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Locally: Five Washington State athletes earn NCAA All-American honors in track and field

UPDATED: Sun., May 31, 2020

Washington State sprinter Emmanuel “RayRay” Wells Jr. (center) competes in February's MPSF Indoor Championships in Seattle. (WSU Athletics / Courtesy)
Washington State sprinter Emmanuel “RayRay” Wells Jr. (center) competes in February's MPSF Indoor Championships in Seattle. (WSU Athletics / Courtesy)
From staff and news services

It turns out a canceled national championship didn’t prevent track and field athletes their opportunity to earn All-America recognition.

Because the 2020 NCAA Division I Indoor meet scheduled for March 13-14 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was canceled virtually on the eve of the meet, the NCAA decided to recognize all qualifiers who remained on the “startlist” for their event on March 11 as All-Americans without designating first team, second team or honorable mention.

That list includes five Washington State Cougars, led by Emmanuel “RayRay” Wells Jr., a senior from Seattle who ranked eighth in the world and second in the NCAA in the men’s 60-meter dash. Wells, the Cougars’ all-time record holder in the 60, was also an Indoor All-American in 2019.

Joining him on the men’s side was junior Sam Brixey, who ranked 16th in the nation in the 60m hurdles.

Cougars women receiving All-America honors are sophomore Charisma Taylor, who ranked sixth in the NCAA in the triple jump and 25th in the 60 hurdles; junior Kreete Verlin, who ranked 14th in the nation in the long jump; and freshman Leonie Reuter, who had the 11th best mark in the high jump.

Riley Sine, a Northwest University senior from Central Valley, was named to the CoSIDA NAIA men’s District 4 All-Academic track & field and cross country team with a 3.83 GPA.

Whitworth’s Kayla Rambo was named to the CoSIDA NCAA Division III women’s District 8 track and field and cross country All-Academic team with a 3.94 GPA.

• Washington State’s incoming 2020 baseball signing class was ranked No. 36 in the country and No. 6 in the Pac-12 Conference according to Perfect Game scouting service.

Three of the signees, shortstop Kyle Russell (No. 195), University Place, Washington; right-handed pitcher Duke Brotherton (206), Mercer Island, Wash., and outfielder Keith Jones (423), Brentwood, Calif., are ranked among Perfect Game’s Top 500 players nationally. Russell and Brotherton are ranked No. 2 and 3, respectively, in Washington.

• Led by the 12 members of the men’s tennis team, who compiled a program-high 3.90 GPA, Gonzaga student-athletes combined to post a department-record 3.51 GPA for the spring 2020 semester. That topped the previous mark of 3.42 set in spring 2017.

The semester also included a record 208 who earned University honors – 88 President’s List, 120 Dean’s List – and 33 who registered perfect 4.0 GPAs, five more than the previous high. Eight came in men’s tennis.

Top women’s teams were volleyball (3.73) and golf (3.70), with program-high GPAs. Also posting program highs were women’s basketball (3.57), women’s rowing (3.52), men’s soccer (3.52), men’s rowing (3.39) and men’s basketball (3.39).

• Washington State athletics received the gold honor for the category of “Single Game Sales Campaign” from the 2020 National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators Best of Awards for the jersey retirement ceremony of Cougars great Klay Thompson.

The event at halftime of the Jan. 18 men’s basketball game against Oregon State inside Beasley Coliseum drew a crowd of 10,380. Marketing included an “11 Days of Klaymas” campaign and a Klay Thompson socks flash sale.

Awards

Steve Flegel, the Whitworth University sports information director since 1995, was honored by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) with its 25-Year Award for completing a quarter of a century in the profession.

Flegel, who worked on the extra board in the sports department at The Spokesman-Review in 1993-94, is actually a “lifer” at Whitworth.

He swam for the Pirates while earning a bachelor’s degree in 1989, and in 1995 became the school’s assistant aquatics director, a position he held until 1997, and assistant swim coach, which he held until 1999, while also starting the SID work that would lead to his current honor.

The SID position became full-time in 1997, and in 2004 he was promoted to assistant director of athletics for sports information. He also worked as the information director of the Northwest Conference, of which Whitworth is a member, from July 1999 until December 2011.

Flegel, who has worked more than 20 NCAA championship events in a variety of roles and served on CoSIDA committees and its board of directors, has been recognized three times by the Northwest Conference as its SID of the Year and received an American Volleyball Coaches Association Regional award in 2006.

Golf

John Mason, 78, scored his first hole-in-one on Thursday, using a 5-wood to ace the 180-yard fourth hole at The Links Golf Club in Post Falls.

Bob Mason of Spokane scored a hole-in-one on the 162-yard 16th hole at Circling Raven Golf Club on Friday using an 8-ron.

Hockey

The Spokane Chiefs announced that $12,000 was raised in partnership with Every Woman Can at the team’s Feb. 29 game in the Arena again the Tri-City Americans to help fund cancer treatment and research.

Funds were raised primarily through a blind auction for the special themed jerseys Chiefs players wore during the game and from the sale of Fight Cancer Night T-shirts.

Marco Rossi, an 18-year-old center with the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League, was the 2019-20 recipient of the Canadian Hockey League’s Top Scorer of the Year Award after collecting 120 points off 39 goals and 81 assists in 56 games.

Spokane’s Adam Beckman, the WHL scoring champion with 107 points (48 goals, 59 assists, 63 games) and Alexis Lafreniere, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League scoring champion from the Rimouski Oceanic (112, 35-77, 52 games), were the other finalists. Lafreniere was named the CHL Top Draft Prospect of the Year.

Beckman, Rossi and Lafreniere are also finalists for the CHL Player of the Year award that will be announced June 10. Spokane’s Ty Smith is a finalist for the Defenseman of the Year that he won last season. It will be announced June 9.

Five other year-ending CHL awards will be announced this week.

Letters of intent

Idaho men’s cross country/track: Ryland McCullough, distances, Lacey, Washington (Northwest Christian HS).

Shooting

Kylie Delaney of the Spokane Junior Rifle Club captured the gold medal in the 3-position precision competition at the NRA-sanctioned 2020 Washington State Junior Indoor Small-bore Rifle Championships on March 14.

Delaney, 18, who is home schooled, shot 1,156 out of a possible 1,200 at the Spokane Rifle Club to win the gold medal in a field of 63 and led the SJRC Gold Team to the silver medal in a field of eight in the state event shot in Spokane and Olympia.

Zachary Pearsall, 18, Mt. Spokane, shot 1,109 to place seventh in the individual competition and was also on the silver medal team as were Ben Tafoya, 17, Gonzaga Prep (1,103, 10th) and Taylor Christian, 17, Spokane Valley Tech (1,079, 20th).

Spokane’s only competitor in the state prone event, Morgan Christian, 13, Horizon Middle School, shot 490 out of 600 to place fifth.

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