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Saturday, August 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Locally: Gonzaga basketball players Kyle Wiltjer, Shelby Cheslek honored for academics

From staff ,news services

Seniors Kyle Wiltjer and Shelby Cheslek have given Gonzaga University distinct recognition.

GU is one of just three schools to place at least one representative on both the men’s and women’s basketball scholar-athlete teams selected by the DI-AAA Athletics Directors Association.

Wiltjer, a senior from Portland, was named the DI-AAA ADA Men’s Scholar Athlete of the Year and Cheslek, a senior from Pullman, was named to the Women’s Scholar Athlete Team.

American and Florida Gulf Coast universities are the other schools on the short list.

Wiltjer has had success both on and off the floor. He was named an Associated Press All-America honorable mention after totaling the fourth-most single-season points in school history (736) and leading the Bulldogs in scoring with a 20.4 average. Wiltjer also was All-WCC first team and NABC All-District first team.

For his work in the classroom, he was a Senior CLASS All-American and West Coast Conference All-Academic first team with a 3.76 grade-point average while working on his Master of Business Administration degree.

Cheslek set a school record in career blocked shots with 213 and her career rebounding total, 932, is second. A WCC All-Academic first-team selection, Cheslek is working on her Master of Business Administration degree and has a 3.62 cumulative GPA. She was an All-WCC honorable mention and her 1.97 blocks per game ranked first in the WCC and her 47.7 field-goal percentage ranked sixth.

College scene

Kristen Hansen, a Western Washington senior from Mead, had another strong outing for the Vikings in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women’s Golf Championships last weekend at The Coeur d’Alene Resort.

Hansen, the GNAC Freshman of the Year and Golfer of the Year her first two years and conference champion as a junior, wound up her conference campaign tying for 10th at 16-over-par 158 (77-81) as the Vikings finished second to put themselves in line for an NCAA Division II regional invitation.

    Hailey Johnson, a Washington State junior from Genesee, Idaho, was named to the Pac-12 Conference All-Academic first team in women’s swimming for the second year in a row. She has a 3.83 GPA in biology in the WSU honors college.

    J.T. Konrad and Deja Svastisalee, Western Washington sophomores from Spokane, turned in top-10 school marks during The Beach Invitational track and field meet last weekend in Long Beach, California.

  • Konrad (Mt. Spokane) cleared 15 feet, 6 1/4 inches in the pole vault, the eighth-best mark in school history. Svastisalee (North Central) ran the ninth-fasted women’s 400-meter hurdles in school history, 1 minute, 3.44 seconds.
  • Washington State football and men’s basketball teams improved their four-year NCAA Academic Progress Rate average, preventing academic sanctions, while the Cougars’ women’s golf, tennis and cross country teams and men’s golf each had perfect scores of 1,000.

The APR score is used by the NCAA to determine the academic performance of athletes. Teams must maintain a score of at least 930 out of 1,000 to avoid academic sanctions. The men’s basketball team has a four-year score of 949 while the football team has seen its score improve every year under coach Mike Leach and is now 965.


Steve Prugh of Manito Country Club and Craig Schuh of Deer Park Golf Club both shot 140 to figure in a five-way tie for third and lead the showing by area professionals in the Pacific Northwest PGA Senior Players’ Championship last week at Wine Valley in Walla Walla.

Billy Bomar of Prairie Falls in Post Falls tied for 12th at 144 and Mike DeLong of The Coeur d’Alene Resort and Mark Gardner of The Creek at Qualchan had 148s.

Professional Rob Gibbons of Arrowhead GC in Mollala, Oregon, won in a four-person playoff.

Bob Christensen of the Coeur d’Alene Resort was the area’s top amateur, tying for sixth with a 143 net.

In the team event, DeLong and Christensen, along with Prugh and his partner, Dick Shafer of Columbia Edgewater, were in a seven-way tie for eighth at 134 to lead the area twosomes.

High school scene

Sebastian Hyta of Freeman, a 4.0 student and State 1A wrestling champion, has been selected by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association as one of two recipients of its fourth annual Smart Choices Scholarship.

It comes with a $5,000 award, sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Washington and Lew Schwab Tires. Rachel Dorr from Squalicum of Bellingham is the female winner. They will be honored during the WIAA Hall of Fame induction luncheon May 4 at the Renton Events Center.

Additionally, four male and four female finalists selected from the list of more than 600 applicants will receive $1,000 scholarships. The group includes Collin Cremers of St. George’s, Peyton Van Pevenage of Davenport and Haley McRae of Republic.

Hyda earned 12 varsity letters, winning the State 1A 195-pound wrestling championship as a senior, helped the Scotties win the state team wrestling title as a junior, the State 1A football championship in 2013 and a fourth-place state baseball finish in 2015. Along the way, he earned first-team All-Northeast A League honors in wrestling and football.

In the classroom, he was a member of two academic state champions during his sophomore and junior years and was academic all-conference first team all four years in each of the three sports in which he participated.

Besides athletic and academic achievement, community involvement was also considered.

“I grew up in a small town where I had many opportunities,” said Hyta, the school student body secretary who volunteers for the Spokane Christmas Bureau, the HUB All-Star Breakfast and for three years was a member of the Spokane Union Gospel Mission.

Twenty student-athletes – one girl and one boy from each school – last week received the highest honor handed out by the Greater Spokane League, a GSL Scholar/Athlete Award for 2015-16.

Recognized at a luncheon at the Spokane Club for excelling in the classroom, community and athletic field were:

Central Valley – Briegan Bester, 3.96 GPA, earned 7 varsity letters in cross country (3) and track (4); Tanner Gummersall, 3.87, 10 varsity letters in football (2), wrestling (4) and track (4).

Ferris – Abby Muelheim, 3.85, 10 varsity letters in tennis (4), soccer (3) and basketball (3); Joel Miley, 3.7, 4 varsity letters in football (2) and basketball (2).

Gonzaga Prep – Tayler Drynan, 4.0, 6 varsity letters in soccer (3) and basketball (3); Johnny Cooney, 3.9, 7 varsity letters in cross country (4) and track (3).

Lewis and Clark – Mary Stoa, 3.97, 10 varsity letters in fastpitch softball (1), tennis (3), volleyball (3) and basketball (3); Adam Thompson, 3.53, 10 varsity letters in football (3), basketball (3) and soccer (4).

Mead – Kaitlyn Engen, 4.0, 8 varsity letters in track (1), cross country (3) and gymnastics (4); Cameron Dean, 3.95, 5 varsity letters in cross country (3) and track (2).

Mt. Spokane – Cailin Spencer, 3.75, 4 varsity letters in golf; Andrew Hoover, 4.0, 4 varsity letters in wrestling.

North Central – Megan Dean, 3.96, 11 varsity letters in volleyball (4), basketball (4) and track (3); Justin Janke, 4.0, 8 varsity letters in cross country (4) and track (4).

Rogers – Marianna Furfaro, 4.0, 7 varsity letters in slowpitch softball (3) and fastpitch softball (4); Roberto Lopez, 3.6, 6 varsity letters in cross country (3) and track (3).

Shadle Park – Abby Bauernfeind, 4.0, 7 varsity letters in basketball (4) and track (3); Kevin Lutz, 4.0, 3 varsity letters in football.

University – Kendall Collins, 4.0, 6 varsity letters in volleyball (3) and basketball (3); Hunter Simpson, 4.0, 8 varsity letters in track (4) and cross country (4).

Letters of intent/commitment

Gonzaga men’s cross country/track – Stefan Bradley, Danville, California; Andrew Clusserath, Rocklin, California; Phillip Fishburn, Kamiakin; Ben Hogan, Louisville, Colorado; Peter Hogan, Bishop Blanchet (Seattle); Alex Heffelfinger, Cedar Crest, New Mexico; Jake Perrin, Lakeside, Montana; Jonah Sandoval, Richland; Daniel Thompson, Portland.

Wrestling – Alec Hoover and Andrew Hoover, Mt. Spokane, Case Western Reserve; Mitch Barney, Colfax, Southern Virginia University.

Volleyball – Taija Williams, OH, West Valley, Western Washington.

Women’s basketball – Alisha Sorensen, G/F, Freeman/Centralia CC, oral commitment, Eastern Oregon.

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