The 36th annual Greater Spokane League scholar-athlete award luncheon was held on Thursday at the Spokane Club, highlighting some of the best and brightest young people that Spokane has to offer.
The honor is based on athletic achievement, scholastic achievement and community service.
“I think this is why it’s the GSL’s highest honor,” league and District 8 Director Herb Rotchford said. “We really are celebrating not only their athletic achievements, but their incredible academic achievements and their volunteer service to their school and their community.
“These are exactly the kind of kids that we want to produce beyond high school, as they enter society in the larger life,” he said.
“You take a look at grade-point average – they’re all have stellar grade-point averages. You take a look at their rigor of their coursework – they all take highly demanding and challenging classes. You take a look at the honors that they received, not only league honors but state honors, how many letters they’ve received in their high school career, not only athletic letters, but letters for other school programs.
“You come away really impressed with who they are as human beings.”
The players agreed that it was fun to interact with each other off the court or field – and all dressed up.
“Being around all these stellar athletes and students is amazing,” Mt. Spokane’s Emily Nelson said. “It’s just so cool to connect with people you would never connect with otherwise.”
Rogers’ Josh Guzik took pride in his school.
“Looking around at everyone who’s here and everything they’ve done, it really is humbling to see that I’m in great company and it makes me feel happy to represent Rogers with all these great athletes here,” Guzik said.
Noah Drynan, a member of Gonzaga Prep’s back-to-back state basketball titles, said education was always a priority growing up.
“From an early, early age my parents really enforced it and made it a part of our family. Having two sisters that went through the process before me was really helpful because they could be role models for me throughout my life,” Drynan said.
Lewis and Clark’s Kate Picanco had a busy week. She signed her letter of intent to run track at Carroll College on Wednesday.
“It’s really rewarding to be able to get recognized as a student and an athlete,” she said.
Michael Flaherty led LC’s football team to the district playoffs this season after three straight losing seasons.
“Sports will always be there, but so will my education,” he said. “Knowing that is what’s going into this award is something that I’m very humbled by and very excited to able to receive (the award).”
North Central’s Quincy McDeid ended her basketball career as the leading girls scorer in school history.
“It’s nice to be recognized and be here with all these amazing athletes,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to sit down with everyone and be civil and not be so competitive with each other.”
Mt. Spokane’s Quentin Ayers echoed her sentiments.
“Everyone’s brothers around here when you play sports,” Ayers said. “We’re all competitors, but off the field we find our way back to being friends. So it’s one of those deals where it’s competitive but fun.”
Central Valley: Mady Simmelink (3.95 GPA); soccer, basketball and track. 12-time letter winner. First-team all-GSL for soccer her junior and senior year, second team in basketball her sophomore and senior year. Helped team to two state basketball titles. Will play basketball at Concordia on academic and athletic scholarship
Kyle Clay (3.99); basketball, baseball. Five-time letter winner. First-team all-GSL in baseball his junior year and honorable mention in basketball as a senior. His senior year was captain for basketball and baseball. Will attend Boise State on academic scholarship.
Ferris: Jailyn Strauss (4.0); slowpitch and fastpitch softball. Eight-time letter winner. Honorable mention and second-team all-GSL for slowpitch and fastpitch and was named team captain for both. Will study veterinary medicine at Washington State.
Nathan Owen (3.91); soccer, basketball. Three-time letter winner. Honorable mention all-GSL in soccer his junior year and is captain his senior year. Intends to study electrical or computer engineering at University of Washington.
Gonzaga Prep: Kennedy Seibold (3.89); soccer, golf. Seven-time letter winner. Voted captain in soccer and placed 11th in GSL in golf sophomore year. Will attend University of Wisconsin.
Noah Drynan (4.0); basketball, baseball. Six-time letter winner. Played on Bullpups’ back-to-back state championships basketball teams junior and senior year and first-team all-GSL in baseball junior year; team captain as senior. Plans to attend a four-year university to major in accounting or biology.
Lewis and Clark: Kate Picanco (3.89); cross-country, track and field. Seven-time letter winner. Captain of cross-country and track and field teams. Second-team all-GSL in track as sophomore and junior; third-team as a freshman. Will run track at Carroll College on scholarship.
Michael Flaherty (3.66); football, basketball, baseball. Seven-time letter winner. First-team all-GSL quarterback senior year; led Tigers to District 8 regionals. Will attend Montana and major in business or marketing.
Mead: Katherine McEuen (4.0); volleyball. Four-time letter winner. GSL MVP and first-team all-state. Placed fifth, second and second at state. Will play volleyball on scholarship at Carroll College.
Jonathan Baird (3.84); football, basketball, track. Eight-time letter winner. Honorable mention all-GSL at defensive back as senior; led GSL in interceptions. Was captain for football and basketball. Will play football at BYU.
Mt. Spokane: Emily Nelson (3.86); basketball, soccer. Six-time letter winner. Advanced to state basketball all four years. McDonald’s All-American nominee and honorable mention all-GSL senior year. Will attend Saint Martin’s on a scholarship for basketball.
Quentin Ayers (3.9); baseball, football. Seven-time letter winner. GSL All-Purpose Player of the Year junior year. First-team all-GSL for baseball junior and senior years. Will play baseball at Northwest Nazarene on academic and athletic scholarship.
North Central: Quincy McDeid (3.76); soccer, basketball, golf. 12-time letter winner. All-time leading girls scorer at North Central with 1,234 points. Only four-time all-GSL honoree from NC. Will play basketball at Whitworth.
Silas Chapman (3.6); cross country, track and field. Six-time letter winner. Three-time regional and state competitor in cross country; teams placed first, third and second. Undecided at Eastern Washington.
Rogers: Ziona Combs (3.2); volleyball, basketball. Four-time letter winner. Earned votes toward all-GSL senior year. Will study nursing at Eastern Washington.
Joshua Guzik (3.67); football, wrestling, track. Nine-time letter winner. First-team all-GSL football senior year; honorable mention as junior. In wrestling, first team as senior and second team as junior and sophomore. Second at state in the 285-pound weight class senior year. Will play football on scholarship at Idaho.
Shadle Park: Ashlynn Picicci (3.6); soccer, tennis, cheer. Nine-time letter winner. Honorable mention all-GSL for soccer senior season and was captain for tennis and cheer as senior. Will study nursing at Washington State.
Drew Richardson (3.87); football, basketball. baseball. Eight-time letter winner. Helped lead football team to GSL 3A title as senior and received all-GSL honorable mention in baseball as junior. Will attend Whitworth on a University Scholarship.
University: Kelsey Crosby (3.92); soccer, track. Six-time letter winner. Named GSL Offensive MVP in soccer her senior year. Earned all-league honors each of her four years. Will play soccer on academic and athletic scholarship at Seattle University.
Blake Tellinghusen (4.0); football, wrestling, baseball, curling. Eight-time letter winner. District champion and all-GSL second team in 145-pound weight class senior year; qualified for state at 113 as sophomore. Will play baseball at Lewis-Clark State on Trustee Endowed Scholarship.
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