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Locals: Transfer Tianna Johnson signs with Idaho women’s basketball

UPDATED: Tue., April 6, 2021

From staff and news services

Tianna Johnson, a 6-foot-2 guard/post, who played three seasons at Sacramento State, signed with the University of Idaho and will join the Vandals for the 2020-21 season, UI women’s basketball coach Jon Newlee announced.

Johnson, from Kalispell, started 62 of the 83 games she played at Sac State, averaging 8.9 ppg and 5.0 rpg. During the 2020-21 season, she was the Hornets’ second-leading scorer (12.2) and rebounder (7.2), shooting a team-high 42.3% from the field and 28.6% on 3-pointers.


Little separated Kyle Groves and Jovan Mercado from the first ball to the last during the Spokane Junior Bowlers Tour stop at North Bowl on March 21.

Groves grabbed the early lead in qualifying with the day’s high four-game series (944), but Mercado was right on his heels. They faced one another in all four games of match-play qualifying, splitting the matches 2-2, with Mercado rolling a 942 series to close the gap. But Groves held the top qualifying position by 10 pins going into the four-player roll-offs.

Spencer Au went 4-0 in match play and moved from fifth to third, and Logeen Storer was 3-1 with the day’s high game (278) to jump from ninth to fourth.

In loser-out matches, Storer cooled off a bit and wound up fourth with Au next out, finishing third, leaving the lanes to Groves and Mercado to decide the championship. Mercado, an Omak (Washington) High School sophomore, prevailed 258-250 in a match tournament director Patti Dudley called “the highlight of the day.”

Mercado had the day’s high average (234). Paige Harns, who went 4-0 in match play and just missed the final four, led the girls with high game (213), high series (790) and high average (186).

The JBT finals will be Sunday at Lilac Lanes with an expanded five-game format with five advancing to a stepladder finals.

College scene

Led by the Idaho women, who posted a nation-leading 3.872 GPA, all four of the area’s Division I schools earned United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic Team Awards on both the men’s and women’s sides.

The Eastern Washington women compiled a 3.65 cumulative GPA while Gonzaga and Washington State women both had 3.64s.

Idaho’s men ranked eighth nationally with a 3.646 while Gonzaga had a 3.39, EWU 3.36 and WSU 3.23.

Five individuals, four of them at Gonzaga, also earned USTFCCCA All-Academic distinction with GPAs of 3.25 or better and who qualified for the national championship meet.

Freshman Wil Smith (Lewis and Clark), redshirt junior Dominic Arce and redshirt senior Peter Hogan were on the GU men’s team that placed 27th at nationals. Junior Kristen Garcia (129th) of GU and redshirt junior Erin Mullins (123rd) of WSU ran in the women’s nationals.

• Washington State’s Charlisse Leger-Walker, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year who was a regional finalist for the 2021 WBCA NCAA Division I Coaches’ All-America team, did not make the coaches’ 10-player All-America team or honorable mention list.

• Idaho and Eastern Washington both landed junior middle blockers on the All-Big Sky Conference women’s volleyball team. The Vandals placed Kennedy Warren on the first team and Nikki Ball on the second, where she was joined by the Eagles’ Ashlyn Blotzer.

Warren was second in the Big Sky with 235 kills, an average of 3.41 per set, hit .245, had 57 blocks and averaged 2.04 digs per set. Ball, who missed six matches with an injury, led the conference with 1.39 blocks per set and averaged 2.04 kills while hitting a team-high .319. Blotzer was seventh in the Big Sky in hitting (.295) and had 163 kills (2.26 per set).

Annika Briggs, a Saint Martin’s junior from Ferris with a 3.64 GPA, was a repeater from 2019 on the Great Northwest Athletic Conference All-Academic team in volleyball as six athletes with area ties were honored. All are at least sophomores with GPAs of 3.20 or better.

Seattle Pacific: Paige Dawson, sophomore, Northwest Christian, 3.66. Saint Martin’s: Tianah Sander, so., Pullman, 3.54. Northwest Nazarene: Mattisyn Cope, junior, Lakeland (HS), 3.36. Montana State Billings: Joelle Mahowald, sr., Lakeside Nine Mile Falls, 3.53. Central Washington: Ashley Kaufman, so., Lake City, 3.83.

• Whitworth is tied for 12th in Week 6 of the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division III poll with a 10-2 record.

Nick McGill continues to produce for Whitworth, and the grad student’s latest exploits in the decathlon on March 25-26 earned him the NWC men’s field student-athlete of the week award. McGill led 15 competitors, recording career bests in the long jump (22 feet, 2½ inches) and 110-meter hurdles (15.64 seconds), in compiling a nation-leading 6,720 points.

• Senior Malania Thacker of Idaho was named Big Sky women’s track athlete of the week on March 29 after she won two events in the Whitworth Invitational the previous week. Her 4-minute, 26.8-second clocking in the 1,500m leads the conference, is a track record and is 27th best in the country. She also won the 800m in 2:13.97.

• Area athletes at Lewis-Clark State collected the Cascade Collegiate Conference weekly women’s outdoor track and field honors following their performances in the Whitworth Invitational March 25-26.

Delaney Warren, a senior from Mt. Spokane, was the field athlete of the week after she prevailed in the women’s discus in a field heavily laden by Division I athletes. She threw 141-11, a mark that is fourth nationally in the NAIA and qualified her for nationals.

Freshman Anika Grogan from Lewiston set school records in the 100 (12.64), breaking a mark she had set just a week earlier, and 200 (25.67), finishing second in Division-I-heavy fields. Her 100 mark ranks first and her 200 mark is fourth on this season’s CCC lists.

Avrie Fox of Idaho, who allowed just one goal in 180 minutes the previous weekend as the Vandals won two games against Sacramento State, earned the senior goalkeeper Big Sky women’s soccer defensive player of the week on March 29. The goal was on a penalty kick. She has a 1.13 GAA, 0.51 in league games.

Jadyn Baumgartner’s goal with 9 seconds to play that produced a 1-0 win at Whitman on March 27 in Whitworth’s final game of the season earned the Pirates’ senior midfielder Northwest Conference women’s soccer offensive player of the week. It was Baumgartner’s NWC-leading fifth goal, three of them winners.

• A career-high 18 tackles, including 11 solo, in Idaho’s come-from-behind 33-32 win over Southern Utah on March 27 earned Vandals junior linebacker Fa’Avae Fa’Avae the Big Sky Conference football defensive player of the week award. Fa’Avae is second in the conference with 11.0 tackles per game.

Elizabeth Horner, a junior from Ferris, and Hannah Beach, a senior from Rosalia, are members of the Pacific Lutheran Varsity 8 that defeated boathouse rival Puget Sound by 19 seconds to win the 44th running of the Lamberth Cup and earn Northwest Conference women’s rowing team of the week on March 29.


Former University of Idaho standout Sophie Hausmann started hot and stayed consistent in collecting her first professional victory March 23-28, winning the Insurance office of America (IOA) championships in Beaumont, California.

Hausmann carded 4-under-par 68s in each of her first two rounds, highlighted by two eagles to go with eight birdies. She finished off the 54-hole tournament with a 2-under 70 for a 10-under 206 for a three-stroke victory to collect $22,500.

Letters of intent

Gonzaga volleyball: Viktoriya Ivavona, Libero/DS, Sofia, Bulgaria/Florida Southwestern State, will be a junior.


Jairo Aguirre, a sophomore defender on the North Idaho College men’s team, has signed to play at Corban University, an NAIA school in Salem, Oregon. First-team all-conference as a high school senior and a member of three state championship teams, Aguirre is from Woodburn, Ore.


Jim Spooner, a native off St. Maries and 2001 graduate of Boise State, has been hired by Washington State as its head football athletic trainer.

Spooner, who most recently has been in Boise, working as a consultant with businesses in the health care industry, has a résumé that includes seven years at his alma mater, two years at New Mexico State and stints at Penn State, the University of Nevada and with teams in the Arena Football League, NFL Europe and the East Coast Hockey League.

• Pat Chun, athletic director at Washington State University since January 2018, became the third vice president of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics following its 2021 convention last week.

NACDA, in its 56th year, is the professional and educational association for more than 22,000 college athletics administrators at more than 2,200 institutions throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.

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