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Locally: Eastern Washington track standout Aulane Mpouli honored for academic achievement

Eastern Washington track standout Aulane Mpouli has been honored for academic achievement   (Courtesy of EWU Athletics)
Eastern Washington track standout Aulane Mpouli has been honored for academic achievement  (Courtesy of EWU Athletics)
From staff and news services

Aulane Mpouli has a goal. Aside from winning a Big Sky Conference track and field championship, that is.

The Eastern Washington junior from Auburn, Washington, a chemistry and bio chemistry major with a 3.50 GPA, would like to contribute to a team that furthers knowledge about the detection and prevention of cancers.

She received a nudge in that direction when she was honored by EWU and the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program as its October Featured Scholar.

A jumper who finished fifth in the pentathlon at the 2020 Big Sky Indoor Championships and has received three Big Sky All-Academic awards is applying to chemistry PhD programs with the goal of conducting bench-to-bedside translation cancer research.

The McNair program, named for a recognized expert in laser physics, is a federal TRIO program funded by the U.S. Department of Education. It is designed to prepare undergraduate students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities.

It works with juniors and seniors who are first-generation college students and low-income, and/or from a group underrepresented at the doctoral level who show strong academic potential.

The McNair release said, “Aulane’s mother has told her to follow her dreams, because they know the way.

“She knows it’s not always easy to be the positive change you want to see in the world, but is determined to do so in spite of the difficulties,” the release added.

“I share the pain of young scholars of color who have a passion but are deterred from pursuing it with a perception that they will have no chance due to lack of representation,”Aulane is quoted in the release. “With the help and support of the McNair Scholars Program, I know I will become a figure of representation for those young scholars.”

“Our whole coaching staff is incredibly proud and inspired by what Aulane has accomplished,” Eastern women’s head track and field coach Marcia Mecklenburg is quoted in an EWU release announcing Mpouli’s award.

The 2018 graduate of Auburn Riverside High School had 3,419 points in the pentathlon at the 2020 Big Sky Indoor meet, which ranks fourth in school history. She also competed in the long and triple jumps and as a freshman was 11th in the heptathlon at the Big Sky Outdoor meet.


Kyle Groves was hot from start to finish and won the Spokane Junior Bowlers Tour stop at Players & Spectators on Nov. 1.

A 956 four-game block in the first qualifying session put him in first place and an 869 in the second gave the 16-year-old Mead junior the No. 1 spot going into the four-player roll-off finals.

Jovan Mercado from Omak, Washington, who had won the previous tournament in his Spokane JBT debut, qualified second with 852 and 859 sets followed by 12-year-old Donny Shaw in third and Michael Bushyeager, who used an 860 second set to jump from seventh to fourth.

Shaw, in his first JBT roll-off, eliminated Bushyeager 225-205 in the first elimination match, but was in turn knocked out by Mercado 235-224 to finish third.

That pitted Mercado and Groves in the finals for a second straight tournament, and this time Groves prevailed 234-225. Mercado had won 214-210 on Oct. 11.

Groves had high average (228) and high game (279) while Macey Schultz had high game for the girls (222) and Paige Harns had high average (185).

The next JBT will be at Lilac Lanes on Nov. 22.

College scene

Two Greater Spokane League products, Spencer Swaim from Lewis and Clark and Ian Barville from University, qualified for the 65th NAIA Cross Country Championships on April 9, 2021, with top-15 finishes in the Frontier Conference meet Friday in Havre, Montana.

Swaim, a junior at Carroll College, placed 12th, covering the 8K course on a windy, cloudy and cool afternoon in 27 minutes, 44.80 seconds. Swaim, 23rd in the meet last year as a sophomore, was the fifth finisher for the nationally 17th-ranked Fighting Saints, who finished second behind Rocky Mountain College.

Barville was the third finisher for the all-freshman Montana Tech team in its first year of competition. He was 15th overall in 28:00.30. The Orediggers, fifth in the Frontier meet, are ranked 20th nationally.

• Four golfers from area high schools are among the 10 men and women selected to Whitworth’s All-Decade Golf Team for the period 2010-2020.

Both men’s and women’s teams had three Northwest Conference tournament medalists during the decade with the men winning four team titles and qualifying for four NCAA Division III Championships. The women won three NWC titles and sent the 2010 team to the D-III championships, where it placed 17th. Warren Friedrichs was NWC Coach of the Year four times in the decade.

Chelsea Bayley (2013-16, Lakeland-Rathdrum) was a three-time All-NWC selection and was named to the Women’s Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholar list as a junior. Michal Schuster (2014-17, St. John-Endicott) was a two-time All-NWC choice, the women’s medalist as a freshman, and had the Pirates’ best scoring average in both her All-NWC seasons (2014, 2016).

Andrew Dodge (2013-16, Lewiston) was the 2016 NWC Men’s Golfer of the Year when he was the tournament champion, a Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar as a junior and led the Pirates’ scoring in NCAA Division III Championship tournament appearances as a junior and senior.

Stephen Plopper (2011-14, Mead), a two-time All-NWC second-team pick and NWC champion as a senior, was the Pirates’ leading scorer at the 2013 NCAA D-III championships. Sam Stiles (2017-20, Mt. Spokane) was honorable mention on the all-decade team.

Other all-decade choices: Men – Jesse Salzwedel (2011-14), Oliver Rudnicki (2013-16), Reilly Hegarty (2017-20). Women – Emily Guthrie (2010-13), Nicole Lomax (2012-15), Maggie Peters (2017-20).


Michael King finally made it into a Steinbach, Manitoba, Pistons’ uniform on Oct. 31. And what a debut.

The fifth member of the Spokane Chiefs on loan to minor teams during the Western Hockey League’s inactivity because of COVID-10 pandemic restrictions scored a natural hat trick – three goals in a row – in a Steinbach club-record 5 minutes, 19 seconds in the second period in a 5-2 win over Selkirk in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League game.

The 20-year-old forward from Winnipeg, Manitoba, was drafted by Steinbach in the first round of the MJHL draft in 2015. But he was also drafted by Kootenay in the seventh round of the WHL draft and elected to play for the Ice. Spokane acquired him in a July 2018 trade.

He has played 251 WHL games with career highs of 13 goals and 11 assists last season for the Chiefs.

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