John Olerud, a baseball star who was one of the finest student-athletes in any sport in Washington State history, will be inducted into the Pac-12 Conference Hall of Honor with the 2019 Class on Friday during the Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament in Las Vegas.
During his three seasons in a Cougars uniform (1987-89), Olerud went about the task of rewriting the WSU record book while becoming the only Cougars baseball athlete to be named College Athlete of the Year.
In 1988, he was the only player in NCAA history to win 15 games pitching and hit 20 home runs in the same season, going 15-0 with 23 homers. He still holds many school records and had an overall career record of 26-4 with a 3.17 ERA in 241 1/3 innings while batting .434. His sophomore season he was named Athlete of the Year by Baseball America.
In January prior to his junior year, Olerud suffered a brain aneurysm. He missed the first 28 games that spring, but returned to hit .359 the final 27 games, wearing a batting helmet in the field as a precaution. That became a trademark he wore the rest of his career.
Drafted in the 27th round by the New York Mets following his senior year at Interlake High School in Bellevue, he passed on that opportunity to attend WSU. Prior to his senior season, Olerud was drafted again, by Toronto in the third round of the 1989 draft.
He had intended to return to WSU but agreed to sign with the Blue Jays when they promised he would report directly to Toronto. He never played a game in the minor leagues until after he had spent 16 years in the majors.
While recovering from foot surgery in November 2004, he signed a minor league contract with Boston and played three games with Class AAA Pawtucket before joining the Red Sox on May 27, 2005. He retired following the 2005 season.
He was on Toronto’s back-to-back World Series winners in 1992 and 1993. In 1993, he became the first Blue Jay to win a batting title, hitting .363. He also played for the New York Mets and Yankees and Seattle Mariners, playing 2,234 games in the majors, primarily at first base, with a career .295 batting average with 768 extra-base hits, 255 of them home runs.
The John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, given annually by the College Baseball Hall of Fame, was named in his honor, and in 2016 he was named the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Century.
Joining Olerud in the 18th Hall of Honor class are Meg Ritchie-Stone, Arizona; Frank Kush, Arizona State; Natalie Coughlin, California; Lisa Van Goor, Colorado; Bev Smith, Oregon; Dick Fosbury, Oregon State; Dick Gould, Stanford; Ann Meyers Drysdale, UCLA; Ronnie Lott, USC; and Patricia “Trish” Bostrom, Washington.
Idaho Hall of Fame
Three men whose athletic pursuits have been deeply ingrained in football and a former University of Idaho pioneer in women’s swimming comprise the 2019 class that will be inducted into the Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame on April 13 at the Coeur d’Alene Resort.
Nancy Monroe will be joined on the dais by former Idaho football player and coach Chris Tormey from Spokane, former NFL offensive lineman and Moscow native Doug Riesenberg and long-time high school and Pac-12 football official Steve Hudson of Coeur d’Alene.
Monroe, a freestyle and butterfly specialist who set school records in both, was the first four-time AIAW national qualifier in Idaho women’s swimming from 1971-75, winning most inspirational honors four successive seasons (1972-75) and most outstanding in 1972, ’74 and ’75.
The University of Idaho Athletic Hall of Famer also played volleyball one year and helped the Vandals to a 21-4 record.
Tormey, a Gonzaga Prep graduate and charter member of the UI Athletic Hall of Fame, had three stints with Vandals football – as a player, an assistant coach and head coach.
He was an All-Big Sky Conference defensive end (1976) and linebacker (1977), an assistant coach (1982-83) and head coach (1995-99). He compiled a 32-23 record, the .589 winning percentage fourth best in school history.
His best year was 1998 when the Vandals won the Big West Conference, going 9-3, capped by a 42-35 win over 16-point favorite Southern Mississippi in the Humanitarian Bowl. Vandals fans likely will most remember Tormey’s gutsy call to go for a 2-point conversion in overtime to beat Boise State and clinch the bowl berth. That remains UI’s last football win over the Broncos.
Riesenberg was a football, basketball and track standout at Moscow High School, where he graduated in 1983, receiving all-state honors as both an offensive and defensive lineman and in basketball. He also was a three-time Idaho state champion in the discus.
After a football career at California, he was drafted by the New York Giants in the sixth round in 1987 and spent nine years with the Giants as an offensive lineman and one year with Tampa Bay. A knee injury midway through that season ended his career. He played 145 games, including 132 consecutive starts.
Hudson has officiated basketball and football at the high school and college level for approximately 30 years. He has been a football back judge in the Pac-12 since 1999 and is the senior member of conference’s football officials.
His resumé includes 19 bowl assignments, including the 2016 Fiesta Bowl, a national semifinal between Clemson and Ohio State. He also has worked 26 Idaho state high school basketball championship games and 10 state championship football games.
Info: Rick Rasmussen at Rick.Rasmussen@surgery partners.com or 208 699-7495.
Kaleb Ramelow, deprived of a Junior Bowlers Tour title the previous week from the No. 1 qualifying position, carried the hot hand from start to finish last Sunday, winning the championship at Players & Spectators again as the top seed.
With the qualifying format extended to five games for both sets, Ramelow put on a show, averaging 225 for the first five-game set with an 1,126 series and followed by going 5-0 in the match-play portion with an 1,145 series, a 229 average.
Wyatt Grunwald wasn’t far behind in the second set, rolling a 1,140, to jump from ninth to second. Madison Hilden followed a 1,024 with a 1,115 to qualify third. The five-person roll-off field was filled by No. 4 Brayden Herbert (1,101 and 1,065) and No. 5 Kyle Groves (1,035 and 1,108).
Groves bested Herbert 237-224 before Hilden took over. She beat Groves 269-224, then beat Grunwald 185-171 to earn a shot at Ramelow. This time Ramelow didn’t stumble, turning aside Hilden 248-184.
Ramelow and Hilden matched high games, 269s, with Ramelow’s 229 average leading the boys and Hilden’s 213 leading the girls.
The next JBT is Sunday at Cheney Bowl.
Match Burnham more than lived up to his billing.
After receiving NAIA All-America honorable mention and All-Frontier Conference second team as a junior, the Carroll College senior from Liberty was selected in the 2018-19 preseason coaches’ poll to be first team all-conference.
Last week the 6-foot-8 forward was named the Frontier Conference Men’s Player of the Year after he averaged 19.9 points and 5.7 rebounds while shooting 52 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 86 percent from the foul line. He had five games of 30 points or more.
Carroll’s Shamrock Campbell from Ferris was named co-Freshmen of the Year. He started 30 of the Saints’ 32 games and played the most of any Saint with 1,096 minutes. Running the Saints’ offense, he averaged 9.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game, shooting 51 percent from the field, 46 percent from 3 and 82 percent from the foul line.
Conner Moffatt, a Lewis-Clark State junior from Lakeside-Nine Mile Falls and Everett Community College, received the Warriors’ Champions of Character award.
• Markieth Brown Jr., a sophomore from Shadle Park who led Everett to a 14-0 record and a second straight North Region championship, was named the NWAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for a second time this season for a week in which he averaged 31.5 points and broke the school’s all-time career scoring record with 1,330 points.
• Tayler Drynan from Gonzaga Prep and three athletes who started their collegiate careers at area colleges before transferring were honored when All-Great Northwest Athletic Conference women’s and men’s basketball teams were named.
Drynan, a junior guard at Simon Fraser, and Taryn Shelley, a Montana State Billings freshman transfer forward from Washington State, were on the women’s honorable mention list.
In the quarterfinals of the GNAC tournament last Thursday, Drynan played a team-high 37 minutes with 14 points and three assists as No. 3 seed Simon Fraser (17-11) saw its season end in a 72-69 loss to No. 6 Western Washington in Bellingham.
The GNAC men’s first team included Alaska Anchorage junior guard/forward Tyler Brimhall, a transfer from North Idaho College. Brendan Howard, an Eastern Washington transfer at Montana State Billings, where he’s a freshman forward, received honorable mention.
• Seattle Pacific’s multitalented junior, Scout Cai from Colfax, was recognized by the U.S. Track and Field & Cross Country Coaches Association as the Division II Indoor West Region Female Field Athlete of the Year.
Cai collected her third straight Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship in the pentathlon with a winning score of 3,815 points that is No. 3 on the all-time GNAC list. She also placed third in the GNAC Championships in the pole vault (12 feet, 8 1/4 inches) and fifth in the high jump.
• Whitworth athletes collected Northwest Conference weekly player-of-the-week honors in softball and men’s track and field last week.
Kinsey McNaught, a junior outfielder, had 11 hits, six for extra bases, 14 runs batted in and two stolen bases in three wins and one suspended game to claim the softball honor. She also scored five runs and finished the weekend with a .688 batting average.
Reed Hurst, a freshman thrower, earned the men’s field award after he picked up a victory in the discus with a toss of 142-3 and placed second in the shot put with a career-best throw of 42-7.
• Gonzaga senior Sophie Whittle was named the West Coast Conference Women’s Tennis Singles Player of the Week and with partner Graciela Rosas debuted at No. 25 nationally in the ITA national doubles rankings.
Whittle, the No. 7-ranked singles player in the nation, earned her first WCC weekly singles honor of the season after collecting her 20th victory. The week before, she and Rosas were the WCC doubles team of the week. While they have fashioned a 12-0 record they had been unranked until last week.
• Basketball players Grace Kirscher and Jesse Hunt were named the Eastern Washington athletic department February Scholar-Athletes of the Month.
Kirscher, a freshman from Sandpoint with a 3.69 GPA, earned female honors after averaging 11.3 points, 1.1 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.6 rebounds in February while shooting 41.0 percent from the field. She scored in double figures in five of eight games as the Eagles went 6-2.
Hunt, a senior with a 3.57 GPA, was the male choice. He averaged 15.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.1 blocked shots as EWU went 5-4. He made 51.8 percent of his shots overall and 44.4 percent on 3-pointers. Hunt was the Big Sky Player of the Week the last week of February for a performance that included his ninth double-double of the season.
Jamie Schultz, who worked five seasons on the University of Idaho staff before spending 2018 as a defensive graduate assistant at Central Florida, rejoins the Vandals as inside linebackers coach, UI head coach Paul Petrino announced.
Schultz received bachelor’s (2015) and master’s (2017) degrees at Idaho while serving the Vandals as an undergraduate and graduate assistant in various capacities from 2013-17. He worked two seasons with the linebackers, including the 2016 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl team. At Central Florida he worked primarily with the defensive backs.
• J.D. Johnson, who has more than 20 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level and served the Vandals last season in a quality control role, has been named the Mark Vaught Director of Football Operations at Idaho, head coach Paul Petrino announced.
Johnson, who was head coach at Feather River College in Quincy, California, for four years, will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the football program, including travel and meals, and also will assist with coordinating recruiting.
The University of Alberta Golden Bears, with former Spokane Chiefs captain Jason Fram one of their defensive leaders, won a third straight Canada West championship with a 1-0 victory over University of Saskatchewan last Sunday to take the best-of-three series 2-1.
Saskatchewan won the first game 4-2 before Alberta put together back-to-back shutout wins, 3-0 and 1-0. Both schools will represent Canada West at the 2019 University Cup next weekend in Lethbridge, Alberta.
Letters of intent
Lewis-Clark State track & field/cross country: Brooklyn Shell, distances, Coeur d’Alene High School, multiple Idaho 5A State track and cross country qualifier.
Gonzaga women’s rowing: Alison Bradus, rower, Gold River, California; Clare Bretschneider, coxswain, Eugene; Grace Dojan, rower, Vancouver, Washington. (Skyview); Sailor Hawes, coxswain, Ventura, California; Steph Westlund, rower, Seattle (Holy Names Academy).
Tickets are on sale for the 38th Killin Dinner, Dance and Auction at Eastern Washington University on April 27. Tickets are $100 for an individual and $700 for a table of eight.
The event in the EWU Sports and Recreation Center follows the annual Red-White spring football game at noon at Roos Field. The dinner-dance starts with a social hour and auction at 4:30 p.m. Net proceeds benefit areas of greatest need within Eastern athletics. Last year’s event raised more than $117,000.
The event is named for the late Orland Killin, who, along with his wife Bernice, helped create it. He was a football letter winner at Eastern in 1941-42 and served the school as a professor, faculty athletic representative and faculty president.
Info: goeags.com/killin. Registration deadline is April 23.
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