PULLMAN - Pullman mayor and “voice of the Cougars” Glenn Johnson was in stable condition Monday after being hospitalized for stroke-like symptoms.
Johnson’s blood pressure spiked Sunday evening, landing him at Pullman Regional Hospital’s intensive care unit. He had some short-term memory loss but regained it overnight, said John Sherman, Pullman’s city supervisor.
Saturday’s practice-field football scrimmage at Eastern Washington University proved enlightening, but only to a minor degree.
With so many front-line players missing spring drills, it is hard to get a handle on just how good the Eagles will be come fall.
Here is my video to go along with Vince’s update on the Martin Stadium renovation.
Get the Flash Player to see this video.
The University of Idaho football team concluded spring practice with its Silver and Gold game Friday.
Here’s a link to my story.
Double-overtime hockey games are a beauty to watch. They are great except for one thing - deadline.
So when Ondrej Roman scored 49 seconds into double-overtime on Friday night to give the Chiefs a series-opening 1-0 victory over the Tri-City Americans, the fans weren’t the only happy ones.
My unedited game story is below, and I’ll have a follow-up tomorrow.
The signing of Ferris High’s DeAngelo Casto to a letter of intent yesterday may have been the biggest news coming out of Pullman, but it wasn’t the only piece of information.
Yes, there is more. Read on.
University held on for a 5-4 win over Central Valley to open a two-game lead on the Bears and stand within half a game of Mead in the three-team race for that second automatic regional softball berth. Next Thursday the Titans host the Panthers in a game that could decide it.
Both teams still must play Shadle Park and Mead also has games against CV and second-place North Central. The Bears host NC tomorrow.
As promised, here is the unedited version of the story I wrote for Friday’s S-R on DeAngelo Casto’s decision to attend WSU. There are a couple notes on the bottom.
Just a quick spin around the Pac-10 as there’s very little on the Cougar front.
When I took in the Lewis and Clark-Gonzaga Prep baseball game Tuesday and interviewed Donnie Santos after the game it was like talking to the spitting image of his dad, Don, (Shadle Park ‘85).
Donnie walked with the bases loaded in the 10th inning for the Tigers’ second win. Ferris scored 10 runs over the final two innings of a 14-3 win at East Valley in today’s makeup to remain two games up on CV in third.
Here’s our first North Idaho track and field honor roll. Click the tab below to see it. I will post it weekly on Wednesdays through May 28.
The Idaho Statesman newspaper has posted its first state track and field honor roll. The top 10 marks, including all classifications, are listed in each event.
You can link to it here.
OK, so Jim Meehan posted a quick brief about this earlier, but beyond the jump is my unedited article about WSU’s hiring of a new volleyball coach.
Information is added because I went to the press conference and talked to the coach, some players and Jim Sterk.
Gonzaga’s Jeremy Pargo has declared himself eligible for the NBA draft, but won’t hire an agent.
It’s believed Pargo will return to Gonzaga for his senior season if he doesn’t project as a first-round pick.
For an unedited article that will run in Wednesday’s S-R, click on extended entry below. Here’s a release from GU.
April 15 - Tax Day - and it snowed in the Coeur d’Alene area.
In fact, the weather turned so foul today that several events have been postponed/canceled.
The annual Christina Finney Co-Ed Relays at Post Falls High School was canceled 30 minutes after a brief blizzard covered the track. It was the second attempt to hold the meet. It was originally scheduled for March 27, but poor weather forced postponement. The meet will not be rescheduled, Post Falls coach Wade Quesnell said.
Just to think two days ago it was nearly 70 degrees!
Washington State has a new volleyball coach.
South Dakota State head coach Andrew Palileo will take over Cougars’ program. An announcement is expected later today.
Read a story I filed for the Web site below in extended entry.
As they say, anything can happen - and usually does - when it comes to playoff hockey.
The Vancouver Giants are now behind them and their longstanding rivals ahead of them as the Spokane Chiefs topped the Giants 3-1 to eliminate Vancouver from the Western Hockey League playoffs and advance to the Western Conference final.
Their opponent: the Tri-City Americans. Let the games begin! My unedited game story is below, and as always, share your thoughts on the game and the upcoming series.
Ex-Shadle Park and Gonzaga U player Darin Holcomb is still flourishing in the minor league’s.
Here’s a story from South Carolina:
Just call them the road warriors.
Owners of the Western Hockey League’s top road record in the regular season, the Spokane Chiefs picked up 2 of 3 victories on the road last week to take a 3-2 lead in their Western Conference semifinal with the Vancouver Giants.
Spokane can close out the best-of-7 series Monday night when the clubs meet for Game 6 at the Spokane Arena at 7 p.m. If Vancouver forces a seventh game it will be Tuesday night at the Arena at 7.
Here’s the link to my game story from last night.
This just might be the last in-depth post for a while, what with spring football over and basketball news winding down. So this morning we’ll catch you up on the accessible news concerning Saturday’s final football practice, we’ll take you to Stillwater, Oklahoma, home of the Cougars’ first opponent this fall, and we’ll add some hoop information.
All that and more on the link. Read on.
UPDATED 3:45 p.m.
Here I am, just as Vince promised, with a story from Saturday’s final spring practice. There are plenty of notes at the bottom — which will probably end up being mostly Web-only — so be sure to read all the way to the end.
How’s that for a cheap gimmick? Just kidding. The story is after the jump.
My unedited gamer from the Spokane Chiefs 3-1 loss to the Vancouver Giants tonight is below.
Former Lake City boys basketball coach Jim Winger will return to the position he occupied the first nine years of the school’s existence.
Click the tab below to read my unedited story that will appear in Saturday’s newspaper.
Believe it or not, 21 strikeouts in 7 innings is not the national record, although Rusty now apparantly has a Washington state record.
Craig Smith from The Seattle Times researched this for me and discovered a 20 in Washington and 24 (in 7 innings, ah what a wild pitch or passed ball can do) in the country.
We’re moving on to football here - after what happened on yesterday’s post I think we need to. As Nick Eaton said in an e-mail, if our numbers ever go down, all we have to do mention DeAngelo Casto and they will go right back up. Too bad. I thought yesterday’s thread got a little too personal at times and I hope that’s not a sign of things to come.
Anyhow, read on for a lot of WSU football news and an announcement about the future here at the S-R.
The WSU kickers had a share of the spotlight at practice Thursday, wrapping up the afternoon with some 48- and 49-yard field goals — that each of the three hit dead-center.
Beyond the jump is my story from practice about the kickers and how that oh-so-important element of special teams is shaping up this spring.
I thought I should update y’all on the fact football coach Paul Wulff has decided to cancel Saturday’s scheduled Spring Game, traditionally a WSU Mom’s Weekend spectacle, and make it a short practice. In a news release, he cited injuries and a lack of depth as his reasoning.
“As we continue to implement new offensive and defensive schemes, the coaching staff and I felt it was best to take advantage of the final practice as another teaching opportunity,” Wulff said in the release. “We are banged up at a few positions, particularly running back, where we have only one healthy body. Everyone would like to have another day to scrimmage, but at this point we are better off using that time for practice.”
The practice will include 45 minutes of offense versus defense, but it will be non-tackling. The practice will last from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., after which players will be available for autographs.
Central Valley lefty Rusty Shellhorn’s stock continues to soar as he works his way up the pecking order of Greater Spokane League pitching standouts.
Wednesday he struck out all 21 batters in CV’s 7-inning 5-0 victory over North Central. In all my years following high school sports it’s something I’ve never witnessed and am fairly sure has never happened in GSL history or in the Spokane area for that matter. I’ve read about it nationally, but it’s exceptionally rare.
Shellhorn had a no-hitter going until giving up a double and infield hit in the seventh. Witness accounts said he’d walked one up til then, although the report we received at the S-R said he was perfect.
At any rate, Shellhorn’s effort was spectacular.
Click the tab below to link to some news regarding former North Idaho prep athletes.
COUGARS • UPDATED:12:10 P.M.; 6:05 P.M.
We have some thoughts, believe it or not, about yesterday’s announcement by Washington State that Tony Bennett was staying in Pullman. Along with that, we have an interesting mix of links. Read on.
Football practice Tuesday moved into the indoor practice facility due to two inches of hail that accumulated on the ground here. Just spring in Pullman.
Read on for my unedited story from practice, about the Cougars’ running backs, and how there aren’t many right now.
Talk that the weather might actually warm up (by the weekend) has to be encouraging to spring sports athletes. But even with the bum weather this spring, Mead found a way to get through, winning all seven of its games over two weeks between rain and snow-outs.
That leaves the Panthers tied for first place with University at 7-1 and Ferris two games back in the loss column.
GSL track teams are back in action this week as the league season gets underway in earnest. So far in boys competition, 3A athletes have the upper hand in 8 of 10 running events, and 4A athletes rule in 6 of 7 field events.
Some big news on the football recruiting front, and it has nothing to do with a high school senior. James Montgomery, a highly recruited running back when he came out of Cordova High in the Sacramento area, has decided to transfer from Cal to WSU.
Montgomery was in Pullman last weekend and gave the staff an verbal commitment according to the Sacramento Bee. He was one of the fastest running backs in the Pac-10 last season as far as I could tell.
Gonzaga recruit Andy Poling scored 10 points to go with three blocks and three steals, but the 6-foot-11 center and his Oregon teammates lost to Washington 108-105 in the Northwest Shootout. In the girls game, GU-bound Kayla Standish had eight points and eight rebounds to Washington to a 100-77 victory.
Also, Bill Grier discusses his decision to remain at San Diego.
I’m officially moving out of the Spokane Arena. I’ve been here all weekend - two Spokane Chiefs games broken up by the Spokane Shock’s home opener.
My final assignment of the weekend - tonight’s game between the Spokane Chiefs and Vancouver Giants in Western Hockey League playoff action. My unedited gamer on the Chiefs’ 4-1 victory (which evened the best-of-7 Western Conference semifinal series 1-1) is below.
You have to figure either the Stockton Lightning are that bad, or the Spokane Shock are that good.
None of the Shock players or coaches were willing to admit that, of course, and it probably lies somewhere in between.
Either way, the Shock left no confusion as to which team was better on Saturday night in their third straight arenafootball2 home-opening victory – a 70-12 stomping of Stockton (1-1) in front of a sold-out Arena crowd.
The offense led the way in Idaho’s second spring scrimmage Saturday.
Click the tab below to read more of my unedited story that will be published Sunday.
Future Zags Andy Poling and Kayla Standish will be in action at the Northwest Shootout on Sunday in Portland.
Below you will find my undedited game story from the Spokane Chiefs 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Giants on Friday night in the opening game of their best-of-7 Western Conference semifinal series.
UPDATE (12:56 a.m.): Columnist John Blanchette joined me at the game, and wrote this column. The Vancouver Province and Vancouver Sun also sent writers down. Here’s a link to Steve Ewen’s (of The Province) blog and the story isn’t posted as I sign off for the night, but here’s the Vancouver Sun’s online sports section for your perusal. I assume there will be a link available tomorrow.
As promised, I’ve posted a story from this afternoon’s opening day of spring football practice at Eastern Washington University.
You can read it in its unedited form by clicking on the extended entry line below. I have also included some additional quotes from first-year head coach Beau Baldwin and sophomore quarterback Matt Nichols below the story.
First-year Eastern Washington head football coach Beau Baldwin will put his Eagles through their first spring practice this afternoon.
You can read an advance story on the belated start of spring practice here. I will be checking out the first practice and hope to post a story on what transpires here later this evening.
On the jump is a revised unedited version of the Tony Bennett contract story that will run in tomorrow’s S-R. Included is comment from athletic director Jim Sterk, who returned a call this evening.
I’ve filed a story for tomorrow’s S-R concerning Tony Bennett’s contract status with WSU. I’m posting the unedited version here, but it could change if I receive call backs. Read on for what’s available now.
Below is an unedited version of my story that is running tomorrow on the Spokane Chiefs-Vancouver Giants Western Hockey League Western Conference semifinal series, which begins tomorrow night at the Arena.
Below is an early version of my feature on Spokane Shock defensive back Sergio Gilliam, which is running in tomorrow’s section.
Any thoughts as the Shock’s home opener on Saturday night at the Arena fast approaches?
A short post with a short piece I wrote for tomorrow’s S-R on Derrick Low and Robbie Cowgill heading to San Antonio. Read on.
COUGARS • UPDATED: 10:40 A.M.
With the Final Four this weekend, the basketball offices around Washington State should be pretty quiet. Head coach Tony Bennett is headed to San Antonio to speak at a seminar, the assistant coaches attend the coaches’ convention and Derrick Low will be down there to compete in the 3-point challenge. Even athletic director Jim Sterk will be at college basketball’s premier event.
Which leaves little in the way of news available. But I did find a couple of things.
You know, there’s plenty of basketball news out there. But I’ll go ahead and give you some football news.
After the jump is my unedited story from Tuesday’s spring practice. I figured I’d write about a few of the guys you’ve never heard of. Well, not heard much about….
After three interceptions in his arenafootball2 league debut, Spokane Shock defensive back Sergio Gilliam was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Week, the league announced. Here’s a link to the release.
I sat down with Gilliam today at the Shock practice facility for a feature I’m working on for Thursday’s paper, so stay tuned. The Shock (1-0) open the home portion of their 2008 regular season schedule Saturday at the Arena.
Spent last week basking in the California sun watching my daughter pitch for Central Washington in the annual softball Mizuno Tournament of Champions in Turlock while weather continued to play havoc with Greater Spokane League sports.
That means I get to see some interesting games on tap, although today’s University-Central Valley contest was postponed. The two league unbeatens are scheduled for a Wednesday doubleheader beginning at CV at 1 p.m. The Titans also travel to Ferris on Thursday.
Other games of interest are two between North Central and Mead, Thursday’s CV-Mead makeup and a Friday 1 p.m. game between the home-standing Panthers and Rogers.
Hopefully today is an indication that spring has finally sprung.
Learned two things Monday night while sitting in the stands with Kim and watching the women’s regional title game in the Arena: There sure is a lot of traveling that doesn’t get whistled; and there are a lot of guys on press row going bald (one less because I wasn’t there).
Talk about opening one’s mind to the possibilities of a night off. We head to the Arena, watch women’s hoop and go home for some cold Chinese food. On or off the beat, sports writers lead a glamorous lifestyle. And, I forgot, I fielded a call during the game with the momentous news that no other school besides Indiana has asked for permission to talk with Tony Bennett. Yes, glamorous.