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Locally: WSU’s Elyse Bennett and Sydney Pulver, and Gonzaga’s Jordan Thompson, picked in Saturday’s NWSL draft

UPDATED: Mon., Dec. 20, 2021

Washington State forward Elyse Bennett dribbles against Arkansas State on Aug. 19 in Pullman. Bennett was selected seventh overall in the National Women’s Soccer League draft by the Kansas City Current on Saturday.  (Courtesy WSU Athletics)
Washington State forward Elyse Bennett dribbles against Arkansas State on Aug. 19 in Pullman. Bennett was selected seventh overall in the National Women’s Soccer League draft by the Kansas City Current on Saturday. (Courtesy WSU Athletics)
From staff and wire reports

Elyse Bennett and Sydney Pulver from Washington State and Jordan Thompson from Gonzaga have some more soccer ahead them after the fifth-year seniors were selected in the 2022 National Women’s Soccer League draft on Saturday.

Bennett, a forward, was the No. 7 selection in the first round, going to the Kansas City Current. Midfielder Pulver was the 25th pick, the second-round choice of the San Diego Wave. Defender Thompson was the last player drafted, the 50th overall pick at the end of the fourth round, by the reigning NWSL champion Washington Spirit.

It is the latest reward for Bennett following a year in which she had a career-best 10 goals with four assists for a team-leading 14 points. She was a United Soccer Coaches second-team All-American and first-team All-Pac-12.

Pulver finished her WSU career the all-time leader in games played (98) and games started (91). She was instrumental in WSU registering 13 shutouts in 2021 and contributed six goals and five assists. Four of the goals came on penalty kicks.

Thompson, the first Zag drafted by the NWSL, was first-team All-West Region by the United Soccer Coaches and second-team All-West Coast Conference in 2021. She started all 81 matches in which she played during her five seasons at GU and is the winningest player in program history, contributing to 55 victories.

The 2022 NWSL season begins March 19.

College scene

Mary Scott Wolfe, a Gonzaga sophomore from Beaverton, Oregon, who won the Pacific Northwest Women’s Amateur Championship, was named the 2021 Pacific Northwest Golf Association Women’s Golfer of the Year.

Wolfe also finished second at the Oregon Amateur Championship, was 10th at the West Coast Conference Championship and tied for third at the Oregon Golf Association Tournament of Champions.

In 14 rounds in five tournaments for Gonzaga, Wolfe was second on the team with a 74.86 stroke average, finished in the top five once and the top 10 twice and was named to the All-WCC first team while helping lead GU to its first ever conference championship.

• For the first time since 2018, Washington State had multiple players earn 2021 American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America honors as juniors Magda Jehlarova (third team) and Pia Timmer (honorable mention) were selected.

Jehlarova, just the second Cougar to earn multiple AVCA All-America awards after being named to the second team as a freshman in 2019, was among the elite defenders in the nation. She was second in the country in total blocks (168) and fourth in blocks per set (1.45). On the offensive side, she led the Cougars in hitting (.353), averaging 2.39 per set.

Although an injury derailed the end of her season, Timmer proved to be one of the best all-around six-rotation outsides in the country. She led the Cougars with 349 total kills and 3.79 kills per set and her 36 aces and 0.39 aces per set ranked first in the Pac-12. On the defensive side, she added 185 digs and 32 blocks.

Taryn Baxter, a junior defender at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania, from East Valley HS, was named to the 2021 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division II Women’s Scholar All-America third team with a 3.63 GPA.

Erin Healy, a junior forward at Gonzaga with a 3.58 GPA, was named to the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer All-West Region second team.

Annika Esvelt, a Seattle Pacific freshman from West Valley, was named Great Northwest Athletic Conference women’s track athlete of the week for the week ending Dec. 19 after posting an NCAA Division II provisional qualifying mark in the 3,000m in her first collegiate indoor outing.

Esvelt placed fourth in the event at the Spokane Invitational in The Podium, the highest non-Division I finisher in the race, with a time of 9 minutes, 57.68 seconds. Besides being a D-II provisional qualifier, it is the 12th best time for the distance in Division II this season.

• Washington State sophomore Charlisse Leger-Walker, who collected seven weekly freshman honors last season, received her first Pac-12 women’s basketball player of the week award when she was selected for the week ending Dec. 12.

The 5-foot-11 guard averaged 18.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 2.5 assists in come-from-behind wins at Gonzaga (51-49) on Dec. 8 and at home against Boise State (62-55) on Dec. 12.


The Spokane Chiefs last week signed second- and third-round selections in the recent Western Hockey League Prospects Draft to WHL standard player agreements.

Luka Shcherbyna, Spokane’s second-round pick (41st overall), is a quick 5-foot-10 forward from Vancouver, British Columbia. The Chiefs announced he has posted good offensive numbers playing with U17 and U18 teams this season.

The Chiefs said Nathan Mayes (third round, 51st overall), 6-3, 170 pounds, from Salmon Arm, B.C., “is a big, mobile defenseman with strong leadership qualities.”

He had four goals and 12 assists in 15 games with a U17 rep team this season.

Both will first be eligible to play in Spokane full-time beginning with the 2022-23 season, but can play as an affiliated player for up to five games this season.


Forty-five officials from Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho worked high school state championship events in football, volleyball, soccer and softball this fall in Washington and Idaho.

Football: Idaho: District 1 association: 4A semifinal: Neal Pederson, referee; Michael Gump, umpire; Jonathan Beecher, head line judge; Mason Tweedt, line judge; Jason Jenkins, back judge. 1A-DII semifinal: Jason Iverson, R; Jim Bucholtz, U; Steve Hanni, HLJ; Duncan Yager, LJ; Cole Turnbull, BJ. 1A-DII championship: Chad Duce, R; Iverson, U; Casey Irgens, HLJ; Brandon Litalien, LJ; Pederson, BJ. Washington: Inland Empire association: Washington: 4A final: Ron Schafer, U. 1B final: Tim Peterson, L. 3A final, Jeremy Rash, LJ. 3A semifinal: Dan Stewart, R; Dan Meyer, U; Bryan Raschka, LJ. 1A semifinal: Mike Buratto, BJ. 1B semifinal: Rick O’Connor, R; Kevin Wellington, L. Southeastern Washington association: 2A final Tim Lewis, BJ. 1A semifinal: D.J. Postle, L. Colville Valley association: Washington 1B semifinal: Tim Hoffman, LJ.

Volleyball: Idaho: District 1 association: 2A-5A: Kelley Kostelecky, David White, Veronica Douglas, Brent Radford, Rayna Longstreet. Washington: Spokane association: Radford, 2A/4A; Heide Wehr, 1A finals; Sydney Spray, 2B finals; Barb Silvey, 1B/2B. Inland Empire association: Paula Stout, 2A; Ryan Kendall, 1B/2B. Colville Valley association: Eric Finley, 1B/2B/1A.

Soccer: Idaho: District 1 association: 3A-5A boys and girls: Tom Gasper, Cole Johnson, Derek Kohles, Matt Suhr, Lucas McCoy. Washington: Inland Empire association: 3A/4A girls: Kyle Thomas. 1A/2A/1B boys and girls: Brett Danielson.

Softball: Washington: Spokane association: 3A/4A slowpitch: Carl Durr, Paul Grubbs, Ron Snyder.

Track & field

The University of Idaho last week announced the hiring of two assistant coaches for its track & field and cross country programs.

Paul Barrett, a Spokane Community College and Washington State University letterman who has more than 28 years of coaching experience, has been hired to work with the throws group.

Barrett spent 24 years coaching throwers at the University of Wyoming and also made coaching stops at Montana, Kentucky and Colorado. At Wyoming, he coached one NCAA champion, 19 All-Americans and 32 conference champions.

At SCC, he was a three-time NWAACC champion and a three-time junior college All-American in the hammer and discus. In 2013, Barrett was inducted into the school’s hall of fame.

Jeff Fiebelkorn, an assistant coach at the University of Minnesota Duluth the last two seasons, was hired to specialize in the sprints, hurdles and relays.

In 2021, the Minnesota Duluth athletes he worked with posted 19 top-10 all-time marks with three school records and multiple top-three finishes at the Northern Sun Conference outdoor meet.

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