Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Locally: Gonzaga distance runner James Mwaura qualifies for NCAA Outdoor Championships

Gonzaga distance runner James Mwaura's qualified for this year's NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships.  (Courtesy/Gonzaga Athletics)

From staff reports

Gonzaga University’s James Mwaura qualified for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships for the third consecutive season, finishing fourth in his 5,000-meter heat on Thursday and seventh in the 10,000-meter semifinals Wednesday at the NCAA West Preliminaries in Sacramento, California.

The senior ran 13 minutes, 38.82 seconds in the 5,000 and a season-best 28:22.05 in the 10,000 to qualify for the national championships June 7-10 in Austin, Texas.

Teammate Yacine Guermali, the GU record-holder in the 10,000, did not advance. Guermali, who is also a senior, and Mwaura are among the only three Gonzaga runners to qualify for the West Prelims three or more times. Mwaura has done so four times.

• Eastern Washington University triple jumper Bobby Say also qualified for the NCAA Championships after his career-best jump of 51 feet, 11¾ inches at Friday’s West Region first round.

Say is a senior from Maple Valley, Washington.


Fred Brown Jr. has been named assistant men’s basketball coach at North Idaho College.

Brown has coached basketball at various levels for 28 years. In 2001, he was an assistant for the Mercer Island (Wash.) High team that finished third at state. The team finished second in 2002. Brown also spent two seasons as head coach at Eastside Catholic in Sammamish, Wash., and three seasons as head coach at Edmonds (Wash.) College. He spent the past four years as assistant coach in charge of player development at College of Southern Idaho

. As a player, Brown earned all-state honors his junior and senior years at Mercer Island and in 1992 led his team to third place at the state tournament, scoring 45 points in the third-place game. He played one season at the University of Iowa, where his father, Fred Brown, had played before going on to star for the Seattle SuperSonics. An injury ended Brown Jr.’s playing career.

• Former Community Colleges of Spokane and Eastern Washington University assistant coach Grant Leep has joined the staff at Seattle University as associate head coach.

Leep spent the past seven seasons as head coach at Seattle Pacific, compiling a record of

114-69 (.623). The Falcons finished 17-11 in the 2022-23 season, powered by an offense that led the Great Northwest Athletic Conference in field-goal percentage and 3-point field-goal percentage. In 2019-20, he was GNAC Coach of the Year after the Falcons finished 22-7 overall.

Leep was an all-state and All-American player at Mt. Vernon (Wash.) High before going on to play for the Washington Huskies (1999-2002).


The Spokane Chiefs acquired a fifth-round pick in the 2026 WHL Prospects Draft from the Kelowna Rockets in exchange for forward Michael Cicek. Cicek played 73 games for Spokane, posting five goals and 12 assists for 17 total points. He was the Chiefs’ sixth-round pick (125th overall) in the 2019 WHL draft.


The Coeur d’Alene trap and skeet team placed second overall at the Idaho State Youth Shooting Championships, held May 19-20 in Burley, Idaho. CdA’s Claire Pestarino placed third in Senior Ladies Skeet; Abrie Sterbank was second in Intermediate Ladies Skeet; Joe Pestarino was second in Senior Men’s Trap; Harrison Hunter finished third in Intermediate Men’s Trap; and Kiley Durham took third in Intermediate Ladies Trap.