With Melisa Ates of Washington State and Marta Heinen of Eastern Washington leading the way, area programs made a strong showing when the Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced its 2020 Division I women’s and men’s Northwest Regional Award winners.
Ates, a senior from Antalya, Turkey, became the fourth Cougar to receive the women’s regional Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sportsmanship & Leadership Award while the Cougars were the recipient of the Northwest Regional ITA Community Service Award.
Heinen, a senior from Brussels, was named the ITA Northwest Regional Women’s Senior Player of the Year, an award that honors the athlete who had the best year among all student-athletes in their class.
Gonzaga’s men and women were recognized in the Community Service Award category. The men received the ITA Northwest Regional Community Service Award while the women were honorable mention behind WSU.
National ITA award winners will be announced Monday.
Ates posted her fourth straight 20-win singles season, going 20-6 before it was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. She ranks No. 7 on WSU’s all-time singles list with 89 victories and plans to return in the fall for a final season.
The Ashe award, which dates to 1982, recognizes men and women student-athletes who exhibit outstanding sportsmanship and leadership, as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements in ways that embody the legacy of the tennis icon and humanitarian.
The WSU team captain, Ates was heavily involved in the community service efforts that earned the Cougars the regional award for the fifth time under coach Lisa Hart. The players contributed numerous hours volunteering, including at Circles of Caring in Pullman helping adults and elders with specialized needs.
Noting Heinen received the senior award in a region with 17 schools, including the Pac-12 and reigning national champion Stanford, Eastern coach Dustin Hinson said “is a remarkable achievement. But Marta is a remarkable individual.
“She has been a tremendous senior captain and has led her teammates with infectious effort and energy during matches, during practice, and off the court. Having a player who leads by example the way Marta leads makes the whole team better.”
The GU men had 191 1/2 hours of community outreach during the year at seven agencies, noted coach Jonas Piibor. “We are all extremely proud of the team’s engagement in our community. They have certainly earned this award.”
The GU women’s 263 1/2 hours of community outreach included work at 10 agencies, including visits to elementary schools and hospitals.
Nick McGill leaves Whitworth as a four-time All-American in track and field.
The Pirates senior was declared a 2020 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field All-American in the heptathlon, according to the sanctioning U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
McGill was officially accepted into the 2020 championships and was onsite in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, when the meet was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. He had qualified 11th with a school-record score of 4,934 points.
Typically, the top-eight finishers earn All-America honors. Because of the unusual situation surrounding the meet, the NCAA and USTFCCCA declared all student-athletes who had qualified or been accepted into an event would be recognized as All-Americans.
McGill had earned the honor at the 2018 and 2019 outdoor championships in the decathlon and the 2019 meet in the javelin.
• The Northwest Conference announced its 2019-20 All-Sportsmanship Team, in which a player from every school was selected in each sport by teammates and/or coaches for the sportsmanship they displayed during the season.
Kristen Wanke, a senior from North Central, was the Whitman recipient in women’s cross country.
The Whitworth selections by sport:
Baseball: Cody Simmons, sr. Men’s basketball: Garret Hull, sr. (CC Spokane). Women’s basketball: Courtney Gray, sr. (Northwest Christian HS). Men’s cross country: Gabriel Meek, sr. Women’s cross country: Krystal Roberts, sr. Football: Andrew Meredith, jr. Men’s golf: Caleb Belton, jr. Women’s golf: Cheyenne Marchand, sr. (Cheney HS). Lacrosse: Hannah Meador, sr.
Men’s soccer: Scott Penner, jr. Women’s soccer: Hannah Rae Miller, sr. Softball: Heather Menzer, fr. Men’s swimming: Alex Henderson, so. Women’s swimming:> Allison Kulikowski, jr. Men’s tennis: Jake Bethards, sr. Women’s tennis: Erica Lee, sr. Men’s track & field: Nathan Conley, sr. Women’s track & field: Tallie Carlson, sr. Volleyball: Danielle Tang, sr.
• The Whitworth men’s basketball team concluded the current decade – 2010-11 through 2019-20 – as the winningest program in NCAA Division III by winning percentage.
The Pirates posted a record of 245-43 under three head coaches for a winning percentage of .851, fourth overall on the all-division list and just one spot and seven percentage points behind Division I leader Gonzaga, which was .858 (308-51).
Division II schools West Liberty University (.895) in West Virginia and Lincoln Memorial University (.874) in Tennessee ranked 1-2. The University of St. Thomas in Minnesota (.820) had the second-best winning percentage in Division III.
Jim Hayford completed a 10-season run as Pirates head coach in 2010-11, going 28-2, and was followed by Matt Logie for eight seasons (194-35) with Damion Jablonski (23-6) taking over in 2019-20.
• Baseball senior Owen Leonard was elected president of the Washington State Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for the 2020-21 academic year.
Other SAAC officers: Renee Kemp (rowing), president emeritus; Zak Kindl (Lewis and Clark, men’s track and field), vice president; Kelis Barton (soccer), communications; Megan Duthart (rowing), events; Michaela Jones (women’s basketball), appreciation; Jovana Subasic (women’s basketball), Pac-12 SALT rep; and Brody Barnum (baseball), Pac-12 SAAC rep.
The SAAC communicates the needs and concerns of student-athletes with the administration.
High school scene
Four athletes from area schools were recipients of $1,000 scholarships through the WIAA, Dairy Farmers of Washington and Les Schwab Tires’ eighth annual Smart Choices Scholarship program that awards two $5,000 scholarships and eight of $1,000.
Area recipients are all three-sport, all-conference athletes – Kainoa Figueira of Mt. Spokane and Camden Weber of Odessa for the boys and Rylee Desautel of Inchelium and Zarah Johnson of Kettle Falls for the girls.
Winners of the $5,000 scholarships were golfer Rocco Parrish of Grandview and Zoie Breland, a soccer player at Fife.
The Smart Choices Scholarships reward students for outstanding accomplishments in activities, academics and community service.
• The Spokane Chiefs announced that $3,750 was raised at the team’s annual Military Appreciation Night game against the Region Pats on Jan. 18 for the Washington State Fallen Heroes Project. Money was raised through a blind auction and Military Appreciation Night T-shirt sales.
Letters of intent
Whitworth softball: Transfers: Mattea Nelson, jr., P/U, Northwest Christian HS/Northwest University/CC Spokane, four-time All-NE 2B North first-team, three-time NE 2B MVP at Northwest Christian, where she pitched the Crusaders to the 2018 State 2B championship; Kelly Barr, so., IF, Loomis, California/Fort Lewis College; Rylee Gentner, jr., U, Pendleton, Oregon, HS/Walla Walla CC; Khiala Rollins, jr., U, Belgrade, Montana, HS/Walla Walla CC.
Freshmen: Jazlyn Johnson, IF, Northwest Christian HS, first-team All-NE 2B North as eighth-grader, sophomore and junior and second team as a freshman; Kylie Bardwell, U, Chino Hills, California, HS; Julia Dillon, OF, Mill Creek, Washington (Jackson HS); Tiegan Hoffman, P/OF, Phoenix; Haley Montoya, U, La Habra, California; Jessica Rusconi, IF, Phoenix; Corinne Vasiloff, P/1B, Goodyear, Arizona; Kaisha White, IF/C, Pasco. (Chiawana HS).
Gonzaga volleyball: Freshman: Grace Ehler, OH, Tucson, Arizona.
Idaho women’s track and field: Freshman: Ellie Grant, jumper, Snohomish, Washington, HS.
Washington State men’s golf: Graduate transfer: Dustin White, sr., Olympia/University of Denver, eligible immediately.
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