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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Local briefs: NIC’s Russell Grove named PGA Northwest player of year

UPDATED: Sat., Dec. 16, 2017

Russell Grove, a PGA professional and head golf coach at North Idaho College the last four years, was named the Omega Player of the Year for 2017 by the Pacific Northwest Section of the PGA.

In announcing Grove’s selection, the PNW PGA wrote “his incredible record this year included winning the Oregon Open Invitational and the PNW PGA Professional Championship. He also won the Inland Empire Chapter Championship.”

During 2017, Grove compiled 600 points, 82.5 more than two golfers who tied for second.

Corey Prugh, who became the Community Colleges of Spokane men’s and women’s coaches in 2017 and a three-time winner of the Omega award (2011-13), was eighth in the Player of the Year competition with 260 points.

Mark Nelson, PGA pro at Circling Raven GC in Worley, received the 2017 Merchandiser of the Year award for Resort facilities. He led a team that had a “great increase in sales,” read the announcement of his award. “This stemmed from creative new ideas reached at monthly team meetings, as well as a strong commitment to rework some areas of the golf shop.”

Other major awards went to Mike Montgomery, Sahalee CC in Sammamish, Washington, Golf Professional of the Year; Carissa Simmons, Meridian Valley CC in Kent, Wash., Assistant Golf Professional of the Year; Tom Sovay, The Golf Club at Redmond (Wash.) Ridge, Senior Player of the Year, and Derek Berg, Sahalee, Assistant Player of the Year.

The top PGA professionals in 15 categories will be honored at the PNW Section awards ceremony March 18 at Willamette Valley CC in Canby, Oregon.


Nahshon George, an Idaho Vandal for two seasons from 2014-16, has signed to play professionally with Hang Tuah Sumatra Selatan in Indonesia.

George last played with Thai General Equipment in the Thailand Basketball League, where he earned All-Thailand TBSL honorable mention after finishing second in the league with 14.2 rebounds per game. He also averaged 19.2 points, 1.8 assists and 1.3 steals in 21 games.

He started his pro career with a three-game stint in Mexico with Zonkeys de Tijuana, averaging more than 10 points per game, after helping UI to its best record in more than two decades his senior season.


Grace Martin has been close. Last Sunday she was spot-on.

At Cheney Bowl on a day when the shot was challenging, Martin rallied in the match-play portion of qualifying after the first four games left her in 11th place and rode the hot hand to her first Junior Bowlers Tour tournament championship.

Martin put together an 825 four-game series to move into second place heading into the five-person roll-offs behind qualifying leader Wyatt Rosenau, who held the top spot after both qualifying sessions.

Tate Moylan, who qualified fifth, knocked off No. 4 Luke English to start the playoffs and met John Hilden, who had jumped from 12th to third during the second qualifying session. Hilden overcame Moylan 199-198 in the closest match of the day with Martin waiting in the wings and looking to even a score.

Martin, who had lost to Hilden 238-234 in the finals of the JBT last month at North Bowl as the top seed, got her revenge with 221-180 victory, denying Hilden a shot at a fourth straight JBT title.

Instead, she advanced to the finals, where she knocked off the top-seeded Rosenau 188-168 to claim that elusive first championship.

Hilden, who had high game of the day, a 245, finished third; Moylan was fourth; and English fifth. Rosenau had high series, an 858, and Makayla Hoover led the girls with a 267 game.

It was a good day for the girls, who captured six of the top 12 places.

The next JBT will be Jan. 7 at Valley Bowl.

College scene

Todd Pays of Sandpoint, a senior at Carroll College in Helena, and Idaho senior wide receiver Jacob Sannon, have been selected to CoSIDA Academic All-America football teams.

Pays, an offensive guard, was named to the College Division first team with a 3.93 grade-point average in civil engineering. Pays’ unit helped produce the No. 2 rushing offense in the Frontier Conference, and 18th best nationally in the NAIA, at 209.8 yards a game.

Sannon, from Bradenton, Florida, was selected to the Division I first team, just the second Vandal to be a first-team Academic All-American. He earned an accounting degree last spring with a 3.91 GPA and currently holds a 4.0 GPA in graduate school working toward a master’s in accounting.

—- Taylor Roelofs, a Whitworth senior cornerback from Tacoma, was named to the All-West Region second team by

Roelofs started all 41 games of his Whitworth career at cornerback. He was first-team All-Northwest Conference in 2017 after consecutive second-team nods in 2015 and 2016. He finished 2017 with 35 tackles, one interception and a team-high seven passes defended.

—- Cesar Sandoval of Moses Lake, a sophomore post at Community Colleges of Spokane, was named the NWAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week after averaging 26.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and shooting 66.7 percent in three games last week to lead the Sasquatch to the Dale Bates Tournament Championship at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon.

Sandoval, the tournament MVP who also hit 17 of 18 free throws during the weekend, scored 35 points, hitting 13 of 15 shots with nine rebounds, in the championship game against Umpqua.

Besides Sandoval’s Bates MVP honor, CCS also had freshman forward Isaiah Gotell named to the all-tournament team. He came off the bench to score 15 points and grab eight rebounds in the Sasquatch’s double-overtime, 107-102 championship-game victory.

—- CCS landed Jessica Olson, a freshman forward from Moses Lake, and freshman guard Shania Graham from Republic on the Everett Classic all-tournament team after the Sasquatch dropped a 14-point decision to host Everett in the women’s basketball tournament championship game last weekend. Olson had a game-high 31 points and 11 rebounds in the title game.

—- Rayquan Evans, a North Idaho freshman guard from Billings, Montana, was the NWAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week on Dec. 6 after averaging 21.5 points in two games the previous week with 16 rebounds, 16 assists and six steals.

—- Seniors Kayla Leland, a cross country runner from Gonzaga Prep, and football quarterback Ian Kolste from Oak Harbor, Wash., were selected the Whitworth Student-Athletes of the Month for November.

Leland opened November by finishing third in the NCAA Division III West Regional, leading the Pirates to a second-place finish. The next week she placed 19th at the D-III National Championships, earning All-American honors as the Pirates placed 13th, the second-best team finish in history.

In his final two games as a Pirate, Kolste passed for 569 yards and nine touchdowns while leading the Bucs to two wins without throwing an interception and completing 67 percent of his passes.


Jason Fram, a defenseman who played five seasons with the Spokane Chiefs, is one of 11 former Western Hockey League players on a collegiate all-star team that played a two-game exhibition series last week against Canada’s National Junior Team as it prepares for the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships.

The collegians won both games, 3-0 and 4-3, with Fram picking up an assist in each game.

Fram, 22, a Chief from 2011-16 and team captain his final season, is in his second year with the University of Alberta Golden Bears. He is tied for sixth in scoring among defensemen in U Sports, the highest level in men’s hockey at the university level in Canada.


Building on the success of the 2017 USA Judo National and International Junior Olympic Championships, Spokane has been selected to host the event again in 2018, June 22-24 at the Spokane Convention Center.

An estimated 1,100 athletes will compete, with a strong international presence.

Spokane also hosted the USA Judo Youth and Scholastic National Championships in 2010 and the United States Judo Federation Junior National Judo Championships in 2012. Annually, the city is the site of the Inland Empire Judo Classic.

Letters of intent

Idaho volleyball – Allison Munday, OH, Post Falls, four-time All-North Idaho, three-time 5A All-IEL; Sam Swayze, L, Coeur d’Alene, 2017 team captain, two-time team defensive MVP; Becca Owen, L/DS, Skyline of Sammamish, Washington; Emily Smith, OH, Tahoma of Kirkland, Wash.; Kennedy Warren, MB, Weatherford, Texas.

Track & field/ cross country

Wayne Phipps, Washington State’s director of cross country/track & field since July 1, 2014, has signed a new employment agreement with the Cougars that will run through June of 2023.

“Wayne has done a great job of continuing to build success in the cross country and track and field programs at WSU,” said interim director of athletics John Johnson in announcing the extension. “Three consecutive NCAA appearances by the men’s cross country team and an All-American performance by a WSU woman this season are the most recent examples of his ability lead the Cougars to Pac-12 and national prominence.”

Phipps, 49, is the 15th coach to lead the men and the second to head the combined men’s and women’s programs.

The past three seasons, the men’s cross country team has received an at-large berth to the NCAA Championships and twice finished higher than its USTFCCCA national ranking entering the meet. The 2016 team, ranked 18th nationally, placed 14th, the highest finish by a WSU team in 32 years. In 2017, the No. 27 Cougars finished 24th. In 2015, WSU was ranked 25th and finished 26th.

This past season, junior Vallery Korir, who transferred into WSU in January of 2017, earned All-America honors with a 33rd-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Last spring, hammer thrower Brock Eager and heptathlete Alissa Brooks-Johnson won Pac-12 titles and were joined by hurdler CJ Allen as NCAA Outdoor All-Americans.

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