Jacob Thorpe covers WSU sports for The Spokesman-Review. This is part of a series of stories from reporters about their favorite work.
There are few institutions more defined by their diversity than a college athletic department. Washington State fans saw players excel on the athletic fields in 2016, but it was my pleasure to let readers know that the Cougars were composed of young adults who overcame cancer, dealt with discrimination on-campus, hunted rabbits with their hand and much more.
Gabe Marks has been one of WSU’s most dominant football players from the moment he arrived on campus as one of its most decorated recruits. But for three years we only got glimpses of insightful, provocative personality. I sat down with Marks for an hour-long conversation that was easily one of the most unique, affecting interviews I’ve ever conducted.
Riley Sorenson overcame more hardships in one year than most people do in 10. I was nervous as I drove to WSU’s preseason camp in Lewiston to talk to him, unsure how I would ask this young man so many personal questions about the tragedies that had befallen him. But his buoyant, endearing personality put me at ease and showed me how he has been able to endure so much bad news while staying the same fun-loving kid he has always been.
I grew up surrounded by trees and squirrels in the Pacific Northwest. Tavares Martin grew up surrounded by alligators and sugarcane in Florida. This was a great article to write because while researching it I learned about a group of Americans who live very differently than we do at the country’s opposite end.
Most teams believe they are families – put a lot of large group of people together in pursuit of the same goal and you will find that more often than not, friendships develop. But those relationships are always unique and it was cool to get to explore some of the odd couples on the WSU football team.
This was a rare opinion piece for me. The Eastern Washington Eagles have established themselves as one of the premier programs in FCS football. But with greater expectations come greater opportunities for heartbreak.
Coming off a solid first season under coach Ernie Kent, the Cougars had high expectations last season. Before reality set in and the Cougars spiraled to a 17-game losing streak, they beat a ranked UCLA team at home.
Shalom Luani took an enormous risk to come play football in the mainland United States. He almost lost all he had gained with one late-night punch.
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