Blank leads Spokane swim team at nationals

Nick Blank from Lake City High School in Coeur d’Alene had four top-six finishes to lead the showing by 12 members of the Spokane Area Swim Team at the 2007 YMCA National Swimming Championships in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., April 2-5.

The Spokane team placed ninth with 295 points out of 215 teams.

Blank was third in the 100-yard backstroke in 51.01 seconds, fourth in the 200 individual medley (1:52.13), sixth in the 400 IM (4:03.50) and fourth in the 200 back (1:51.04). He also swam in four relays.

Other finishes by SAST members:

Jenni Dole (Mead), ninth 100 back, 56.78; ninth 50 freestyle, 24.09; seventh 100 butterfly, 56.93; sixth 200 back, 2:01.05. Lee Nelson (University), ninth 500 free, 4:37.50; 13th 200 free, 1:42.90; eighth 400 IM, 4:05.18. Alec Petrie (Ferris), sixth 200 breaststroke, 2:06.75. Mason Shaw (Lake City), eighth 200 IM, 1:55.19, ninth 400 IM 4:04.21. (Ninth-place finishers were first in the B finals.)

Relays: 10th girls 200 medley, 1:48.73 (Dole; Lauren Malthaner, Northwest Christian; Brittney Moore, Mead; Maggie Thompson, Lewis and Clark); Ninth boys 200 medley, 1:36.26 (Blank, Petrie, Shaw, Nelson); 12th men’s 400 free, 3;11.28 (Nelson; Blank; Shaw; Josh Goldberg, Ferris); Seventh girls 800 free (Dole; Thompson; Emri Moore, Northwood; B. Moore); 10th boys 800 free (Nelson, Blank, Shaw, Petrie), 7:00.12; 11th girls 200 free (Dole; Thompson; Mamie Lash, Post Falls; B. Moore), 1:36.69; 11th girls 400 medley, 3:56.04 (Dole, Malthaner, B. Moore, Thompson); fourth boys 400 medley (Blank, Petrie, Shaw, Nelson), 3:29.26.

Kari Tridle of Coeur d’ Alene competed in the 100 and 200 breaststroke.


University High School is still seeking former Titans players for its alumni game April 28.

Confirmed players represent classes back to 1979. The three head coaches from the 45 years since U-Hi opened, Dan Iyall, Don Ressa and Scott Sutherland, will be present.

There will be a home run derby at 10 a.m. followed by the game, a kids’ hit-and-run event and barbecue, said Titan Baseball Alumni Association president Bill Towey.

A fee of $20 will go toward a T-shirt and to support the organization.

Info: Towey, 939-5203, or


Central Valley will hold its first alumni tournament May 4-5 and coach Rick Sloan is still looking for a few good men.

“I have between 60 and 80 confirmations … and 10 teams in, so it should be a good little tournament,” said Sloan.

Graduates from 1963 to the present have indicated they’ll play. Games will be played at CV and a reception will follow at the Spokane Teacher’s Credit Union in Spokane Valley.

Info: Sloan, 228-5149 or 226-2106, or on the Internet at

Shad Strerath, a 5-foot-11 guard from Lewiston, has signed a letter of intent with Montana Tech, Orediggers coach Nate Larson announced.

Strerath, a second-team All-Inland Empire League selection, averaged 14 points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals a game for the 17-7 Bengals, who played in the 5A state tournament.

College scene

Golfers earned the Community Colleges of Spokane’s scholar-athlete of the month awards for March.

The female winner is Sadie Green, a sophomore from Okanogan, Wash., who collected medalist honors in three competitions during the month – against North Idaho and Columbia Basin and in the Treasure Valley Invitational. Her competitive scoring average for the month was 78.

Jason Azzarito from Kettle Falls is the male winner. Azzarito, a freshman and former high school state champion, was co-medalist at the nine-team Lewis-Clark State Invitational at the Clarkston Country Club, opening with a par 72 and following with a 78 in high winds.

Peter Birdwell, a Cal Lutheran freshman from Mead, took a 1-0 record, six saves and a 1.69 earned run average into the weekend pitching for the Kingsmen baseball team.

Birdwell, who collected a win and a save as Cal Lutheran swept a three-game series from Claremont-Mudd-Scripps a week earlier, has 24 strikeouts against 12 walks and 16 hits in 21 1/3 innings.

•Notre Dame freshman Annie Brophy from Gonzaga Prep had the first top-10 finish of her career with the Irish women’s golf team, shooting 7-over-par 151 for a ninth-place finish in the Indiana Invitational last week.

•For the second consecutive year, Washington State has been bestowed with the Diversity in Athletics Award presented by the Laboratory for Diversity in Sport at Texas A&M.

WSU repeated its honor of being recognized in the overall excellence in diversity and Title IX compliance categories. The award recognizes NCAA Division I-A athletic departments that excel in diversity.

WSU is one of 10 schools honored in the overall category, and one of nine in the Title IX category.

Cross country

Taylor Gregory of Gonzaga Prep, who placed 26th in the Junior Olympic National Championships as a senior, has signed a letter of intent to run for the first cross country team at Carroll College in Helena.


Power-play goals by Chris Waggoner with 6:42 to play and Dan Holden with 3:14 remaining rallied the Spokane Grinders to a 2-1 victory over Red Lion-211 of Spokane in the championship game of the 26th Northwest Classic adult tournament last Sunday at Eagles Ice-A-Rena.

Darin Talotti scored for Red Lion-211.

The win gave the Grinders back-to-back championships in the Easter weekend event that drew 40 teams from as far away as Calgary, Alberta.


Amanda Furrer of Spokane punched her ticket for more international competition at World Cup and selection matches March 31-April 7 in Fort Benning, Ga.

Furrer, 16, a sophomore at Mead High School, finished in the middle of the pack of international competitors at the U.S. World Cup match in both air rifle and small bore. But more important, she shot scores – 393 out of 400 in air rifle and 576 and 569 in small bore – that qualified her for the Olympic Games if she’s selected to represent the U.S.

Before the selection match, in which members of the U.S. Olympic program went out to qualify for the Pan Am Games, the coach of the U.S. team and a U.S. gold medalist pointed out a small issue with the front sight on Furrer’s rifle. She made the ever-so-slight adjustment, and over the next three days shot world-class scores of 579, 580 and 584 to win the whole thing, beating two Olympians in the process.

It qualified her for the Pan Am Games in Rio de Janeiro, and also a World Cup match in Munich. She had earlier qualified for World Cups in the Czech Republic and Australia.

Elisha LaFond, 18, of Spokane, a senior at Shadle Park, whose strength is in air rifle, placed 12th in the small bore selection match with scores of 549, 576 and 561.


Valerie Reynolds of Spokane continued her strong showing this winter at the USA Snowboarding Association Championships and the Junior World Championships.

At the USASA event in Tahoe, Calif., Reynolds, 16, who attends Gonzaga Prep and competes for the Schweitzer Alpine Racing Association Freeride Team, was first combined overall (alpine and freestyle) and first in alpine (slalom and giant slalom).

In the Junior Worlds in Austria, she placed 32nd in snowboardcross, ninth in big air and 20th in the slalom in a field of 60.


Gonzaga University has signed three players to letters of intent, men’s coach Einar Thorarinsson announced.

Slated to join the Bulldogs in the fall are Nick Love, a forward/ midfielder from Kaneohe, Hawaii, a two-time all-state selection and the state player of the year as a junior who had 28 goals and 14 assists his last two seasons; Andrew Hickman, a goalkeeper from Tigard, Ore., second-team all-state and first-team all-conference as a senior with six shutouts and a 0.375 goals-against average; and Philippe Garre, a midfielder/forward from Scottsdale, Ariz., who had 21 goals as a senior and was the Desert Valley Region player of the year and an all-state selection.

•Two much-decorated players have signed letters of intent to play for the Eastern Washington women’s team.

Michaela Florio is a defender from Anchorage, Alaska, who was first-team all-state as a senior. She led her high school to the state championship in 2006 and was named player of the game in the championship contest.

Lauryn Koelzer is a forward from Connell, Wash., who played the last two seasons at Walla Walla Community College. In 2003, she was the Washington 2A player of the year as Connell won the state championship. At Walla Walla, she scored 60 goals in two seasons and was the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges most valuable player in 2005 and an NWAACC all-star in 2006.


The Inland Northwest Sports Hall of Fame is beginning deliberations for this fall’s biennial induction luncheon and is accepting public nominations through April 30.

Persons wishing to nominate an athlete, coach or sports contributor should send a biography to Hall of Fame chairman Jon Heimbigner or secretary Deana McClenny.

Heimbigner’s mailing address is Rock Pointe Tower, Suite 52, 316 W. Boone, 99201. McClenny’s is Spokane Regional Sports Commission, 801 W. Riverside, Suite 510, 99201.

The Hall of Fame, an offshoot of the SRSC, was formed in 1960 to honor persons who have brought national and regional recognition to the area and is housed in the Spokane Arena.

Info: McClenny, 456-5812.

•Tickets are on sale for the 26th annual Orland Killin Dinner, Dance & Auction at Eastern Washington University on May 5.

The event starts with a social hour and auction at 4:30 p.m. with dinner at 6:15 and dancing. Cost is $75 with reserved tables that seat 10 for $675.

Info: 359-2463.

Prior to the dinner, the EWU women’s soccer team will have its annual alumni game at noon, the volleyball team will scrimmage at 1 p.m. and the Red-White spring football game takes place at 2, all on campus.

The event raises funds for the Orland Killin Academic Scholarship Fund as well as athletic scholarships.

The weekend also includes the 20th annual EWU football coaches golf tournament May 4 at 12:30 p.m. at Indian Canyon. Cost is $125. Entry forms are available on the EWU athletics website at

•The Rogers softball team is hosting a fundraising sports card/collectibles show in the school cafeteria May 12 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tables can be purchased for $25 or two for $40. Admission is $1.

Info: Cris Coffield, 467-0718 or

•Reservations are being accepted for the University of Idaho’s spring sports banquet May 4 that honors student-athletes in men’s and women’s basketball, golf, swimming, tennis and cheerleading.

A no-host social begins at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 6:30 at the University Inn-Best Western in Moscow. Cost is $20 per person.

RSVP: (208) 885-0259 or e-mail

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