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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Inland Northwest’s Best: Corissa Yasen to Pat Tyson, these players and coaches raised the game at region high schools

By Howie Stalwick For The Spokesman-Review

The Spokesman-Review’s three-part series of top-three rankings in Inland Northwest sports history concludes today with our high school rankings. The pros and colleges were featured the past two Sundays. In addition to prep rankings, today’s coverage includes four top-three rankings in various categories dealing with pro and amateur sports, plus an honor roll of Inland Northwest natives who were major contributors to INW sports but were not mentioned in a top-three list.

High school male athletes

Gerry Lindgren, Rogers track and field and cross country. The skinny little kid from Hillyard set eight world high school records and 11 national prep records in distance races in the early 1960s. His 5,000 meters record of 13 minutes, 44 seconds stood for 40 years. Other than that (yawn), he was fairly average.

Honorable mention: Mark Rypien, Shadle Park football, basketball and baseball. Simply put, Rypien was bigger, stronger and better than the vast majority of his high school rivals. He was a prep All-American in football and all-state in all three of his sports. Rypien’s powerful right arm enabled him to star at quarterback for Shadle, Washington State and Washington’s NFL team now known as the Commanders.

Also: Jared Lawrence, Sandpoint wrestling. Lawrence went undefeated in high school (133-0) before winning an NCAA title at Minnesota. A four-time All-American with the Gophers, Lawrence failed in his bid to make the 2004 U.S. Olympic team when he lost in the 145-pound finals at the Olympic Trials. He’s enshrined in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Corissa Yasen of Coeur d'Alene High School just misses at 6-foot-2 after winning the high jump at Mooberry Relays with a meet-record 6-foot leap.  (Spokesman-Review Photo Archive)
Corissa Yasen of Coeur d’Alene High School just misses at 6-foot-2 after winning the high jump at Mooberry Relays with a meet-record 6-foot leap. (Spokesman-Review Photo Archive) Buy this photo

High school female athletes

Corissa Yasen, Coeur d’Alene track and field, basketball and cross country. Yasen hauled in a boatload of gold medals at state track meets, won a state cross country championship and led the Vikings to state titles in basketball twice and track and field once. Her 6-foot-2 high jump tied for eighth in U.S. prep girls history and earned her a trip to the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials. Yasen went on to win the 1996 NCAA heptathlon for Purdue, and she won All-America honors four straight years in the high jump at both the indoor and outdoor NCAA meets. After exhausting her track eligibility, Yasen returned to the basketball court for one season and averaged 11.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game to help the Boilermakers advance to the NCAA tournament. She also played for Sacramento in the first season of the WNBA.

Honorable mention: Becca Noble, Rogers track and field. Noble won state titles in the 400-meter dash her last three years at Rogers, and she added the 800 to her repertoire as a senior and won that event at state in 2005. High school track and field records include summer competition immediately following graduation, and Noble won the 800 at the national junior (under-20) championships in 2 minutes, 3.73 seconds – ninth in U.S. history at the time. She followed up with a victory at the Junior Pan -American Games. One year later, Noble (who went by Rebekah at Oregon) became the first freshman to win the women’s 800 at the NCAA outdoors meet.

Also: Andrea Lloyd, Moscow basketball. The three-time Idaho Player of the Year led the Bears to a pair of state championships. She added an NCAA title with the undefeated Texas Longhorns in 1985-86, an Olympics gold medal with the 1988 U.S. squad and two titles in pro ball in the old American Basketball League. Lloyd, an All-American at the high school and college levels, is a member of the Women’s College Basketball Hall of Fame.

Mead track coach Pat Tyson.  (Dan Pelle/The Spokesman-Review)
Mead track coach Pat Tyson. (Dan Pelle/The Spokesman-Review) Buy this photo

High school boys coaches

Pat Tyson, Mead cross country. In 19 seasons at Mead (1986-2004), Tyson’s teams claimed 12 state titles and cracked the top five at three national meets. Tyson coached nine individual state champions and compiled an astounding 180-8 (.957) record in Greater Spokane League dual meets. Tyson also enjoyed great success while coaching distance runners as an assistant coach on Mead’s powerful track teams. Tyson now coaches track and cross country at Gonzaga University.

Honorable mention: Jon Knight, North Central cross country. Knight guided NC to a national championship in 2008, when the Indians were in the early stages of an 11-year run of state titles (2006-16). Knight’s runners raved about his dedication, motivational skills and training techniques. “He was a great coach and better man,” former NC star Justin Janke said after Knight retired in 2020 following his 29th season.

Also: Don Anderson, Gonzaga Prep football. The Bullpups won two state championships and 15 GSL titles during Anderson’s 23 years at G-Prep. He retired in 1997 with a 195-53-3 record (.786).

Shadle Park basketball coach Linda Sheridan gets a victory ride off the court.  (Spokesman-Review Photo Archive)
Shadle Park basketball coach Linda Sheridan gets a victory ride off the court. (Spokesman-Review Photo Archive) Buy this photo

High school girls coaches

Linda Sheridan, Shadle Park basketball and volleyball. Sheridan was a master motivator who valued the “fun factor” and life lessons that sports can provide. Her basketball teams won five state titles and 10 GSL championships and compiled a 482-99 record (.830). Sheridan’s volleyball teams captured a pair of state titles, seven GSL championships and posted a 367-123 record (.748). Sheridan retired in 1998 after 24 years at her alma mater.

Honorable mention: Judy Kight, Mead volleyball. Kight, who played for Sheridan at Shadle, led the Panthers to seven state titles and 10 runner-up finishes in 23 years at Mead. The Panthers won a record five consecutive state titles from 2003-07. Kight’s career record was 583-150 (.806) at Mead, including a 32-0 season in 2003 and a 35-1 mark in 2007.

Also: Mitch Santos, St. Maries volleyball. Santos, who grew up playing volleyball in California, transformed a small school in rural North Idaho into a volleyball force. The Lumberjacks won 11 state titles during Santos’ 22-year career, including 10 consecutive titles from 1984-93. During that run, St. Maries won a nation-leading 145 consecutive matches.

High school boys teams

2008 North Central cross country. Yet another state championship cross country team from NC capped its 2008 season with a victory at the Nike Cross Nationals meet. Andrew Kimbel led the Indians at nationals with a 10th-place finish, and Alex Avila – who finished fourth among NC runners and 95th overall – reportedly passed 20 runners in the last 100 meters to help secure the national title.

Honorable mention: 2015 Gonzaga Prep football. The Bullpups, coached by Dave McKenna, bludgeoned opponents with an option offense spurred by California-bound Evan Weaver, a 6-3, 245-pound running back-defensive end. Prep capped its 14-0 season by downing Skyline of Sammamish 34-16 in the state Class 4A title game. The Bullpups set 4A title game records with 564 total yards, 521 rushing yards and 83 rushing attempts. Four years later, Weaver led the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision with 181 tackles for California. The runner-up finished 27 tackles behind Weaver.

Also: 2007-08 Ferris basketball. The Saxons won a second consecutive state 4A title with matching 29-0 records, but the second team sported an all-senior starting lineup and won the title game in far more decisive fashion. Future WSU basketball star DeAngelo Casto spurred Ferris’ 68-44 win over Federal Way with 18 points and eight blocked shots. Future WSU football star Jared Karstetter was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after scoring 15 points against Federal Way.

High school girls teams

2017-18 Central Valley basketball: Not satisfied with their second state title in three years, the Bears headed to New York City and won the national high school tournament. Coach Freddie Rehkow’s Bears, led by Stanford-bound twins Lexie and Lacie Hull, outscored opponents by an average of 38 points during a 29-0 season. Lexie earned All-America honors and her second straight Gatorade state Player of the Year award as a senior, when she averaged 20.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.6 steals and 2.1 assists per game. Hull’s numbers would have soared if not for all the times she was pulled during blowouts. She won an NCAA title at Stanford and now plays for the WNBA’s Indiana Fever after being taken sixth overall in the 2022 draft.

Honorable mention: 2018 North Central cross country. NC set state 3A meet records with just 21 points, five runners in the top 10 and a 113-point advantage over second-place Kamiakin of Kennewick. Sophomore Allie Janke won by 30 seconds to lead the champs. Janke, now running at Arkansas, won two state cross country individual titles and set state track meet records in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs.

Also: 2014 Central Valley soccer. The Bears (20-2), spurred by U.S. national youth teams veteran Kelsey Turnbow, claimed the state 4A championship for the second year in a row. Turnbow scored four goals in the title game, a 5-2 win over Jackson of Mill Creek. Turnbow, a sophomore, was Gatorade’s Washington Player of the Year for the second straight year. Her family then moved to Phoenix, where she won another state POY honor. Turnbow led Santa Clara to the NCAA championship in 2020, and she won a national college POY award in 2021. Turnbow now plays professionally for San Diego in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Howie Stalwick covered sports for The Spokesman-Review and a long list of other media outlets nationwide (often as a freelancer) for more than four decades. He retired in his hometown of Spokane in 2016. Howie’s Top 3 rankings were the result of months of research and interviews and a lifetime of memories as a sports writer, athlete and spectator. Howie may be contacted at