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Sports >  Area sports

Locally: Area basketball, football players honored with Big Sky Conference Scholar-Athlete Awards

UPDATED: Sat., July 13, 2019

Eastern Washington Eagles place kicker Roldan Alcobendas (37) kicks a field goal during the first half a college football game on Saturday, November 18, 2017, at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Eastern Washington Eagles place kicker Roldan Alcobendas (37) kicks a field goal during the first half a college football game on Saturday, November 18, 2017, at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Recent graduates Violet Kapri Morrow and Roldan Alcobendas of Eastern Washington and Ed Hall and Mikayla Ferenz of Idaho were their school’s 2018-19 Big Sky Conference Scholar-Athlete Award recipients.

Alcobendas, a sixth-year senior on the EWU football team, set numerous school records during his career, and broke an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision record when he was a perfect 16-of-16 kicking field goals as a senior. He ended with a school-record 320 career points to rank sixth in Big Sky history.

He earned first team All-America honors on seven different teams and was the recipient of the Fred Mitchell Placekicking Award given to the top kicker from all classifications other than FBS. He was also honored on Big Sky All-Academic teams the last three seasons, 2016, ’17 and ’18.

Morrow, is one of just 18 players in school history to score 1,000 career points in women’s basketball, finishing with 1,357, and was a four-time Big Sky All-Academic selection. She was also just the eighth Eagle to finish with career totals of more than 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 100 assists.

She capped her senior season by being named to the Big Sky All-Tournament team after earning second team All-Big Sky honors.

Hall wrapped up his football career with the Vandals with a number of accolades, including earning FCS Subdivision Athletics Directors Association Academic All-Star Team honors and a second consecutive CoSIDA Academic All-District first team award.

His academic work transcended the classroom. He’s a member of a four-person “team” of UI students that created the Forever Shower that uses filtered, recycled water and won awards across the region. On the field, he finished his career with 239 tackles, including 61 as a senior.

Ferenz is the Big Sky’s all-time women’s basketball career scoring leader with 2,466 points and was the Big Sky Player of the Year after leading the Vandals to the regular-season championship and a run to the third round of the 2019 WNIT.

Off the court, Ferenz earned CoSIDA Academic All-America first-team honors for the second consecutive season and was a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-District selection. Ferenz recently signed her first professional contract to play with AB Contern in Luxembourg.


Greg Bergeron, who has helped UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton reach the College World Series during a two-decade coaching career, has been named Washington State’s volunteer assistant coach, the Cougars’ first-year head coach, Brian Green, announced.

Bergeron worked the previous four seasons at Long Beach State following 11 years as an assistant and hitting coach at Irvine (2005-07), Fullerton (2008-11) and Tennessee (2012-15). More than 100 players he helped develop were selected in the MLB draft, including five in the first round, and 11 have reached the Major Leagues.


Gonzaga women’s coach Lisa Fortier announced the addition of Olivia Luu, who completed a four-year playing career at William Jessup in 2019, and Micaela Reese, a 2019 graduate of Central Michigan where she was a student manager the last three seasons, as graduate managers for the 2019-20 season.

“I was able to work with Micaela at USA Basketball and know many of Olivia’s former coaches,” Fortier said. “They have great work ethic and are both very eager to learn.”

College scene

Kelly Hooper, a Montana State junior from Gonzaga Prep, five Eastern Washington Eagles and three Washington State Cougars were named to the 18Birdies Women’s Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholar Team with GPAs of 3.50 or better.

It’s the third WGCA scholar award for Hooper.

Eastern honors went to senior Kirsten Ishikawa, recognized for the fourth time; juniors Madalyn Ardueser, honored for the third time, and Megan Ohland for the first; sophomore Alexa Clark, who earned her second honor; and freshman Jaelin Ishikawa, her first.

WSU senior Madison Odiorne was another four-time recipient with junior teammate Elodie Bridenne earning her third and freshman Amy Chu her first.

• Washington State and Whitworth were both recognized by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America for academic achievement.

Three members of the WSU women’s team – senior Linnea Lindberg (3.83 GPA), sophomore Taylor McCoy (Pullman, 3.86) and freshman Lauren Burckel (3.79) – earned CSCAA Division I Scholar All-America honorable mention for the 2019 Spring semester. The Cougars also earned a seventh straight, and 17th overall, Scholar All-America Team award with a 3.45 team GPA.

Whitworth also had three individuals – sophomore Ryan Grady (3.616) on the men’s team and sophomore Jamie Siegler (3.51) on the women’s earn Division III first-team honors and junior Hannah Galbraith (3.826) on the women’s earn honorable mention. Both the Pirates men (3.26) and women (3.24) were Scholar All-America teams.

Zachary Short, who completed his junior season at Idaho this spring, placed third in the shot put at the 2019 North America, Central America and Caribbean (NACAC) U23 Championships at Queretaro, Mexico, last weekend competing for Honduras.

His bronze-medal throw of 60-feet, 2-inches is short of his Honduras record of 61-8. He also holds Honduras records in the discus and javelin.

• The Eastern Washington men’s basketball team earned a National Association of Basketball Coaches’ Team Academic Excellence Award with a team GPA of 3.0 or better for the 2018-19 season.

• EWU is looking for former volleyball players to participate in an alumni match at Reese Court in Cheney on Aug. 24 at 10 a.m. Interested alums should contact Eagles coach Leslie Flores-Cloud at by Aug. 21.


Kickoff times for Eastern Washington’s first four games of the 2019 season have been announced.

The Eagles open the season at the University of Washington at noon on Aug. 31 in a game that will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks, then play host to Lindenwood University, a Division II school in St. Charles, Missouri, in their home opener Sept. 7 at 1:05 p.m.

The next two games are on the road, Sept. 14 at Jacksonville State in Alabama with a 1 p.m. Pacific start, and Sept. 21 at Idaho with a noon kickoff that launches the Big Sky-Root Sports Game of the Week television package.

Start times are pending for EWU’s eight Big Sky Conference games – Sept. 28, North Dakota; Oct. 5, at Sacramento State; Oct. 12, Northern Colorado (a Root TV game); Oct. 26, at Montana (a Root TV game); Nov. 2, Northern Arizona; Nov. 9, at Idaho State; Nov. 16, at Cal Poly; Nov. 23, Portland State.


The Spokane Chiefs are looking for host families for their players for the 2019-20 Western Hockey League season. Information can be found on the Chiefs’ website,

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