The Spokane Splash U-18 volleyball team finished third in a 48-team field in the 18 National division of the USA Junior Olympic Girls’ Volleyball Championships, which concluded Wednesday at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“It was an up-and-down season up to that point, and the team came together really well in this tournament,” said Splash head coach Wade Benson, also the head coach at Eastern Washington University. “It was great to watch them play.”
The Splash went 6-4 overall in the tournament, including a victory over tournament favorite Mizuno M1 of Minnesota, then won a quarterfinal match before falling to eventual champion Austin Mizuno of Texas 27-25, 25-17 in the Gold Bracket semifinal.
The Splash finished third in their first-round pool, going 3-2, to advance to a second three-team pool, where they split their two matches.
By finishing second in their second-round pool, the Splash moved to a challenge bracket match against Mizuno M1, which they won 25-18, 25-22.
“They’re a very, very renowned team,” Benson said of Mizuno. “That really was a defining match for us … a phenomenal effort from our kids.”
Splash players Corina Beyer (Timberlake High School) and Nicole Solum (Mead High School) earned All-Tournament Team honors. Beyer, a senior at Timberlake, will play for Washington State – and against Benson – in 2006.
“We’ll be seeing her, no question,” Benson said. “She’s gonna have a good career there.”
Also stepping up for the Splash was Mara Ryan of Mead, who moved from her usual libero spot to the left side and had a solid tournament.
“If we didn’t have her steadiness,” Benson said, “we wouldn’t have went anywhere in this tournament.
•Six other Spokane teams, including two more from the Spokane Splash club, also made the trip to Salt Lake City. The Splash U-16 (3-6) and U-15 (2-7) teams finished 31st and 23rd in their respective National divisions. Players Volleyball (5-4) finished 27th in the 18 National division, Sideout NBC (3-7) finished 41st in the 17 National, Spokane Storm (1-9) finished 46th in the 16 National and Spokane Sky Tsunami (0-9) finished 47th in the 13 National.
The Spokane Stars girls basketball winning streak ended after 65 straight wins with a third-place finish in the End of the Trail Invitational, which concluded Friday in Oregon City, Ore.
The tournament boasted 192 teams, including 96 elite clubs, in three 32-team pools.
The Stars won six straight games, including the championship in pool play, to put them into a three-team playoff for the overall championship. The Georgia Metros, whom the Stars had beaten 67-57 in an exhibition opener, ended the Stars’ unbeaten run with a 78-67 victory.
“We were behind most of the game,” said coach Ron Adams. “They hit 10 3-point baskets against us, all but one in the first half. They got us pretty good.”
Angie Bjorklund scored 35 points in the loss, one day after scoring 28 in a National Division Blue Bracket win over All-Ohio Black.
“There is no question in my mind that she was the best player in this tournament,” Adams said of Bjorklund. “I think Angie went to another dimension in this tournament.”
In pool play the Stars won 55-32 over East Bay Xplosion, 47-33 over Kalakaua of Hawaii, 62-40 over Alabama Roadrunners, 56-40 over the GA/Lina 76ers and 58-46 over All-Ohio Black to win the National Division Blue Bracket.
Georgia Metros won the Green Bracket, and eventual tourney champ Boo Williams of Virginia won the Black Bracket and a bye into the title game.
•Two first-year North Idaho Elite AAU girls basketball teams went 4-1 recently at the Oregon City Shootout in Oregon City, Ore.
The 2008 girls placed sixth out of 30 teams. Deanna Dotts of Coeur d’Alene High and Heather Arnone of Post Falls High earned all-tournament honors. The 2009 girls took fifth out of 22 teams. Katy Baker of Lake City and Amy Warbrick of Coeur d’Alene were all-tournament selections.
North Idaho College coach Chris Carlson coached the 2009 girls and his wife, Carey, coached the 2008 squad.
The Spokane Junior Rifle team will travel to Bisley, England, for the Great Britain International Junior Championship Match.
The team of Amanda Furrer, Eric McNett, Elisha LaFond, Lauren Furrer, Rena Hopkins and Keith McBeth won the National Guard/Civilian Marksmanship Program National Team Air Rifle Championships, held June 27-30 at Western Kentucky University, to earn the opportunity to represent the U.S. at the international match.
Ken VanSickle of the Spokane Bandits had an amazing day at the plate in senior American Legion play Wednesday at the Sapa Johnsrud Memorial Tournament in Whitefish, Mont.
VanSickle hit for the cycle in the Bandits’ first game, a 12-11 loss to Redmond, then responded with a 2-for-3 performance in a 7-0 win over Helena to finish the day 6 for 7. Chris Bozo added a homer in the Redmond loss, his fifth of the season.
The Bandits won the tournament, defeating the Billings Royals 11-2 in Saturday’s championship game.
The Bandits, 12-3 in league play, also lead the Spokane senior standings entering the final week of the regular season, which ends Sunday. They lead the Spokane Cannons by two games and the Spokane Northstars by 3 1/2 .
In other senior legion play during the week, Pullman Patriots pitcher Kyle Schultheis threw 64 pitches without a strikeout, but allowed just one hit in a 12-0, five-inning win over the Northstars in the first half of a Tuesday doubleheader. Cory Clifton broke up the no-hitter for the Northstars with a single with two outs in the fourth inning. … The Patriots also took the nightcap 4-3 when Mitch Riddle led off the bottom of the sixth with a double and J.T. Levenseller hit an RBI triple. … On Wednesday, the Northstars had better luck against the Cannons, winning 3-2. Eric Kelly took the first pitch of the game from Cannons pitcher Bret Riggin out of the park for an early Northstars lead.
•In junior American Legion play, Matt Walsh and Kip Johnson continued to hit the ball very well last week for second-place Mead.
On Tuesday, Walsh had four hits, including an RBI triple in the third inning, as Mead defeated Colville 12-4. Johnson added three hits, including a two-run double in the fifth.
The hitting continued on Wednesday in a 13-3 win over Deer Park in five innings. Johnson again had three hits and four RBIs, most of which came on a bases-loaded double, and Walsh had two hits.
Mt. Spokane holds the North division lead with a record of 10-1. Mead (11-4), North Central (10-4), Newport (10-4) and Gonzaga Prep (10-5) are all separated by one game as the season enters its final week.
In the South, University (12-1) holds a one-game lead over Lewis and Clark (11-2) and a 2 1/2 -game lead over Ferris. But the real race could be for the sixth and final playoff spot from the division. West Valley and Shadle Park (both 6-10) are tied for sixth, and Central Valley (5-8) is just a half-game ahead of them.
In other junior action from the week, Steven Winkler hit a two-run triple in the bottom of the fifth to lead Shadle Park to a 6-5 win over Cheney on Wednesday. … Nick Collison had five of Newport’s 23 hits in a 27-1 win over St. Michael’s/St. George’s on Tuesday. … Matt Wedde of Cheney had four hits against Whitman County in a 13-7 win on Tuesday. … Cody Herman and Charlie Hatley of Whitman County each had four hits in different games of a Sunday doubleheader with East Valley. Whitman County lost the opener 7-6 and won the nightcap 6-4. … Brandon Hare‘s baserunning gave Gonzaga Prep a 6-5 win over North Central in nine innings on Thursday. Hare ran from second base to third on a passed ball by the catcher, then scored the winning run after a throw to third went astray. … K.C. Truman of Colville struck out 11 on his way to a four-hitter, as Colville defeated Rogers 5-1 on Saturday.
Two members of the Spokane Angels 18U team earned an opportunity to play against the New Zealand national team as part of the Colorado Sparkler tournament, held June 25-July 1 in Denver.
Whitney McDaniel of Central Valley and Ashley Powell of Big Sky (Mont.) were selected to team which plays New Zealand as a result of their play in the tournament all-star game, which also featured Jackie Purser (Mt. Spokane), Jami Taxter (Rogers), Laura Christianson (Gonzaga Prep) and Brittani Clifford (Big Sky).
In the tournament itself, the Angels went 4-3-1 and finished 17th in the Gold division of the 148-team tournament.
Also playing for the Angels were: Rian Stiles (Central Valley), Stacy Hamer (Gonzaga Prep), Kristen Walker (Lewis and Clark) and Kayla Devlin (Big Sky).
Melissa Main of Lewis and Clark High School has earned an invitation to the Youth World Championship, held in Beijing, China, from August 25-28. Main earned the invitation and a spot on the U.S. team by placing fourth in the Female B category at the USA Climbing Nationals in Boston July 1-3.
Three Spokane area riders have qualified for next month’s 23rd annual AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., the premier amateur motocross event in the nation.
Brad Nauditt, 14, a sophomore at Mt. Spokane High School, won an area qualifier in Minnesota, then won the regional qualifier in Spokane on a broken collarbone. He qualified for the 85cc Modified class in his 14-15 age group on his Yamaha YZ85.
Also qualifying for the event are brothers Austin, 11, and Trevor Krum, 8, of Greenacres Elementary School. The two KTM riders already have extensive racing resumes, and both are the defending Idaho State champions in their classes. Austin won the 65cc title, while Trevor won the 50cc title.
•Nauditt, the reigning Continental Motosport Club (CMC) Golden State champion in the 85cc Stock and Mod 14-15 classes, also qualified for the National Motosport Association (NMA) Grand National Championships which will be run July 24-30 in Ponca City, Okla. Nauditt qualified for the 85cc Stock 14-16, Modified 14-16 and Open 12-16 classes, as well as his Super Mini (105cc) 12-16 and 125cc two-stroke 12-15 classes.
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