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Locally: Former Idaho sprinter Chris Stokes receives Jamaica’s sixth-highest national honor

UPDATED: Sat., Sept. 21, 2019

Brothers Chris and Dudley Stokes competed on the Jamaican National Bobsleigh Team at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta. (Chris Stokes / Courtesy)
Brothers Chris and Dudley Stokes competed on the Jamaican National Bobsleigh Team at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta. (Chris Stokes / Courtesy)

Chris Stokes, a sprinter on the University of Idaho track team in the mid-1980s, a four-time Olympian and an active member of the Jamaican Bobsleigh Team since its inception in 1988, has received Jamaica’s sixth-highest national honor.

The announcement reads, “On the occasion of the celebration of Jamaica’s 57th anniversary of independence, the Government of Jamaica confers the Order of Distinction, in the rank of Officer, on Nelson Christian Stokes for his contribution to the development of sport in Jamaica.”

Stokes, the founder and executive chairman of NCS Enterprises, a group of companies focusing on financial services though leadership and sports administration, is chairman of the Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation, first vice president of Jamaica’s National Olympic Committee and a board member on Jamaica’s Olympians Association.

After Stokes received an associate degree from Bronx Community College in New York, Vandals track and field coach Mike Keller offered him a scholarship to run for the Vandals.

In 1985, Stokes put his name in the UI record book in the 100 (10.40 seconds) and 200 (20.98) meters, ranking third in both events at the time. His times now are eighth. He was also a member of the Vandals’ 1985 4x100 relay team that qualified for the NCAA Championships.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in finance (cum laude) from Idaho, Stokes ventured to Washington State to work on an MBA. While studying for his master’s in banking, he took a break and “tried out for the 1988 Jamaican Summer Olympics team in Seoul, and ended up in the Winter Olympics in Calgary,” is the way Wikipedia put it.

Stokes’ direction changed when he received a phone call from his brother, Dudley Stokes, who was in the group putting together a bobsled team for the country. Dudley’s convincing argument? Chris’ speed would be invaluable in pushing the sled at the start of a run.

Thus he became a last-minute replacement and brakeman on a Jamaican team that became the talk of Calgary, Alberta, underdogs from a tropical nation in a winter sport.

Chris and Dudley went on to represent Jamaica in four Winter Olympics and Chris wrote the book, “Cool Runnings and Beyond – The Story of the Jamaica Bobsleigh Team,” that became the basis for the movie “Cool Runnings.”


Jordan Kelley, who played two years at Washington State (2011-13) before transferring to Wyoming to complete her collegiate career, has been named an assistant women’s coach at Idaho, Vandals head coach Jon Newlee announced.

Kelley, who will work primarily with the guards and wings, spent the last three years as a coach and director with a youth and high school club program in Denver.

Twice the Wyoming high school Gatorade Player of the Year as a star in Gillette, she was the Mountain West Conference Newcomer of the Year for the University of Wyoming in 2015 after transferring from WSU.

Bobby Dibler, involved in officiating since 1973 and a coordinator of basketball officials for 25 years, has been named the 2019 Naismith Men’s College Official of the Year by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Among the half-dozen conferences he oversees are the Pac-12, WCC and Big Sky.


There was a lot of juggling for positions during qualifying in the Junior Bowlers Tour’s season-opening alumni tournament last Sunday, and junior Alex Holodnick and his adult partner Kellan Liswig, who made one of the biggest moves, wound up winning the whole thing.

Holodnick and Liswig, who moved from 10th into first during the second qualifying session, defeated Griffin Rees and Gary Snyder, who had fallen from first into third, 401-338 for the championship.

Grace Remendowski and Mason Georgeadis, the No. 2 qualifiers, finished third; Brendan Haight and Michael Butler were fourth; and Kaleb Ramelow and Shelby Snyder finished fifth.

Both Kyle Groves, who averaged 242 for the first four qualifying games, and Holodnick averaged 230 for the tournament. Haight, who averaged 210, had high game of 279 and Alexandria Dudley led the girls with a 217.

The next JBT is at North Bowl on Oct. 6.

College scene

Jackson Moore, a Pacific Lutheran senior from Lewis and Clark, was named the Northwest Conference men’s soccer Offensive Player of the Week after he scored two goals for the Lutes in a 4-0 win over Chapman.

In PLU’s first six matches, Moore, first-team 4A all-state and GSL Offensive MVP as a senior at LC, has matched his career goal total for the Lutes with four. He had scored two as a freshman and one each as a sophomore and junior in 53 total matches. He also has one assist this season.

Taylen Wohl, a Walla Walla sophomore forward from Clarkston who leads the NWAC with 10 goals in seven matches, was named the conference Women’s Soccer Player of the Week on Thursday after she scored four goals, including a hat trick against Blue Mountain.

Mark Kharchenko, Montana Western’s junior kicker from Colville, was named the Frontier Conference football Special Teams Player of the Week after he was 5 for 5 on PATs and hit a 30-yard field goal in the No. 25 Bulldogs’ 38-13 road win over MSU Northern.

Madalyn Ardueser, an Eastern Washington senior, collected the first Big Sky Conference Women’s Golfer of the Week award of her career after a record-setting, seven-stroke victory at the Battle of Old Works last week in Anaconda, Montana.

Ardueser’s 6-under-par 210 on rounds of 71-70-69 is a school program record for 54 holes and the third-round 69 matches her career low.

• Gonzaga sophomore Quynn Duong, the West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year in women’s golf in 2018-19, has been named to the Preseason All-WCC Team, and the Bulldogs were picked to finish fourth in the coaches’ preseason poll.

Pepperdine was a unanimous choice to finish first.

Duong placed in the top 10 in a team-best five of her nine events last year with four in the top five that included three seconds. Her 72.85 scoring average set a Gonzaga single-season record.

• Gonzaga junior Claire Manley was named the West Coast Conference women’s cross country Runner of the Week after winning the Cougar Classic with a time of 21 minutes, 4.8 seconds for 6K, the ninth-fastest time in program history for the distance. She finished 20 seconds ahead of the runner-up

• Three area schools are included in the Week 1 U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association regional rankings.

Gonzaga is No. 7, Washington State No. 9 and Idaho No. 11 in the Division I men’s West Region that is led by Washington. WSU is No. 14 and Gonzaga No. 15 in the women’s West Region also led by Washington.

In the first regular-season national polls, the UW men and women are both third.

• In Division III women’s West Region, Whitworth jumped six spots from No. 10 in the preseason to No. 4 in the first weekly poll based on its performance in the season-opening Cougar Classic. The Pirates’ top-seven finished within 2 minutes of each other and within nine spots in the team scoring.

The Whitworth men are No. 9 in the D-III West Region.


Corey Prugh, the golf coach at Community Colleges of Spokane, posted a two-stroke victory as area golfers claimed three of the top four spots in the 2019 Pacific Northwest PGA Professional Championship that wound up Thursday at Indian Summer Golf & Country Club in Lacey, Washington.

Prugh had rounds of 72-67-69 for an 8-under 208 for 54 holes in winning the tournament for a second time. Defending champion Russell Grove, golf coach at North Idaho College, and Brady Sharp of Walla Walla tied for second at 210. Jeff Gove, director of instruction at The Idaho Club in Sandpoint, was fourth at 212.

Prugh, whose previous title came in 2016, Grove, Sharp and Gove are among seven who earned a spot in the 2020 PGA Professional Championship in Austin, Texas, April 26–29.

• The Spokane Gleason All-Star team took its season into mid-September, finishing fourth in the PGA Jr. League Northwest Regional last weekend at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton.

The 10-man team, representing four city courses, moved steadily through the playoffs.

It first won a play-in to qualify for the Spokane Region “Fab Four” at Indian Canyon, where it faced a second Spokane all-star team, Team Stockton, one from Coeur d’Alene and one from Liberty Lake and MeadowWood.

A win there advanced it to the Pacific Northwest Sectional Championship at Eagle Crest Resort in Bend, Oregon, where it finished second to qualify for regionals.

There are 26 PGA Jr. League teams in the area, including Spokane, North Idaho and Liberty Lake, comprising roughly 260 youngsters. Nine teams in Spokane are split into two leagues named for local athletic luminaries Steve Gleason and John Stockton.

“They told us at regionals that there are about 56,000 PGA Jr. League kids nationally and only 480 nationally qualify for regionals,” said Travis Huskisson, a PGA professional at Kalispel Golf & Country Club and one of the Team Gleason coaches/captains. “We told our kids they were in pretty select company.”

The Gleason All-Stars:

Mason Dietzen, 9, Manito Golf & Country Club, Northwest Christian Elementary; Mikey Wende, 11, Creek at Qualchan, All Saints; Teigen Brill, 12, Kalispel Golf & Country Club, Balboa Elementary; Justin Krasselt, 10, Kalispel, Windsor Elementary; Ben Barrett, 12, Kalispel, Mead School District 6th Grade Center; Evan Maglio, 12, Kalispel, Mead 6th Grade Center; Brady Moore, 13, Indian Canyon, Sacajawea; Jack Butler, 14, Indian Canyon, Sacajawea; Henry Staples, 13, Indian Canyon, Sacajawea; Ethan Miller, 13, Indian Canyon, Chase. Coaches/captains: Huskisson; Derek Siesser, PGA professional, Indian Canyon.


Jared Burnham, a head coach in the Big Sky Conference the past 15 years, has been hired as the fifth men’s head tennis coach at Eastern Washington University, athletic director Lynn Hickey announced.

Burnham coached at Montana State the last seven years after spending the previous eight at Weber State.

He compiled a 46-27 Big Sky record at Montana State and was named the Big Sky Coach of the Year in 2013 after leading the Bobcats to the regular-season championship. He had a 20-11 conference record his last four years at Weber State. Before Weber, he gained regional honors at Boise State, first as an assistant then as head coach.

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