Ben Stone, a seventh-grader at Sacajawea Middle School, is taking his golf game to Augusta National during the Masters.
Stone, 13, is one of 10 finalists in the boys 12-13-year-old age group, and 80 finalists overall in eight divisions, for the national Drive Chip & Putt Championship that will be held April 5, the Sunday before the start of the Masters in Augusta, Georgia.
A third-generation golfer, following in the divot marks of his grandfather and father, Stone had to compete in three qualifying competitions during the 2014 golfing season to reach the 2015 finals.
Although he plays a lot of his golf at The Creek at Qualchan, which was the site of the Spokane-area qualifier, Ben and his family were in Montana on vacation when the first-round event was held here. So he teed it up in Missoula, winning his age division and a spot in a subregional in Stanwood, Washington.
He won there also, advancing to the West Coast Regional in Park City, Utah, along with a trio who had qualified at Qualchan and moved to a sub-regional in Lacey, Washington.
Ben was the only one of the quartet to win an age division in Park City and the national finals spot that goes with it.
He will be joined in Augusta by his family, including his father, John, the longtime former general manager at Spokane Country Club, who will be in charge of an area assigned to one of the Masters’ major corporate sponsors.
Also advancing from the Lacey subregional were Stephen Paul of Osburn, Idaho, who won the boys 7-9 division there; Tyler Pride of Nine Mile Falls, second in boys 10-11; and Zane Mularski of Spokane, second in boys 12-13.
Area golfers who won age groups at Qualchan: Girls – Anna Davis, Chewelah, 7-9, and Kami Twining, Liberty Lake, 12-13. Boys – William Davis, Chewelah, 7-9; Pride; and Hayden Gamache, Spokane, 12-13.
Basketball players Hayley Hodgins and Venky Jois are the Eastern Washington athletics department Scholar-Athletes of the Month for March based on their performances in February.
Hodgins, a junior from Pasco, has a 3.8 grade-point average while pursuing a master’s degree in public health administration after getting her bachelor’s in the same program last June. She helped lead the Eagles women into the postseason by scoring in double figures in every game in February, including games of 27 points and two of 22. Jois, a junior from Boronia, Australia, has a 3.5 GPA as a pre-med major. He helped lead the EWU men into the NCAA tournament with a couple of 20-point-plus efforts, including one of 27.
Darin Vaughan and Russell Grove from Twin Lakes Village Golf Club were the top finishers among area golfers in the Pacific Northwest Golf Association Pro-Assistant Championship last week at the Meridian Valley Country Club in Kent, Washington. They tied for ninth at 139, 13 strokes behind the winners, to earn $787.50.
High school scene
The Greater Spokane League, in conjunction with the National Electrical Contractors Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, announced its 14th annual scholar-athlete award winners for the winter sports season.
One male and one female who demonstrate superior balance in academics, athletics and community involvement, are chosen from each of the 10 GSL schools.
The winter winners by school:
Central Valley – Madison Hovren, basketball; Colton Peha, wrestling. Ferris – Bria Bowton, basketball; Grant Linnell, basketball. Gonzaga Prep – Oona Harrington, basketball; Jonathon Yake, wrestling. Lewis and Clark – Michaela Kay, basketball; Bryce Westfall, basketball. Mead – Hanna Bjerkestrand, gymnastics and cheer; Blake Ellingsen, basketball.
Mt. Spokane – Isabella Allard, basketball; Nate Goodman, wrestling. North Central – Megan Dean, basketball; Drew Williams, basketball. Rogers – Makala Peterson, basketball; Edward Smith, wrestling. Shadle Park – Shyla Carr, basketball; Bronson Leinweber, basketball. University – Emma Kennedy, basketball; Mitch Rhodes, basketball.
Derek Ryan, the Spokane native who won the scoring championship in the Swedish Hockey League, received the Golden Helmet as the league’s most valuable player as voted by the players.
“When it is the players who vote, it feels very special,” the Shadle Park graduate is quoted as saying in a release announcing the award. “I see this as an acknowledgement and it is a great honor to receive the Golden Helmet.”
“Derek is an example in all ways,” said Örebro coach Kent Johansson. “He works hard and is skilful in his play. (He) has an extremely good sense for the play, is fearless and never loses speed going forward.”
Ryan, 28, the first Örebro player to win the Golden Helmet after scoring 60 points, including a league-leading 45 assists, in 55 games, and his teammates trail the Växjö Lakers 3-2 in a best-of-seven quarterfinal playoff series. one assist.
Brother and sister Andrew and Lauren Potyk led the showing by five members of the Spokane Nordic Ski Association at the United States Ski and Snowboard Association’s 2015 Cross Country Junior Nationals that wound up a week-long run last week at Soda Springs, California. Andrew finished 57th out of 90 in the men’s U18 10K classic race, 60th in the 4,910-meter freestyle and 67th in the 1,300-meter sprint. Lauren was 46th in the female U16 freestyle, 47th in her 5K classic race and 54th in the sprint out of 70 entries. Both attend Ferris. The other Spokane Nordic skiers, all in the U18 men’s division: Ian McCarthy, Lewis and Clark, 61st freestyle, 70th classic and 73rd sprint; Daniel Korus, LC, 65th sprint, 79th classic and 84th freestyle; and Brett Ford, St. George’s, 74th sprint and 79th freestyle. He did not finish the classic race. All also competed on Pacific Northwest Ski Association relay teams.
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