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Locally: Spokane Chiefs Bear Hughes and Graham Sward collect WHL honors

Bear Hughes (9) of the Spokane Chiefs tries to control the puck against Jake Gricius (14) of the Portland Winterhawks on Jan. 3, 2019 during a WHL game at the Spokane Arena. The Winterhawks won 6-4.   (Libby Kamrowski/The Spokesman-Review)
From staff and wire services

Spokane Chiefs forward and team captain Bear Hughes and defenseman Graham Sward collected special honors last week when the Western Hockey League named U.S. Division award winners.

Hughes, the Post Falls native who led the Chiefs in scoring during the regular season with 67 points and 43 assists in 64 games, was named to the U.S. Division second all-star team. He was named team captain in January, the 35th in franchise history.

In his three-season WHL career, all with Spokane, the 20-year-old, 6-foot-2, 171-pound center and Washington Capitals prospect has appeared in 127 regular-season games and scored 42 goals with 74 assists for a total of 116 points.

Sward, who caught the attention of the WHL when he took the initiative on two different charitable endeavors to honor the memory of his grandfather, who died of cancer earlier this season, was named the U.S. Division 2021-22 Humanitarian of the Year and is a finalist for the same award in the WHL.

It started with his personal Movember campaign in November, growing a mustache in symbolic support of men’s health screenings and cancer research. He established a fundraiser with a stated goal of $700. It has raised more than $3,000.

With his Abbotsford, British Columbia, neighbor and Brandon Wheat King player Jake Chiasson, Sward became a Hockey Gives Blood Player Ambassador, promoting a blood drive in his hometown on Dec. 22 during the holiday break at the Abbotsford Blood Bank.

WHL award recipients will be announced June 1.

Grayson Picicci got it started with a hat trick in the first game and the Spokane Jr. Chiefs were competitive, but in the end the Spokane Americans’ 14U-A-1 team went winless in three games in the USA Hockey Tier II National Tournament March 31-April 4 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

“They were all good games,” coach Matt Thurston said of a 5-4 loss to the Granite State Wild (New Hampshire), 9-6 loss to the St. Louis Eagles and 6-2 defeat by Team North Dakota.

Landon Nagle (River City MS, Post Falls) led the Jr. Chiefs with seven points, Picicci (Mead) finished with six and Ben Humphreys (Lewis and Clark) and Ben Race (Northwood) had five apiece.

College scene

Washington State fifth-year senior Michaela Bayerlova was selected the 2022 Pac-12 Women’s Tennis Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

She was in the midst of one of her best seasons with an overall singles record of 17-2 (7-1 Pac-12) and 13-9 (4-3) in doubles with a No. 43 national ranking heading into the Pac-12 tournament last week. From Krumbach, Germany, Bayerlova is no stranger to academic awards. She is a President’s Honor Roll recipient, three-time Pac-12 All-Academic winner and four-time Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-Academic Achievement recipient. Last week, she was named a WSU Top 10 Senior Award recipient for athletics.

• Whitworth juniors Aleah Kert and Ethan Violette were second-team repeaters when the 2022 All-Northwest Conference women’s and men’s tennis teams were announced.

Megan Billeter, a Western Washington junior from Mt. Spokane, shot consistent rounds of 77-78 on the par-71 Coeur d’Alene Resort course last week to help the Vikings rally from a two-stroke deficit after the first round and repeat as Great Northwest Athletic Conference women’s golf champions.

Billeter tied for fifth place, giving the Vikings, who went 1-2 at the top of the leaderboard, three in the top five as they rolled to a 10-stroke margin and the school’s seventh GNAC title. Western earned an automatic bid to the 2022 NCAA Division II Championships May 2-4 in Stockton, California.

• Billeter, honored for a third straight year with a 3.42 GPA, is one of two with area ties named to the GNAC women’s golf All-Academic team. Northwest Nazarene sophomore Allison MacMillian of Lewiston was honored with a 3.86 GPA.

Dawson Strobel, a Montana State Billings junior from Tekoa-Rosalia and North Idaho College, was named to the GNAC men’s golf All-Academic team with a 3.20 GPA.

• Senior Darcy Habgood became the first Washington State women’s golfer in more than a decade, and just the fourth all-time, to post a top-10 finish at the Pac-12 Championships. The Australian tied for ninth with a 4-over-par 220 for three rounds at the Eugene (Oregon) Country Club last week.

No. 2-ranked Oregon won the championship by seven strokes over No. 1 Stanford and Oregon State. WSU finished 10th. Oregon’s Hsin-Yu Lu won the individual title at 6-under 210.

• Idaho freshman Yvonne Vinceri put together the best tournament of her career, a 1-over-par 217 (74-70-73), to finish third and earn all-tournament honors in leading the Vandals to a fourth-place finish behind team winner Northern Arizona at the Big Sky Conference Women’s Golf Championships last week at Talking Stick Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. Eastern Washington junior Jaelin Ishikawa finished with a 2-under 70 on Friday that tied for the fourth lowest round of the tournament and earned her a tie for ninth at 221 (78-73-70). It was her second straight top-10 finish; she tied for eighth last year. Eastern placed fifth as a team.

• Idaho had four players and Eastern Washington one on the All-Big Sky Conference women’s golf teams. UI senior Vicky Tsai and grad student Valeria Patino were on the second team and Vinceri and senior Eddie Hsu were honorable mention. Eastern’s Ishikawa was also honorable mention.

• Senior Anna Rodgers captured the long and triple jumps as the Washington State women won eight events en route to a 94-69 win over Washington in the annual WSU-UW Dual on Friday during the first meet on the Mooberry Track in Pullman since 2018. It was also the Cougars’ first win over the Huskies since 2018. UW won the men’s dual 100-63 to gain the Huskies a split.

TJ Davis of Sandpoint, an Eastern Oregon junior, won all five events the first day and one the second in compiling 7,101 points and coasting to a repeat as Cascade Collegiate Conference men’s decathlon champion Friday in LaGrande, Oregon. The score by the Community Colleges of Spokane transfer, 760 points better than the runner-up, ranks second nationally in the NAIA.

• A couple of Idaho athletes had impressive showings in track and field meets in California the weekend of April 15-17.

Grad student Hannah Ringel was named Big Sky women’s field athlete of the week after she had a conference-leading shot put of 51-feet, 10-inches that ranks 54th in the nation.

Sophomore Lorenz Herrmann broke the school’s four-decade-old men’s 1,500 record with a time of 3 minutes, 42.11 seconds at Azusa Pacific. The old mark of 3:43.4 was set by John Trott in 1982.

Kyle Clay, a Corban sophomore outfielder from Central Valley, was the Cascade Collegiate Conference baseball player of the week for April 11-17. He hit .444 with three two-run triples, eight RBI and four runs scored as the Warriors won three of four over Oregon Tech.