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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


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It’s been a two-year wait, but the Whitworth Heritage Gallery Hall of Fame is ready to induct its 31st class.

On Oct. 16, a long-tenured former soccer coach, who led the Pirates men to numerous wins over larger schools; a woman who starred in basketball and golf; and the 2011 NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Player of the Year will be inducted.

Einar Thorarinsson, Emily (Guthrie) Beane and Michael Taylor were selected for induction in 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic caused cancellation of the ceremony last fall, forcing them to become the Class of 2021. The induction will take place at 9 a.m. in the Hixon Union Building on campus.

Thorarinnson was men’s soccer coach from 1986-1994 before leaving to accept the same position at Gonzaga University. He compiled a record of 119-56-13, including 37-6-2 against Northwest Conference opponents. Whitworth won four NWC championships and he was conference coach of the year four times.

His nonconference victories included wins over the University of Washington and University of Portland when both were ranked among the Top 25 in NCAA Division I polls.

The school release said Guthrie Beane was the best women’s golfer at Whitworth over the first 20 years of the program and one of the best 3-point shooters in the history of Pirates women’s basketball.

She was a two-time NWC women’s golf medalist (2010 and 2012) and runner-up in 2013. She qualified for the NCAA Division III Championships three times and had three top-20 finishes, the only Pirate, man or woman, to do so.

The two-time second-team basketball All-NWC selection scored 807 career points and established school career records for 3-pointers made and attempted.

Taylor had one record-setting year at Whitworth after transferring from the University of Montana. In 2010-11, he led the Pirates in scoring average (20.3 ppg) and assists (3.5 apg) and topped the NWC in free-throw percentage (88.4) and 3-point percentage (52.8).

In five NWC and NCAA tournament games, Taylor averaged 25.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists and made 51% of his shots from the field and 58% from 3-point range.

He was MVP of the Division III College All-Star game in Salem, Virginia, after scoring 18 points to lead the West to a 92-81 win over the East. He was NCAA Division III Player of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the NWC Player of the Year, and was a first-team Coaches Division III and All-American.

The Class of 2021, which will join 103 individuals and eight teams in the Heritage Gallery that inducted its first class in 1990, will be recognized at halftime of the Whitworth-Pacific Lutheran football game that afternoon.

College scene

Megan Billeter’s runner-up finish in the Saint Martin’s Invitational that included a Western Washington school-record and Great Northwest Athletic Conference-tying mark, earned the Vikings’ redshirt junior from Mt. Spokane GNAC Women’s Golfer of the Week for Sept. 13-19.

It is the first GNAC weekly honor for Billeter, who shot 4-under-par 68 on Sept. 13 to break the school record by a stroke and tie the conference mark, and her 36-hole total of 2-under 142 was a stroke off the school mark as she led the Vikings’ to the team title in the season-opening tournament.

• The Gonzaga and Washington State women’s soccer teams earned team academic awards from the United Soccer Coaches for the 2020-21 academic year. Coach Chris Watkins’ Zags had a 3.61 GPA and coach Todd Shulenberger’s Cougars posted a team GPA of 3.35.

Maddy Thomas, a Whitworth senior softball player from Milton-Freewater, Oregon, was elected secretary and national SAAC alternate representative by the Northwest Conference student-athlete advisory committee.

• The Northwest Athletic Conference, which includes Community Colleges of Spokane’s two campuses – Spokane Falls and CCS – and North Idaho College, is celebrating its 75th anniversary. To view a timeline of conference history visit


Russell Grove, golf coach at North Idaho College, led the showing by area entries in the Pacific Northwest PGA Professional Championship last week at Arrowhead Golf Club in Molalla, Oregon.

Grove tied for eighth at 5-under 208 (69-69-70), eight shots back of winner Colin Inglis from Shadow Hills Country Club in Junction City, Oregon, whose 13-under 200 (64-68-68) earned him a three-stroke win.

Ryan Benzel, who grew up in Ritzville and played at the University of Idaho, placed seventh at 207 (69-70-68) and Community Colleges of Spokane coach Corey Prugh tied for 12th at 2-under 211 (69-69-73). Benzel, director of instruction at Sahalee CC in Sammamish, Washington, is one of seven who qualified for the 2022 PGA Professional Championship in Austin, Texas, April 17-20.


Longtime associate head coach Chad Brown was recently promoted to head coach of the Community Colleges of Spokane’s men’s soccer team, replacing Kenny Krestian, who retired during the summer after 16 years leading the team.

Before joining CCS in 2014, Brown, who played for the Sasquatch in 1996, was an assistant coach at West Virginia University from 2010-13 and acting head coach at UNLV from 2009-10. While assisting at CCS from 2014-17, Brown was also head coach for the Spokane Shadow and an assistant coach for the Gonzaga women.

From 2005-21, Krestian coached CCS to 180 wins, 104 losses and 50 draws. In 2015, he was NWAC Coach of the Year and was Eastern Region Coach of the Year nine times. CCS earned postseason berths 13 times, and won four Eastern Region championships (2007, 2015, 2016 and 2017). It placed second or third three times and only once lost in the first round of the playoffs.


For the second year in a row, Ben Tafoya of the Spokane Junior Rifle Team won the Montana State Junior Olympic Outdoor Prone and 3-Position Championships in both phases, but because he isn’t from Montana he could not be named state champion. That went to the runners-up.

The 17-year-old Gonzaga Prep student shot 1,588 out of 1,600 in prone and 1,083 out of 1,200 in 3-position on Aug. 21-22 in Missoula in the 2021 Montana state meet.


The Stor A Way Storage Yeahoos of Spokane captured two legs of the Senior Softball USA Triple Crown in the 65AAA Division but couldn’t complete the trifecta.

After winning the division’s Western National championship last month in Sacramento, California, the Yeahoos won the U.S. championship last week in Las Vegas in a three-team playoff that preceded SSUSA’s 2021 World Championships.

Yeahoos defeated a team from Seattle (16-8) and one from West Virginia (24-20) for the U.S. title and top seeding into the 27-team field for the Worlds. But the Yeahoos struggled to a 3-3 record and West Virginia went on to win the World championship.

“We were close, just not close enough,” Yeahoos coach Ron Klawitter said, noting two of the defeats came in the last inning.

The Coeur d’Alene-based North Idaho Softball Club had the best finish of five area teams who competed in the Worlds, finishing fifth of 25 teams in the 65 Major Division. North Idaho won its first three games before falling into the losers’ bracket. It had three players, Marlin Harris, John Walkington and Tim Caldwell, named all-stars.

Brunette/Spikes went 2-3 in the 70 AA Division, the three losses by a total of four runs; Northwest Merchants were 0-4 in the 46-team 55 AAA Division; and Mike’s Bar & Grill was 0-4 in 55 AA.

SSUSA U.S champion Yeahoos players: Klawitter, Allen Arnold, Jack Parker, Tim Wheatley, Dan Griffith, Jerry Coulter, Ray Gaines, John Hollett, Jim Pierce, Terry Graham, Dave Leake, Randy Willis, Mike Allen, Dan Smith.


Colton McCrea has been named assistant director of athletic communications for University of Idaho athletics. A student assistant in the media relations department at Arizona State from 2017-20, McCrea will be the primary contact for Idaho men’s basketball, volleyball and men’s and women’s golf, while assisting the department’s digital media efforts.