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Locally: Trio of Spokane Chiefs players land on WHL’s Western Conference All-Star team

UPDATED: Sun., April 12, 2020

Spokane Chiefs forward Adam Beckman  and Vancouver Giants forward Michal Kvasnica  compete for control of the puck during the first period of a WHL game, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020, in the Spokane Arena. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Spokane Chiefs forward Adam Beckman and Vancouver Giants forward Michal Kvasnica compete for control of the puck during the first period of a WHL game, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020, in the Spokane Arena. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
From staff and news services

Three players who picked up team honors represented the Spokane Chiefs on the Western Hockey League’s 2019-20 Western Conference All-Star team.

Forward Adam Beckman, the Chiefs’ Player of the Year who led the WHL in scoring, and Ty Smith, who shared the Chiefs’ Defensive Player of the Year award, were named to the All-Western Conference first team.

Eli Zummack, selected by his teammates as the Chiefs’ Players Player, was named to the All-Western Conference second team.

Beckman, an 18-year-old Minnesota Wild prospect who signed an entry-level contract with the NHL team last month, was the only player in the WHL to reach the 100-point plateau. He led the league with 107 points, 48 goals and 316 shots on goal. His 59 assists tied for third.

He set a franchise record by scoring goals in 10 consecutive games as part of a league-best 18-game point streak, and was second in the league in power-play goals (16) and game-winning goals (nine).

Smith, also a first-team all-star last season, finished the season strong after a rather disjointed start. He played the preseason with the New Jersey Devils, who drafted him in the first round in 2018, and spent time helping lead his native Canada to the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship gold medal.

But in the two months from the time he rejoined the Chiefs on Jan. 10 until the season ended abruptly, the captain collected 42 points (15 goals, 27 assists) and a +34 rating, being held off the scoresheet just five times. He finished the season with 59 points.

Zummack, whose 64 assists led the league, was a model of consistently. He was held off the scoresheet just 12 times all season and had three point streaks of 10 games or more, one going 17. He collected points in 39 of the final 41 games, and in the last 10 games he accumulated 21 points. His 86 points were second on the team to Beckman and fifth in the league.

WHL Western Conference All-Stars: First team: Dustin Wolf, goalie, Everett; Smith; Johnny Ludvig, defense, Portland; Beckman; Seth Jarvis, forward, Portland; Connor Zary, forward, Kamloops. Second team: Joel Hofer, goalie, Portland; Bowen Byram, defense, Vancouver; Jake Christiansen, defense, Everett; Zummack; Zane Franklin, forward, Kamloops; Bryce Kindopp, forward, Everett.

• Three Chiefs forwards are listed in the final NHL Central Scouting Service Draft Rankings. Jack Finley jumped up to 38th among North American skaters, Post Falls native Bear Hughes ranked 150th and Luke Toporowski joined the list at 191.

Finley, a former first-round bantam pick of the Chiefs who turned 17 on Sept. 2, had 57 points (19 goals, 38 assists) in 61 games. Besides centering a line that included Beckman, he was a key force on faceoffs, winning 53.4% of his draws.

Hughes had 47 points (16 goals, 31 assists) in 61 games, ranking seventh among WHL rookies in points and ninth in goals. Toporowski, unrated in the midseason report, had 40 points (22 goals, 18 assists) in the team’s final 31 games, including a career-best 10-game point streak.

College scene

Whitworth swimmers Owen Lempert and Jamie Siegler were named to the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America Division III 2019-20 All-American teams in the wake of the cancellation of the national championships.

They had had posted qualifying or provisional qualifying times for the D-III meet in Greensboro, North Carolina, last month before it was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Lempert, a senior slated to compete at nationals for the first time, was entered in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle and 100 breaststroke. He qualified in the 50 free as the 14th seed with a Northwest Conference-record 20.29 seconds.

Siegler, a junior, qualified 11th in the 100 breaststroke with an NWC-record time of 1:03.29. She was also entered in the 100 butterfly and 200 breaststroke. She was 13th in the 100 breast last season, earning All-America honorable mention.

Riley Lupfer’s 3-point shooting led to her third straight selection to the All-Mountain West women’s basketball team.

The former Lewis and Clark standout, a senior at Boise State, finished the 2019-20 season with 105 3-pointers to rank third nationally and her average of 3.18 3s a game were eighth in Division I. Her 350 career 3-pointers are the second most in Mountain West history.

In voting for the all-conference team, coaches only take into account statistics for conference games. Over those 18 contests, Lupfer averaged a team-best 13.4 points, 11th in the league, and shot 41.1% from behind the arc. Her 60 3s led the MWC. Her season average of 12.6 ppg was 15th in the conference.

• The Gonzaga men’s basketball team was named NCAA statistical champions in three categories in 2019-20. GU led the country in scoring offense (87.4 ppg), scoring margin (19.6 ppg) and winning percentage (93.9) in compiling a 31-2 record.

It’s the second straight season the Zags led Division I in scoring offense and scoring margin. They have led the country in eight total categories the last four seasons while being the only program to have reached 30 wins in each of those seasons.

They were also second in the country in 2019-20 in field-goal percentage (51.5), fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.49) and rebound margin (9.2), and fifth in assists (550) and free-throw attempts (789).

• Washington State received national recognition from in the website’s 2020 Pac-12 Conference wrapup, with three Cougars recognized for their performances in the pandemic-abbreviated season.

Sophomore right-hander Zane Mills was named the Pac-12 Breakout Pitcher, left-handed pitcher A.J. Block was on the Best Senior list and sophomore first baseman Kyle Manzardo (Lake City) was on the Breakout Hitter list.

Mills had a third of WSU’s wins in a 9-7 start with a 3-0 record and had 32 strikeouts in 25 innings with a 1.44 earned-run average. He tied for third in the Pac-12 in wins, was fourth in strikeouts and innings and seventh in batting average against (.174).

Block was named the Pac-12’s second-best senior after going 2-1 in four starts with a 3.25 ERA. He led the league with 27 2/3 innings pitched and tied for second in strikeouts (34). He had 10 strikeouts in each of his final three starts.

Manzardo was named the Pac-12’s second-best breakout hitter after hitting .435 with seven doubles, three homers and 14 RBIs. He led the league in hits (27), tied for first in doubles (seven), was second in batting average (.435) and fourth in slugging (.694) and runs scored (21). He had a hit in all 16 games with five straight multiple-hit games.

• Four men and one woman at Washington State with area ties were named to Mountain Pacific Sports Federation 2019-20 Indoor Track & Field All-Academic Scholar-Athlete teams.

The men’s team includes WSU seniors Justin Janke (North Central) with a 3.26 GPA and Cameron Dean (Mead), 3.33; junior Zak Kindl (Lewis and Clark), 3.40; and redshirt freshman Preston O’Neil (Ferris), 3.48; and Washington senior Khalil Winfrey (Rogers), 3.43.

The women’s team includes Cougars sophomore Anna Rodgers (LC). 3.86.

• Thirty athletes with area ties – 17 at Eastern Washington, 11 at Idaho and two at Montana – were named to Big Sky Conference All-Academic teams in the winter sports of basketball and indoor track and field with GPAs of 3.20 or better.

Eastern: Men’s basketball: Jacob Groves, fr., Shadle Park; Tanner Groves, so., Shadle. Women’s basketball: Grace Kirscher, so., Sandpoint. Men’s indoor track & field: Isaac Barville, jr., University; Parker Bowden, sr., Central Valley/Community Colleges of Spokane; Liam Bracken, so., Republic; Grant Hannan, so., CV; Caleb Johnson, so., Shadle; Alec Kness, fr., North Central; Carter Ledwith, so., Lewis and Clark; Domenic Rehm, so., Medical Lake/CCS; Jack Sloan, jr., U-Hi; Jacob Stripe, so., Ferris. Women’s indoor track & field: Faith Kennedy, fr., Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls); Hailey Leeking, so., NC; Maggie Nelson, sr., Liberty; Alyssa Oates, so., Wilbur-Creston.

Idaho: Women’s basketball: Nina Carlson., jr., Post Falls; Hailey Christopher, so., CV; Allison Kirby, jr., Timberlake (Spirit Lake). Men’s indoor track & field: Josiah Anderson, sr., Logos (Moscow), fourth time; Ryan Kline, fr., CV; Ben Shaw, so., Riverside. Women’s indoor track & field: Anna Pecha, so., CV; Erica Pecha, so., CV; Jordyn Rauer., sr., WV; Hannah Reiman, sr., CV; Krista Story, sr., Coeur d’Alene HS, fourth time.

Montana: Women’s basketball: Madi Schoening, jr., Sandpoint. Women’s indoor track & field: Olivia Ellis, sr., LC, fourth time.

• For the 38th consecutive quarter, dating to the fall of 2007, Eastern Washington student-athletes compiled a department-wide GPA above 3.0, ending the winter quarter with a collective 3.35.

Eleven of 12 programs had at least a 3.32 GPA, led by women’s soccer and women’s golf at 3.72. The top men’s program was tennis at 3.57. Football was the only program below at 2.93.

Thirty-seven of 283 student-athletes posted a perfect 4.0 GPA with an additional 99 between 3.5 and 3.99.


James Williamson, associate head coach at Corban University in Salem, Oregon, last season, has joined the Gonzaga men’s staff as an assistant coach, GU head coach Paul Meehan announced.

Originally from Coeur d’Alene, Williamson becomes the third former Corban coach at GU. Meehan was head coach at the NAIA school for three years before joining the Zags as an assistant in 2013. When he was elevated to the head job in 2019, he brought in Aaron Lewis, who had succeeded him as head man at Corban, to be an assistant.

Meehan had recruited Williamson to play at Corban, where he became an all-conference player.

Williamson was a men’s assistant at North Idaho College one season in 2016 before going to Northwest Nazarene to be a women’s assistant, where he spent two seasons before returning to his alma mater last season. During his time at NNC and Corban, the teams he assisted produced their program’s best seasons.

• Gonzaga men’s soccer alum Josh Phillips was selected by the Colorado Springs Gazette as one the Best XI to play for the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC of the USL Championship League.

Phillips played at Gonzaga from 2010-13 and graduated as one of the most decorated defenders in program history.

According to the Gazette, the Switchbacks’ Best XI was selected using polls conducted on social media. Players who competed in the club’s first five seasons, 2015-19, were eligible. Phillips played the first three seasons and was a mainstay on the back line in 81 appearances.

At GU, Phillips was West Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 when he was also named to the All-WCC and All-Far West Region first teams as the Bulldogs compiled a 10-6-3 record, the most wins since 2000. He was All-WCC second team as a sophomore.

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