That’s how Washington State University’s fourth-year director of athletics Pat Chun described his induction into the Asian Hall of Fame on Friday night in Seattle.
“I’m appreciative of the Robert Chinn Foundation and the Asian Hall of Fame for this honor,” said Chun, part of a 22-member class inducted in separate festivities in Los Angeles and Seattle the last two weekends.
“Hall of fame recognitions are typically a reflection of so many people who have impacted a person’s life,” he said. “In my case, I have too many to name, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize a few important people.”
Chun singled out his mother and father, who emigrated from South Korea more than 50 years ago “in search of the American Dream” and their commitment to education; “the incredible student-athletes, coaches and staff” at WSU; school president Kirk Schulz, who “broke a glass ceiling with my hiring;” and his wife Natalie and daughters Vanna, Kennedy and Gretta.
Under his leadership, the first Asian-American to lead a Power 5 school has seen WSU programs and student-athletes reach NCAA championships in six sports, earn four conference championships, collect 28 All-America certificates and multiple all-conference and academic all-conference awards.
Chun has instituted programs to benefit student-athlete welfare, including improvements to mental health awareness, as well as a commitment to diversity and inclusion initiatives, while working closely with WSU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and Black Student-Athlete Association.
The commitment to mental health awareness resulted in WSU athletics being awarded the Washington State Psychological Association’s Public Citizen Award in 2018.
In 2019, Chun was named Under Armor Athletic Director of the Year, the first Cougars A.D. to receive the honor.
The Asian Hall of Fame was established in 2004 by Seattle’s Robert Chinn Foundation “to overcome anti-Asian bias by increasing awareness of Asian contributions in America and the world.” Northwest inductees have included actor Bruce Lee, former Washington governor Gary Locke, Olympic athlete Apolo Ohno, sculptor George Tsutakawa and former Seattle Seahawk Manu Tuiasosopo.
Community Colleges of Spokane picked up three All-America awards to go with its second-place finishes in the NWAC Cross Country Championships Nov. 12 at Chambers Creek Regional Park in University Place, Wash.
Spokane sophomore Charlotte Falstad (North Central) placed sixth in the 5,000-meter women’s race, earning All-America honors in leading the Sasquatch’s runner-up finish behind champion Lane. Falstad timed 19 minutes, 31.5 seconds. Lane’s Cammeo Ramirez won in 18:23.4.
Lane had the first five finishers to also win the 8,000 men’s race with Spokane sophomore Gideon Swanson (Lakeside-Nine Mile Falls, 26:04.3) and freshmen Kiler Borg (Mead, 26.14.5) and Zachary Kness (NC, 26.18.1) sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively. Only the first seven are All-Americans. Lane’s Logan Auxier won in 24:48.
• Kahea Figueira, a College of Idaho sophomore from Mt. Spokane, was the top-finishing runner with area ties in the NAIA Cross Country National Championships Nov. 18 in Tallahassee, Florida. Figueira was 46th in the 5,000-meter women’s race for the Yotes, who finished third.
Two Coeur d’Alene High School graduates, Southern Oregon sophomore Lauren Forster (55th, 18:21.1) and Lewis-Clark State senior Brooklyn Shell (59th, 18:29.0), had top-60 finishes in the 326-runner field.
In the men’s 8,000-meter race, Carter Gordon, a Lewis-Clark State sophomore from Lake City (83rd, 25:23.6) and Winston Telford, an Eastern Oregon junior from Davenport (91st, 25:26.3), were in the top 100 in the 326-runner field. EOU was 12th, L-C state 19th.
• Matise Mulch, a Seattle Pacific freshman from Lakeside-Nine Mile Falls, was the top area finisher in the women’s division of the NCAA Division II West Region Cross Country Championships Saturday in Billings, Montana. She was 59th in 22:37.27 for 6,000 meters.
Another big story for the area was the runner who didn’t finish – Mulch teammate and Falcons sophomore star Annika Esvelt from West Valley. “She started the race,” the school reported, “but a tendon injury she’s been dealing with forced her out.” She was All-West Region in 2021 following a 22nd-place finish.
“I’m proud of her for starting the race and giving it a try,” said SPU associate head coach/distance coach Chris Reed. “But she just wasn’t able to get the race done.”
Alanna Parker, a Western Washington freshman from Mead, finished 62nd (22:39.63); SPU redshirt sophomore Libby Michael from Deer Park was 103rd (23:23.06); Central Washington sophomore Kelli Heim from Pullman was 159th (25:04.99); and St. Martin’s freshman Courtney Osborn from Mead was 161st (25:16.72) to round out the area finishers in the 168-runner field.
Top area man was Easton Pomrankey, a Western Oregon sophomore from Kettle Falls, 117th (33:49.51).
• Cross country runners Brian Barsaiya and Samantha Boyle were named the Washington State Academic Services Student-Athletes of the Month for October 2022.
Barsaiya, a sophomore from Eldoret, Kenya, transferred to WSU in the spring of 2020. The human development major has been active on campus and in the community as a volunteer, particularly at the Senior Living and Regency in Pullman. On the course, he won the WSU Invite for a second straight season and was third at the 2022 Bill Dellinger Invitational.
Boyle, a senior from Snohomish, Wash., has a 3.77 GPA in biology. She is scheduled to graduate next semester and is planning to attend medical school. In May, Boyle received a grant after presenting a research project at the Pac-12 Student-Athlete Health Conference in Las Vegas. She has also worked as a certified nursing assistant at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
The Spokane Chiefs announced a “Winter Warmth” clothing drive to culminate at their Nov. 27 game against the Everett Silvertips in the Arena. Collected winter clothing will be donated to Catholic Charities’ St. Margaret’s Homeless Shelter. See spokanechiefs.com for details.
Spokane Junior Rifle Club had the champion and three of the top six finishers at the 2022 Washington State Civilian Marksmanship Program Championships Nov. 12 at the Spokane Rifle Club.
Garrett Pearsall, 17, a student at Mt. Spokane HS, won the 3-position air rifle event with a score of 586 out of a possible 600 to qualify for the Western Regional Championships in April 2023 in Sandy, Utah.
Tanner Krebs, 14, Shadle Park, placed fifth at 572 and Sean Kegley, 18, home schooled, was sixth at 570. Those three and Morgan Christian, 15, Spokane Valley Tech, formed the SJRC Gold Team that placed second to earn the silver medal in the team competition.