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Spokane’s Nikkola wins overall clay target championship

Sun., May 19, 2013

Connor Nikkola, 16, of Spokane defeated 113 shooters from nearly 20 schools across the state to win the overall title at the Washington State Clay Target Program Championship this month at shooting ranges near Spokane. Out of 100 targets in each of three events, Nikkola, a sophomore at Reardan High School, scored 95 in sporting clays, 86 in skeet and 97 in trap.  The top female shooter was Abbi Denmark of Spokane, scoring 72, 92 and 88. The high overall team award went to Colville, followed by Seattle ST, Wenatchee Valley, Spokane and Reardan.The events were held at Double Barrel Ranch Sporting Clays and Spokane Gun Club.

College scene

An individual national champion, players of the year and school record-setters highlight the Whitworth University senior award class of 2013. 

Carter Comito, a two-time NCAA Division III discus champion who has a combined five NCAA All-America awards, and Emily Guthrie, a golf and basketball standout who appeared in her third NCAA Division III national golf tournament last week, were selected to receive the 2013 Dennis Spurlock Award.

Pirate Senior Athletes of the Year are Jamie Brunner, an infielder/designated player in softball, who was second-team All-Northwest Conference and led the Pirates in five offensive categories; Wade Gebbers, a basketball point guard who battled through injuries to earn first-team All-NWC, first-team All-West Region ( and second-team All-West Region (NABC) and led the Pirates to the NCAA Division III Sweet 16 for the fourth straight year; and Kyle Novak, the men’s soccer goalkeeper who was the 2012 NWC Defensive Player of the Year after leading the conference and being ranked among the top five in the nation at the NCAA Division III level in goals-against average (0.29). He had 12 shutouts in 17 matches. 

The awards were voted on by the Whitworth athletics department. The Spurlock Award, in memory of the former Pirates All-America quarterback (1958-61), honors student-athletes who model the characteristics of the award’s namesake, specifically modesty, poise, and leadership, as well as excellence in athletics performance.

Comito is a five-time Northwest Conference champion in the discus and shot put and earned back-to-back NWC Field Athlete of the Meet trophies as a junior and senior.  This season he broke the Whitworth indoor records for shot put and discus and shattered the school outdoor discus record with a throw of 203 feet, 5 inches, which moved him into second place on the all-time Division III top-10 list.

Guthrie finished 12th at the national tournament last week after finishing 20th at the national tournament as a junior. As a freshman, she helped lead the Pirates to their only team appearance at the women’s NCAA Championships.  In basketball, Guthrie finished her career as Whitworth’s all-time leader in 3-point shooting.

•Whitworth senior Carter Comito and track and field coach Toby Schwarz were honored by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association as its West Region Field Athlete of the Year and Coach of the Year for the 2013 NCAA Division III outdoor track & field season.

 Comito broke his own Whitworth school records in both the shot put and the discus this season and leads the Division III discus by nearly 20 feet. His career-best throw of 203 feet, 5 inches is the fourth longest among all three NCAA divisions. 

Schwarz, in his 17th year as the Pirates’ head coach, earned his second West Region honor after claiming the title for the indoor season as well. Schwarz’s men’s team won its fourth consecutive NWC title, scoring a Whitworth-best 287 points, and is ranked fourth in the nation by the USTFCCCA and first in the West Region. 


Chessy Thomas of Spokane (Lewis and Clark), a junior at Tennessee, shot a 6-under par 66 in the second round of the NCAA Division I East Regional golf championships in Auburn, Ala., and tied for eighth with a 3-under 213, but missed a spot in the NCAA Championships in a sudden-death playoff.

Tennessee finished ninth, missing an NCAA-qualifying spot by three strokes, leaving Thomas and two others, including teammate Erica Popson, to vie for an at-large berth in the national championships in a sudden-death playoff. Popson claimed the berth with a birdie on the first playoff hole.

• Whitworth football coach John Tully announced the selection of the Pirates’ captains for the 2013 season – offensive lineman Liam Brown, a captain for a second straight season; defensive lineman Aaron Cochran; defensive lineman Brodrick Hirai; and defensive back Fernando Noriega. All are seniors.

Whitworth will open the season on Sept. 7 at home against College of St. Scholastica.

Andjela Kankaras of Washington State has been named the Northwest Region recipient of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship, as well as the Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award.

From Niksic, Montenegro, Kankaras ended her Cougars career last month tied for fifth on the school’s all-time list of singles victories with 87. Playing mainly at the No. 3 position, Kankaras posted a 21-16 record this season, her third season with 20 or more wins.

Kankaras is the fourth Cougar to win the Cissie Leary Award, which goes to a collegiate women’s tennis player who displays dedication and commitment to her team, and the second recipient of the Arthur Ashe Award, which is presented to players who have exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and leadership as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements.

Mary Rogers, a Western Washington senior from Shadle Park, was selected for a third straight year to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference track and field academic all-star team with a 3.85 grade-point average in Spanish.

Katie Dick, a rower and member of Washington State’s varsity eight, was named to the Capital One Academic All-District Women’s At-Large Team selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America, for a second straight year. The native of Victoria, B.C., has a 3.98 GPA and graduated with a degree in philosophy this month.

The at-large team includes participants in 13 “minor sports.” Those selected to the first team are eligible for Academic All-America honors.

Levin Guillermo, a men’s tennis player at Gonzaga, was named to the 2013 Capital One Academic All-District 8 team for the third time by College Sports Information Directors of America. Guillermo, who graduated last weekend, wrapped up his collegiate career with a 3.96 GPA in civil engineering.

Jason Nokes, a Western Washington senior from Shadle Park, placed fourth in a 1-2-3-4 Vikings finish in the 400 meters, timing 49.42 seconds, and was a member of the school’s victorious 4x400 men’s relay team at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships last weekend.


Letters of intent

Whitworth football: Griffin Hare, Gonzaga Prep, running back, first-team All-Greater Spokane League, led GSL in rushing with 1,438 yards, averaging 9-plus yards per carry, and scored 14 touchdowns; Trevor Cooper, West Valley, linebacker, co-Defensive Player of the Year in Great Northern League and selected to East-West All-Star Classic; Derek Smith, Chewelah, quarterback and wide receiver, Offensive Player of the Year in Northeast A League and selected for East-West Classic; Trevor Woodall, Lake City, offensive lineman, first-team All-Inland Empire League and first-team All-North Idaho.

• North Idaho College volleyball: Madalyn Seidl, Castle Rock, Wash., 5-foot-9 setter, two-time all-state, league MVP as a senior; Kennedy Chadwick, Hamilton High School, Corvallis, Mont., 5-4 libero, two-time all-state and two-time all-state academic.

• Graceland (Iowa) football: Colin Deyarmin, University, 5-foot-11 outside linebacker, selected as a running back on the 3A all-state and All-Greater Spokane League teams. Graceland coach Jeff Douglas said Deyarmin “brings tremendous work ethic and academic background (four-year honor society and Presidential Award) to our team.”


 Seven members of Spokane’s Inland Empire Baseball Umpires Association have been assigned by the Washington Officials Association to work Washington Interscholastic Activities Association state-level high school postseason tournaments.

Those selected: Kevin Gawenit, 4A finals; Jeff Golding, 4A regional; Paul Sorensen, 3A regional; Chris Elam, 2A regional; Shelmarie Moe, 2B regional; Clark Cosby, 2B regional; and Dennis Romo, 1B regional.

Additionally, IEBUA president Garth Benham was named the umpire supervisor for the 1B/2B finals in Ellensburg.

• Six members of the Spokane Softball Umpires Association were named to work WIAA state high school finals tournaments.

Selected were Bill Elston and Jake Perry, 4A; Bob Francis, 3A; Carl Durr, 2A; Scott Hofstee, 1A; and Thomas Kirkpatrick, 1B/2B.

Kathleen Burns from SSUA was selected as the umpire-in-chief for the 4A tournament at the Merkel Complex in Spokane.


The Spokane Soccer Club Shadow girls 96-A team led a strong showing by the organization at the Washington Youth Soccer Championship Cup and Challenge Cup matches last weekend at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.

The Shadow G96-A team won the Championship Cup in its division with a 2-1 victory over Eastside FC Girls 96 Red from Preston and will represent the state at the 2013 Region IV Far West Championships in Honolulu June 17-23.

Team players are Alaina Bates, Callie Best, Madison Boyd, Emma Chappell, Hadyn Gabbert, Jacqueline Hamby, Kelcie Hedge, Ashlyn Juul, Ashtin Martinson, Maegan O’Neill, Annaliese Paukert, Caitlin Prothe, Sharaya Roberts, Annie Shellerud, Madyson Shockman, Chloe Sholtz and Whitney Weaver. The team is coached by George Hageage and managed by Heidi O’Neill.

Three other SSC Shadow girls teams placed second in Washington Youth Soccer’s top division, the Championship Cup - G97-A, coached by Abbas Faridnia; G95-A, coached by Kevin Moon; and G94-Philp, coached by Dan Philp. The G95-A and G94-A teams also advance to 2013 Region IV Championships in Honolulu.

Finishing second in Challenge Cup finals were G97-B, coached by Julio Morales and G96-B, coached by Brandon Schreiner, which advances to 2013 Region IV President’s Cup in Boise.

Sports editor: Joe Palmquist

Assistant sports editor: David Oriard

Outdoors editor: Rich Landers

Copy editors: Tyler Grippi, Michael Stephens

Reporters: Jim Allen, Christian Caple, Chris Derrick, Greg Lee, Jim Meehan


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