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Locally: Eli Zummack named Spokane Chiefs captain ahead of WHL season

UPDATED: Sun., March 14, 2021

Eli Zummack (29) of the Spokane Chiefs zips down the ice against the Everett Silvertips during a WHL game at the Spokane Arena on Oct. 6, 2019. (Libby Kamrowski/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Eli Zummack (29) of the Spokane Chiefs zips down the ice against the Everett Silvertips during a WHL game at the Spokane Arena on Oct. 6, 2019. (Libby Kamrowski/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
From staff and news services

Eli Zummack has been handed the “C” by the Spokane Chiefs for the second time. This time it’s his team.

The 2000-born forward from Kelowna, British Columbia, entering his fifth season with the Western Hockey League team, served as captain during the 2019-20 season while Ty Smith was away competing with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships.

“Eli exemplifies the values and character we look for in a Chiefs player,” head coach Adam Maglio said of the 33rd captain in program history. “His dedication to the game, daily consistency and professionalism are the leadership qualities that will make him an outstanding captain for our hockey club.”

The Chiefs also announced four alternate captains, forwards Adam Beckman, Jack Finley and Cordel Larson and defenseman Matt Leduc.

Acquired by the Chiefs in a trade with the Red Deer Rebels in January 2016, Zummack has appeared in 233 regular-season games for Spokane, 46th in franchise history. He enters his overage season ranked 25th with 217 points including 156 assists (11th).

He posted 86 points during the 2019-20 season, fifth among WHL skaters, that included a league-leading 64 assists, and was named a Western Conference second-team All-Star.

Beckman, a Minnesota Wild prospect, was the WHL Player of the Year in 2019-20 when he scored a league-leading 107 points; Finley, a Tampa Bay Lightning prospect, scored 57 points and centered a line that included Beckman and Larson, who set career highs in goals (15), assists (28) and points (48); and Leduc, a 6-foot-5 defenseman who has played 153 career games, joins Zummack as one of the club’s three overage players.

“Adam, Jack, Matt, and Cordel have all grown and developed in their years with the Chiefs,” Maglio said. “Each of these young men have high standards for themselves and the team. They will drive our team’s culture and we are confident they will serve as excellent alternate captains.”

• The Chiefs, who had announced earlier that fans would not be permitted in the stands this season COVID-19 restrictions, reiterated that position last week in a Facebook post:

“We’ve received a few questions asking if the new (state) Phase 3 guidelines will alter our ability to host fans this season. As of now, we do not expect any changes to our current plan, particularly with (the) Spokane Arena serving the community as a mass vaccination site.

“Any changes or updates will be announced ASAP on social media as well as on our website.”

• The Chiefs and Cascadia Screen Printing are teaming up to provide fans the opportunity to be “in the stands” in the form of a customized photo cutout. Cost is $40. The deadline to order is March 15. Visit Cascadia at or (509) 362-8900.

College scene

Four entries, four All-Americans.

That’s the count for Washington State at the 2021 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships during the weekend in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Sophomore Charisma Taylor capped the production with a career-best 44 feet, 8 inches to finish fifth in the women’s triple jump and earn first-team All-America acclaim.

Redshirt junior Colton Johnsen received two second-team awards, for placing 15th in the men’s 5,000m (14 minutes, 1.86 seconds) and 10th in the 3,000m (7:57.38); junior Sam Brixey earned second-team with an 11th-place finish in the men’s 60m hurdles (7.79); and junior Zack Stallings was second team for placing 14th in the men’s mile (4:09.5).

Scout Cai, a Seattle Pacific senior from Colfax, was named Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women’s Field Athlete of the Week after she opened the 2021 outdoor season with a lifetime-best 12 feet, 11½ inches in winning the pole vault at the PLU Opener.

That surpassed her previous PR by 1½ inches, leads Division II and is a provisional qualifying mark for the NCAA Outdoor Championships. It also improves her No. 2 mark on the GNAC all-time List.

• Gonzaga junior Tyler Rando has been named to the 2021 Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Watch List following a strong start to the 2021 season.

A transfer from Mission College (Santa Clara, California), Rando has started every game for GU since joining the team last season. He led the Bulldogs in batting average (.352) and finished the shortened spring with a team-high six multi-hit games.

Rando possesses a fielding percentage of .982 and surpassed his run and RBI totals from last year through the first 11 games in 2021.

Rando is one of 69 Division I catchers on the first watch list. The award originated in 2000 and was named for Johnny Bench to honor the Hall of Famer. It was renamed in 2019 for Posey, a six-time National League All-Star with the San Francisco Giants and 2012 NL MVP.

The final vote will take place during the College World Series scheduled to begin June 18.

• Washington State junior right-handed starting pitcher Zane Mills was named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week for the first time on March 9 after striking out seven in a career-high eight innings on March 5 in a 6-1 win over visiting Seattle U.

Mills allowed just one unearned run on six hits and retired 13 straight hitters at one point in improving his record to 3-0. The Portland native entered last week third in the country with a Pac-12-best 211/3 innings and was tied for the league lead in wins, second in ERA (0.42) and third in strikeouts (23).

• Gonzaga sophomore right-hander William Kempner, who made the most of his first career start on March 6, collecting 10 strikeouts with high-powered fastballs and deceptive cutters in a 7-0 win over Portland, was named West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week.

Kempner allowed just four singles and walked three in eight innings, a season high for a GU starter this season. Two of the hits came in the first inning when the Zags escaped a bases-loaded jam.

Daniel Roy of Spokane, a Stanford junior, has been seeded third in his specialty, the men’s 200-yard breaststroke, as he pursues a third All-America award at the NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving Championships that begin Saturday in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The Gonzaga Prep graduate, who set the school record (1: 51.07 ) in a runner-up finish at the Pac-12 Championships earlier this month, will also swim the 100 breast.

Washington State senior Chloe Larson, the Pac-12 women’s 50-yard freestyle champion and school record holder (22.16 ), is seeded 28th in the event. She’ll also swim the 100 free, where she’s seeded 39th. The women’s nationals run Wednesday through Saturday.

• Idaho freshman Emily Mack improved four spots in the final to finish third and capture the bronze medal with 208.40 points in platform diving when the Western Athletic Conference Swimming & Diving Championships wound up Feb. 27 in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Sophomore teammate Hailey Faith placed eighth, and sophomore Allison Shimp and freshman Irelyne McGee advanced to the consolation final, where Shimp was fourth and McGee sixth.

Idaho was sixth in the team competition won by Northern Arizona.

• Eastern Washington senior quarterback Eric Barriere collected the fourth Big Sky Conference Football Offensive Player of the Week award of his career after leading the Eagles to a 45-13 win over Northern Arizona on March 6.

Barriere completed 29 of 49 passes for 413 yards and three touchdowns. It was the fourth 400-yard performance of his career and the 10th of 300 yards or more.

• Washington State senior Michaela Bayerlova was named Pac-12 Women’s Tennis Player of the Week on March 9 for the fourth time in her career after collecting two wins as the No. 47 Cougars defeated No. 16 USC 4-3, just the second time in program history WSU has defeated the Trojans. She teamed with junior Hikaru Sato for the doubles point.

Efe Abogidi, a freshman at Washington State, has been named a finalist for the Kyle Macy Award given annually to the top freshman in Division I college men’s basketball as named by The winner will be announced April 1.

The 6-foot-10 forward from Nigeria was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman team after averaging 8.9 points, which is third on the team, and 7.2 rebounds, which is fourth in the Pac-12. He also shot a school-freshman-record 81.1% from the free throw line.

Liam Fitzgerald, a Whitworth junior forward from Hawaii, was named Northwest Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week on March 8 after averaging 13.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and shooting 84.6% from the field as the Pirates swept two games from George Fox the previous weekend. He also had five assists and two blocked shots.

• Three Greater Spokane League graduates and one athlete from Coeur d’Alene who are at least sophomores with GPAs of 3.20 or greater were named to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Men’s Soccer All-Academic team.

Travis Swallow, a Seattle Pacific senior from Lake City with a 3.94 GPA, collected his third straight award. He was joined by Falcons teammate Aidan Chaparro, a junior from North Central (3.39), who received his first.

Repeaters from 2019 are Bryan Maxwell, a Montana State Billings junior from Lewis and Clark (3.63), and Northwest Nazarene junior Landon Butler from Ferris (3.52).

Klaire Mitchell, a Grand Canyon sophomore from Lake City, broke the program’s Division I-era career assists record and tied the four-set assist mark on March 8 when she had 54 in a win over California Baptist.

That took her career total to 1,436, topping the mark of 1,427 that had been set in three years. After adding 36 assists the next night, Mitchell headed into the final four matches of her second season at GCU with 1,472 assists.

• Former Post Falls wrestler Ridge Lovett, a sophomore at Nebraska, is seeded fifth at 149 pounds in the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships that begin Thursday in St. Louis, Missouri. Lovett, who finished second in the Big Ten Championships, takes an 8-1 overall record into nationals.

He qualified for nationals in 2020 at 133 pounds and was a National Wrestling Coaches Association honorable mention All-American when nationals were canceled because of the COVID pandemic.

Braydon Huber, another Post Falls wrestler who is a redshirt sophomore at University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota,, rebounded smartly from a first-round loss at the NCAA Division II Championships in St. Louis during the weekend to earn All-America status, then wound up losing his next two matches and finished eighth at 133 pounds.

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