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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sunday locals: KC McConnell, George Valle, Domantas Sabonis make all-academic teams

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KC McConnell and George Valle, both of Whitworth, and Domantas Sabonis of Gonzaga have been named to College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America teams in basketball.

A senior guard from Clarkston, McConnell was named to the NCAA Division III women’s first team with a 3.95 grade-point with a double major in kinesiology and education. A two-time All-Northwest Conference first-team selection on the court, she is Whitworth’s first women’s Academic All-American since Sarah Shogren in 2004.

“KC is the consummate student-athlete,” Whitworth coach Helen Higgs said of the two-sport athlete who also stars in tennis. “She pursues excellence on the court and in the classroom.”

Sabonis, a sophomore forward from Kaunas, Lithuania, was named to the Division I men’s second team with a 3.46 GPA majoring in sports management. A first-team All-West Coast Conference selection, he is the eighth Gonzaga men’s player to earn Academic All-America honors, following Kelly Olynyk in 2013, and the third sophomore.

Valle, a senior forward from Bellevue, the Northwest Conference Player of the Year was a men’s Division III third-team Academic All-America selection with a 3.79 GPA in marketing. He is the first Pirates Academic All-American since Felix Friedt in 2011 and 2012.

“George exemplifies the term student-athlete in every sense of the word,” Whitworth coach Matt Logie said. “He has excelled in all of his pursuits on and off the court, as a team and program leader, as well as with his time in the community.”


Bill Chaves, in his ninth year as athletic director at Eastern Washington University, has been honored for the second time in four years by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics as one of the 28 winners of the Under Armour A.D. of the Year Award.

Chaves, 49, will receive his award during the James J. Corbett Awards Luncheon on June 15 at NACDA’s 51st annual convention in Dallas. Chaves also won the honor in the 2012-13 school year. He is one of four athletic directors in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision that NACDA is honoring this year.

“I’m tremendously honored to receive this honor, but I’m even more thankful for the work that has been done by our student-athletes, coaches and staff,” said Chaves. “The support of the Eastern Board of Trustees, President Dr. Mary Cullinan and the entire Eastern community contribute greatly to our success.”

College scene

Kayla Bernsen, a Western Washington senior center from Moses Lake, was named the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year in women’s basketball.

Bernsen, also a first-team All-GNAC selection, leads the conference with 88 blocked shots, the 3.03 average fifth in NCAA Division II. Her blocks per game are second in a season in program history. In 122 career games, Bernsen scored 1,021 points and recorded 203 blocked shots.

Jasmine Parker, a Central Washington senior from Mead, earned her third All-GNAC honor when she was named to the 2015-16 second team. The 6-foot forward was honorable mention in both the 2012-13 and 2014-15 seasons.

Parker scored 1,000 points in her career, set the school all-time and single-season records in blocked shots and is the all-time leader in defensive rebounds. She averaged 10.8 points per game, had 36 steals, 69 blocks, and shot 52.7 percent from the floor this season.

Three men whose college careers started in the area collected All-GNAC honors in men’s basketball.

Sekou “Suki Wiggs, an Alaska Anchorage junior guard who transferred from Idaho, was a unanimous first-team selection. Fred Jorg, a Saint Martin’s junior center transfer from Eastern Washington, and Bryce Leavitt, a Seattle Pacific senior guard transfer from North Idaho College, both received honorable mention.

North Idaho College made a strong showing when the Scenic West Athletic Conference passed out basketball awards.

Corey Symons, who guided the Cardinals through the first unbeaten regular season in SWAC history (30-0) before they lost in the Region 18 tournament championship game, was named Men’s Coach of the Year and sophomore guard Braian Angola-Rodas was named Player of the Year.

NIC also landed sophomore Brayon Blake on the first team and he and Angola-Rodas were nominated for NJCAA All-America consideration. Sophomores Lucas Antunez was on the second team and Kyle Guice of Lake City and Kaleb Warner were honorable mention along with freshman Trey Burch-Manning. Blake and Burch-Manning were named to the Region 18 All-Tournament team.

Stormee Van Belle was a women’s first-team selection, Maci Benedict was on the second team and Monica Landdeck was honorable mention. Sophomore Shelby Cloninger was selected to the All-tournament team.

Letter of intent

Community Colleges of Spokane women’s soccer – Anisha Nicholson, Post Falls.


The Spokane Waves Aquatic Team, for the first time in the club’s 28 years, took first place in the Inland Empire Short Course Championships last weekend in Moses Lake.

The Waves had three high-point winners and compiled 950.50 points to 944.50 for the runner-up Tri-City Channel Cats. The Coeur d’Alene Area Swim Team, Spokane Area Swimming and Gold Medal from Pullman finished 4, 5 and 6 in the 18-team field.

Waves high-point swimmers were Jena Kistler, 10, 10 & under women with 70 points; Caylnn McEvoy, 12, 11-12 women, 70; and Evonne Stehr, 15, 15-19 women, 48.

Other area high-point winners: Jake McCoy, 9, Gold Medal, 10 & under men, 67; Zachary Washburn, 12, Manta Ray Aquatics (Moses Lake), 11-12 men, 72; Hailey Pierce, 13, Coeur d’Alene, 13-14 women, 54; and Aaron Law, 17, Spokane Area Swimming, 15-19 men, 55.