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Sports >  EWU football

Locally: Four Eastern Washington football players honored by NFF Hampshire Honor Society

April 18, 2021 Updated Sun., April 18, 2021 at 9:56 p.m.

Eastern Washington Eagles linebacker Ty Graham (18) sacks Cal Poly Mustangs quarterback Jackson Pavitt (14) to force an interception during the first half of a college football game on Saturday, March 27, 2021, at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
Eastern Washington Eagles linebacker Ty Graham (18) sacks Cal Poly Mustangs quarterback Jackson Pavitt (14) to force an interception during the first half of a college football game on Saturday, March 27, 2021, at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
From staff and news services

Four seniors on the Eastern Washington football team – linebackers Ty Graham and Jack Sendelbach, defensive end Jusstis Warren and offensive center Conner Crist – have been recognized by The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame as members of the 2021 NFF Hampshire Honor Society.

Sendelbach and Warren, a transfer from the University of Washington, are sixth-year seniors after graduating from high school in 2015. Graham is a transfer from the University of Idaho and graduated from Cheney HS in 2016. Crist was also a 2016 high school graduate, and, like Sendelbach, a four-year EWU letter winner.

The NFF recognizes college football players from all divisions who maintained a cumulative 3.2 GPA or better throughout their college careers. There are 910 players from 255 colleges and universities who qualified for membership in the society’s 15th year.

“For more than a decade, the Hampshire Honor Society has served as a powerful vehicle for schools to recognize their college football players who have distinguished themselves both academically and athletically,” said NFF president & CEO Steve Hatchell.

Candidates are nominated by their schools and must be scheduled to complete their final year of playing eligibility in fall 2020 or spring 2021, meet all NCAA/NAIA-mandated progress toward degree requirements, and been starters or significant contributors throughout the 2020-21 season.

Founded in 1947, the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in student-athletes. There are 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide.


Noland Bertain, a 6-foot-4 guard from Portland, Oregon, who played the last two years at Texas A&M – Corpus Christi after starting his career at Casper (Wyoming) Junior College, has signed with Idaho as a graduate transfer.

As a senior he started 17 of the 24 games in which he played for the Islanders, averaging 8.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg and shot 43.2% on 3-pointers, making a team-high 48.


Jovan Mercado and Kyle Groves, whose head-to-head battles during the Spokane Junior Bowlers Tour season were captivating, both collected awards when the pandemic-impacted season wound up April 11 at Lilac Lanes.

Mercado, from Omak, Washington, qualified first and won the expanded-format season finale, beating a red-hot Calvin Ruffner 270-142 for the title.

Groves won the season-long JBT All-Stars points competition. Michael Bushyeager was second, Mercado third, Spencer Au fourth and Logenn Storer fifth. Mercado had the high season average, a 231. Maliya Asadi led the girls with a 176 average.

Groves had qualified second in the finale but was dispatched by Ruffner, who was completing a 704 three-game series in the five-person roll-offs, and wound up finishing third. Cameron Comer finished fourth and Au was fifth.

Mercado had high game (270), high average (235) and high five-game series (1,169) in the finale. Macey Schultz led the girls with a 912 series and 170 average and Tatum Piper had high game (210).

College scene

Three sophomores on the Washington State volleyball team, Magda Jehlářová, Hannah Pukis and Pia Timmer, were named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association Pacific North All-Region first team.

It is the second first-team honor for Jehlářová, a middle hitter who led the Pac-12 in hitting percentage (.415) and solo blocks (17) and was fourth in total blocks (71.0). Pukis, a setter, ranked sixth in the Pac-12 in assists (525) and fifth in assists per set (9.21). Timmer, an outside hitter, was 12th in the Pac-12 with her team-leading 160 kills. She also had 2.21 digs and 12.0 blocks per set.

• Lexi Mikkelsen, a Carroll College junior outside hitter from Lakeside of Nine Mile Falls, was selected to the first team and Fighting Saints senior teammate Ali Williams, a setter from Coeur d’Alene HS, was on the second team when the Frontier Conference named its volleyball all-conference teams.

• Klaire Mitchell, a Grand Canyon University sophomore from Lake City, collected a couple of major awards after she set the school’s Division I-era volleyball career record for assists in just two seasons with 1,556.

She had 471 in 40 sets in the pandemic-abbreviated 2020-21 season after collecting 1,088 in 113 sets when she was the WAC Freshman of the Year.

Mitchell, who also set the school record for most assists in a four-set match with 55, was named the GCU Female Student-Athlete of the Year and the Western Athletic Conference Setter of the Year and first-team all-conference. She led the WAC with 11.8 assists per set, which ranked third nationally.

• Former University HS teammates Gracee Dwyer and Alyssa Benthagen, who are teammates at Central Washington, were named to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference all-academic team in softball.

Dwyer is a junior and a repeater from the 2020 all-academic team with a 3.91 GPA. Benthagen is a sophomore with a 3.63 GPA.

• Gonzaga sophomore right-hander Gabriel Hughes was West Coast Conference baseball pitcher of the week for games played April 5-11 after he pitched seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out 10 in the Bulldogs’ 21-3 rout of Saint Mary’s on April 10. It’s his second weekly honor this season.

• Shamrock Campbell, a Carroll College junior from Ferris, won the triple jump (47 feet, 9 ½ inches) and the long jump (22-3¼) at the Providence Open on April 8 and was named Frontier Conference men’s outdoor track athlete of the week.

• Jack Ammon, a George Fox senior from Northwest Christian HS, turned in the top time in the Northwest Conference this season in winning the 800m in 1 minute, 53.18 seconds at the Pacific Luau Meet on April 10 and was named NWC men’s track & field athlete of the week. The mark is sixth best nationally.

• The Whitworth men slipped five spots, from 11th to 16th, last week in the USTFCCCA NCAA Division III national track & field ratings and remained second in the West while the Pirates women climbed a spot to second in the West.

• Two area athletes collected Cascade Collegiate Conference athlete of the week honors for the week of April 5-11.

Max McCullough, an Eastern Oregon senior from Post Falls, received the men’s basketball award for his performances as the Mounties split a series with Oregon Tech. He hit the game-winner on Saturday and shot more than 50% in both games while averaging 25.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists with one steal and one blocked shot.

Brennan Murphy, a Warner Pacific junior from Lewis and Clark HS and Community Colleges of Spokane, earned the men’s soccer offensive POW after he scored four goals in a 6-2 victory over Bushnell University. He capped his assault with goals in the 78th and 80th minutes, kneeing in the final goal from 5 yards out.

• For a third time this season, the Pacific Lutheran varsity eight boat that includes junior Elizabeth Horner from Mt. Spokane and senior Hannah Beach from Rosalia was named Northwest Conference women’s crew of the week after it defeated Division I Seattle U in Spokane on April 11.

• Led by junior Quynn Duong’s runner-up finish at 5-under-par 139, the Gonzaga women’s golf team won the 2021 Bobcat Desert Classic last week in Goodyear, Arizona, with a 4-under 572 that ranks second in program history for a 36-hole tournament.

• Idaho’s Valeria Patino and Vicky Tsai and Eastern Washington’s Jaelin Ishikawa were named to 2021 Big Sky Conference women’s golf all-conference teams.

Patino, a senior who has been honored every year of her career, was named to the first team for the third time. Tsai, a junior, was a second-team selection for the second time. Ishikawa, also a junior, was honorable mention, her first honor.

• Courtney Jackson, a Community Colleges of Spokane sophomore from Central Valley, was the NWAC women’s golf athlete of the week after she won the Columbia Basin Invite with an 11-over-par 155 April 4-5.

The NWAC softball athlete of the week was North Idaho freshman Taryn Vanderwiel, who went 8 for 12 with a double, two home runs and eight RBIs in a series sweep of CC Spokane.

• Gonzaga junior Adrianna Sosnowska and grad student Hannah Jones were named West Coast Conference tennis doubles team of the week on April 12 after they won twice at No. 1 the previous weekend. They lost only one game to Santa Clara’s and San Francisco’s top duos.

• Jeremy Clevenger, whose Idaho Vandals claimed the No. 2 seed in the Northwest Division after being picked prior to the season to finish seventh in the conference, was named Big Sky soccer coach of the year and UI senior forward Myah Merino was the co-offensive MVP.

Clevenger saw the Vandals reel off five straight wins after losing their first two games 1-0 to division champion Montana, starting the stretch with a par of 5-0 shutouts of Portland State. UI scored multiple goals in each of the five.

Merino, a senior who was also first-team in 2018 and tied for the team lead this season with four goals , has 14 career goals. She was joined on the first team by senior midfielder Kaysie Bruce, who also had four goals. Grad student Taylor Brust, Idaho’s defensive anchor and a first-team choice in 2019, was on the second team. Freshman midfielder Margo Schoesler (Mead) earned honorable mention.

Merino also was named to the Big Sky All-Tournament team along with senior midfielder Hadley Sbrega, who had been second team All-Big Sky in 2018 and honorable mention in 2019. Idaho’s season ended in a 1-0 loss to Northern Arizona in the tournament semifinals.

• Eastern Washington landed six players on All-Big Sky soccer teams, including first-team selections McKaley Goffard, a senior who played midfield and tied for the team lead with three goals, and sophomore midfielder Madison Kem, who repeated on the first team after also being the Big Sky Newcomer of the Year as a freshman. Goffard was a second-team choice as a junior.

Junior defender Colby Wilson, earning her first honor, and seniors Taylor Matheny and Sariah Keister, who both plan on returning next season, were on the second team after earning first-team honors as juniors. Matheny, who also scored three goals this season, was co-Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team choice last season.

Junior defender Jordyn King, a transfer from Grambling State, earned honorable mention.

• For the third time this season, Idaho freshman Francisco Bascon received the Big Sky men’s tennis player of the week honor on April 13 after collecting four wins the previous week from the No. 1 position in singles and doubles. He has an 8-3 record in singles, all at No. 1.

• Community Colleges of Spokane and North Idaho College student-athletes, who are sophomores with a minimum of 36 credits and a 3.25 cumulative GPA, earned 2020 Northwest Athletic Conference Academic Excellence Awards for spring and fall sports seasons.


Women’s soccer: Caitlin Cassidy Hopkins, Chelsea Kay Koker, Sydnee Suarez. Men’s soccer: Gavin Reid Furulie, Paul (PJ) Graham, Atsuto Kurosawa, Juan Martin Tapia. Men’s cross country: Travis Hicks, Joshua Nelson, Anders Nielson, Giovanni Raskell, Caleb Schmotzer. Men’s track & field: Demitrius Lopez Alford, Ubaldo Arellano, Thomas Benane, Drew Robert Crosbie, Blodah Flumo, Brenden Green, Jared Hathaway, Tye James Lynch, Matthew Mason, Keenan Thompson, Derek Tresner. Women’s track & field: Julia Marianne-Lorraine Armstrong, McKenzie Fletcher, Hannah Elizabeth Gilmore, Lainey Jo Johnson, Kaylynn Linton, Jillian Mael, Alma Lizette Manzo, Hannah Sherman. Men’s golf: Connor Boyd, Cayden Field, Cameron Michael Johnson, Nicholas Matthew Mackey, Samuel Robert Pauly. Women’s golf: Alyssa Jewell Lish. Baseball: McKabe Cottrell, Thomas Edwards, Cameron Liss, Thomas Christopher McKenna, Chase Nett, Jordan Summers, Joshua Mitchell Tucker. Softball: Paula Pintler, Kennedy Mae Robison, Cassandra Shaw, Suzanne Carol Shores. Men’s tennis: Braeden C O’Dell, Jacob Ryan Spence, Jacob Ryan Spence. Women’s tennis: Michaela Rose Gunderson, Phoebe Noelle Milatz, Ava Noel Raney.


Women’s soccer: Melissa Decker, Maya Lewis, Sydney Moore, Megan Elizabeth Robertson, Sophia Schnepf. Men’s soccer: Kai Flugel, Maclain Stultz. Volleyball: Caitlin Cassidy Hopkins, Kynzey Mitzel, Tynn Christiansen. Men’s golf: Jared Smith. Women’s golf: Emily Elliott, Madeline Neff, Jessey Simons. Softball: Hannah Click, Julianne Hammond, Skylar Hickok, Andrea Hoey, Grace Shimatsu.


PGA professional Billy Bomar of Prairie Falls Golf Club in Post Falls and amateur partner Mike Kerns of Kent, Washington, tied for first in the four-ball competition at the 2021 Pacific Northwest PGA Senior Players’ Championship last week at Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla.

The teams matched 9-under-par 135s for 36 holes. Pro Mike DeLong and amateur Bob Christensen of the Coeur d’Alene Resort were in a two-way tie for seventh at 137 and pro Craig Schuh and amateur James Richards from Deer Park were in an eight-way tie for ninth at 138.

Bomar shot 2-over 146 to tie for sixth in the Senior Players’ Championship and lead area golfers in the main event. Christensen was the leading area amateur, tying for 19th overall and 10th in the amateur category, at 250.

Amateur Mike Swingle from Falls City, Wash., won the championship by a stroke in the 133-player field, shooting 2-under 142.


Randy Boswell, in his 28th year as North Idaho College’s certified athletic trainer, has been inducted into the National Junior College Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame as a contributor.

Boswell has worked at the last 28 NJCAA Wrestling Tournaments, serving as the head trainer at the 2011 and 2014 championships. NIC won team titles in 1998, 2001, 2003 and 2013. In addition, he has worked closely with USA Wrestling at events throughout the world.

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