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Locally: Dustin McConnell leads group of six on Whitworth Men’s Basketball-All-Decade team

Dustin McConnell (3) was honored as a selection on Whitworth Men’s Basketball-All-Decade team.  (COLIN MULVANY/The Spokesman-Review)
Dustin McConnell (3) was honored as a selection on Whitworth Men’s Basketball-All-Decade team. (COLIN MULVANY/The Spokesman-Review)
From staff and news services

Dustin McConnell of Clarkston was the only one of six players selected to the Whitworth Men’s Basketball-All-Decade team with area ties during the 10-year period from 2010 to 2020 when the Pirates compiled an NCAA Division III-leading .851 winning percentage.

McConnell (2011-14), a guard who was a two-time All-Northwest Conference first-team selection, was the NWC Player of the Year in 2014, an All-West Region first-team choice and an NABC third-team All-American when he averaged 13.4 points per game and led the NWC with 3.6 assists per game.

During the 10 years, the Pirates had a 245-43 record, won seven NWC regular-season and seven NWC tournament titles and made nine NCAA Division III tournament appearances. They reached the Elite Eight once and the Sweet 16 four times. All six Pirates earned All-America honors.

Jim Hayford was NWC and NABC West Region Coach of the Year in 2011; Matt Logie was a three-time NWC Coach of the Year (2012, 2014, 2015); and Damion Jablonski was the 2020 D3hoops.com West Region Coach of the Year.

The other All-Decade selections: Kyle Roach (2016-19), forward; George Valle (2013-16), forward; Ben College (2017-20), guard; Kenny Love (2014-17), guard; Christian Jurlina (2014-17), forward. Honorable mention: David Riley (2008-11), Felix Friedt (2009-12), Wade Gebbers (2010-13), Colton McCargar (2011-14).

Wyatt Setian of Post Falls, a shortstop on the Montana State Billings baseball team from 2018-20, was selected to the school’s All-Decade team.

The school release said Setian “played a key role” in back-to-back GNAC championships (2018-19). He had a .290 career batting average and wound up in the top 10 on eight school career statistical lists: doubles (5th, 34); home runs (6th, 10); slugging (7th, .509), runs (93) and total bases (221); RBIs (9th, 82), at-bats (10th, 434) and assists (7th, 239).

• Men’s basketball player Aljaž Kunc and volleyball’s Aria McComber, both looking to graduate in three years, have been named the Washington State Academic Services Student-Athletes of the Month for November.

In his third season, and the veteran on the team, Kunc has excelled on and off the court in pursuit of his degree in marketing. He earned his first Pac-12 winter academic honor roll award in his first season of eligibly as a sophomore and has been involved in volunteer activities. On the court, Kunc started 17 of the 29 games in which he played as a sophomore.

McComber has taken 18 credits every semester in pursuit of earning her degree in business marketing in three years. In her first year of eligibility, she was Pac-12 fall All-Academic with a 3.92 GPA and has also spent time volunteering in the community. In her first year of action, she played in 29 matches and 74 sets with 99 digs and nine serves aces.

Letters of intent

Washington State women’s basketball: Transfer: Leah Mafua, G, Wellington, New Zealand/Otero Junior College (La Junta, Colorado). Freshman: Tara Wallack, G, South Surrey, British Columbia.

WSU women’s soccer: Freshmen: Nadia Cooper, GK, Rosenberg, Texas; Macey Formanek, MF, Phoenix, Arizona; Khalia Gathright, D, Cypress, California; McKenna Pua, D, Huntington Beach, Calif; Rajanah Reed, F, Glendale, Ariz.; Lindsey Saad, MF, Albuquerque, New Mexico; Reese Tappan, D, Newcastle, Wash. (Liberty HS); Audrey Weir, MF, Kailua Kona, Hawaii.

WSU volleyball: Freshman: Michelle Zhao, S, Walnut, Calif.

WSU men’s golf: Freshmen: Peter Jung, Honolulu, Hawaii; Franklin Lydra, Melbourne, Australia.

WSU women’s tennis: Freshman: Maxine Murphy, Laguna Niguel, Calif.

WSU women’s swimming: Freshmen: Noelle Harvey, free/back, Carlsbad, Calif.; Sophie Macy, back, Chanhassen, Minnesota; Noelle Marsh, free sprints, Magnolia, Texas; Ilaria Moro, fly, Italy; Taylor Schababerle, free, Katy, Texas.

Gonzaga baseball: Freshmen: Cade McGee, INF/RHP, Tucson, Ariz.; Liam McCallum, INF/P, Sydney, Australia; Ryan Reddemann, LHP, Palmdale, Calif.; Logan Johnstone, OF, Los Gatos, Calif.; Sam Canton, OF, Port Orchard, Was. (South Kitsap HS); Jaxon Sorenson, OF, Idaho Falls, Idaho; Kai Francis, RHP, Bainbridge Island, Wash. (Bainbridge HS); Kolby Solomon, Kenmore, Wash. (Inglemoor HS); Nathan DeSchryver, RHP/OF, Silverdale, Wash. (Bainbridge HS); Ty Johnsen, C, Cedar Hills, Utah. Transfers: Savier Pinales, RHP/INF, Milwaukee, Wisconsin/Wabash Valley College; Isaiah Cohens, SS, Wichita, Kansas/Johnson County CC.

GU men’s soccer: Freshman: Caleb Kiner, D, Dallas, Oregon HS.

GU women’s soccer: Freshmen: Ashley Tonthat, MF, Richland; Grace Courter, MF, Bellevue, Wash. (Bellevue HS); Kelsey Oyler, MF, Meridian, Idaho; Madison Mufich, MF, Highlands Ranch, Colo.; Willow Collins, MF, Draper, Utah; Marissa Garcia, F/MF, Rowland Heights, Calif.

GU women’s tennis: Freshmen: Caroline Wernli, Austin Texas; Chaewon (Carys) Baek, Langley, British Columbia.

GU men’s tennis: Freshman: Arthus de la Bassetiére, France.

Eastern Washington women’s basketball: Freshmen: Allie Hueckman, SG, Burns, Ore.; Jaydia Martin, W, Vancouver, Wash. (Hudson’s Bay HS); Alexis Pettis, PG, Gardena, Calif.

EWU women’s soccer: Freshmen: Rylee Franklin, MF/F, Kennewick (Kamiakin HS); Katrina Kupp, MF/F, Yakima (Davis); Miranda Matson, D, Folsom, Calif.

EWU volleyball: Freshmen: Sadie Bacon, MH/RS, Snoqualmie, Wash. (Issaquah HS); Makenna Collins, L, Irrigon, Oregon; Adia Messenger, S, Troutdale, Ore.; Alyssa Radke, RS/OS, Mesa, Wash. (Connell HS).

EWU women’s tennis: Freshman: Kenzington Mann, Tustin, Calif.

Idaho men’s basketball: Freshman: Yusef Salih, PG, Richmond, Virginia.

UI volleyball: Freshmen: Makenah Jackson, MB, Vancouver, Wash. (Central Catholic HS); Natalie Fernandez, OH, Los Angeles; Caitlyn Gay, DS/L, Canby, Ore.

UI men’s track & field: Freshman, Noah Culbertson, thrower, Sherwood, Ore.

UI women’s track & field: Freshman: Paige Palzinski, thrower, Hermiston, Ore.

Miscellany

Tim Shustoff of Eastern Washington University, general manager of Eagle Sports Properties, has received the West Plains Chamber of Commerce Young Leader of the Year award for his work with Learfield IMG College.

The award annually recognizes an up-and-coming leader for their effort to serve and enhance their place of business, their community, and the overall West Plains.

The 2007 graduate of Ferris High School and 2015 MBA graduate of Whitworth University will receive the honor at the West Plains’ annual Best of the West Awards Gala.

Shustoff works to help develop marketing efforts for local, regional and national companies in partnership with Learfield and Eastern athletics, with schemes implemented throughout multiple athletic platforms. Learfield is a national collegiate sports marketing company that represents more than 200 of the nation’s top collegiate properties.

• Six members of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, whose NCAA Division II schools include a number of former area high school athletes, have elected to not play a conference men’s or women’s basketball season in 2020-21.

Western Washington, Central Washington, Alaska Anchorage, Montana State Billings, Simon Fraser and Western Oregon have opted out. Alaska Fairbanks, Northwest Nazarene, Saint Martin’s and Seattle Pacific have indicated they will participate. Schools not playing GNAC games can play nonconference games.

The conference announced it continues to look at the feasibility of a spring season for baseball, softball, outdoor track and field, men’s and women’s golf and women’s rowing, and the suspended fall seasons for cross country, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball.

• The NAIA-affiliated Cascade Collegiate Conference, also home to a number of area athletes, has voted to delay the start of its men’s and women’s basketball season from Dec. 4 to Jan. 8, 2021, because of concerns over the spread of COVID-19 throughout the Northwest. It has 12 schools in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

• Following its COVID-19 Return to Play policy, the NAIA Frontier Conference has begun its basketball seasons with home and road games. But it announced league schools “will not have spectators at hosted events through December 31, 2020.” That will be evaluated by each school as conditions change.

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