Spotted from the crow's nest: Daniel Redfern, men's tennis

Senior tennis player Daniel Redfern has made the most of his two-year Pirate career. Since joining the program from Skagit Valley Community College in 2011, Redfern has had two All-Northwest Conference seasons.

“Daniel can go toe-to-toe with anyone in the conference,” head coach Mike Shanks said. “He has the best forehand in the conference and he’s amazingly quick. It’s been a pleasure to watch him perform.”

Redfern, a math major from Camano Island, Wash., was the Pirates’ No. 1 singles player the past two seasons and was also part of the No. 1 doubles team this year and part of last year. He has a combined 40=++ wins in these two seasons, his best season coming this year with 22 total wins.

“Daniel is a great teammate,” junior Cameron Williams said. “It’s awesome to see him raise his game to the next level.”

Before Whitworth, Redfern played two years at Skagit Valley Community College where he won the singles conference championship as a freshman and placed second as a sophomore.

“It really was fun,” Redfern said of his experience. “The competition wasn’t the greatest because there were only four teams in the conference and there was only really one guy that consistently challenged me, but I still learned a lot.”

After transferring to Whitworth, Redfern earned NWC Player of the Week honors three times and was also named first team All-NWC in 2011 and 2012. Of all of his great accomplishments and experiences at Whitworth, there were two moments Redfern will always remember.

“Personally my favorite moment was when we were in Dallas over Spring Break last year,” Redfern said. “I was losing badly in the first set of my match, but I came back and won the set. I lost in the second set and I started cramping, but both the men’s and the women’s teams were there watching and supporting me. They helped me persevere through the pain and I won the third set.”

That match was against LeToureau University in Sherman, Texas, where Whitworth won 7-2. Every set in Redfern’s match was decided by at least two games, the final score being 7-6 (8-6), 5-7, 6-4. Redfern played his best tennis in that match, but his favorite team moment came when he didn’t have his best personal day.

“My favorite moment as a team was when we were playing at Linfield last year,” Redfern said. “We lost all of our doubles matches and I lost my singles match, meaning we had to win five straight singles matches for the victory. We had some guys pull out some close matches and we ended up winning 5-4, taking third in conference because of that.”

Even though his Pirate tennis career might be over, Redfern still plans to be a part of next year’s team. Redfern is a junior academically but has senior eligibility in tennis so he will return next season to be an assistant coach on the team while finishing his degree.

 

Story by Nathan Webber Staff Writer

Photographer: Linnea Goold

 

Contact Nathan Webber at nathanwebber13@my.whitworth.edu.

Student athlete slam dunks the standards

Senior considers his first-team academic All-American honor finest accolade

Four years ago, Felix Friedt had hardly heard of Whitworth. Four years later, the senior center for the Whitworth basketball team has been named the Male Athlete of the Year by The Whitworthian sports section staff.

Friedt was quick to give the credit to his team.

“This honor is more a reflection of a team accomplishment,” Friedt said. “I couldn’t do it by myself or [without] the people who came before me.”

Friedt’s senior season was the exclamation point to an already stellar Whitworth career, on and off the court. He led the Pirates to their sixth consecutive NCAA Division III tournament and their third Sweet 16 appearance in four years. Following an impressive post-season performance, the 6-foot-8 German native was named Second Team All-West Region and received Third Team All-West Region honors. In addition, he was named First Team All-Northwest Conference.

Behind the scenes, Friedt has worked hard for his accomplishments. Junior point guard and teammate Wade Gebbers recalled Friedt’s dedication in the weight room and his intense work ethic, such as doing curls for an hour straight.

“The reason he does that is because of his determination to be great,” Gebbers said. “He has that determination but follows up on it and you can see that in everything he does, whether it’s playing or in school.”

When Friedt wasn’t in the Fieldhouse or the weight room, he hit the books. The economics and international business double major said despite the plethora of other awards he has received this year, being honored as First Team Academic All-American is his proudest accomplishment.

“He has left one of the best examples of a student athlete that he could leave,” Gebbers said.

First year head basketball coach Matt Logie recalled a particular weekend during conference play when Friedt’s dedication to athletics, academics and his resilience stood out. Whitworth traveled to Newberg, Ore., to play George Fox on a Friday night. Early Saturday morning, Friedt left the team and drove three hours to take a standardized test for graduate school entrance and drove three hours back to Portland, Ore., to arrive about 90 minutes before tip off that night at Lewis & Clark. Friedt was also nursing a sprained ankle. Nevertheless, the anchor for the Bucs put up a double-double that night.

“To be able to will himself through all of that, that was very impressive as a coach,” Logie said of the weekend.

Friedt averaged upwards of 16 points a game for the Bucs, scoring over 500 points on this past season. That number is nearly half of his career 1130, which places him 13th among Whitworth’s all-time leading scorers. Friedt sunk 200 shots from behind the charity stripe this season, maintaining a free-throw shooting percentage of over 80 percent.

Still, Friedt was adamant that the year was not about him. His team came first. He specifically mentioned the drastic changes to the Whitworth coaching personnel and roster coming into the year.

“As a team, I thought it was great how much we came together, facing a coaching change at the beginning of the year,” Friedt said.  “Some people questioned if we could repeat what we did the year before because we lost a great deal of players. [This year] we had a great record, we won a conference championship, we went on the road and swept Texas [in the national tournament], all of those will be things I’ll remember forever.”

Logie commended Friedt on his efforts to make the coaching transition as smooth as possible.

“The biggest challenge that we faced together was just the adversity of having to learn a new offense, new defense, and build relationships with new coaches,” Logie said. “That’s a lot to ask of somebody going into their senior year. He handled it about as well as anybody could handle it.”

In his Whitworth Fieldhouse finale, Friedt drained a trey in the opening moments of the game, which was followed by an outburst of elation from the stands. He says it was his favorite moment of the year. “I’ll definitely miss playing in front of the fans, the crowd,” Friedt said. “Comparing it [to] any other place, this was the best place to play at.”

Friedt is an outstanding student and athlete, but even more than that, he is a teammate. The past three years, his team voted him best teammate.

“He might come off as just this seven-foot monster, but he genuinely cares about his teammates,” Gebbers said. “Felix is a big teddy bear.”

After graduation, Friedt plans to get married and attend graduate school at the University of Oregon to earn a Ph.D. in economics.

“I think on a national level [Felix] was about as productive of a basketball player as you could have,” Logie said. “At the same time I think he just displayed exemplary leadership and was a standout student in the classroom. I think he really exemplifies the male student athlete of the year award and what it should stand for.”

 

Story by Sena Hughes Staff Writer

Photographer: Tanner Scholten

 

Contact Sena Hughes at shughes15@my.whitworth.edu.

Senior Kaimi Rocha leaves strong legacy

Pirates senior outside hitter led conference in multiple offensive categories

Whitworth head volleyball coach Steve Rupe said that senior Kaimi Rocha might be the hardest-working player he has coached in his 14 years at Whitworth.

“When we talked about [how] it’s time to work hard and practice hard; she was always working hardest and practicing hardest,” Rupe said. “There was never an off day for her.”

Despite being described as friendly, fun, happy and approachable, the 5-foot-9 outside hitter is a monster on the volleyball court.

Her humility disguises the fact that she has earned back-to-back Northwest Conference Player of the Year awards, has been selected twice to First Team All-West Region and was most recently honored this season as Second Team All-American.

“She was our go-to person,” Rupe said. “Everybody in the conference knew it and they still couldn’t stop her. She was heads and tails above everybody else.”

At one point this year, she was named Division III Volleyball Player of the Week — a national recognition. She led the NWC points per set, kills per set and total kills in her senior season for Whitworth.

It is for those reasons that Kaimi Rocha has been named the Female Athlete of the Year by The Whitworthian sports section staff.

Rocha has her twin sister and teammate, Ka’ipo Rocha, to thank for spurring her competitive drive and love for volleyball.  At age 11, the highly athletic Rocha twins started playing volleyball. Ka’ipo stuck with it, while Kaimi sat on the sidelines for a few months after deciding she didn’t like volleyball. That changed quickly.

“When she saw me get good she decided she wanted to get good too,” Ka’ipo — or “Eeep”, as her sister affectionately calls her on the court — said. “She’s very competitive.”

The Rocha sisters’ chemistry is unique and will be missed by Whitworth volleyball.

“I’ve had some great, great young ladies come through my program,” Rupe said. “But [Kaimi and Ka’ipo], I miss a lot of people, but I’m really going to miss them.”

Overshadowing Kaimi Rocha’s highly driven spirit is her surreal selflessness.

“The best part about Kaimi is she’s selfless,” said Bree Riddle, senior setter and teammate. “She’s never attention oriented. She’s always putting her attention back on the team.”

Likewise, Kaimi Rocha is as dedicated as they come. Ka’ipo Rocha laughed when she recalled how Kaimi likes to remind Ka’ipo that Kaimi never missed a practice in four years of playing.

“Which is hard because I’ve missed a bunch,” Ka’ipo Rocha said. “I’m proud of her work ethic.”

Her incredible determination is one of the reasons why Kaimi Rocha is such an effective leader. Her teammates and coach all said she leads by example.

“She wasn’t going to give you some motivational words to get you going, but she worked hard and she didn’t stop,” Riddle said. “She made everyone better. Being a setter to Kaimi, I’d throw a ball out there that wasn’t even close to a perfect set and she’d kill it and say ‘great job’. I’d say ‘sorry’ and she’d say, ‘don’t worry about it.’”

In addition to her individual honors this season, Kaimi Rocha led the Bucs to their second straight conference title and an impressive 19-7 overall record. One of Rocha’s favorite memories of the year was beating Pacific Lutheran University and University of Puget Sound — both reputably strong NWC teams — back-to-back nights in the Fieldhouse.

“It was one of our goals to make that happen,” Kaimi Rocha said. “It was great at the end of the week to have met our goal.”

The team-first attitude and passion for the game of volleyball shines through Kaimi Rocha.

“I realize that when I play for the love of the game, I do my best and that’s been my driving force, [rather than] to just play because I get recognition or because I want a certain amount of kills,” Kaimi Rocha said. “I just play to be around my teammates and do well so our team can come out on top.”

Kaimi Rocha credits the Whitworth volleyball program and her coaches for teaching her to be more than a volleyball player. She said she has gained irreplaceable skills like time management, working under pressure and overcoming adversity.

“Each year, she’s gotten better as a player and a teammate and senior year she came in and was the captain we needed her to be,” Riddle said. “I’m proud of her for being female athlete of the year. She deserves it.”

After graduation, both Rocha sisters plan on moving back home to the island of Maui in Hawaii, and apply to nursing school together.

“She’s just a quality human being,” Rupe said of Kaimi Rocha. “She led by example. She worked harder than anybody else. She was kind of the whole deal; she had the whole package.”

 

Story by Sena Hughes Staff Writer

Photographer: Tanner Scholten

 

Contact Sena Hughes at shughes15@my.whitworth.edu.

Baseball crowned kings of the diamond

Whitworth co-conference champions, ties school record for wins in a season

Sundays have officially become the Whitworth baseball team’s favorite day of the week. After sweeping Whitman College in a three game series this past weekend, the Bucs earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament, their first ever appearance.

“For the program, this is huge,” senior first baseman JR Jarrell said. “When I was here as a freshman, we won 10 games total and now, four years later, we’re conference champs.”

Pacific stood in first place until a Boxer loss on Saturday allowed the tie. Whitworth holds the advantage against the Boxers in head-to-head play, which earns it the automatic bid in the tie situation.

Whitworth opened Saturday’s doubleheader with a 7-4 win.

“We knew going into the weekend that we’d have to get the sweep in order to win conference,” said senior third baseman Landon Scott. “We went out and got the job done.”

Freshman Dan Scheibe pitched a complete game for the Bucs and allowed Whitman just two hits in the first six innings. The Missionaries broke through in the top of the seventh, tying up the score when they rallied for all four of their runs.

“It wasn’t the greatest game defensively,” freshman shortstop Nick Motsinger said. “But offensively we did a fairly good job executing.”

Whitworth answered with four hits and three runs of its own to take the final lead of the game.

Neither team got on base in the eighth inning and after Whitman managed a single hit in the ninth, Scheibe secured the win for the Bucs with his 11th strikeout of the game.

“[Scheibe’s] been great for four straight weeks,” Scott said. “Whenever he pitches we feel like we’re going to win the game.”

Whitworth breezed past the Missionaries in game two, with a dominating 13-2 victory and earning the first place tie spot with Pacific.

Jarrell led the way with four hits which included his third home run of the season. Motsinger collected five RBIs with a two-run double, two-run single and a RBI sacrifice bunt.

“It’s really helpful for our pitchers’ confidence when we put up runs and get up early,” Motsinger said. “Keeping the pressure going all nine innings translated to good results on the defensive end.”

The Bucs took an early 2-0 lead when Jarrell’s single to center field scored Muelheims and then Niksarrian hit a single to right field to score Scott.

“The second game we put it on them really quick,” Motsinger said. “[We] put up runs every single inning, which is what you have to do to put a team away.”

In the sixth, Whitman loaded the bases with no outs, but freshman pitcher Carson Blumenthal struck out two in a row and then got the last batter to ground out. The Pirate offense responded with three runs of their own off a Motsinger double and Scott single.

Jarrell’s homer came in the seventh and Whitworth wrapped up its doubleheader sweep with four runs off three hits in the eighth inning. Motsinger drove a two-run single to center field, scoring the final two runners of the game for the Bucs.

“They kind of jumped back up on us when we had gotten comfortable,” Jarrell said. “But we executed like we needed to and got big hits like we needed to.”

Blumenthal tossed eight innings for Whitworth, allowing one run off six hits, while striking out six batters and giving up four walks. Senior James King pitched one inning of relief and gave up one run off three hits.

Sunday’s contest was the determining factor for Whitworth’s share of the NWC title and Whitman made the Bucs earn it. In a down-to-the-wire final game of the three-game series, Whitworth defeated the Missionaries 8-7, improving their record to 19-5 in NWC action and tying the school record with 26 games won in a single season.

“It’s the first conference championship since 1991,” Scott said. “At the end of the day, winning conference, you can’t really explain the excitement.”

The Bucs took a 3-1 lead after three innings.

“I think offensively we executed pretty well,” Jarrell said. “We put up enough runs to win but it was a lot closer than any of us wanted it to be.”

Whitman took a 4-3 lead in the top of the sixth, but the Bucs answered in the bottom of the inning with five runs to regain the lead.

“I thought we were pressuring [ourselves] a little bit today,” Motsinger said. “Even though we had the lead we weren’t as loose as we have been in past games.”

Whitman challenged the Bucs’ lead again when it scored three runs in the eighth, but Whitworth was able to hold on and capture the one-run victory.

CJ Perry started for the Bucs and threw four innings, giving up one run off three hits. Taylor Isadore came in for just over an inning and allowed three runs off four hits before freshman Spencer Ansett pitched two innings and gave up three runs off two hits. Sophomore Jason Renner closed the game for the Bucs in one inning of relief, allowing no runs and one hit to earn the save.

“Today was senior day so CJ got the start,” Scott said. “Taylor Isadore is tied for the team lead in appearances, Ansett will keep us in the game every time and Renner has been our shut down guy all year.”

Whitworth celebrated its biggest win on Merkel Field in 20 years with a dog-pile near the pitcher’s mound and will travel to Linfield College May 16-20 for the West Regional games of the National Division III Tournament.

 

Story by Corina Gebbers Staff Writer

Photographer: Hope Barnes   

 

Contact Corina Gebbers at cgebbers15@my.whitworth.edu.

Coach Ramsay reclaims program’s pride

The Whitworth baseball team hasn’t had an overall winning season in seven years. The team hasn’t been in the top three of the final Northwest Conference standings since the 2001 season, and the Bucs haven’t won a conference title since the 1991 season.

This season is a different story.  With the sweep of Whitman College this weekend, the Pirates finished the regular season atop the Northwest Conference standings along with Pacific University. It is the first conference championship for the Bucs in 11 years.

The program’s conference championship is the culmination of a turnaround that has been building for a while under fourth-year head coach Dan Ramsay, who is The Whitworthian’s choice for 2011-2012 Coach of the Year.

“He is a great guy to be around and have a voice on the team,” senior pitcher James King said. “The passion he has for the game, he lives and breathes baseball. That’s what you want to see out of a coach. He’s making the program as good as it can be.”

Ramsay, hired as head coach in 2009, has led the Pirates to back-to-back 20 win seasons, including a conference title this season. The Pirates’ 26 wins this season are the most wins for a Pirate team since the 1989 season, when the Bucs also won 26 games. Heading into postseason play, Whitworth has a chance to set the school record for wins in a single season.

Even though Ramsay has a four-year record of 66-86-1, he has steadily improved the team over the years.

“We won 10 games my first year, then 13, 20 and now we’re at 23,” Ramsay said. “I came in at 22 [years old] with hardly any coaching experience and I have learned something every year.”

A major part of the team’s success has been because of the offense. Whitworth is in the top three in the Northwest Conference in runs, hits, RBI’s, batting average, doubles and home runs.

An even bigger contribution to this season is how Ramsay has built the team over the past four years.

“I think it’s been a trickle-down effect,” Ramsay said. “It starts at the top with the people we have in our program  — coaches and assistant coaches to players. It’s a good fit with personality and the personnel is a good fit for the team.”

One of those good trickle-down moves has been pitching coach Brandon Harmon.

“One of the biggest things that Coach has done is bring in [pitching coach] Brandon Harmon,” King said. “Thing’s were rough for pitching his first couple of years, but Brandon helped improve our pitching a lot.”

Recruiting quality freshman talent has been a staple in the Ramsay years, with no exception this season. Freshman pitchers have locked down opponents this season. Team leaders in strikeouts, wins and saves are all freshman players. The seniors who Ramsay recruited in his first year, though, have set the tone for the team’s success.

“The seniors have been impact players,” Ramsay said. “It’s been cool to see the work they put in over the years has been starting to pay off. They laid the expectations for the rest of the players and where we are has a lot to do with those individuals.”

Ramsay started his Pirate career as a player in 2007 when he was a catcher, earning Second-Team All-NWC in 2007 and Honorable-Mention All-NWC in 2008. Ramsay, having only been five years removed from playing the game, uses that as an advantage.

“He relates to players really well,” senior third baseman Landon Scott said. “He is a younger guy that understands the mental part of the game and knows what the players are going through.”

Ramsay said the culture of Whitworth baseball has changed dramatically from his playing days.

“When I played here there were times when I didn’t want to wear my baseball cap around campus because I didn’t want people to ask how we did that weekend. I didn’t want to tell them that we always lost,” Ramsay said. “That’s not the case now. People are excited about this team. I get people coming up to me wanting to buy baseball caps, and everyone wears their gear around campus.”

As evident with the recent turnaround of the program and conference championship, the culture has changed and Whitworth baseball has regained swagger.

“My expectations for the players at the beginning of the season were if they didn’t want to win a championship, then I don’t want them on this team,” Ramsay said.

With the sweep of the Missionaries this weekend, the Pirates have been able to celebrate with a dog-pile. With Ramsay at the helm, Whitworth now heads into the National Division III Tournament representing the Northwest Conference.

 

Story by Nathan Webber Staff Writer

Photographer: Greg Moser

 

Contact Nathan Webber at nathanwebber14@my.whitworth.edu.

Spotted from the crow's nest: Frank Lima, track and field

Junior Frank Lima, a health science major at Whitworth University, has been dominating on the Pirates’ track and field team this year.

Lima made it to Indoor Nationals for the first time this year, and went to the 2012 NWC Championships for the 110m hurdles, long jump, triple jump and high jump.

“He’s had a really good year [and] a pretty solid season,” head coach Toby Schwarz said. “He’s very technically sound [in his events], and he’s got a lot of explosiveness.”

On the first day of the 2012 NWC Championships, April 21, Lima won the high jump after clearing 6-8. He then took fourth in the triple jump the next day, reaching a distance of 44-2.5.

Lima said he decided to switch over to field events in high school.

“At first, I was actually a cross-country runner. I decided to try [track] in middle school,” he said. “My coach wanted me to only do long-distance running events at first, but I decided to spread out to other events. I mostly do field events now.”

Schwarz said he was surprised by Lima’s event scores when they first met.

“I first met him in the summer between his junior and senior year,” Schwarz said. “He’s not really intimidating, but I could tell he was athletic. He loved track and was committed to it.”

Lima said he was one of the few athletes in his high school that cared about track.

“In high school, I felt like I was competing by myself because people didn’t really care about track,” he said. “When I transitioned into college, I became a part of something bigger than myself. There’s great competition, great people and great atmosphere. It’s just really fun.”

Freshman Christina Dobbins, who competes in the high jump, 110m hurdles, and 400m hurdles, among other events, has known Lima since high school. They both competed on the track team together.

“He’s a really fun person, he’s friendly, and gets along with a lot of people,” Dobbins said. “He’s an amazingly high jumper, and technically he has great form.”

Schwarz said that when Lima first started competing on the Whitworth track and field team he faced some overwhelming challenges.

“It was difficult in the beginning, he didn’t really have a coach in high school,” Schwarz said. “And his height, he’s not a very tall guy and competes with guys taller. [But] he’s gotten stronger, gotten more confident and gotten faster, definitely gotten faster. He has a great relationship with me and Bob [Omlin, the vertical jump coach] now.”

Lima said it was a stroke of luck that caused him to hear about Whitworth in the first place.

“My family and I went on a college trip across the Northwest, and the receptionist at a hotel told us about this place called Whitworth that was really great, so we drove up. Toby sold it for us,” Lima said. “[Later] when I was staying as a pre-frosh with some of the track team, it seemed like they were really good people. The community and the team sold it for me.”

Lima said he enjoys playing Frisbee and doing martial arts in his free time. He said he hopes to go into physical therapy graduate school after he graduates from Whitworth.

“I want to work with people, and help them recuperate,” he said. “One thing for sure, is that I’ll still be competing in All-comer track meets in California [after graduation].”

 

Story by Meghan Dellinger Staff Writer

Photography by Dani Christianson

 

Contact Meghan Dellinger at mdellinger15@my.whitworth.edu.

Whitworth earns sweep of Willamette

The Whitworth baseball team kept its playoff hopes alive with a three-game sweep of Willamette University in Salem, Ore., last weekend.

Freshman pitcher Dan Scheibe pitched nine innings and struck out 13 batters in game one of Whitworth’s three game contest against Willamette at Merkel Field last weekend to help the Bucs grab an 8-1 victory in the front end of Saturday’s doubleheader before they secured a 7-6 win in the tenth inning of the nightcap. The action continued Sunday as the Bucs completed the three-game series and improved their record to 16-5 in Northwest Conference action, still close behind first place Pacific University.

“What really stood out this weekend was our guys’ ability to pick one another up,” head coach Dan Ramsay said. “If one guy failed the next guy behind him seemed to come through with a big hit or shut down inning out of the bullpen.”

Whitworth took the lead early when senior center fielder Kevin Valerio scored right fielder Erik Nikssarian with a squeeze bunt and freshman catcher Joshua Davis scored off of freshman shortstop Nick Motsinger’s RBI single in the second inning. In the third, senior first baseman JR Jarrell scored sophomore second baseman Gerhard Muelheims with an RBI single and freshman left fielder Tyler Pfeffer’s league-leading 11th homerun of the season boosted the Pirates to a 5-1 lead in the fifth.

“Tyler has also been playing lights out,” Ramsay said. “If he can finish what he’s started he should be a candidate for NWC Player of the Year.”

The final three runs came in the seventh when senior third baseman Landon Scott scored off Motsinger’s RBI double to center field, Nikssarian’s RBI single scored Miller and Valerio’s RBI double brought Nikssarian home.

After rolling past the Bearcats in game one, Whitworth trailed 1-0 until the sixth inning in game two. Davis hit a two-run single that gave the Pirates the lead, but Willamette answered in the seventh with another run.

“They really struggled against Scheibe in game one [but] did a good job of battling against our pitchers in game two,” Ramsay said.

Whitworth scored three runs in the eighth inning sparked by Nikssarian’s single that brought home Pfeffer, who had singled to shortstop. Jarrell and Nikssarian scored when, with the bases loaded, Scott and Valerio were hit by pitches.

The Bearcats tied it up in the bottom of the ninth to force an extra inning, but Whitworth scored two runs in the tenth when Muelheim’s RBI single brought Davis home and Pfeffer’s RBI single scored senior center fielder Ryan Beecroft.

illamette scored one run in the bottom of the 10th, but it wasn’t enough to steal the Bucs’ lead.

On Sunday, Whitworth drove in eight runs in the second inning to grab a significant early lead against the visiting Bearcats en route to a 10-6 win.

“When each guy trusts and has confidence that his teammates are going to come through, he plays with more confidence and it eases the pressure,” Ramsay said.

Willamette fought for six runs, but the Pirates secured the win with an extra two runs in the eighth inning when Davis walked, Valerio singled, and Pfeffer drove them home with a double up the left side.

Whitworth will host its final conference games with a three-game series against Whitman on April 28 and 29. The Pirates currently sit one game back of conference-leader Pacific.  Each team has three games remaining; however, the Boxers hold the tiebreaker advantage over the Bucs.

 

Story by Corina Gebbers Staff Writer

File Photo by Chrissy Roach

 

Contact Corina Gebbers at cgebbers15@my.whitworth.edu.

Women’s tennis eliminated by Whitman

Whitworth’s season comes to a close after conference tournament loss

The Whitworth women’s tennis team’s season came to an end on Saturday as the Missionaries of Whitman College beat the Pirates 9-0 in the semifinals of the Northwest Conference Tournament at the Linfield Tennis Center in McMinnville, Ore.

“Yesterday’s match was bitter sweet because it was our last match,” senior Alli Marshall said. “We knew Whitman was going to be really tough. They won the right points and beat us, but we definitely played our hardest.”

Whitworth finished the season with a 9-4 conference record, a 13-7 overall record and 10th place ranking in the region.

“The season was a lot of fun,” head coach Jo Ann Wagstaff said. “We came a long way and improved a lot.”

After sweeping the doubles portion of the match, Whitman won the next two singles matches for the team victory, which left the four other singles matches unfinished.

Five seniors saw their Pirate tennis careers end on Saturday, including the top two singles players and the No. 1 doubles team of Marshall and Erica Bosman.

“I feel really blessed to have been on this team for four years,” Marshall said. “It’s been amazing and I wouldn’t change anything.”

Bosman finishes her career with 123 total wins, and Marshall leaves with 101 wins. The three other Pirate seniors are Claire Hemming (52 wins), Siri Carlson (31 wins) and Janell Talbot (12 wins).

“It is a huge loss (about losing the graduating seniors),” Wagstaff said. “They all contributed a whole bunch and we’ll miss them a lot. Erica went from the No. 5 player her freshman year to the No. 2 this year. Claire went from our No. 10 or 11 player her freshman year to our No. 6 player this year. As a coach it’s fun to watch players improve and succeed.”

Ranked 8th in the region, the Missionaries overcame stiff competition from the Pirates in the opening doubles matches.

The No. 1 doubles team of Marshall and Bosman were overpowered by Whitman’s No. 1 doubles team of junior Alyssa Roberg and freshman Courtney Lawless 8-2.

The No. 2 doubles match was the closest of the day. Pirate junior Jessi Steele and freshman Saryn Mooney couldn’t overcome the Missionary team of senior Emily Rolston and freshman Morgan Lawless, losing 8-6.

Junior Megan Wingfield and Hemming had the second closest match on Saturday but fell to Whitman’s No. 3 doubles team of sophomore Hannah Palkowitz and freshman Madison Webster 8-4.

“The match could have gone either way -especially in doubles - even if the score didn’t reflect that,” Talbot said.

Starting the singles matches with a 3-0 lead, Whitman left the rest of the match in the hands of the Lawless twins. Courtney Lawless defeated Bosman 6-0, 6-0 in No. 2 singles and Morgan Lawless beat Steele 6-0, 6-2 in No. 3 singles to close out the match.

“Whitman was just tough,” Wagstaff said. “We stuck with them but couldn’t come through.”

There were four matches that remained unfinished at that point. Whitworth was actually leading in three of those four matches but they stopped after Whitman earned the necessary five wins.

Mooney was beating junior Kate Kunkel-Patterson 6-3, 3-1 in No. 4 singles. Wingfield, who almost completed her match, was winning in No. 5 singles against Missionary Webster 6-2, 5-2. Hemming was ahead of Rolston 6-0, 1-3 in No. 6 singles.

The other unfinished match was in No. 1 doubles with Whitman junior Roberg leading Whitworth senior Marshall 2-6, 2-3.

“It was a really great season,” Marshall said. “It was nice to have new people. We definitely improved over the season and our scores reflect that.”

Whitman advanced to the Northwest Conference Championship game on Sunday with an 11-2 conference record and a 16-4 overall record. Whitman defeated hosting Linfield College Wildcats 5-1 to win the tournament, advancing the team to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Whitman has a young team, which will be hard to beat in the coming years. Whitworth hopes to follow suit.

“I’m looking forward to next season,” Wagstaff said. “We have good recruits coming in and the players coming back had a great year.”

 

Story by Nathan Webber Staff Writer

Photography by Hope Barnes

 

Contact Nathan Webber at nathanwebber13@my.whitworth.edu.

Missionaries best Pirates in NWC playoffs

The Whitworth men’s tennis season came to an end on Saturday after host Whitman College defeated the Bucs 9-0 in the semifinals of the Northwest Conference Tournament in Walla Walla, Wash. “We knew [Whitman was] going to be difficult to beat,” senior Daniel Redfern said. “We were hoping to pull off the upset but it’s pretty impossible to come back at Whitman after going down 3-0.”

Whitman was the No. 1 seed in the tournament and the No. 1 team in the region, and eighth in the nation. The Missionaries won the first five games of the match, leaving the other four unfinished.

“It’s no fun to lose the last match of the season,” senior Ben Hamming said. “Whitman is really tough, a very, very good team.”

Whitworth, finishing the year 8-4 in the conference and 11-9 overall, stayed with the Missionaries in a lot of the matches.

Whitman started out the day by winning the first three doubles matches. Whitworth’s No. 1 doubles team of Redfern and junior Micah Spaun were outmatched by Whitman’s No. 1 team, losing 8-2.

The Pirates’ No. 2 doubles team of seniors Hamming and Stefan Dernbach had a tough time against Whitman’s No. 2 doubles team, falling 8-0. The Missionaries closed out the doubles portion of the match with an 8-3 win in No. 3 doubles against sophomore Dustin McConnell and freshman Chris Engelmann.

“I thought we played well, [the match] was very competitive,” Engelmann said. “We played a good team and even though the score didn’t show it the match was very competitive. Could have gone either way.”

The singles matches were highly competitive, but only two matches were finished as Whitman reached the necessary five wins before Whitworth could mount a comeback.

The two matches that finished first were No. 2 and No. 4 singles. In No. 4 singles, McConnell lost a competitive match, losing 6-2, 6-0.

In the last match of the semifinal, junior Cameron Williams lost a close two-set match, falling to Whitman junior Jeff Tolman 6-4, 7-5.

Of the four matches that were left unfinished, two of them went into tiebreakers. Redfern, playing his last game as a Pirate, was on the losing end of a first set tiebreaker, leaving the match at 7-6 (7-0), 2-1. The other tiebreaker was at No. 3 singles where Spaun’s second set ended in a tie, leaving the score 6-2, 6-6 (4-4).

In No. 5 singles, Hamming, also in his final match as a Pirate, finished his first set against Whitman junior Sam Sadeghi where he was behind 6-2. The No. 6 singles match never got started.

“It’s very different playing outside but we had decent weather,” Hamming said. “There’s wind that you have to take in account for and the depth perception on the ball is a little different, but we were ready for it.”

Redfern, who had his best season as a Pirate after transferring from Skagit Valley College after his sophomore year, finished with 22 wins on the season and 40 in his two-year Pirate career.

Hemming, who was a four-year contributor for the men’s tennis team, finished his best season in a Bucs uniform, compiling 14 wins between singles and doubles this season.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Hamming said. “I’ve enjoyed the team and the coach for four years and I’m sad it’s over. “

This was the second time this season that Whitworth played Whitman in Walla Walla, but the outcome was no different from the March 31 match-up which Whitman won 9-0.

The Missionaries played Sunday against George Fox University and swept the Bruins 5-0 for the Northwest Conference Tournament Championship.

Even though the tennis season is over, there is always hope for the coming years.

“Next year is going to be an uphill challenge because everyone in our conference is young and every team is deep,” Engelmann said. “It’s going to be a dog fight on our team for the last spots in our line-up next year. It’s going to be very competitive, but we’ll be good.”

 

Story by Nathan Webber Staff Writer

Contact Nathan Webber at nathanwebber13@my.whitworth.edu.

Bucs dominate at NWC Championships

The Whitworth men’s track and field team won their third straight victory at the 2012 NWC Championships on April 20 and 21, scoring 270 points total, making a new Whitworth record. The Pirate women finished the meet in fourth place, with George Fox University  winning for the second year in a row.

Head coach Toby Schwarz said the meet was overall great, with beautiful weather on both days of competition.

“For the guys, we had nine conference champions. [They] pretty much dominated,” Schwarz said. “The girls’ team has lots of young [athletes] that performed very well, [and] people scored points that weren’t supposed to. We had really beautiful weather. People could just perform as opposed to the weather directing anything.”

The Pirates were 138 points ahead of runner-up Willamette University, who scored a total of 132 points.

Schwarz was voted the NWC Men’s Coach of the Year for the third year in a row, the sixth time in his career. Junior Carter Comito was voted as the NWC Men’s Field Athlete of the Year.

Comito said winning the award was the most exciting part of the meet for him.

“It was nice to be Field Athlete of the meet,” he said. “I’ve never had that before so it felt good.”

Comito won the discus the first day of the meet, with a throw of 186-9. The throw also broke his own NWC Championship meet record from last year, which was 178-5. Comito then went on to win the shot put on the next day, with a throw of 52-8.25.

Junior Luke Mathews won the long jump with a distance of 22-2.5 on the first day, and placed sixth in the triple jump on the second day, with a distance of 43-8.5. He placed just behind junior Frank Lima and junior Shannon Winant, who placed fourth and fifth, respectively.

Winant finished third in the long jump, reaching a distance of 21-8.75.  He jumped 43-11.75 in the triple jump, which would earn him fifth.

Lima won the high jump on the first day, clearing a height of 6-8, and reached a distance of 44-2.5 in the triple jump on the second day.

Senior Tyler Dudley won second place in the 3000m steeplechase on Friday, with a time of 9:23.34. On the next day, he took third in the 5000m steeplechase with a time of 15:30.82.

Sophomore Casey Monahan won the 110m hurdles on Saturday, sprinting to a time of 15.42. His teammate, sophomore Jonathan Hoff, finished in second with a time of 15.45.

Junior Steven Acosta finished second in both the 800m and 1500m races, with times of 1:56.75 and 3:57.60, respectively. In both races, he was less than a second behind the first place finishers.

Freshman Chase Wright won the javelin on the first day, with a throw of 189-7. Freshman Matthew Landon won the 100m dash on Saturday with a time of 11.14. He finished second in the 200m dash with a time of 22.44.

The men’s 4x100m relay won for the second year in a row, with Landon, sophomore Tyler Guinn and freshmen Trent Alsin and Wesley Sitser running the race in a time of 42.29.

Junior Chibron Tomeo won the pole vault on Saturday, clearing 14-11.25, and finished fourth in the 100m dash with a time of 11.31.

Freshman Joseph Green finished third in the pole vault, clearing the same distance as Tomeo; however, the final placings were based on the number of misses.

Green said the meet atmosphere was ecstatic, yet relaxed.

“It was a really good weekend,” he said. “Just a lot of good things happened.”

Sophomore Elke Neuenschwander finished in third place for the discus, with a throw of 125-6, while junior Jenae Martin finished the event in fifth place with her throw of 121-2.

Freshman Christina Dobbins cleared 5-1 in the high jump, placing third. She finished fifth in the 110m hurdles with a time of 16.03, and finished in eighth in the 400m hurdles with a time of 1:09.50.

Junior Rebekah Daniels took second place in the hammer throw on Saturday, with a throw of 147-11, and finished in fourth for the shot put with a throw of 36-0.

Sophomore Jheri Gates won the high jump on Saturday, clearing 5-5 to win by two inches.

Gates said the meet itself was exciting for the team.

“We had a lot of exciting performances by everyone on the team,” she said. “It was really fun to cheer on everyone [and] to be a part of.”

The Whitworth track and field team will compete next in the Pelluer Invitational in Cheney, Wash., on April 27.

 

Story by Meghan Dellinger Staff Writer

File Photo by Tanner Scholten  

 

Contact Meghan Dellinger at mdellinger15@my.whitworth.edu.

Second place finish overall for men’s golf

Bucs fall short of NWC Tournament championship by two strokes to Linfield The Whitworth men’s golf team improved its Northwest Conference standing from fourth place to second place and competed for a shot at the National tournament during their two rounds at the NWC Championships on April 21 and 22 at the Canyon Lakes course in Kennewick, Wash.

“I know some of the guys were disappointed,” junior Joey Degroff said. “But being so close to the top and giving ourselves a chance was a good way to end the season.”

The Bucs sat in second place after Saturday afternoon’s round with a score of 298. Linfield College led the way with a score of 293 and Pacific University tied Willamette University with a score of 311. Whitman College shot 319, George Fox University shot 325 and Lewis & Clark College finished with a score of 376.

“We always try and shoot 300”, head coach Warren Friedrichs said. “This was the most important [tournament] and we played pretty well.”

Degroff placed the highest for Whitworth after round one, shooting one over par with a 73 and tying for fourth place.

“Joey had his best tournament ever,” Friedrichs said. “He ended up earning second team all-conference honors.”

He nailed his first eagle in college competition to help lift Whitworth out of its fourth place position in the league.

“I’ve been waiting for something to click and something finally did this weekend,” Degroff said.

Sophomores Jesse Salzwedel and Saul Martinez tied for seventh place with rounds of 74. Sophomore Stephen Plopper finished with a score of 77, putting him in 16th place after the first round. Junior Christian Boudreau wrapped up the day with a score of 81.

“We could’ve done better,” Degroff said. “But we set our goal to have four scores in the seventies each day and we did that.”

After beginning the second round with a shotgun start on Sunday, Whitworth shot a 301 and fell short to first place Linfield by two strokes. With the win, Linfield nabbed an automatic bid to Nationals in Florida next month.

“Of course our overall goal was to win the NWC Championship and go to Nationals,” Degroff said. “[But] we also had some other goals about growing as a team and on the course, and I know that we achieved that.”

Boudreau led the way with a score of 72, the lowest score in the second round. He finished tied for 11th overall. Martinez, who also made second team all-conference, tied for fourth overall with a second round score of 75, Degroff shot a 77 and also tied for 11th and Plopper scored a 78 on Sunday, landing in 17th place overall. Salzwedel, who earned first team all-conference honors, shot a 77 and finished ninth.

“We picked it up as far as closing the gap,” Friedrichs said. “[Linfield] beat us by three strokes, but we handled all the other teams, had a good tournament and played well as a team.”

In the final NWC team standings, Whitworth came in second with 25 points. Linfield earned the championship with a total of 31 points and Puget Sound came in third with 24 points.

 

Story by Corina Gebbers Staff Writer

Contact Corina Gebbers at cgebbers15@my.whitworth.edu.

Women’s golf concludes season with third place finish

The Whitworth women’s golf team took third place last weekend at the Northwest Conference Championship. Junior Emily Guthrie placed first individually after a strong second day of competition. “We didn’t come out top team, but we really just had a lot of fun playing golf,” head coach Katie Fuqua said.

The Pirates finished Saturday in third place, five strokes behind nationally ranked George Fox University.  Whitman College completed the day in the lead by just one stroke.

Guthrie led the Bucs Saturday, tying for fourth place individually. Freshman Nicole Lomax was in seventh and senior Elizabeth Martin tied for 11th place individually.

The Bucs improved their team score on Sunday, but not enough to overcome the competition ahead of them. Whitman maintained the lead for the championship and automatic NCAA Division III tournament bid. George Fox finished second and Whitworth rounded out the top-three. Fuqua was proud of the performance.

“The girls never gave up,” Fuqua said. “Everybody improved on their back nine. If you have a tough front nine it’s hard to improve on the back nine.”

Guthrie had an impressive second day. After falling behind four strokes on Saturday, she improved her score by six strokes to win the individual competition. She pulled out the victory by one stroke, beating George Fox’s Kelsey Morrison who is ranked second nationally.

“Playing well and just putting it all together at the end [made me proud],” Guthrie said. “Being able to win was awesome.”

Fuqua was also proud of Guthrie’s performance, especially mentally.

“Emily did a really great job of staying in the moment and not really letting anything get to her,” Fuqua said. “She had a plan written out and she stuck to it.”

Lomax and Martin finished 11th and 14th overall, respectively.

In general, the Bucs were satisfied with their performance, but anxiously await next year’s season.

“Hopefully next year we’re going to be even stronger,” Guthrie said. “[But] this year was a lot of fun and we’re thankful for the end results.”

 

Story by Sena Hughes Staff Writer

Contact Corina Gebbers at cgebbers15@my.whitworth.edu.

Men's golf shines at NWC Preview

Gearing up for the Northwest Conference Championships April 21 and 22, the Whitworth men’s golf team joined Whitman College and Pacific University for a preview at Canyon Lakes Golf Course in Kennewick last Saturday. “Most teams will have a practice round the day before a big tournament,” head coach Warren Friedrichs said. “We take three teams and do the practice round in a three-way match, serving as a practice round and giving us a little competition.”

Although the contest didn’t count toward the Championships points-wise, the teams kept score and Whitworth ended the round on top with a score of 321. Whitman scored 326 and Pacific scored 332.

“Whitman has beat us a couple times,” Friedrichs said. “So in that sense it was a pretty good day.”

Sophomore Jesse Salzwedel and sophomore Stephen Plopper were the lowest scoring Pirates, shooting 77 and 78 respectively. Junior Christian Boudreau followed with a score of 84, while senior Jeff Aly shot an 85.

“The green at Canyon Lakes for the men were rock hard and very fast,” Friedrichs said. “Scores were pretty high for the course because it played pretty difficult.”

Throughout the year teams have been playing for points, with each win earning one point towards a team’s total accumulation. The Pirates currently stand in third place with 11 points, behind Linfield (15 points) and Whitman (13 points). Championships are a unique tournament that offers double the points for a win, which is a huge opportunity to grab a spot at the NCAA National Tournament.

According to coach Friedrichs, the Pirates are prepared to take on their competitors next weekend.

“We’re ready, but golf is odd,” Friedrichs said. “It’s not a consistent game; it’s a confidence thing, [and] we’ve got to get mentally ready and go have some fun.”

Whitworth will host the Tournament next weekend at Canyon Lakes, teeing off Saturday at 1:00 p.m. and finishing Sunday morning beginning at 7:30 a.m. The winner at Championships will earn an automatic bid to Nationals.

 

Story by Corina Gebbers Staff Writer

Contact Corina Gebbers at cgebbers15@my.whitworth.edu.

Spotted from the crow's nest: Alli Marshall, women’s tennis

Senior tennis player Alli Marshall is on the verge of finishing a strong four year career at Whitworth. In her Whitworth career, Marshall has won three Northwest Conference Championships, been Second Team All-NWC once and First Team All-NWC twice. Currently, she is Whitworth’s No. 1 singles player and is part of the No. 1 doubles team.

Marshall has won at least 20 games in each of her four seasons on the team, the most coming in her freshman year when she won 29 games. Recently she won her 100th game as a Pirate after she and her doubles partner, senior Erica Bosman, beat George Fox’s No. 1 doubles team 8-4 last Saturday.

“She has been a really solid No. 1 for us,” head coach Jo Ann Wagstaff said. “She is a great example of a person that plays hard and never gives up on a point. She goes for every ball as hard as she can and it inspires the rest of the team to play hard.”

The senior from Salem, Ore., has been playing tennis since she was 8 years old and excelled at the sport at Sprague High School. Marshall wanted to continue playing tennis after high school, which led her to Whitworth. “I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go but my sister, who’s a year older, went here [Whitworth] so I came to check out the campus,” Marshall said. “I loved it.”

Throughout her four years Marshall has made a lot of memories.

“Every Spring Break trip we went on was amazing,” Marshall said. “All the girls get along so well. We won conference and went to nationals in California my freshman year. It was also really fun to win conference three years in a row, too, it was wonderful.”

Marshall works hard on and off the court as she is double majoring in journalism and mass communication and kinesiology. She is currently planning on taking a year off after school is over to prepare for her Graduate Record Exam for graduate school.

“Since her freshman year she has worked really hard on becoming a more consistent and powerful player, and it’s paid off,” Wagstaff said.

That hard work has paid off on the court as Marshall currently leads the team in doubles wins and is third in the conference in singles win percentage as Whitworth’s No. 1 singles player.

“Her forehand is really great, definitely her best shot,” teammate Claire Hemming said.

Hemming, a fellow senior and roommate, had a lot of good things to say about Marshall when asked what she is like off the court.

“I have lived with Alli for a couple of years,” Hemming said. “She is very personable, always engaging people and making them feel good.”

Marshall is sitting at 21 wins so far this season and  said she hopes to continue her streak on April 21 when the tennis team takes on Whitman in the first round of the Northwest Conference Tournament. The team, and Marshall, are striving for their third tournament championship in three years.

 

Story by Nathan Webber Staff Writer

Photography by Greg Moser

 

Contact Nathan Webber at nathanwebber13@my.whitworth.edu.

Whitworth softball season comes to a close

With a Northwest Conference Tournament berth on the line, the Whitworth softball team traveled to Newberg, Ore., last weekend to take on the Bruins of George Fox University. Whitworth needed to sweep the series in order to reach the conference tournament.  The Pirates went down in a hard-fought battle on Saturday afternoon, zapping their playoff hopes.

Still, head coach Cristal Brown was optimistic in her reflections.

“I’d say we actually did really well overall all weekend,” Brown said on Sunday. “Our loss yesterday came down yesterday to one pitch that could have made a difference.”

The series was ultimately split 2-2. Neither team won two consecutive games.

In Saturday’s first game, the Pirates came out energized and crushed the Bruins in a 9-1 victory, called off after six innings in compliance with the NCAA eight-run mercy rule. Taylor Gilbert allowed just two hits in the game and would be the backbone of the Whitworth team for the rest of the weekend.

“Taylor Gilbert did an awesome job,” Brown said. “She threw all but 1.2 innings for us this weekend and did amazing.”

Whitworth didn’t quite have what it would have taken to round the corner in game two. Senior second basemen Sami Parr led the team with one run, one hit and two RBIs on the game. The Bruins won 5-4, thanks to pitching, which held Whitworth to no hits following the second inning.

Gilbert was again phenomenal in Sunday’s earlier game, leading Whitworth to the 6-0 victory. Junior Jamie Brunner dominated offensively with a pair of runs, hits and RBIs, respectively.

The final game of the season for the Bucs came down to one inning. All three of GFU’s runs were scored during the fourth, and Whitworth never recovered. Again, Brunner led the team with two hits and one run. Gilbert was relieved from the circle for the first time all weekend for the final 1.2 innings.

The Pirates finish their season 19-21 overall and 13-15 in the Northwest Conference.

“I think the weekend was a little bit indicative of what the season was like, where we played some good softball and it didn’t always turn out how we wanted it to,” Brown said. “We’re excited for next year.”

 

Story by Sena Hughes Staff Writer

Contact Sena Hughes at shughes15@my.whitworth.edu.

Alumni game raises money for charity

What do you get when a medley of professors, authors and graduated basketball stars come together on the hardwood? A down to the wire charity basketball game, complete with hook shots, air balls and alley-oops.

On April 9, HooPalousa put on its second annual event to raise funds for the American Indian Graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing, a scholarship created by the University of Idaho’s Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing to help get more Native American students into writing classes.

HooPalousa began when National Book Award winner and filmmaker Sherman Alexie, along with three other regional authors, visited a University of Idaho novel workshop. The group of nationally acclaimed authors and basketball junkies put on their first game last November between the Moscow SuperSonnets and the Spokane Dirty Realists.

This year, the Dirty Realists aimed to improve their 1-0 record when they faced the Whitworth Wordsmiths in the Fieldhouse last Monday, but fell short 101-96 in an exhilarating finish.

The two teams were represented by past all-stars from Whitworth and Gonzaga, including David Pendergraft (Gonzaga), Michael Taylor (Whitworth), and Brian Williams (Whitworth); current professors, including Jim McPherson and Dale Soden; authors Shan Ray, Jess Walter, and Sam Ligon; as well as Whitworth head men’s basketball coach Matt Logie and women’s head basketball coach Helen Higgs.

“It was fun to come back and play at Whitworth where we had an amazing season,” Taylor said. “[And] it was a good opportunity to play against some of the GU guys I grew up watching.”

After 11 minutes of action, Spokane trailed Whitworth by just three points. Gonzaga’s Casey Calvary, a two-time All-West Coast Conference First Team selection in 2000 and 2001, sent down several two-handed dunks, reliving the time he spent around the rim for the Bulldogs and keeping the Dirty Realists within points of the Wordsmiths. But MVP of the night, Soden, banked in a hook shot from the right side of the key with a minute to go, and Whitworth went up 52-46 at half.

“[There’s called] the MVP and the courtesy MVP,” Soden said. “But really, I’ve watched so many of these guys, so to be out there and to be able to tell my grandkids that for one night I got to play with these guys is great.”

Despite the laid-back environment of the game, the competitive nature of the players emerged in the second half as the game stayed close.

“Most of us are fairly competitive,” Pendergraft said. “It went from smiles to wanting the ‘W’.”

Late in the game, Ray nailed a trey to bring Spokane within two of Whitworth’s 93 points. Then, after a Whitworth layin, Calvary tipped the ball in for Spokane with just 22 seconds remaining. Like any big game, it came down to a handful of free throws, and Whitworth made six in the final minute, earning the championship trophy for the Wordsmiths.

All in all, it was a successful event for a great cause, bringing together different facets of community, education and good ol’ competition.

 

Story by Corina Gebbers Staff Writer

Photography by Tanner Scholten

 

Contact Corina Gebbers at cgebbers15@my.whitworth.edu.

Women's tennis ends regular season schedule with weekend sweep

The Pirate women’s tennis team finished out the Northwest Conference regular season on a high note, earning two wins on the road against Lewis & Clark College on Friday and George Fox University on Saturday.

The Pirates finish the regular season with a 9-3 conference record and a 13-5 overall record, placing third in the Northwest Conference. Whitworth finished the season ranked 10th in the region.

“We played well this weekend,” head coach Jo Ann Wagstaff said. “We didn’t have our No. 6 singles player but Janell [Talbot] stepped in and played well.”

On Friday, the Bucs were able to sweep the Boxers 9-0 in a dominating performance. Except for the highly competitive No. 1 doubles and singles matches, no Pirate allowed her opponent to win more than three games in any set.

Junior Jessi Steele had a strong day, winning in No. 4 singles 6-1, 6-1 and then teaming up with freshman Saryn Mooney for the 8-1 win in the No. 2 doubles slot.

Saturday went almost as well as the Bucs defeated the Bruins 8-1.

Three matches took extra time to complete, but the Pirates pulled out wins in two of the games. Senior Janell Talbot came back from losing the first set in her singles match for a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Bruin Alissandra Wittrig.

Steele and Mooney had a very close match in No. 2 doubles but held on for the 9-8 (7-3) victory. It was the doubles pair’s fifth win of the season playing No. 2 doubles.

Whitworth will take on Lewis-Clark State College Wednesday April 15 in the team’s last non-conference home match before the Northwest Conference Tournament on April 21-22 where they take on Whitman College in the first round.

 

Story by Nathan Webber Staff Writer

Contact Nathan Webber at nathanwebber13@my.whitworth.edu.

Women’s golf claims second at NWC Preview Tournament

The Whitworth women’s golf team finished second of three Northwest Conference teams competing at the Whitman NWC Preview on Saturday in Richland, Wash. Senior Darby Moberg led the Pirates individually, tying for second place overall. The weekend was not an ideal one for Whitworth, who finished second to Whitman College and ahead of Pacific University. Head coach Katie Fuqua said that Saturday was not a good round of golf for her team, which she knows has great potential.

Earlier in the week, several team members were ill and had to trade in practice for doctor’s appointments. Lack of rest and practice contributed to the disappointing appearance.

“I think the conditions were there and they could’ve performed well but [didn’t] just because we weren’t well prepared,” Fuqua said.

Though dissatisfied by the performance, the Bucs did get an opportunity to play at Columbia Point Golf Course, which will be the host of next weekend’s NWC championship tournament.

“It was good to figure out the course and get the kinks out before the big tournament,” junior Emily Guthrie said.

Guthrie tied with freshman Nicole Lomax for seventh place individually and second place for the Pirates on Saturday. Both golfers hope to earn first team all-NWC honors, which will depend on their performances next weekend.

Whitworth’s hopes are high for the conference competition. Aware that last Saturday was not a good indicator of their potential and ability, they are optimistic for what is to come.

“Our confidence is pretty high just because we’ve played the course,” Guthrie said. “The weather’s supposed to be nice. Individually, we all know what we can do.”

The mental element will be key for the golfers next weekend. Guthrie mentioned the challenge of having approximately five hours to think about anything, yet the necessity of focusing of golf.

“There’s a lot of time to think, Guthrie said. “You just have to focus on golf and forget about other things.”

Fuqua also mentioned her desire for the team to be confident mentally.

“I want them to have more confidence in their ability,” Fuqua said. “They just need to be mentally prepared, it’s not that they don’t have the skills to do well, they just need to do it.”

The nature of championships is that they are emotional competitions. Fuqua stated the reality of the end of a career for the seniors and then the pressure on the whole team to finish the season well in general.

“I think they’re excited; I think they’re anxious. [It’s] a big tournament and they know that,” Fuqua said. “There are a lot of emotions I can’t pinpoint.”

Regardless, the Pirates are energized and ready for the next big stop.

“It’s kind of ‘go big or go home,’” Guthrie said. “That’s our attitude.”

 

Story by Sena Hughes Staff Writer

Contact Sena Hughes at shughes15@my.whitworth.edu.

Baseball takes on Pacific for NWC lead

In a Northwest Conference baseball show down last weekend, second place Whitworth met conference leader Pacific on Merkel Field in a best out-of-three game series that went to the wire. The Pirates were topped 6-2 by the Boxers in the opening game Saturday, but took control in the nightcap, gaining a 7-1 victory that boosted them to 3-1 win on Sunday.

“We haven’t been in the situation to win the conference in a very long time,” senior catcher Michael Takemura said. “We started a little slow but I think the confidence came when the series got going.”

After sophomore second baseman Gerhard Muelheims doubled in the first inning, senior third baseman Landon Scott drove him home on a single that put the first run on the board for either team.

“We thought we’d be able to keep adding on after that first run,” Muelheims said. “[But] their pitcher was throwing really well [and] we had a tough time seeing the ball.”

But Pacific answered with a flurry of runs over the next three innings, scoring six runs, while Whitworth struggled to connect at the plate.

Freshman shortstop Nick Motsinger got the offense rolling with a single to third base in the sixth inning, and Whitworth scored its second run off sophomore left fielder Tyler Pfeffer’s sacrifice fly to right field.

“I thought the first game we were a little tight [but] the second game we played pretty loose,” Takemura said. “These games didn’t mean anything unless we won them out.”

After freshman pitcher Carson Blumenthal tossed the first four innings, freshman pitcher Nick Scourey stepped on the mound and shut out Pacific in five innings of relief. But the Pirates were unable to close in on the Boxers’ lead, and with the loss surrendered the top spot in the conference to Pacific for now; final conference standings have not been determined.

“Everyone was disappointed we lost,” Muelheims said. “But we’ve lost the first game of a series before and ended up winning the next two games.”

Whitworth grabbed an early 2-0 lead in game two after Motsinger walked and Pfeffer singled up the middle to score Motsinger in the first inning. Miller singled to right field in the second inning, advanced to second base on a balk, then to third when senior center fielder Kevin Valerio grounded out to second base, and scored on freshman right fielder Erik Nikssarian’s single to left field.

“I think this whole year we’ve done a great job coming back from losses,” Takemura said. “We wanted to punch back.”

Pfeffer’s three-run homer in the third and Nikssarian’s homerun in the fourth boasted a 6-0 lead for the Bucs. Senior first baseman JR Jarrell’s RBI single brought Pfeffer home again in the fifth inning to score Whitworth’s final run.

Freshman pitcher Dan Scheibe pitched a full game, striking out 12 batters with no walks. In his past two pitching performances  for the Bucs he has struck out 25 batter without a walk, and his presence on the mound Saturday secured the win for the Pirates, as Pacific scored just one run off six hits.

“The second game Dan threw great,” Takemura said. “He gave us a lot of confidence by shutting them down.”

It took until the fourth inning for either team to earn a run on Sunday, but after Scott singled to center field, he scored off Valerio’s sacrifice fly. Jarrell got on base with a single up the middle, and then scored thanks to Nikssarian’s RBI single through the left side.

“I think it was pretty key that we got on the board first,” Muelheims said. “Scoring those two runs was big especially because it was right after an inning where they had the bases loaded and we struck their guy out.”

Whitworth’s final run came in the fifth when Takemura was hit by a pitch, advanced to second when Motsinger grounded out to the catcher, and scored off Muelheims RBI single to center field.

Pacific also scored in the fifth, plating their lone run of the game. But the Boxers had several opportunities to take the lead, leaving 13 runners on base by game’s end.

“In the dugout the players knew we were going to win,” Takemura said. “But we gave [Pacific] too many shots.”

Spencer Ansett pitched the first six innings, allowing one run off seven hits. Jason Renner finished the game, grabbing his sixth save of the season.

“We used a lot of the momentum we had from the second game [on Saturday],” Muelheims said. “Holding those guys to one run took away some of their confidence.”

Whitworth improved its record to 13-5 in NWC action, just one game behind Pacific in conference standings, and will face Willamette University in Salem, Ore., April 21 and 22.

 

Story by Corina Gebbers Staff Writer

Photography by Chrissy Roach

 

Contact Corina Gebbers at cgebbers15@my.whitworth.edu.

Pirates split final conference matches

Fourth-seeded men’s tennis set to take on Whitman in NWC tournament

The Pirate men’s tennis team finished the regular season this past weekend, earning a victory against Lewis & Clark College on Friday but losing a close contest to George Fox University on Saturday at the Scotford Tennis Center.

The Pirates also played a couple of non-conference matches earlier in the week — an exhibition match against the Community Colleges of Spokane and a home match against Lewis-Clark State College where Whitworth fell 9-0.

“It’s a lot of matches but we still have to go out and play,” sophomore Dustin McConnell said. “At this level you need to be prepared for the long matches and do the best you can to fight through.”

Whitworth finished the regular season with an 8-4 Northwest Conference record and an 11-8 record overall. The Bucs will take on Whitman next weekend in the first round of the Northwest Conference Tournament in Walla Walla, Wash.

“Playing Whitman is always fun because they’re always a challenge,” junior Cameron Williams said. “We gained some information last time we played them and developed some strategies around that. Now we want to implement that and finish strong.”

Whitworth started off the week with an exhibition match on Monday April 9 at the Community Colleges of Spokane. Whitworth played most of its reserve players in the exhibition, which ended in a 4-4 tie.

“We got to see guys play that don’t normally get to,” Williams said. “It’s exciting to watch them succeed on the on court.”

The day after the CCS match, the Bucs took on the Warriors of Lewis-Clark State College, falling 9-0 to the NAIA foes.

Two singles matches went to the third set, including No. 1 singles player Daniel Redfern who fell 4-6, 6-0, 6-3. The other was freshman Chris Engelmann who lost in No. 5 singles 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Two of the three doubles matches were within four games of each other as well, but the Warriors were too much for the Pirates.

On Friday the Pirates went back to finish up the regular season conference schedule when the team defeated Lewis & Clark College 7-2.

Redfern and junior Micah Spaun came through in the first match of the day as the two beat out the Boxers No. 1 doubles team 9-7.

“I felt really good about how we played doubles on Friday,” Redfern said. “It felt good to get that win considering how close it was.”

The two teams split the first four contests but Whitworth responded with five straight singles wins to close out the match. No. 2 singles player Spaun and McConnell, playing No. 3 singles, each won their matches decisively, both beating their opponents 6-1, 6-2.

The Pirates closed out the regular season at home on Saturday with a close 5-4 loss to the Bruins of George Fox University.

Redfern and Spaun had another close doubles match, this time coming up just short in a 9-7 loss.

“We lost a pretty tough one on Saturday,” Redfern said. “We almost had the match, but we lost a little momentum towards the end.”

After taking a 3-2 lead in the match, the Bruins took the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 singles contests, dooming the Pirates. Cameron Williams had one of the more inspiring wins in the match. Williams took the first set 6-4 against the No. 2 Bruin singles player but fell behind early in the second.

“I sat down with my coach and he had me focus on my breathing,” Williams said, after being down 4-1 in the second set. “It loosened me up and got me back in my groove.”

Williams came back and won the set 7-5, his eighth singles win of the year.

The Pirates will have a week to prepare for Whitman College, the eighth-ranked team in the nation. This is a rematch of the contest that was won by the Missionaries 9-0 on March 31.

“Personally I’m looking forward to playing their No. 1 (singles) player again, he’s the best in the conference,” Redfern said.  “We also have a new lineup for the match so we’ll see how that goes.”

The match will be played at the Bratton Tennis Center at Whitman College on April 21.

 

Story by Nathan Webber Staff Writer

Photography by Hope Barnes (Top) and Greg Moser (Bottom)

 

Contact Nathan Webber at nathanwebber13@my.whitworth.edu.