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UPDATED: Sun., July 4, 2021

Eastern Washington men's basketball coach David Riley has filled out his 15-player roster.  (Tyler Tjomsland/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Eastern Washington men's basketball coach David Riley has filled out his 15-player roster. (Tyler Tjomsland/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
From staff and news services

From staff and news services

David Riley’s recruiting has paid dividends.

The first-year Eastern Washington University men’s basketball coach, who had six returning players when he was hired at the end of March, filled out the Eagles’ 15-player roster with the addition of his final three recruits at the end of June.

The newest Eagles are transfer Sean Kirk, a 6-foot-3 guard from Western Washington, and freshmen Yousef Elkugia, a 6-7 forward from Seattle, and Makai Richards, a 6-10 forward from Oak Park, California.

Kirk redshirted at Western in the 2019-20 season, followed by a year in which the Vikings did not play because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He previously played one season at Edmonds (Wash.) Community College, where he was the NWAC North Region Freshman of the Year and first team all-region. In 27 games, he averaged 18.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg and shot 49.6% from the field.

“Sean is coming in with some experience at the college level that will help him pick things up quick for us,” Riley is quoted in a news release, adding Kirk “is a high-character, tough guard who finds ways to make winning plays at the right time.”

Elkugia played at Elite Prep in Issaquah, Wash., where he averaged 25 ppg and was the team’s MVP during the 2019-20 season. He graduated from Eastlake HS in 2021 after earning multiple All-4A KingCo League honors, including first team in 2017-18 when he averaged 22 ppg.

Richards graduated from Oak Park HS in 2020. In the 2019-20 season, he was selected to the Los Angeles Daily News’ All-Area second team when he averaged a double-double, 10.3 ppg, 11.7 rpg, and 4.0 blocks and 1.3 assists.

On the two freshmen, Riley is quoted saying, “Yousef is an all-around player whose ability to play inside and out will allow him to thrive in our system.” Riley said Richards’ “combination of size, athleticism and skill will be tough to stop in the Big Sky.”

College scene

Two area college players, Max Sekulic of Washington State and Matthew Ruel of Gonzaga, qualified for the U.S. Amateur Golf Championship by finishing first and second, respectively, in a qualifier June 29 at Palouse Ridge Golf Course in Pullman.

Sekulic, a redshirt junior from Rycroft, Alberta, shot two rounds of 66 for 8-under 132 to earn medalist honors in the 80-player field.

Ruel, a redshirt senior from Oldsmar, Florida, had a far different route. He followed a 3-over-par 73 in the morning round with a 9-under 61 in the afternoon thanks to 10 birdies that produced the lowest single-round score of the day. His 6-under 164 was five strokes better than the third-place finisher.

The 121st U.S. Amateur will be at Oakmont, Pennsylvania, Aug. 9-15.

Reilly Hegarty, the 2021 Northwest Conference men’s Player of the Year after winning the NWC tournament championship and leading Whitworth to the team title, was named to the NCAA Division III PING All-West Region team by the Golf Coaches Association of America for a second consecutive year.

Hagerty closed the NWC Championships at Kalispel Country Club in Spokane with a career-best round of 6-under 66 and led the Pirates with a scoring average of 74.09 for 11 rounds in the spring.

• Gonzaga junior third baseman Brett Harris was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America NCAA Division I All-District 8 first team in baseball with a 3.49 GPA, making him eligible for the CoSIDA All-America team.

• Two Washington State women will represent their countries in the World U23 Rowing Championships Wednesday through Sunday in Racice, Czech Republic.

Senior Kateryna Maistrenko will row for Ukraine in the varsity four and freshman Ilaria Macchi will compete for Slovenia in the single scull. Maistrenko competed in the double scull for Ukraine at the Junior World Championship in 2017.

• For a 42nd consecutive quarter in the spring – 14 years – Eastern Washington student athletes compiled a department-wide GPA of 3.0 or above, with 302 Eagles compiling a collective 3.33.

Concluding a year of online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, 11 of EWU’s 12 programs had at least a 3.23 GPA spring quarter, including five with at least a 3.55. Women’s golf and cross country had the top GPAs, 3.86 and 3.79, respectively. Men’s sports were led by tennis at 3.58. Forty-two Eagles had perfect 4.0 GPAs and 124 were between 3.5 and 3.99.

Football

Justin Mullgrav, who has spent the past two seasons as a graduate assistant coach at Utah working with the defensive staff, has been hired by Eastern Washington University as its new linebackers coach.

He replaces Justin Ena, who filled the position on an interim basis for the 2020-21 winter/spring season.

Mullgrav, a former South Carolina State (2012-14) linebacker, joined the Utes in 2019 after one season at Fort Scott (Kansas) Community College, where he coached the linebackers. Prior to that, he spent one year as linebackers coach at ASA College Miami.

In 2016, Mullgrav worked in the player personnel department of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, where he was a scouting intern, assisting the scouting staff in generating reports on collegiate and professional players through extensive film review.

Hockey

The Spokane Chiefs’ two most recent captains, Eli Zummack (2021) and Ty Smith (2019 and 2020), were back in the news last week.

Zummack, a 21-year-old forward who played his entire junior career in Spokane, signed a two-year contract with the American Hockey League’s Providence (Rhode Island) Bruins, an affiliate of the NHL’s Boston Bruins.

“Eli improved each year as a playmaking center …,” Providence general manager John Ferguson said of the Chiefs’ 33rd captain and the Western Hockey League’s 2021 Most Sportsmanlike Player. “We are excited to have him in Providence.”

Smith, a New Jersey Devils’ defenseman who was a two-time Chiefs’ captain, was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team after he led the league’s first-year defensemen in assists (21), points (23), power-play assists (6) and power-play points (7) in 48 games. He scored two goals.

The first-round draft pick of the Devils in 2018 was a Chiefs’ co-captain with Jaret Anderson-Dolan in 2018-19 and the team’s solo captain in the 2019-20 season.

Smith made the Devils’ 2020-21 opening night roster, scoring his first NHL goal in his first game. It was the first of five straight games in which he had with at least one point, the second-longest streak by an NHL rookie defenseman. Smith collected eight points in his first nine games before being placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol on Feb. 2.

Letters of intent

Whitworth softball: Freshmen: Annie Brose, Mead, pitcher/utility, first-team All-GSL slowpitch, second-team All-GSL fastpitch; Jenna Radki, Okanogan, Washington, first base; Grace Bestebreur, Prosser, Wash., utility; Taylor Hofheins, Moses Lake, utility; Kelly Hruza, Issaquah, Wash., catcher; Kamryn Lunceford, Ventura, California, outfielder; Haley (Momi) Lyman, Honolulu, Hawaii, pitcher/outfielder; Shayla Shea, Manhatten, Montana, pitcher/outfielder. Transfer: Laney Flynn, Mountlake, Wash./Shoreline CC, pitcher.

Tennis

Raquel Atawo, a five-time All-American at California in singles and doubles who had a 15-year professional career, has been hired as the new women’s head tennis coach at Washington State, Cougars director of athletics Pat Chun announced.

Atawo was the women’s assistant coach at Auburn last season, helping the Tigers to a No. 22 national ranking, a spot in the NCAA Division I Tournament and was named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Southern Region Assistant Coach of the Year. She replaces Lisa Hart, who resigned last month after 18 years.

During her career on the WTA Tour, Atawo was ranked as high as No. 10 in the world in doubles and No. 162 in singles. She won 18 doubles tournament titles as a professional and reached the semifinals at the Australian Open in 2014 and Wimbledon in 2015 and 2016. She played in 50 Grand Slam events and was a two-time qualifier for the WTA year-end championships.

Track & field

Liga Velvere of Latvia, an eight-time Western Athletic Conference champion for the University of Idaho before graduating in 2013, will run the women’s 800m for her native country in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Her qualifying time of 2 minutes, 1.12 seconds ranks 44th in the world.

Three of Velvere’s WAC championships came in the 800 and she was an All-American in the 400 hurdles in 2013. She is a 13-time Latvian National Champion, including this year.

Miscellany

Krizzel Galvez, who has spent the last two years at North Carolina A&T as a certified athletic trainer intern, has been hired by Eastern Washington University as an assistant athletic trainer. She will primarily work with women’s basketball.

A graduate of UNLV and Weber State, she joins a staff headed by assistant athletic director for sports medicine Wes Sohns.

The Las Vegas HS graduate earned her bachelor’s degree from UNLV in 2016 in kinesiology with a concentration on allied health science and in 2019 she earned a master’s degree from Weber State in athletic training while working as an assistant athletic trainer for the Wildcats.

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