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Locally: Idaho swim and dive team raises more than $11,000 for cancer research

From staff ,news services

Members of the University of Idaho women’s swimming and diving team raised more than $11,000 for cancer research through participation in Swim Across America last weekend in Seattle.

The Vandals received the College Cup for a second consecutive year as the top-fundraising collegiate team. The honor earned it a $5,000 matching contribution, bringing its total to $11,658.

All proceeds from the event support immunotherapy clinical trials and cancer research at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

“It’s great to be able to use our athletic talent for something other than wins and losses,” said UI coach Mark Sowa, whose Vandals have participated in the event five straight years. “Swim Across America is such a great organization and we’re honored to be a part of it.”

The 10th annual Seattle swim took place in Lake Washington where participants of all ages could enter one of three open-water swims - half mile, one mile or two miles. Idaho competed at two miles.

Idaho participants swam with the names of family and friends affected by cancer written on their bodies. Each Vandal also carried the name of former UI football player Jace Malek from West Valley, who died in 2016, and “Jess” for a friend of the program who is fighting cancer.

Idaho senior Aileen Pannecoucke finished fifth overall in the two-mile race and second among the women. Teammates Sarah Hall and Natalie Crocker were also among the top five women.

College scene

Brett Rypien’s performance in Boise State’s record-setting 62-7 romp past Connecticut last week earned the former Shadle Park standout Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors in football.

Rypien’s contribution to the Broncos’ single-game record 818 yards of total offensive consisted of completing 21 of 28 passes for 362 yards and three touchdowns – in just over one half of action. He completed a 74-yard TD pass on his only play of the second half.

It was his second straight 300-yard-plus season-opening passing day and the 16th of his career, tying Kellen Moore for most all-time at the school. It was the second POW honor of his career. The first came on Oct. 10, 2016.

Joey Biel is back in the spotlight. A week after receiving national honors, the Monmouth College junior kicker from Northwest Christian was named the Midwest Conference Special Teams Performer of the Week as the Fighting Scots swept the individual football awards following their 24-18 win over 13th-ranked Wartburg.

Biel averaged 43.5 yards on four punts, including a 58-yarder, landing a pair inside the 20-yard line. He was equally effective on six kickoffs, averaging nearly 66 yards, with half going for touchbacks and two others returned from the end zone.

His three successful PATs ran his two-season streak to 22, one shy of his personal record, and he hit a fourth-quarter field goal that produced the final margin of victory.

Mark Kharchenko of Montana Western, a sophomore kicker from Colville, is the Frontier Conference Special Teams Player of the Week in football.

In the Bulldogs’ 55-3 home conference win over MSU-Northern, he hit all seven of his extra point attempts and was 2 of 2 on field goals (both 23 yards) to account for 13 points.

• Gonzaga men’s basketball players Josh Perkins and Killian Tillie attended the NCAA Elite Men’s Basketball Student-Athlete Symposium this past weekend at the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis.

The symposium, in its third year, is a product of the NCAA Leadership Development program and intended to educate college athletes on the expectations and responsibilities they may face should they become professionals as well as discussions on other post-career opportunities.

Among the features were a former student-athlete panel, agent and players’ union discussions, and a seminar on personal branding.

Perkins, a senior, averaged 12.3 points and 5.3 assists a game last season and was a first-team All-WCC selection. Tillie, a junior who averaged 12.9 points and shot 58 percent from the field, was second-team All-WCC and the Most Outstanding Player in the WCC tournament.

• Led by Washington State sophomore Michaela Bayerlova’s No. 17 in singles, the Cougars, Gonzaga and Idaho received recognition in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s women’s preseason national rankings.

Bayerlova, ranked No. 29 after completing her freshman season by advancing to the second round of the 2018 NCAA Championships, is joined in singles rankings by Idaho senior Marianna Petrei at No. 20 and Gonzaga senior Sophie Whittle at No. 35. Whittle and fellow GU senior Graciela Rosas are No. 19 in doubles, the Bulldogs’ highest-ever ranking.

Petrei finished last season ranked No. 32 after advancing to the second round of the NCAA Championships and running her three-year Big Sky Conference record to 30-0 with a third straight title. Whittle ranked 56th after a 22-5 2017-18 singles season. She and Rosas ranked No. 45 in doubles at season’s end.

• Gonzaga junior Jessica Mangrobang was named to the All-West Coast Conference women’s golf preseason team. Last season, she was on the All-WCC first team after leading the Zags with a 76.68 stroke average and finishing 11th at the WCC Championships.

GU was last in the preseason women’s and men’s coaches’ polls. BYU was picked to win a fourth straight women’s title and Pepperdine was selected to defend its men’s championship. No GU man was on the preseason All-WCC team.

The 2018-19 WCC women’s season will culminate with the championship tournament at Manito Golf & Country Club April 18-20, 2019.

• Whitworth’s men are ranked second and the women third in 2018-19 preseason Northwest Conference golf coaches’ balloting.

The Pirates men, who had second-place finishes in the NWC Spring Classic and NWC Championships to finish the 2017-18 season and return All-NWC second-team selections Keegan Loo and Sam Stiles (Mt. Spokane), are ranked behind defending champion Pacific Lutheran.

The women return Maggie Peters and Jayme Pentony, both second-team All-NWC, from the team that finished third in all three major NWC tournaments a year ago. George Fox and defending champion Whitman are ranked 1-2 in the coaches’ poll.

Letters of intent

EWU women’s track & field – Alyssa Oats, Wilbur-Creston, sprints/hurdles/jumps, 4-time State 2B qualifier, 2018 State 2B high jump champion; Anna Sharp, Clarkston, javelin, 3-time State 2A top-four placer; Hannah Spakousky, Cheney, distance, four-time State 2A cross country qualifier; Maggie Nelson, Liberty/Community Colleges of Spokane, sprints/hurdles/jumps/throws, four-time State 2B placer in long jump, two-time NWAC javelin champion, second in heptathlon; Aulane Mpouli, Auburn Riverside, sprints/shot put; Ami Njadoe, Shoreline, Washington, sprints/hurdles; Rebecca Thareek, Auburn, Wash., hurdles/jumps; Marieke Visscher, Shorecrest, Wash., sprints/hurdles; Hadassah Ward, Gig Harbor, Wash., shot put/discus; Morgan Fossen, Medford, Oregon/Lane CC, pole vault.

EWU men’s track & field – Liam Bracken, Republic, Wash., sprints, four-time State 1B qualifier, state champion in 100, 200 and 400 as a senior; Kody Vigesaa, East Valley/CCS, sprints, two-time NWAC qualifier; Bailey Aiello, Sparks, Nevada, pole vault; Colton Egberg, Tahoma (Wash.), distances; Nicholas Mullineux, Glacier Peak (Wash.), distances.


Jordyn McCracken, a two-time Idaho State 5A champion at Lake City, has returned to Coeur d’Alene following a four-year playing career at Utah State to become an assistant coach at North Idaho College, Cardinals head coach Don Don Williams announced.

McCracken helped pitch Lake City to 26-0 and 28-0 state championships in 2013 and ’14, earning All-Inland Empire League honors as a senior. At Utah State, she was a four-time Mountain West Conference and three-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association scholar-athlete.

She will work with pitchers, hitters and outfielders and be involved in recruiting, Williams said.


Breanna Bachini, a men’s and women’s assistant at Colgate the last three seasons, has completed the staff of Gonzaga women’s head coach D.J. Gurule as an assistant.

In her final season at Colgate, the men’s program had 15 wins, the most since 1998, and made a conference tournament semifinal appearance. The women earned their first postseason win in five years. In Bachini’s three seasons, the men and women had a combined eight all-conference selections and two all-academic picks.

Bachini is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse, where she had a four-year career that included helping the Orange to its highest national ranking in program history, No. 25 as a senior. She twice earned all-academic honors.

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