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Wednesday, April 1, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports

Locally: Wiltjer chosen WCC Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Kyle Wiltjer of Gonzaga was named the 2016 West Coast Conference Mike Gilleran Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

The recipient of the award, named in honor of the conference’s first full-time commissioner, is selected by the WCC Executive Council and recognizes accomplishments in athletics, academics and community service by individuals who have completed their collegiate eligibility.

Wiltjer led the GU men’s basketball team with 20.4 point per game and 90 3-pointers and was second in rebounding (6.3). He was named an Associated Press All-America honorable mention, a Senior CLASS All-American, DI-AAA ADA Men’s Scholar Athlete of the Year, All-WCC first team, NABC All-District first team and WCC All-Academic first team. He graduated in May with a Master of Business Administration degree and a 3.67 GPA.

In the community, he was involved in outreach to Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital, the Union Gospel Mission, contributed to a Habitat for Humanity Build and was involved with Nike’s N7 Foundation that engages the local Native American community. He was also a member of GU’s student-athlete advisory committee.

Wiltjer is the ninth Zag to receive the award. Haiden Palmer was the female recipient in 2014. The last GU male to receive the honor was Blake Stepp in 2004.

Basketball

Steven Fennelly, a women’s assistant at Cal State Fullerton the last three seasons, will join the Idaho women’s staff for the 2016-17 season, Vandals head coach Jon Newlee announced.

“I am thrilled that we had the ability to bring in Steven,” Newlee said. “He comes from a great basketball family. I know he has a great basketball background.”

Fennelly, 27, started his coaching career at his alma mater, Iowa State, under his father, Bill, the head women’s coach of the Cyclones. Iowa State went to the NCAA tournament in each of the six seasons he worked with his father, twice making it to the Sweet 16, once to the Elite Eight.

Fennelly will primarily coach Idaho’s post players and be involved in scouting, recruiting and serve as the team’s video coordinator.

College scene

Kara Soucek, a senior two-time West Coast Conference Rower of the Year, became Gonzaga’s first first-team All-American when the College Rowing Coaches Association Pocock Women’s All-America Teams were announced.

Soucek, a McCall, Idaho, native, earlier was named to the CRCA All-Region 5 team for the third time in her career. She rows in the Varsity 8 stroke seat, helping the Bulldogs win the WCC title for the third time in the last four seasons and advance to their third NCAA Championships in that span.

The Gonzaga women’s rowing coaching staff, under head coach Glenn Putyrae, was recognized by the College Rowing Coaches Association as the Region 5 Staff of the Year.

Assistants Kari Durgan and Marisa Wortman helped the GU program reach unprecedented heights with a 16th-place team finish at the NCAA Championships and its third West Coast Conference title in the last four seasons. The Varsity 8 finished a program-best 14th and GU ranked consistently in the top 20 during the year, reaching a program-high 15th.

Kinsey Gomez, an Idaho senior distance runner from Coeur d’Alene High School, has been recognized by the NCAA as the 2016 Outdoor Track and Field Elite 90 Award winner.

Gomez has had an outstanding year in cross country and track, and graduated this spring with a 4.0 GPA majoring in general studies.

The Elite 90 was established by the NCAA to recognize what it calls the true essence of the student-athlete. The award is presented to the individual with the highest cumulative GPA at each of the NCAA’s 90 national championships. Gomez qualified for the track and field championships in the 10,000.

Elise Locke, a senior-to-be at Washington State, is the third Cougars swimmer to qualify for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials June 26-July 3 in Omaha, Nebraska.

Locke, from Santa Cruz, California, qualified in the 200 butterfly by posting a time of 2 minutes, 14.86 seconds last weekend in the Arena Pro Swim Series in Santa Clara, California. The qualifying mark is 2:14.99. This past season, Locke had seven individual wins, capping her year at the Pac-12 Championships with the second-fastest 200 butterfly time in school history, 1:58.31.

Locke will join Cougars teammates Jasmine Margetts (also in the 200 butterfly) and Presley Wetterstrom (200 breaststroke) at the U.S. Trials.

J.J. Robinson and Jacob Zanon of national champion Lewis-Clark State have been named to NAIA-Baseball Coaches Association All-America teams.

Robinson, a junior designated hitter from Colfax, was named to the second team, and Zanon, a junior outfielder from Beaverton, Oregon, who was MVP of the NAIA World Series, was honorable mention.

Robinson was a key cog in the middle of the order for the Warriors, batting .335 with team highs of 15 home runs and 82 RBIs. He ranked in the top 50 nationally in nine different categories. Zanon was No. 2 on the team with a .393 batting average while leading the Warriors in hits (86), runs (80) and stolen bases (27).

Venky Jois and Hayley Hodgins, basketball’s all-time male and female scoring leaders at Eastern Washington were selected to receive the school’s Big Sky Conference Scholar-Athlete Awards, one of the most prestigious honors in the conference.

One senior male and female from each school are honored as the “best of the best,” recognizing their athletic and academic achievements.

Both Jois and Hodgins broke their program’s all-time scoring records during four-year careers.

Jois, a pre-med major from Melbourne, Australia, had a cumulative GPA of 3.45 and scored 1,803 points. He is just the third player in Big Sky history to have more than 1,600 points and 900 rebounds, broke 10 Eastern men’s basketball records, and was a four-time Big Sky first-team all-conference and all-academic selection.

Hodgins, who graduated in June 2014 with 3.74 GPA and a health services administration degree, is pursuing a master’s degree in public health. The Pasco native scored a career-record 1,865 points, sixth all-time in the Big Sky. She also set Eastern records for most 3-pointers (243) and games played (126). Hodgins was a four-time Big Sky all-academic selection and was unanimous All-Big Sky first-team as a senior after being first and second team the previous two seasons.

Matt Wardell, a Washington State senior from Post Falls, and Morgan Willson, a junior from Colfax, were named Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention in track and field.

Wardell, a thrower on the men’s team, has a 3.52 GPA as an MBA in accounting. Willson, a distance runner on the women’s team, has a 3.42 GPA in management and operations.

The Gonzaga men’s tennis recruiting class was ranked No. 22 in TennisRecruiting.net’s Top 25 midmajor poll. It is the highest ranking Gonzaga has seen in the midmajor poll. GU last received recruiting accolades from the publication in 2006.

Golf

Derek Bayley of Rathdrum, who will be a junior at Washington State in the fall, was qualifying medalist at the Idaho Golf Association Men’s Match Play Championship last weekend at Elkhorn Golf Club in Sun Valley with a 5-under-par 67.

But after a bye in the first round, a 2-up win in the second and a 5-and-4 victory in the quarterfinals, Bayley was eliminated 5 and 4 in the semifinals.

Cooper Simpson of Spirit Lake, who shot a 6-over 78 to qualify 17th, lost his first-round match 2 and 1.

Ryan Maine, two-time State 1A runner-up for Freeman, shot 72-73 for 145 to tie for 10th in the boys 16-18 division at the 2016 Pacific Northwest Junior PGA Championship last week at The Home Course in Dupont, Washington.

High school scene

Northwest Christian captured its third WIAA Scholastic Cup, earning the 2015-16 Class 2B championship by a 30-point margin over neighboring rival St. George’s.

Boys basketball and girls golf state championships combined with five academic state titles helped the Crusaders compile 1,465 points in the competition cosponsored by the WIAA and Washington Army National Guard. It was Northwest Christian’s eighth top-five finish.

The yearlong competition recognizes the top school in each of six classifications based on academics, athletics and sportsmanship.

St. George’s in 2B and Lewis and Clark in 4A had second-place finishes to lead 17 other area schools to place in the top 10. The others:

4A – Central Valley, 4th; Mead, 7th. 3A – Mt. Spokane, 8th. 2A – Pullman, 6th; Clarkston, 9th. 1A – Freeman, 3rd; Lakeside-Nine Mile Falls, 8th. 2B –Colton, 6th; Davenport, 7th. 1B – Colton, 3rd; Almira/Coulee-Hartline, 4th; Oakesdale, 6th; Odessa-Harrington, 8th; Republic, 9th; St. John-Endicott, 10th.

Northwest Christian, St. George’s and Colton were multiple winners when the WIAA, Dairy Farmers of Washington and Les Schwab Tires crowned spring academic state champions.

NW Christian won state championships in 2B girls golf (3.89 GPA), 2B girls track and field (3.84) and 2B boys track and field (3.64); St. George’s won in 2B boys golf (3.72) and 2B boys tennis (3.624); and Colton won titles in 1B baseball (3.844) and 1B softball (3.82).

Other area academic state champions: Central Valley, 4A boys tennis (3.901); Mead, 4A girls tennis (3.968); Clarkston, 2A boys track and field (3.61); Freeman, tie 1A baseball (3.58); Davenport, 2B softball (3.65); St. John-Endicott, 1B boys track and field (3.752); Odessa-Harrington, 1B girls tennis (3.508).

Letter of intent

Great Falls women’s golf – Sarah Baxter, Central Valley.

Officials

Gary Broadbent, Spokane’s popular “official for all seasons,” will be honored with a celebration of life Saturday, June 18, at 11 a.m. in the Bowdish Middle School gymnasium, 2109 S. Skipworth Road in Spokane Valley.

Broadbent, 76, who officiated basketball, softball, baseball and volleyball for more than five decades, working state and national championships as well as locally, died May 3.

Family and friends are developing a memorial fund to provide scholarships through local nonprofit organizations for youngsters “who need financial help in order to play their sport,” said Jim Nyborg. Donations can be made to the Gary Broadbent Memorial Fund at any INB Bank.

Nyborg and his wife, Carolee, instrumental in organizing the celebration of life and the memorial fund, said they would welcome pictures, articles or stories about Broadbent. They can be sent to bailnybo@msn.com.

Shooting

Maliya Hillman of the Spokane Junior Rifle Club placed 13th out of 26 shooters in 3-position at the NRA Open Air Gun Championships May 28-30 in Centerville, Virginia.

Hillman, 17, who attends Lewis and Clark, qualified for the national event by placing second nationally in the junior category and third overall during a qualifying match in early April in Spokane.

In Centerville, where competitors took 20 shots each in prone, kneeling and standing positions on two consecutive days, Hillman scored 1,216.6 out of a possible 1,308.

Youth sports

Three girls and two boys from North Idaho qualified for the Seattle Mariners team championship finals in Major League Baseball’s Pitch, Hit & Run competition.

Winning sectional age divisions were:

Softball – Kaelee Kolden, Post Falls, 7/8-year-old division; Sophia Zufelt, Coeur d’Alene, 9/10; and Rylee White, Coeur d’Alene, 11/12.

Baseball – Avery Cherry, Coeur d’Alene, 9/10; and Wyatt Howard, Hayden, 11/12.

Age-division winners in today’s competition at Safeco Field advance to the National Finals in San Diego during MLB’s 2016 All-Star Week festivities.

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