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Tuesday, May 26, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Locally: North Central math teacher Ashlee Munsey qualifies for world amateur strongman championships

Ashlee Munsey knew weights, as in the shot put and the discus. She was, after all, a double State 3A champion in those events as a senior at North Central in 2006.

But weight, as in lifting up to 375 pounds and lugging it around a circuit, uh, no. Not until a couple of years ago that is. That’s when Munsey, a math teacher at NC, tagged along when husband Andy went back to Davenport, Iowa, to compete in the Strongman Corporation national championship.

“That piqued my interest,” she said.

Jump ahead two years and today she ranks as the second-strongest woman in the country in the lightweight division (up to 140 pounds). She missed the championship in the 2016 two-day, five-event competition last weekend by six points and qualified for the world amateur championships in Columbus, Ohio, in March.

“Four out of five events went awesome,” she wrote on her Facebook page. “And one not so great event cost me the overall championship.”

She was leading by two points after the first three events the first day. The next day in an event she described as carrying what resembled a tombstone – in honor of Halloween – weighing 200 pounds 50 feet back and forth as many times as you can, she didn’t do as well as she had expected. She slipped into an eight-point deficit.

“I was really looking forward to that event, too,” she said. “I was bummed.”

She rebounded in the final event, finishing 22.5 points ahead of third-place.

Munsey, a track and basketball athlete at NC, Community Colleges of Spokane and Eastern Oregon University, met Andy while they were at EOU. They started lifting as part of their regular training routine in 2010, but it wasn’t with competition in mind at that time.

“I was actually doing some running,” she said. “I did a couple of half marathons, and a marathon.”

But now the lifting has become serious. She and Andy, both high school teachers – he’s at Rogers – “train at 3, 4 in the morning in our garage,” in the house they recently purchased and are remodeling, or at NC before they head their separate ways to teach.

The nationals capped a year in which they competed in three strongman events in the Northwest – the Empire Classic in Spokane, Washington’s Strongest Apple in Des Moines and Feats of Strength in Prineville, Oregon, put on by Andy’s father. They each won their classes in the Empire and Strongest Apple and Ashlee was second in her class in Oregon.

“It was great preparation,” she said, alluding to the nationals.

And, oh, yes, she’ll be going back. She’ll decide later about the worlds depending on the events.

College scene

John Dressel, a Colorado sophomore from Mt. Spokane, earned a spot on the Pac-12 all-conference first team in men’s cross country following his sixth-place finish in the conference championships on Oct. 28 that helped the Buffaloes win a sixth straight league title.

Katie Knight, a Washington junior from North Central, was the Huskies’ third finisher in the women’s race, placing 19th, as UW finished second to Colorado.

Keilin Farrand, a Central Washington senior transfer from North Idaho College, was a unanimous first-team selection on the All-Great Northwest Athletic Conference women’s soccer team, and Martha Heaps, a Concordia junior from Mead, and Meli Cortez, a Western Oregon junior transfer from Idaho, were named honorable mention.

Farrand, a midfielder, had five goals and a team-leading six assists for the Wildcats. Heaps, a defender who repeated on the HM list, was a key factor on Concordia’s stingy defense, was second on the team in minutes played and scored one goal. Cortez, a forward in her first year at Western Oregon, had one goal and two assists, tying for second on the team in points.

Five Idaho Vandals were named to the second team and one Vandal and two Eastern Washington Eagles received honorable mention on the Big Sky Conference women’s soccer all-conference teams.

Idaho senior midfielders Elexis Schlossarek and Clara Gomez, a repeater; sophomore defender Kelly Dopke and junior defender Josilyn Daggs; and freshman forward Emma Eddy were second-team choices.

The honorable mention list includes Idaho junior midfielder Olivia Baggerly and EWU junior midfielder Aimie Inthoulay and redshirt junior forward Delaney Romero.

The first team was published Wednesday.

Peyton Pelluer, a redshirt junior linebacker at Washington State from Sammamish, Washington, was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America District VIII All-Academic first team in football for a second straight year. He has a 3.43 grade-point average majoring in history with an emphasis in secondary education and is eligible for CoSIDA Academic All-America teams.

Six Whitworth Pirates, two of them repeaters from 2015, have been named to the 2016 CoSIDA Academic All-District 8 Division III football team.

Offensive guard Michael Cruciotti and senior safety Caleb Mathena were named for a second straight year and are joined by sophomore offensive lineman Tyler Adamson, senior running back Duke DeGaetano, junior wide receiver Garrett McKay and junior linebacker Patch Kulp.

Cruciotti, from Elizabeth, Colorado, graduated last spring with a 3.74 GPA in business administration and marketing and is in the MBA program. Mathena, from Kent, Washington, has a 3.99 GPA in political science.

Adamson, from Oak Harbor, Washington, has a 3.83 GPA in criminal justice. DeGaetano, from Bend, Oregon, has a 3.83 GPA in psychology. McKay, from Tacoma, has a 3.68 GPA in health science. Kulp, from Santa Clarita, California, has a 3.68 GPA in athletic training.

All are eligible for CoSIDA Division III Academic All-America teams.

Two North Idaho athletes, Timothy Pays, a Carroll junior from Sandpoint with a 3.99 GPA in civil engineering, and Troy Carr, a College of Idaho junior from Rathdrum with a 3.57 GPA in health sciences, were named to the CoSIDA District 8 College Division all-academic team in football.

Rachel Verhage, a Trinity Christian (Illinois) senior from Moses Lake with a 3.89 GPA in biology, was named to the CoSIDA District 2 College Division all-academic team in volleyball.

Jessica Mildes, a Gonzaga senior from Riverside High School and Community Colleges of Spokane with a 4.0 GPA in accounting, was named to the West Coast Conference all-academic team in women’s cross country for a second straight year.

Erin Little, a Central Washington senior from Colville, and Taylor Sonnenberg, a Concordia senior from Moses Lake, were named to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference all-academic team in volleyball.

Little has a 3.76 GPA in accounting and Sonnenberg a 3.51 in business administration.

Led by kicker Rehn Reiley and quarterback Ian Kolste, who claimed two of the three honors in football, Whitworth garnered four Northwest Conference Student-Athlete of the Week awards last week.

Reiley, a sophomore from Moses Lake, received the special teams award for the third time this season after averaging 38.7 yards on three punts, 63 yards on kickoffs (six went for touchbacks) and made seven of eight extra points.

Kolste, a junior from Oak Harbor, Washington, earned his second offensive honor of the season after throwing for 490 yards and five touchdowns on 44 of 57 passing and catching a 24-yard TD pass in a 55-35 win over Pacific. He became Whitworth’s all-time single-season passing yardage (3,154) and total offensive yardage (3,166) leader in the game.

Kyle Morris, a junior from Ridgefield, Washington, was the men’s soccer defensive honoree after the Pirates collected a pair of 1-0 wins on the road, allowing just five shots on target. He capped it with the goal in the win Willamette.

Emiko Kahler, a freshman right-side hitter from Clackamas, Oregon, was the NWC women’s offensive winner in volleyball after averaging 4.25 kills and 3.63 digs per set with three blocks and a service ace in a pair of road victories that clinched the NWC regular-season title for the Pirates.

Gunnar Kayser, a Montana Tech senior defensive back from Mead, was selected the Frontier Conference Defensive Player of the Week in football after he had two interceptions and was in on six tackles, three solo, in a 62-10 victory at Rocky Mountain.

Natalie Kassa, the Carroll College libero from Mead, earned her fourth Frontier Conference Defensive Player of the Week honor in volleyball after she amassed 55 digs (5.5 per set), eight assists and three service aces as the No. 17 Saints split two matches last week.

Sarah Reiter, an Eastern Washington senior cross country standout from Renton, Washington, and Gage Gubrud, a sophomore football quarterback from McMinnville, Oregon, are the school’s Scholar-Athletes of the Month for October.

Both are management majors. Reiter has a 3.75 grade-point average, Gubrud a 3.23.

Reiter’s month included in a personal-record 16 minutes, 36 seconds for 5,000 meters, second best in school history, in winning the Inland Empire Championships in Lewiston and finishing second in the Big Sky Conference Championships, leading the Eagles into the NCAA West Regionals.

Gubrud also had a record-breaking month as the Eagles went unbeaten in four games, setting a school record with 520 passing yards in a 41-17 victory at Montana State. In October, he completed 72 percent of his passes for 1,768 yards and 19 touchdowns and rushed for 151 yards and another TD, accounting for 479.8 yards of total offense per game.

Keagen Hadley, formerly of Kellogg, who is spending his senior year at Dakota Weselyn as a student assistant coach on the NAIA’s 18th ranked football team, has signed with the Kearney, Nebraska, Hawks in the professional Indoor Football Association.

The 6-foot-3, 260-pound Hadley, who played his freshman season at Minot (North Dakota) State before playing the last three at Dakota Weselyn, is a defensive end.

Hadley’s sister, Elise, also formerly of Kellogg, after playing the last two years at Dakota Weselyn on the women’s basketball team, switched to volleyball this fall and is playing on the Tigers’ junior varsity.


Tanner Mort of Post Falls, who is attending the University of Idaho, is one of 17 former Spokane Chiefs who are part of a league-record 355 former Western Hockey League players awarded scholarships for the fall semester through the league’s continuing education program.

For every year a player is in the league, he receives basically a year of full-ride scholarship. Playing hockey for the school is not a requirement, but 12 of the ex-Chiefs are (*-indicates playing hockey):

*Nick Charif, *Todd Fiddler, Cole Wedman, *Anthony Bardaro, *Garret Hughson, Reid Gow, *Tyler King, *Tyson Predinchuk, Eric Williams, *Jackson Playfair, *Riley Wittingham, *Calder Brooks, *Connor Chartier, * Marcus Messier, *Devon McAndrews and Blair Oneschuk.

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