Jeanne Eggart Helfer, the first woman to receive an athletics scholarship at Washington State in 1978 and a basketball and track and field standout for the Cougars, is the school’s 2020 inductee into the Pac-12 Hall of Honor.
The 19th edition of the conference’s most prestigious recognition of its all-time greatest athletes will take place on Friday in Las Vegas during a ceremony prior to the start of the semifinals of the 2020 Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament at T-Mobile Arena.
Arriving at WSU from Walla Walla High School, where she was a four-sport athlete (basketball, tennis, track and field and volleyball), she scaled back a bit, focusing on basketball and throwing the javelin.
At Wa-Hi, she was a high school All-American in 1977 and led the Blue Devils to a 56-6 record in basketball with three trips to the state tournament, with three top-three finishes, and was state champion in the javelin and one of the top javelin throwers in the country.
At WSU, she was one of the most gifted scorers in Cougars basketball history, setting multiple school records, including the women’s career scoring mark at 1,967 that stood until this season when it was surpassed by Borislava Hristova. She was four times first-team all-conference and three times all-region.
In track, she set the WSU javelin record as a sophomore with a throw of 178 feet, 3 inches, then took a break from basketball between her sophomore and junior seasons to try to make the 1980 U.S. Olympic team. She finished fourth in the javelin at the Olympic Trials, one spot shy of making the team.
After college, Eggart Helfer took her athletic knowledge into coaching and was a highly successful girls basketball and track coach at Mead and Mt. Spokane high schools. Her Mead girls basketball teams finished in the top four at state eight times, including three state championships (1990, 1992 and 1996) and a runner-up finish in 1991.
She is WSU’s second female to be inducted into the Pac-12 Hall of Honor, following track star Laura Lavine in 2018. Eggart Helfer is also in the Inland Northwest Sports Hall of Fame as a coach and the WIAA Hall of Fame as an athlete.
Others in the 2020 Pac-12 Hall of Honor class:
Sean Rooks (basketball, Arizona), Melissa Belote Ripley (swimming, Arizona State), Don Bowden (track, California), Bill Marolt (skiing, Colorado), Dan Fouts (football, Oregon), Joni Huntley (track, Oregon State), Jennifer Azzi (basketball, Stanford), Jonathan Ogden (football, UCLA), Barbara Hedges (administration, USC), Kathy Kreiner-Phillips (skiing, Utah) and Lincoln Kennedy (football, Washington).
Kyle Groves got hot at the right time and swept his way to the championship of the Junior Bowlers Tour stop at North Bowl last Sunday.
After slipping from the No. 3 spot during the match-play portion of qualifying into fourth for the five-person roll-offs, Groves put together a 901 four-game series to eliminate Alexandria Dudley (who finished fifth), Blake English (fourth) and Kaleb Ramelow (third).
That got him a shot at top qualifier Alex Holodnick, who Groves defeated 230-220 for the title.
Holodnick, who had won the previous week’s tournament at Players & Spectators, had high average for the boys, a 218, and Tate Moylan had high game, a 265.
Dudley, who had an 820 four-game series during match play to climb from eighth into fifth and get into the stepladder finals for the first time this season, led the girls with a 212 game and 194 average.
The final JBT will be at Lilac Lanes on March 22. The season-ending fun tournament will be March 29 at Valley Bowl.
Lexi Hull of Stanford and Washington State’s Borislava Hristova doubled up when Pac-12 women’s basketball honors were passed out, both being named to All-Pac-12 teams by the conference coaches and local and national media.
Hull, a sophomore guard from Central Valley, was also named by both to their Pac-12 All-Defensive teams. She was honorable on the coaches’ all-freshman team last season.
Hristova, a senior forward from Bulgaria, was named All-Pac-12 by the coaches for a program-record fourth time and by the media for the third. She was on the media all-freshman team and honorable mention list as a freshman.
Chanelle Molina, Hristova’s senior guard teammate, received honorable mention on the coaches’ All-Pac-12 and All-Defensive Team for a second straight year. Hristova and Molina were one of the most effective duos in the Pac-12, scoring a combined 980 points and ranking 1-2 in the conference in minutes played (Molina 35.7, Hristova 34.2).
Hull is second on the Cardinal in scoring, averaging 13.5 points per game, and leads the team in rebounding (6.0). She has scored in double figures 21 times, including six 20-plus point games. Often asked to guard the opponents’ best offensive player, she came up big, leading the team with 46 steals.
Hristova, WSU’s all-time leading scorer with 2,250 career points, led the Pac-12 with 551 points and her 18.4 average ranked third. She was fourth in Division I with 223 field goals while her 492 attempts led the Pac-12 and were ninth nationally. Molina led the Cougars in assists (4.2) and rebounds (6.2) and was second on the team in scoring (14.8).
Former Gonzaga and current Oregon coach Kelly Graves was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the second straight year by the league and second time in three years by the media.
League and media awards were also the same in three other categories: Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu, player of the year for a third straight year; USC’s Alissa Pili, freshman of the year; and Arizona Aari McDonald, defensive player of the year. The media picked Ashten Pretchel of Stanford sixth player of the year.
• Riley Lupfer’s senior season in the Mountain West Conference ended the same way as the previous two: On the All-MWC first team in women’s basketball for a third straight year.
League coaches only take into account performances during the 18-game league season, and the Lewis and Clark graduate had another good one. She averaged a team-best 13.4 ppg and shot 41.1% on 3-pointers, leading the MWC with 60 3s. She scored in double figures in 13 games and hit at least six 3s in four. She averaged 18.3 ppg the last seven games.
• Claire Dingus, a Saint Martin’s sophomore forward from University, and Tayler Drynan, a Simon Fraser senior guard from Gonzaga Prep, were named to All-Great Northwest Athletic Conference teams in women’s basketball.
Dingus, the 2019 GNAC Freshman of the Year, was named to the second team after she averaged 12.2 points and 8.9 rebounds a game, the latter second best in the conference. Drynan, who was fourth in the conference with 4.1 assists and average 9.9 ppg, earned honorable mention.
• Whitworth senior Ben College, the Northwest Conference Player of the Year, is one of 10 men named a finalist for the Jostens Trophy that is awarded to the outstanding NCAA Division III basketball players. There are separate awards for men and women.
This is the 23rd year of the trophy created by the Rotary Club of Salem, Virginia, and takes into account basketball ability, academic prowess and community service.
College, the third Pirate in the last six years named a finalist, leads the NWC in scoring (22.8 ppg), 3-pointers (42.3%), free-throw percentage (91.3) and minutes played (34.1). Whitworth’s George Valle (2016) and Dustin McConnell (2014) were also recent finalists. No Pirate has won the award.
• Justin Martin is getting a shot at the big time.
The Multnomah University senior from Lewis and Clark, the NAIA men’s basketball scoring leader with 34.8 ppg and tops in 3-pointers with 143, has been invited to participate in the NABC-NAIA Shoot & Slam competition March 24 during NAIA Division I Championship tournament in Kansas City, Missouri.
He was also invited to play in the combined men’s Division I and II all-star game that weekend.
• Eastern Washington senior Mason Peatling has been honored as the Big Sky Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for a second straight week, and the fourth time this season.
In a weekend road sweep of Southern Utah (69-51) and Northern Colorado (68-64), Peatling averaged a double-double (18.5 ppg, 10.0 rpg), sank 54.8% of his shots and averaged 3.0 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.5 steals per game with just two turnovers. It included his 13th double-double of the season and 10th in his last 13 games.
• Community Colleges of Spokane’s Jeremy Groth was voted the Eastern Region Men’s Coach of the Year and Sasquatch freshman Jaron Williams was the defensive player of the year when the Northwest Athletic Conference named its all-region basketball teams.
Williams was joined on the East first team by sophomore teammate Garret White and North Idaho sophomore Nate Pryor. NIC sophomore Christian Guess was on the second team and sophomores Jamal Alstrom of CCS and Joey Nacarrato of NIC (Coeur d’Alene HS) were on the All-Defensive team.
• North Idaho sophomore Halle Eborall (Lake City) was the NWAC Eastern Region Women’s Defensive Player of the Year and Cardinals sophomore teammate Anna Schrade was named to the second team, the only recognition for NIC or CC Spokane women on Eastern all-star teams.
• College of Idaho junior second baseman Kylie Smith (Coeur d’Alene HS) was the Cascade Collegiate Conference Softball Player of the Week after she went 6 for 12 with a double, a triple and nine RBIs in the Yotes’ three-game road sweep of No. 8 Oregon Tech.
• Seniors Jamie Siegler and Owen Lempert will represent Whitworth at the 2020 NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships March 18-21 in Indianapolis.
It’ll be the second trip for Siegler, who earned All-America honors last year with a 13th-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke, in which she holds the Northwest Conference record. She’ll also swim the 200 breast and 100 butterfly.
Lempert, the 2020 NWC Men’s Swimmer of the Meet, will swim the 50 and 100 freestyle and 100 breast.
• Katie Hale earned gold in the 100-yard backstroke for Idaho at the Western Athletic Conference Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships last weekend in Houston. The sophomore’s time of 54.75 seconds is a PR and No. 2 on the Vandals’ all-time list.
Senior Heather Carbon won the 1-meter dive consolation final for UI, which finished seventh in the team standings.
• Judy Crabb, who has served for 40 years as secretary in the Eastern Washington athletic department, received the Tom Oswald Memorial Award as a highlight of the EWU football team awards banquet last weekend on campus.
Other special awards went to junior quarterback Eric Barriere, offensive player of the year; senior center Spencer Blackburn, Golden EKG (Eastern Kind of Guy); senior tackle Dylan Ledbetter, defensive player of the year; freshman K/P Seth Harrison (Coeur d’Alene HS), special teams player of the year; Harrison and cornerback Tre Weed, freshman of the year.
The “teams” player of the year awards went to freshman tight end Blake Gobel, offense; freshman lineman Brock Harrison, defense; and freshman wide receiver Jordan Purvis, special teams, who received “The Nail” award. Senior tight end Jayce Gilder received the Pat Roberts Memorial Award for academic and athletic excellence.
Gilder, Blackburn, Ledbetter, Barriere and senior linebacker Jack Sendelback received team captain awards.
• For a fourth straight year, Joey Biel was voted by his Monmouth (Illinois) College football teammates as the Fighting Scots’ Special Teams Most Valuable Player.
The Northwest Christian graduate was both the first-team All-Midwest Conference punter and place-kicker and third-team D3football.com All-West Region punter. He averaged more than 40 yards on 58 punts with a season-long 64 yards. His career average was a program-record 40.3 yards on 151 punts.
• The Idaho men’s doubles tandem of senior Esteban Santibanez and freshman Francisco Bascon, who are on a six-match win streak after losing their first match, entered the International Tennis Association’s NCAA Division I Men’s doubles rankings last week at No. 72.
• Scout Cai, a Seattle Pacific senior from Colfax, received Division II Indoor Track & Field All-West Region honors from the U.S. Track and Field & Cross Country Coaches Association in the pole vault and pentathlon for a fourth straight year.
• Keyshun McGee of Eastern Washington and Kelsey Swenson of Idaho had starring roles in the Big Sky Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships last weekend in Pocatello.
McGee, a senior, won his third straight men’s triple jump title, and seventh Big Sky gold medal overall indoors and outdoors, going 51 feet, 3 inches as one of two Eagles to claim individual titles. Grant Shurtliff won the men’s pentathlon. The Eagles men finished sixth and the women ninth.
Swenson had a second-place finish in the 5,000 and a fifth in the 3,000 and was named the Big Sky Women’s Freshman of the Year.
Idaho senior Rechelle Meade won the women’s long jump for the second straight year, senior Zack Short captured his third straight shot put title and freshman Spencer Barrera (Mt. Spokane) won the men’s 400. The Idaho men placed fourth and the women fifth.
• The Washington State women finished in a tie for fifth and the men sixth at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Indoor Track & Field Championships in Seattle last weekend.
Kreete Verlin (long jump, 20 feet, 2 1/2 inches) and Charisma Taylor (triple jump, 43-7 1/4) won championships to lead the Cougars women. The men also had two winners, Sam Brixey (60-meter hurdles, 7.75 seconds) and RayRay Wells Jr. (60-meter dash, 6.55).
Verlin, Taylor, Brixey and Wells are among five WSU will send to the NCAA Indoor Championships next weekend in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They’ll be joined by Leonie Reuter (women’s high jump).
• Mayyi Mahama of Pullman, a sophomore at Pennsylvania, broke her week-old Ivy League record to win the weight throw at the 2020 Ivy League Heptagonal Indoor Track & Field Championships last weekend in Ithaca, New York.
Mahama threw 71-4 3/4 inches to help the Quakers capture a third straight team title. She had thrown 70-3 3/4 the week before.
Her former Pullman teammate, Washington senior Angel Nkwonta, placed second in the weight throw (69-9) and fifth in the shot put (50-2) at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Indoor Championships in Seattle.
• The Whitworth men’s and women’s track and field teams are predicted in the coaches’ preseason polls to endure a similar fate as a year ago, finishing second to defending champion George Fox during the outdoor season. The Boxers’ women are after a fourth straight title, the men a third straight.
Defending NWC discus champion Kayla Rambo and 2019 freshman of the year Ellie Shoop, both sophomores, are back to lead the Pirates women. NCAA Division III decathlon All-American and reigning NWC champion Nicholas McGill, a senior, is back for the Pirates men.
• Lizzy Klinker, a senior on the Idaho women’s basketball team, has been selected by the Big Sky as the conference’s female student-athlete representative at the 2020 NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum April 16-19 in Los Angeles.
The annual meetings are an opportunity for the NCAA to provide knowledge on leadership skills and a refined understanding of personal values, core beliefs and behavioral styles the representatives can share when they return to their campuses.
Laurie Chadwick had a different view of the State 3A/2A gymnastics championships last month at Sammamish High School in Bellevue – from the judges’ table, instead of a team bench.
After retiring at the end of last season following 34 years as head coach at Mead, where she took 14 teams to state, Chadwick was the only judge from Spokane at the state meet. She is not only highly regarded at that level, but is also a USAG judge for club competitions.
Chadwick is one of 47 area officials from Washington and Idaho selected to work state championships in the winter sports of basketball and wrestling in Idaho and basketball, wrestling and gymnastics in Washington.
Spokane Basketball Officials: (finals rounds) 4A/3A girls – Jim Jacobson, Ben Harris. 4A/3A boys – Damon Taggart. 2A/1A girls – Matt Newman. 2A/1A boys – Ken Latiolais, John Urquhart. 2B/1B girls – Charles Cardon. 2B/1B boys – Jayson Loffredi. (Regional rounds) 4A girls – Joel Murphy, Geoff Asan. 4A/3A girls – Taggart. 2A girls/boys – Kellen Sturdivan. 2A girls – Aaron Erickson. 1A girls – Scott Hoagburg, Sarra Arras, Jacobson. 1A boys – Ryan Olson, John Love, Murphy, Asan. 2B girls – Olson, Rudy Franco, Peyton Kelley, Latiolais, Jacobson. 2B boys – Garret Daggett, Harris, Newman, Urquhart. 1B girls – Mac Shaw, Adam Jackson, Aaron Bonnand. 1B boys – Ryan Metcalfe, Bob Jensen, Aaron Erickson, Latiolais.
Southeast Washington: 2A/1A girls – Josh Davis. 2B/1B boys – Tim Lewis.
Idaho District 1: Girls – Dominic Dire, Benjamin Allen, John Nelson, Neal Bishop, Jeff Ward. Boys – Neal Pederson, Todd Bitterman, Bill Bopp, Dave Oakes, Brandon Bubar.
Inland Empire: Mike Owen, Greg See, Jim Fisk. Southeast Washington: Terry Cochran, Washington and Idaho state tournaments; Dan Lejamyer, Idaho state.
Idaho District 1: Ryan Wood, Lloyd Moe, Tommy Kennedy.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.