The Whitworthian Male Athlete of the Year: Carter Comito

As a thrower whose career had only just began his senior year at Mead High School, Carter Comito rapidly earned his way to record-breaking successes. Comito has been selected by The Whitworthian sports staff as The Whitworthian Male Athlete of the Year. Comito, a senior, throws shot put and discus and has dominated the field in both events. He chose Whitworth because of an academic scholarship. He had not originally intended to participate in track and field, Comito said.

“The coaches told me that I had a lot of potential, but my technique was really bad when I first started,” Comito said. “There was a lot of room for improvement.”

Comito has taken the initiative to improve in giant strides, head coach Toby Schwarz said.

“You don’t get as big as he is, as strong as he is, as good as he is just by natural ability,” Schwarz said. “He’s put in a lot of time and effort in the weight room and that speaks to his work ethic.”

The improvement Comito has accomplished shows in his time at Whitworth. Comito has set new records in both discus and shot put and broken his own records as well.

“His only competition is himself, honestly,” Schwarz said. “When you become really good, what do you do now? That’s a good challenge; those are challenges you want to have as a coach.”

Comito holds the No. 1 spot in the Northwest Conference for shot put, with a throwing distance of 58-9 1/4, just over eight feet further than the second place competitor. His first place ranking in discus was secured as well when he won  with a distance of 203-5. The nearest competitor trailed Comito by nearly 50 feet.

“He’s one of the best in the world,” Schwarz said. “Past athletes have done great things to pave the way for Carter and he’s paving the way for future athletes. Carter keeps raising the bar and setting a new challenge.”

In national NCAA Division III rankings, Comito holds second place in shot put, with the No. 1 distance edging Comito by less than a foot. Comito ranks first in discus with a lead of nearly 20 feet.

Comito is hoping to take his third consecutive national championship title in the discus competition later this month, he said. In addition to his national rankings, Comito stands at 24th in the world for collegiate discus throwers, Schwarz said.

Comito’s personal accomplishments and his response to them have affected many people, Schwarz said. Teammates have been impressed by Comito’s ability to maintain humility and approachability through his incredible success, junior thrower Keegan Shea said.

“It puts a human side to those elite athletes,” Shea said. “We tend to idolize these people and put them on a pedestal. He is that elite athlete, but he’s Carter; that’s all we know him as.”

Comito’s personality within competition and outside of it makes him a leader worth following, sophomore runner Brianne Wright said.

“Obviously everyone is going to look up to him because he’s really talented,” Wright said. “That’s natural. But he also works really hard, he’s a nice guy, he’s really humble; that makes people look up to him even more.”

Comito set school records in the discus and shot put this year.  The senior’s career may not be over, as he hopes to compete in the 2016 Olympics.

Aside from being well-known for his success, Comito is known by teammates of all events simply because he is friendly and down-to-earth, Wright said.

“Everyone does group off [with athletes of their own events], but Carter actively seeks hanging out with other team members,” Wright said. “He’s unique in the sense that he seems to branch out the most.”

As a team captain, Comito has been a leader among throwers and set an example for team bonding across the span of various event groups, Shea said.

“From the get-go, [Comito] was a leader within the throwing unit, but as we’ve gone along he’s really connected well with kids in other event groups,” Shea said. “He’s just a really personable guy and downright friendly. He’s made himself available to everyone on the team.”

Although Comito’s time at Whitworth is coming to a close, his name will be one which is recognized for decades to come, Shea said. Comito said he plans to continue throwing beyond college in order to make it to the Olympics.

“Ideally, I’d like to be at Rio De Janeiro in 2016,” Comito said. “I have three years and I definitely need to improve, so hopefully I can do that.”

His journey through the Whitworth athletic program has helped him to grow in many ways beyond those of physical accomplishment, Comito said.

“I’ve become a better thrower, but I’ve also definitely grown up a little bit,” Comito said. “The coaches have taught me about life, not just about sports. It’s definitely been a great experience, definitely four of the best years of my life. I’d like to say thank you to the team and the coaches; I couldn’t have done any of it without them.”

Comito’s legacy will stretch far beyond his short time at Whitworth, Schwarz said.

“I wish I could have him for ten more years,” Schwarz said. “We’re blessed to have Carter and Carter is blessed to have a university that supports him.”

Comito competed this past weekend at the Vandal Jamboree in Moscow, ID, contending with 56-4.75 and 192-07, respectively. Comito will throw at the NCAA Division III Championships on May 23-25 in Lacrosse, Wis.  The Pirate men are hoping to overcome the odds and win the national championship as a team.

Miranda Cloyd

Staff Writer

Contact Miranda Cloyd at mcloyd16@my.whitworth.edu

The Whitworthian Coach of the Year: Sean Bushéy

After a year of many decisions and a final choice to resign, men’s head soccer coach Sean Bushéy has been selected as The Whitworthian Coach of the Year by The Whitworthian sports staff. Last fall, Bushéy led the men’s soccer team to a 16-3-3 season culminating with their eighth Northwest Conference title and seventh appearance in the NCAA tournament. “This season ended up being one of my most enjoyable,” Bushéy said. “We came together so quickly after having lost so many starters from the previous season;  it was awesome to witness. It was fun to be a part of and it was fun to see their success.”

Having lost seven starters and a total of nine seniors the previous year in 2011, coming together as a team was an accomplishment, junior Sam Selisch said.

“Everyone worked together, no one disliked each other and we all got along,” Selisch said. “We’re so personal with each other and we hang out all the time on and off the field.”

Bushéy’s way of coaching this team went noticed by his players.

“He helped our chemistry,” Selisch said. “I’ve never been on a team as close as this one and I think that played a part in our success this year. There’s something about that brotherhood of working hard and going through the same things; you feel for each other. The uniqueness of this team is the togetherness of it.”

Bushéy’s success on and off the field may be well-known but something that people may not be aware of is his impact on his players, freshman Samual Jarrett said.

“It goes beyond soccer,” Jarrett said. “He’s so inspirational and he has so much experience that can be learned as life lessons. He’s going to be missed in more ways than just a soccer coach.”

Bushéy finished his Whitworth career with his seventh appearance in the NCAA tournament. He will continue his career as Director of Coaching of the Senior Academy for the Colorado Rush youth soccer organization.

Jarrett agreed that the makeup of this team and their immediate togetherness was a main contributor to their success.

“We’re all about improving each other; no one is selfish,” Jarrett said. “Everything we do is for the better of each other. We push each other and really the main focus is moving forward as a team.”

Bushéy is known for his enthusiasm and passion about the game and about his players.

“If there’s one word for it; it’d be passionate,” Jarrett said. “He loves seeing us improve and if we’re not doing it right on the field the first time, he’s passionate to make us do it right the next time.”

Selisch echoed Jarret’s sentiments.

“It’s the same passion for everything and he’s always on point,” Selisch said. “He has enthusiasm on the sidelines and he always lets us know where we’re supposed to be. He just pushed us so hard and I love that about a coach. He never gives up.”

Perhaps one of his most commendable actions this season was during their final home game against Whitman. Bushéy checked in his second team with the confidence that they’d do the job just the same.

“You could tell he was confident and we were too,” Selisch said. “The whole team was brought together in that moment; no one person stood out, the team stood out. We were all there.”

For Bushéy, winning and losing was always extra. His favorite memories simply happened when he was around his players and around soccer.

“We watched Barcelona together in Robinson Teaching Theatre during training camp.  We began the tradition of singing the Barcelona anthem. To hear the team belt it out was moving...it is one of the things that happens off the field that is pretty neat,” Bushéy said. “Certainly going to the NCAA tournament is always special and just watching how we played and performed at the climax of our season and though we lost, we played soccer; Whitworth men’s soccer. I’m proud to have been a part of that.”

Bushéy will end his career at Whitworth with 17 successful years as the men’s head soccer coach under his belt. With eight NWC crowns, seven appearances in the NCAA tournament, and a culminating record of 209-86-35, Bushéy is a well-deserved Whitworth Coach of the Year.

Tiara Pajimola

Staff Writer

Contact Tiara Pajimola at tpajimola16@my.whitworth.edu

The Whitworthian Female Athlete of the Year: Emily Guthrie

Hundreds of collegiate athletes make it to a national stage every year. Whitworth’s Emily Guthrie is one of the few to appear in two national tournaments in two different sports. Guthrie, a senior basketball player and golfer, has been named Female Athlete of the Year by The Whitworthian sports staff. Head golf coach Warren Friedrichs played a major role in bringing Guthrie to Whitworth. As soon as the golfer showed she was looking at Whitworth, Friedrichs immediately got back to her and Guthrie came to the school on a visit.

“When I did come to visit, I knew right away that this is where I wanted to go,” Guthrie said.

Her ability on the golf course was never in question, but when Friedrichs learned she helped lead her high school basketball team to a runner-up finish at the state level, he promptly introduced her to Helen Higgs, the head women’s basketball coach for Whitworth. Guthrie, who once aspired to play basketball at a Division I level, was excited about the opportunity of being able to play both golf and basketball at a collegiate level.

“I didn’t want to give golf up, so it was a huge blessing to get to play both in college,” Guthrie said. “Did I think I would ever get to do both in college? No. Did I want to do both? Absolutely. And thankfully it worked out.”

Guthrie became a figurehead for both the women’s golf and basketball teams during her time at Whitworth.  She will pursue a career in nursing after ACL surgery.

Along with playing golf at a high level for the Pirates, Guthrie also played a huge role for the Whitworth women’s basketball team. As a freshman she played in 16 games for the Bucs, with that number increasing in each of the next two years. She led the Pirates in scoring her sophomore year, as well as earning Second-Team All-NWC honors. In her junior year, Guthrie started every game and led the team in free-throw percentage, 3-pointers made and attempted and assists. She also tied with a teammate for 10 blocked shots and averaged more than 11 points and four rebounds per game.

During her senior year, Guthrie started the first 19 games before tearing her ACL in practice, sidelining her for the rest of the season.

“Her leadership was shown through her team by them wanting to win for her,” Higgs said. “It was almost extra motivation for them. They cared about her enough to want to win for Emily. None of them took it upon themselves, they knew if they all fought a little harder and each of them did a little more, they could get it done. It’s pretty rare when somebody gets injured and that is the effect it has on the team.”

Guthrie’s injury did not affect her golf season. The senior decided to put off surgery and try to play on her injured leg under the supervision of a specialist, and didn’t miss a match the entire season.

“I just wear my brace and it doesn’t hurt at all,” Guthrie said. “I was amazed because it didn’t hurt and very thankful at the same time.”

In her four years playing both basketball and golf for the Pirates, Guthrie didn’t fail to fill her trophy case.

In her career, she gathered two NWC titles, two First-Team All-NWC spots, two Second-Team All-NWC positions, five All-NWC Student-Athlete of the Week awards, five All-NWC Student-Athlete of the Week Honorable Mentions, four national tournament appearances (twice as an individual if she qualifies in golf in this year), Medalist honors for both the NWC Fall Classic and the NWC Tournament her freshman year and a NWC Player of the Year award.

She also holds the Whitworth women’s basketball record for 3-pointers made and attempted in a career. And with the NCAA Division III National Golf Tournament coming up on May 14-17 at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Destin, Fla., her career resumé may not yet be complete. The tournament field was expected to be named Monday, May 6; however, due to The Whitworthian production schedule, results were not available at press time. Check thewhitworthian.com for updates.

All accolades aside, simply being able to balance two sports with academics and a social life can be a very challenging task. Senior Emily Travis is in the same boat as Guthrie, because she also played both basketball and golf for the Pirates.

“Most of our friends were in sports so it wasn’t too hard socially, but it was definitely a challenge to get used to,” Travis said.

Guthrie agreed with her teammate and roommate, saying she will need to find something to do with herself when golf finishes up in mid-May.

“Learning how to deal with time and be properly organized took some time,” Guthrie said. “But now I’m just so used to it. I’m going to need another hobby after Whitworth.”

Guthrie, a kinesiology and nursing major, plans to apply for nursing school next spring, after surgery for her torn ACL.

“She is a great athlete, has good fundamental skills and is a competitor. You can see it on the basketball court and on the golf course,” Friedrichs said. “I couldn’t be happier with her career; she’s done us proud. She has the personal integrity and persona that represents Whitworth so well. She’s a special one.”

Korey Hope

Staff Writer

Contact Korey Hope at khope16@my.whitworth.edu

Track resurfacing to take place over summer

In culmination of a long-awaited project, Vandervert Construction will be heading up the resurfacing of Whitworth’s track in the Pine Bowl. The current track has been in use for about 19 years, said Director of Capital Projects Steve Thompson.

Planning and preparation for the project has been taking place for the past year, Thompson said.

Many parts of the track are visibly worn down to the point of black tar appearing through the red track surface. Since events cannot be hosted without NCAA approval, many events have been moved elsewhere due to the low quality of the current track, Thompson said. “People who know about track surfaces come here and say, ‘No, we’ll go somewhere else’,” Thompson said.

The multi-faceted project will not only include resurfacing the track, but will also involve  relocating the shot put area, replacement of the steeplechase jump, some minor reconfigurations of the track and the football field and implementation of a new drainage system, Thompson said. While there is a drainage system currently in place, it is to be replaced with one that will better serve the purpose of keeping large amounts of water off the track.

When project planning began, the committee’s goal was also to include replacing the grass football field with synthetic turf, Thompson said. This plan was dependent on some donations that did not come through, but Thompson said that this resurfacing project will make future plans for a synthetic turf much more feasible.

While there are many pieces that will go together to make up the complete product, the most high-tech part is that of the track surface, Thompson said.

The track resurfacing project is estimated to cost between $900,000 and $950,000.

“To the casual viewer, it’s not going to be significantly different,” Thompson said. “But for the track coaches and athletes, it’s going to make a big difference.”

The athletes who use the track on a daily basis will definitely experience a noticeable change,  head coach Toby Schwarz said. Coaches and athletes alike are eagerly anticipating the completion of this project for a few reasons. It will be very helpful for the sake of consistency across various tracks, Schwarz said. The team will be able to train effectively for a variety of tracks, not just their own.

“When you look at it, it doesn’t look bad,” Schwarz said. “When you get on it, it’s horrible.”

The current state of the track is far from ideal because of the injuries it causes, Schwarz said. Tracks consist of an asphalt layer covered with the track layer; layers come in a variety of thickness levels and the original was constructed very thinly. Over time, weather and use have worn the track down to the point of asphalt coming through.

Running on such a thin layer of track is hard on the athletes’ bodies. Schwarz said that the situation often causes injuries like shin splints; this project will make a significant difference.

“Hopefully we’ll keep our athletes healthier so that we can be better,” Schwarz said.

This kind of track generally has a lifespan of 10 to 15 years, Schwarz said, and the current track is long overdue for a makeover.

The funds for this project are coming from some bond financing that was done for the Hixson Union Building and for the new Rec center. There was money included for maintenance, which is the category under which this project falls. This project alone will come to somewhere between $900,000 and $950,000, Thompson said.

“We’re very blessed,” Schwarz said. “We feel very thankful.”

The project will officially get underway within days of students leaving campus for the summer. Vandervert will work through the summer to complete the project by the second week in August, when the football players arrive for training.

Miranda Cloyd

Staff Writer

Contact Miranda Cloyd at mcloyd16@my.whitworth.edu

Spotted from the Crow's Nest: Chibron Tomeo

Senior captain Chibron Tomeo found a new family at Whitworth having transferred after his sophomore year at Spokane Community College. At age 26, Tomeo became a part of the track and field team as a pole vaulter where he continued his career after a four-year break from school and competitive sports.

Tomeo originates from Spokane but grew up in Glenwood, Wash., which is about 300 miles south of Whitworth. He went to kindergarten through 10th grade at Glenwood and then moved back to transfer to Mead High School in Spokane, Wash. for his junior year of high school.

“In Glenwood, there are a lot of really good pole vaulters,” Tomeo said. “My coach wanted me to try it and I just fell in love with [the event]. I continued vaulting in high school for all four years.”

Tomeo decided to take a break from school after graduated from Mead in 2005 to solely focus on work. He worked for Neighborhood Fence during his time away from school and built fences for a living.

“I knew I didn’t want to build fences for the rest of my life,” Tomeo said. “My mom and my girlfriend at the time, who is now my wife, encouraged me to go back to school. They thought I was beating myself up working as hard as I did. Although I didn’t mind working, going back to school was a great decision.”

During his time off, Tomeo took part in city basketball and flag football leagues.

After returning from a break from school, Tomeo went on to set school records.

 

 

“I stayed in decent shape but not in good enough shape for track,” Tomeo said.

Tomeo returned to school in 2009 at Spokane Community College where he took part in the track and field program offered there. His high school coach, Gary Baskett, was the one who encouraged and inspired him to go to Whitworth.

“He always came up and talked to me about going to Whitworth,” Tomeo said. “He was at almost every meet and told me that Whitworth is where I should be.”

In high school, Tomeo was also a sprinter. He ran the 100-meter dash, 400-meter dash, 4x400 relay, and pole vaulted. He decided to focus on pole vaulting after struggling with consistent hamstring injuries.

He contacted head track and field coach Toby Schwarz and talked to him about making the decision to come to Whitworth. He attended his first team meeting in the fall of 2011 and confirmed his transfer.

“The coaches are great and everyone was super supportive,” Tomeo said. “It felt like family on the track team and that made it an easy decision. It was a lot of fun getting to know everybody.”

Those words were echoed by Schwarz.

“He’s a perfect fit for our team,” Schwarz said. “He’s a captain this year and being a captain after only being here for two years; it shows how [perfect] of a fit this really is. He is very relational, he’s very respectful with coaches and very interested in his teammates. He watches people do other events, he’s concerned about injuries; that’s why he’s such a great captain. He’s not an ‘I’ person he’s an ‘others’ person.”

Tomeo was concerned with how he would fit in being an older student-athlete who is married with a child, but Schwarz was not.

“You look at him and he doesn’t look any different and he acts like a typical student. He looks like a mature leader, but not an older student,” Schwarz said. “But that’s ‘Bron’, you wouldn’t know he’s one of the top competitors in the nation.”

Senior Shannon Winant was one of the first men on the track team to get to know Tomeo and he agrees. There are no negative thoughts on the team for Tomeo being a college athlete with a wife and child according to Winant.

“People just respect him more; he knows more about life,” Winant said. “He’s an amazing dad and husband and he’s just really humble. Everyone loves his entire family and when they see him interact with his wife and kid, everybody falls in love with him.”

As a captain, Winant explains him to be their silent leader.

“He’s not a vocal leader but he’s very approachable,” Winant said. “Everybody looks up to him and respects him; some people call him dad. He has a lot of wisdom and knowledge that not a lot of people have. He already has such a great personality so as soon as we saw him pole vault we were sold. He’s a huge part of our team.”

Tomeo contributed to the team right away already being a two-time conference champion. He recently broke the school record in the pole vault after clearing 16-1 3/4 at the 2013 Northwest Conference Championships. He currently ranks third at the Division III national level.

Tomeo clears 16-3 3/4 to become the NWC Men's Pole Vault champion and #3 in the NCAA Division III rankings

“Last year was his first year at nationals because it was his first opportunity,” Schwarz said. “He finished 10th and has the potential to be in the top eight this year.”

A goal for Tomeo at nationals is to be an All-American, help score points for the team, and break into the top three, if not win it Schwarz said.

Other than his goals in track and field, Tomeo dreams of future things. Tomeo originally studied occupational therapy when he transferred to Whitworth but changed his major in the fall of 2012 to elementary education. He hopes to teach fourth grade and also coach pole vaulting at his alma mater, Mead High School.

“I’m already talking to Mead coaches about positions there,” Tomeo said. “They want me to start working there next year.”

Winant believes this is what he’s meant to do.

“Seeing him interact with his little boy is proof enough that he’ll be an amazing teacher,” Winant said. “Whenever he talks about it he has a huge smile on his face; he’s very passionate and he really wants to be a great teacher just like he is a great dad and a great husband.”

Tiara Pajimola

Staff Writer

Contact Tiara Pajimola at tpajimola16@my.whitworth.edu

Pirates continue strong performances at Vandal Jamboree

The Pirates opened up their postseason with numerous personal records at the Vandal Jamboree hosted by the University of Idaho last Saturday.

Sophomore Christina Dobbins led the women’s team taking second in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.92. Dobbins took third in the high jump clearing 5-03 and third in the long jump with a distance of 17-08. Dobbins currently ranks tenth in the Division III national rankings for high jump.

Freshman Kerry Wright took second in the javelin throw with a distance of 142-01 while sophomore Rachel Palmquist took second in the triple jump with a mark of 37-05 1/4.

Now that the teams are in their postseason, there are less people, less intensity, and less chances to qualify Wright said.

“Postseason is a smaller group of kids who are either trying to qualify for nationals, already qualified for nationals, or kids who are just trying to get better,” Wright said.

Wright is currently ranked second in the Division III national rankings for the javelin.

On the men’s team, senior Carter Comito had two victories in the shot put and discus throwing 56-04 ¾ and 192-07, respectively. Comito ranks second in the shot put and first in the discus in the Division III national rankings.

Juniors Will Wren and Andrew Ryder crossed for the 800-meter in first and second place, respectively. Wren ran 1:56.64 while Ryder followed at 1:58.25.

Wren and Ryder have been going back and forth all season but according to Wren, it’s all part of a plan.

“We plan out the race tactically so I would take the first 400, he would take the next 200 and then we try to finish as fast as we can,” Wren said. “He had a faster time than me all season so it was definitely a great asset to run with him.”

The postseason has been less intense than the regular season Wren said.

“It’s more relaxing,” Wren said. “You are kind of doing it for fun.”

The 4x100 relay team took first crossing at 42.89. Junior Keegan Shea grabbed second place in the hammer throw with a distance of 183-00. Shea ranks fifth in the overall Division III national rankings for the hammer throw.

Senior John McCormack took third in the javelin throwing 193-09 which puts him at ninth in the nation. Junior Casey Monahan took a third place finish in the 110-meter hurdles crossing with a personal record of 14.81 improving him to 18th in the nation. Sophomore Trent Aslin took third in the 200-meter, crossing at 22.50.

The Bucs will continue their post season at the Sasquatch Thrower/Distance Carnival at Spokane Falls Community College May 8 starting at 3 p.m.

Tiara Pajimola

Staff Writer

Contact Tiara Pajimola at tpajimola16@my.whitworth.edu

Whitworth baseball wraps up season in Idaho

The Whitworth baseball team played its final games of the season last weekend in Lewiston, Idaho and ended the season with 14 wins. Saturday afternoon Whitworth played Pacific Lutheran and won 6-0 while Sunday Whitworth lost 14-5 against Linfield and 20-9 against Lewis-Clark St.

Sophomore Dan Scheibe started against Pacific Lutheran for the Bucs and went seven innings with seven strikeouts. Pacific Lutheran only managed to get two hits and weren’t able to put any runs up on the board.  The Bucs generated eight hits in the game.

“Dan Scheibe, Taylor Isadore and Jason Renner pitched very well in game 1 against PLU, giving our team our second shutout win of the season,” sophomore Carson Blumenthal said.

Whitworth opened up the scoring with two unearned runs in the top of the third inning. The Bucs scored another run in the top of the fourth inning and with an RBI by sophomore Eric Nikssarian putting the Pirates in a 3-0 lead.

The fifth and sixth innings had two hits but no scoring. In the top of the eighth inning though, senior designated hitter Marlowe Peter put up two more runs for the Bucs and Whitworth won the game 6-0.

Sunday afternoon the Bucs took on first-place Linfield. Linfield scored two runs in the first inning and continued to score consecutively in the next three innings. But in the bottom of the fourth inning the Pirates were able to put two runs on the board. In the top of the sixth the Bucs were able to hold Linfield for an inning, while in the bottom of the sixth the Pirates scored three more runs and trailed 11-5.

“We hit really well this weekend and Gerhard Mulheims and Jeremy Druffel had an awesome weekend offensively which was great,” Nikssarian said. “I thought Danny Jordan and Nick Motsinger hit the ball well too. Our hitting was definitely our high point.”

In the top of the sixth, Linfield scored another run and held Whitworth for the rest of the game and won 14-5.

“This weekend was good and we played two good teams,” Nikssarian said. “We beat PLU with great pitching and showed that we still had some fight left, mostly we just wanted to have fun playing baseball.”

The second game on Sunday was a high-scoring game for both teams and a big hitting a game as well. Whitworth had a total of 15 hits and Lewis-Clark St. had 20 hits in the game.

In the top of the first inning, Whitworth scored two runs, but Lewis-Clark State put up seven runs leaving Whitworth with a large deficit from the start.

Whitworth didn’t end up scoring their second round of runs until the top of the fourth inning two of those being RBIs by sophomore shortstop Nick Motsinger.

“Our offense produced consistently and we did not give up in any of the games we played,” Blumenthal said. “It was a consistent effort all weekend.”

In the top of the fifth inning the Bucs scored another three runs, but Lewis-Clark state held their lead for the rest of the game and won 20-9.

Multiple players commented on their disappointment of the season, as they expected that they would have had the opportunity to play postseason baseball.

“This season had a lot ups and downs, but I would say that I'm a little disappointed with our performance and I think this season was a lesson and a wake up call and I think this season taught us how to lose,” Nikssarian said. “Losing is not fun, and when you lose more than you win it makes winning that much sweeter.”

Whitworth ended the season with a 14-25-1 record.

Sasha Siclait

Staff Writer

Contact Sasha Siclait at ssiclait16@my.whitworth.edu

Men's golf prepares for national spotlight in Florida

After taking first in the Northwest Conference and qualifying for the national tournament, the Whitworth men’s golf team continues preparation to Destin, Fla. to compete in the NCAA Division III Men’s Golf Championships.

Head coach Warren Friedrichs will be taking Whitworth to the national tournament for the third time in his Whitworth career. The 2012-2013 team is the best and deepest team that Friedrichs said he has ever had.

Senior Joey DeGroff, junior Stephen Plopper, junior Jesse Salzwedel and freshmen brothers Oliver and Lyle Rudnicki will be the five golfers representing Whitworth at the championship.

“We’re expecting just another tournament and to approach it no different than any other tournament,” DeGroff said. “Golf doesn’t really change. The pressure might change, but golf is golf.”

All five of the players were honored recently with Salzwedel and Oliver Rudnicki receiving First Team All-NWC while DeGroff, Plopper and Lyle Rudnicki earned Second Team All-NWC.

The men’s golf team accomplishments and success has also been established from their relationships off the green, Salzwedel said.

“The big key is the comradery amongst the team and I think in order to get to the level that we’re at we need to have a tight knit group that’s supportive of each other,” Salzwedel said. “Not just as golfers, but as good friends and brothers.”

The Bucs will be taking off to Destin on May 14 and over 30 teams will be attending the tournament.

Each team will play 18 holes on the first day of the tournament and the top 15 teams will advance to the second round.

“Our goal is to make the cut into the top 15[teams], which would be a big achievement for us and our conference,” Friedrichs said.

When the men’s golf team arrives, they will have the opportunity to participate in a practice round on each course. These courses will be difficult, due to the high level of competition and will contain a fair amount of water on the course, Friedrichs said.

Weather conditions as well as climate will also have an affect on the men’s golf game. Florida is at sea level, and also humid so this will cause the ball to go a lot shorter than playing golf here in the northwest Salzwedel said.

“We will have to get used to the tournament courses in our practice rounds.  Florida has different grasses compared to the Pacific Northwest.” Friedrichs said.  “The course conditions,the grass and the greens can make a difference in how you chip and putt and how you hit out of the rough.”

The Bucs will be playing some teams that they competed against in the West Cup March 25-26 and are expecting some pretty tough competition, but multiple players commented that if they worry about their game they will do well.

“Were playing with the best and that’s why it’s the national championship because the best teams are the ones that get to go,” Salzwedel said. “I think if we play our game and don’t worry about other teams and the size of the tournament, we could be in contention.”

Hard work has been a common theme amongst the Whitworth men’s golf team and hasn’t gone unnoticed as shown through their recipient of honors.

“There’s been a lot of hard work throughout the season, people haven’t taken days off and  have worked at it consistently through the season and that’s been enough to get us to where we need to be,” Oliver Rudnicki said.

While the men’s golf team competes in Florida, fans can listen to live audio and get live statistic updates by visiting www.ncaa.com.

Sasha Siclait

Staff Writer

Contact Sasha Siclait at ssiclait16@my.whitworth.edu

 

 

Dobbins leads Whitworth women at conference championship meet

Sophomore Christina Dobbins led the Pirates at the 2013 Northwest Conference Championships scoring 47 individual points out of 150 team points for third place at Willamette last weekend.

Dobbins won the high jump clearing 5-5 1/4 and the 100-meter hurdles crossing at 15.20 seconds. Dobbins took second in the long jump with a distance of 17-90 and was a part of both relay teams including the winning 4x100 relay team consisting of Dobbins, freshman Maddye Dinsmore, and sophomores Stephanie Barrong and Rachel Palmquist. The 4x100 team and 4x400 team crossed at 49.30 and 4:05.85, respectively. Dobbins also earned five points with a fourth-place finish in the heptathlon that took place a week prior to the conference meet.

“It was just a really great meet,” Dobbins said. “The entire team stepped up and competed. We scored [about] 20 points more than we were expecting to score.”

Dobbins is seeded ninth in the overall Division III national rankings for the high jump. The top 22 women for each event will advance to nationals.

Freshman Kerry Wright took her first conference title at Willamette. Wright threw 148-9 1/4 in the javelin to earn first place.

“It feels really cool,” Wright said. “My teammate came out and PR’d before me so that encouraged me and it was a lot of fun.”

Junior Cassidy Stevick followed Wright for third place throwing 134-4 3/4 in the event. Wright was very pleased with the overall performance of her team.

“Everyone performed above what we thought we could do,” Wright said. “Everyone stepped up and pulled it together. They gave it their all and performed very well.”

Wright remains the No. 1 thrower in the Division III national rankings.

Freshman Kierstie Shellman cleared 12-2 for a first place finish in the pole vault. She is now ranked seventh in the Division III national rankings.

Sophomore Christina Anderson took second in the 10,000 meter run crossing at 38:21.10. Freshman Dakota Kliamovich grabbed a second place medal in the hammer with a throw of 165-3 3/4. Freshman Courtney Fairhart took home bronze in the women’s discus with a distance of 136-0 1/4. Sophomore Rachel Palmquist took third in the triple jump with a mark of 36-11 1/2.

The women who rank in the top 22 in their respective events will continue their next competition at Spokane Falls Community College for the Sasquatch Thrower/Distance Carnivals May 8 starting at 3 p.m.

Tiara Pajimola

Staff Writer

Contact Tiara Pajimola at tpajimola16@my.whitworth.edu

Pirate men capture team track and field title

The men’s track and field team won its fourth straight Northwest Conference title last week at Willamette with 287 points. Senior Carter Comito was named Northwest Conference Field Athlete of the meet for the second year in a row while head track and field coach Toby Schwarz was honored Northwest Conference Coach of the Year for the seventh time.

Comito came away with gold in the shot put and discus.

“It feels great,” Comito said. “It’s pretty crazy that my class went through our whole career winning the conference title each year. It was an awesome meet.”

Comito broke his own school record again in the shot put throwing 59-2 for first place. He moved back into second place in the Division III rankings for the event while he remains the No. 1 competitor in the discus with a comfortable lead of almost 20 feet.

“I’m a little better at discus and I have more fun with it,” Comito said. “My focus now is to switch things up in my weight training and start being more explosive.”

Comito was part of a three-man sweep in the discus along with junior Sam Wright (149-4 3/4) and freshman Corey Burt (148-3) taking second and third, respectively. Burt also took third in the shot put throwing 50-5 1/4.

Senior Chibron Tomeo earned his second consecutive conference title in the pole vault clearing 16-1 3/4. The mark moved him up to third in the national rankings and broke the school record in the event.

“We did very well as a team,” Tomeo said. “We beat everyone by a large margin and the team supported everybody very well.”

Sophomore Joseph Green followed Tomeo with second place clearing 15-0 1/4 in the event.

The Bucs were well-represented in the javelin throw where six out of the top eight competitors were Bucs. Junior Joseph Ingham won the event (212-9) followed by sophomore Chase Wright (204-9) and freshman Tyler Coopman (203-2 3/4) taking second and third, respectively. Ingham is positioned at the fifth best javelin thrower in the Division III national rankings.

Freshman Nick Gosselin claimed his first conference title in the 400-meter dash crossing at 49.59. Junior Tyler Guinn won the long jump with a mark of 23-2 1/2 while junior Casey Monahan took first in the 110-meter hurdles crossing at 14.94. Junior Keegan Shea won the hammer throw with a distance of 191-11 which ties him at eighth place in the Division III national rankings.

Senior Frank Lima set a personal record to win the high jump clearing 6-9 1/2 for his third consecutive conference title.

Sophomores Matthew Edwards and Trent Dudley took first and third in the 3,000 meter steeplechase with times of 9:36.62 and 9:42.78, respectively.

Junior Will Wren took home silver in the 800-meter crossing at 1:56.18. Sophomore Matthew Landon took bronze in both the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.06 and 200-meter dash with a time of 22.54. Freshman Nathan Stenson took third in the triple jump with a mark of 44-3 1/4. The men’s 4x400 team crossed in time for gold at 3:20.35 while the 4x100 team got silver with a time of 42.54.

The men will continue competition at Spokane Falls Community College May 8 in the Sasquatch Thrower/Distance Carnival starting at 3 p.m.

Tiara Pajimola

Staff Writer

Contact Tiara Pajimola at tpajimola16@my.whitworth.edu

Whitworth earns series win over Whitman

Nearing the end of the season, the Whitworth baseball team played last weekend in Walla Walla, Wash., beating Whitman twice Saturday before losing Sunday.

Whitman opened up the scoring in game one with a run in the bottom of the first inning and again another two runs in the bottom of the third to build a 3-0 lead.

“In game one we gave up an early lead, but it didn't affect our composure or drive from an offensive standpoint,” head coach Dan Ramsay said. “Our guys just kept playing regardless of what the scoreboard said.”

Whitworth put up their first run in the top of the fifth when junior designated hitter Danny Jordan homered to left field.

“Danny Jordan had a really good day and he was DH [designated hitter] both games,” sophomore pitcher Dan Scheibe said. “He hit a homerun in the first game and that got us [the team] pretty pumped up.

Scheibe threw a complete game for the Bucs on Saturday, had 10 strikeouts and now has a 4-3 record for the season.

“Dan Scheibe had a great performance on the mound during game one,” Ramsay said.  “Once he settled in, they couldn't touch him.”

In the top of the fourth inning Whitworth scored an unearned run and freshman second baseman Jeremy Druffel, freshman right fielder Blake Thoren and Jordan each tallied one RBI. The Bucs in total put up four runs for the inning and led 5-3 in the top of the fourth.

“I think that when we got down we didn’t freak out, and we trusted ourselves and the plan and we had the ability to score runs when needed,” sophomore catcher Josh Davis said. “ We were pretty calm throughout the game and we had a great time, had fun and played for each other.”

The Pirates scored their last three runs in the top of the ninth inning and claimed an 8-3 win in the first game.

Both teams scored a run in game two in the first inning, and again Jordan put up the first run for the Bucs with a RBI single to right field.

The Bucs rose to the occasion in the top of the second inning though after an unearned run and a triple by Druffel down the right field line for three RBIs and a 5-3 lead. Druffel has a season batting average of .349.

“Jeremy Druffel had a bases clearing triple in the second game that really kept the momentum in our favor,” Ramsay said.

And the momentum only increased from there as the Bucs scored six more runs just halfway through the game in the top of the fifth. Both Druffel and freshman center fielder Jordan Pearson each chalked up two RBIs scoring four of their six runs that inning. The Bucs led 12-3 in the fifth inning.

“We were really hitting the ball well today and when we’re putting up a lot of runs it’s a lot easier for everything to work together,” Scheibe said.

Whitman wasn’t able to get another score on the board until the bottom of the eighth inning when they scored five runs, but weren’t able to make up the deficit. Whitworth swept Whitman on Saturday and won game two 13-9.

“I feel like this is the first time of the year that we’ve played our potential,” Davis said. “I feel like we’ve come together as a team and are looking forward to what we can produce next year.”

Sunday was a different ballgame for the Bucs as they didn’t get any hits until the top of the third inning. Whitman took off in the bottom of the second inning after scoring six runs and leading 6-0.

Whitman didn’t score again until the bottom of the fifth inning when they put up two more runs, but Whitworth was left empty handed still unable to get any runs on the board.

Sophomore pitcher Carson Blumenthal pitch three innings for the Pirates and had four strikeouts. Whitworth had another three pitchers for the game, junior Taylor Isadore, sophomore Spencer Ansett and junior Jason Renner who each had one strikeout.

The Bucs were shutout on Sunday afternoon, and lost to Whitman 9-0.

The baseball team will be playing their last games of the season in Lewiston, Idaho against Linfield, Pacific Lutheran and Lewis-Clark State May 4 and 5.

Sasha Siclait

Staff Writer

Contact Sasha Siclait at ssiclait16@my.whitworth.edu

Cathey named new men's soccer coach

Morgan Cathey was named the new Whitworth men’s soccer head coach last week according to a Whitworth athletic website press release. Former head coach Sean Bushéy resigned after 17 seasons with the program. Cathey will begin his duties on July 1 while Bushey will continue through the Pirates’ spring training.

Cathey is an Azusa Pacific University graduate from 2006, where he earned all-conference honors in his four years as APU’s starting goalkeeper. Cathey went on to a professional career in South Africa, spending four seasons.

The Whitworth men’s soccer program won eight of the last 12 NWC titles under Bushey. Cathey will be taking over a Pirate team that will lose just one starter to graduation, senior goalkeeper Kyle Novak. Whitworth will return four NWC First-Team players from last year, as well as six other NWC honorees in the coming 2013 fall season.

Korey Hope

Staff Writer

Contact Korey Hope at khope16@my.whitworth.edu

Whitworth baseball bounces back in Sunday win

The Whitworth baseball team put another three games in the bag last weekend coming out with two losses on Saturday and a high-scoring win on Sunday.

Sunday afternoon the Bucs put two runs on the board right away in the bottom of the first inning. Willamette came back in the top of the second inning with two runs and putting them to hold a one-run lead.

Neither team was able to chalk up another run until the bottom of the sixth inning when Whitworth put up one run after junior left fielder Tyler Pfeffer scored on a throwing error by Willamette,  tying the game 3-3.

“I thought there some definite positive take always from this weekend,” head coach Dan Ramsay said. “We played great defensively both Saturday and Sunday. We just failed to cash in with runners in scoring position multiple times on Saturday.”

Sophomore Dan Scheibe pitch seven innings for the Bucs in game one and had six strikeouts. Sophomore Spencer Ansett took the mound for the final two innings.

In the top of the ninth Willamette claimed a two-run lead with two RBIs and won the game 5-3 Saturday afternoon.

“We have been a very inconsistent team this entire season and it's mostly due to the fact that we never found our rhythm as a team,” sophomore center fielder Eric Nikssarian said. “Something we have been consistent at is our defense though.”

Game two on Saturday went for ten innings and Willamette was off to a good start right away scoring two in the top of the first. Again, Willamette scored another run in the top of the third and leading the game 3-0.

“I'm not satisfied[with the teams performance], my expectation for this group was much higher, so it's clear that this season has been a disappointment,” Ramsay said. “However, I'm confident moving forward that we will grow from our experience this season.”

In the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings the Bucs responded with two more runs, but it they were still trailed by two.

The Pirates were able to tie up the game in the bottom of the ninth forcing the game into extra innings. In the bottom of the tenth Willamette dropped three RBIs and lead by three winning the game 9-6.

“We challenged the guys on Saturday following our games to treat the rest of our games as a 7-game season,” Ramsay said. “They responded well on Sunday with the win, hopefully we can continue with that play.”

Sunday afternoon sophomore Carson Blumenthal started on the mound and threw a complete game for the Pirates. In pitching the shutout, Blumenthal earned his fourth win of the year.

“We got a fantastic pitching performance from Carson Blumenthal who was great with two strikes, minimized walks, and came up with clutch outs in big time situations to get the complete game shutout,” Nikssarian said.

Willamette used five different pitchers on Sunday in a high-scoring game.

Whitworth scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning and three of those were RBIs by freshman right fielder Blake Thoren after he doubled out to left field.

“After seeing sporadic time throughout the year, Blake Thoren played extremely well in all three of his starts this weekend both offensively and defensively,” Ramsay said.

Whitworth put up another two runs in the bottom of the second inning and continued scoring runs in every inning preceding the end of the game. Freshman third baseman Jeremy Druffel and junior second baseman each had three RBIs for the Pirates as well.

“On Saturday our offense didn't do as well as we would have liked, but today[Sunday] we fired on all cylinders and we scored more runs consistently than we have all year,” Blumenthal said.

Whitworth executed on Sunday, keeping Willamette scoreless and won the game 15-0, Whitworth’s highest scoring game of the year.

Whitworth will be playing its next three games in Walla Walla, Wash. against Whitman on April 27 and 28.

“Today [Sunday] we really found what it feels like to win again,” Blumenthal said. “I think the feeling that it brought will inspire guys to work harder than they have all year, even harder than we already do.”

Sasha Siclait

Staff Writer

Contact Sasha Siclait at ssiclait16@my.whitworth.edu

Whitworth men qualify additional athletes for conference championships

Whitworth qualified seventeen more men’s athletes for the Northwest Conference Championships after last Thursday’s second annual Twilight Meet. Among the qualified are five individuals who made their way up into the Division III national rankings.

Senior Chilbron Tomeo and sophomore Joseph Green both qualified in the pole vault clearing 15-11 1/4 and 15-5 1/2, respectively. Their performance moved them to first and second in the Northwest Conference and No. 7 and No. 14 nationally. Green also qualified for conference in the high jump clearing 5-9 3/4. Junior Jeff Krieger also qualified in the pole vault clearing 14-5 1/2 and moved up to fourth in the conference standings.

Junior Sam Wright qualified in the hammer throw with a distance of 182-8, moving him into the No. 14 position nationally. Senior Frank Lima and freshman Nate Stenson both cleared 6-8 3/4 in the high jump making them tied for first in the conference and No. 10 in the nation.

Junior Jonathan Hoff advanced in the long jump with a distance of 22-10 and now leads the conference.

Hoff was confident about Whitworth coming away with the conference title for the fourth consecutive year.

“We are hoping to score 340 points as a team,” Hoff said. “I definitely think we are capable of winning and we have a chance if we just perform our abilities.”

Forty-nine of the 54 men on the team have advanced in time for conference. Head track and field coach Toby Schwarz was excited about the large amount of last-minute qualifiers.

“We had a great meet; better than expected,” Schwarz said. “We were trying to get some athletes qualified for the Northwest Conference meet that weren't qualified and we ended up getting almost everyone qualified, with some surprises.”

The Bucs will now prepare to make the trip to Salem Ore., where Willamette University will host the Northwest Conference Meet starting Friday April 26 at 2:00 p.m.

Multi-Event recap:

Junior Peter Delap was the only one to make the trip to Parkland, Wash. for the Northwest Conference Multi-Event Championships. Delap placed third after all 10 events in the decathlon with a score of 5,949 points. He scored six points for the Bucs’ team score in the Northwest Conference Championships this Friday and Saturday, April 26-27.

Tiara Pajimola

Staff Writer

Contact Tiara Pajimola at tpajimola16@my.whitworth.edu

Women's track qualifies five more athletes for conference

The women’s track and field team qualified eight more competitors for the Northwest Conference Championships at last Thursday’s second annual Twilight Meet at the Pine Bowl. The meet was the last chance to advance to conference and among the last-minute qualifiers were five freshmen and three sophomores.

Freshman Dakota Kliamovich qualified in the hammer throw with a distance of 158-11, moving her into the second spot in the Northwest Conference standings. Freshman Mary Data qualified in the shot put throwing 39-10, and moving her up to third in the conference rankings.

Data was overwhelmed with this kind of accomplishment as a freshman.

“It was really just an amazing feeling,” Data said. “I was kind of struggling earlier this season so it felt good to finally PR.”

Data has been stuck under 40 feet for her personal best in the shot put for the past couple of years and has set her standards high for conference.

“I’ve been trying to break 40 feet for a while and now I am only a couple of inches away from that,” Data said. “My ultimate goal is to win conference.”

As far as the capability of the women’s team to come away with the conference title, Data has no doubt.

“Absolutely,” Data said.“We have such a great team this year [not just] athletically but also we’re always there for each other and we just have this family. We really want to win the conference title.”

Their dry streak in conference titles proves to be encouraging for Data.

“It’s been awhile since the girls won so I think we just need to put everything forward so we can do our best and not have any regrets when the day is done. We’re excited to compete.”

Freshman Kelsey Mix qualified in the 100-meter dash running a time of 13.35 while sophomore Stephanie Barrong qualified in the 200-meter dash running a time of 27.00. Freshman Cassiana Busch qualified in the 400-meter race with a time of 1:01.28 and sophomore Kate Jones qualified in the 400-meter hurdles crossing in just over one minute, 12 seconds.

Sophomore Meghan Holzer cleared 4-11 to qualify in the high jump while freshman Chandler Mason qualified in the discus throwing 111-1.

During the season 31 of the 39 Whitworth women have advanced to the Northwest Conference Championships. Head track and field coach Toby Schwarz was pleased with the performances.

“For the last meet before the Northwest Conference meet, it was a huge success,” Schwarz said. “Now we train and heal up and get mentally and physically prepared for the Northwest Conference meet.”

The women will travel to Salem Ore. for the Northwest Conference Championships starting on Friday April 26 at 2 p.m.

The women’s track and field team qualified eight more competitors for the Northwest Conference Championships at last Thursday’s second annual Twilight Meet at the Pine Bowl. The meet was the last chance to advance to conference and among the last-minute qualifiers were five freshmen and three sophomores.

Freshman Dakota Kliamovich qualified in the hammer throw with a distance of 158-11, moving her into the second spot in the Northwest Conference standings. Freshman Mary Data qualified in the shot put throwing 39-10, and moving her up to third in the conference rankings.

Data was overwhelmed with this kind of accomplishment as a freshman.

“It was really just an amazing feeling,” Data said. “I was kind of struggling earlier this season so it felt good to finally PR.”

Data has been stuck under 40 feet for her personal best in the shot put for the past couple of years and has set her standards high for conference.

“I’ve been trying to break 40 feet for a while and now I am only a couple of inches away from that,” Data said. “My ultimate goal is to win conference.”

As far as the capability of the women’s team to come away with the conference title, Data has no doubt.

“Absolutely,” Data said.“We have such a great team this year [not just] athletically but also we’re always there for each other and we just have this family. We really want to win the conference title.”

Their dry streak in conference titles proves to be encouraging for Data.

“It’s been awhile since the girls won so I think we just need to put everything forward so we can do our best and not have any regrets when the day is done. We’re excited to compete.”

Freshman Kelsey Mix qualified in the 100-meter dash running a time of 13.35 while sophomore Stephanie Barrong qualified in the 200-meter dash running a time of 27.00. Freshman Cassiana Busch qualified in the 400-meter race with a time of 1:01.28 and sophomore Kate Jones qualified in the 400-meter hurdles crossing in just over one minute, 12 seconds.

Sophomore Meghan Holzer cleared 4-11 to qualify in the high jump while freshman Chandler Mason qualified in the discus throwing 111-1.

During the season 31 of the 39 Whitworth women have advanced to the Northwest Conference Championships. Head track and field coach Toby Schwarz was pleased with the performances.

“For the last meet before the Northwest Conference meet, it was a huge success,” Schwarz said. “Now we train and heal up and get mentally and physically prepared for the Northwest Conference meet.”

The women will travel to Salem Ore. for the Northwest Conference Championships starting on Friday April 26 at 2 p.m.

Multi-Event recap:

Sophomore Christina Dobbins and sophomore Emily Moore were the only two women to travel last week to Parkland, Wash. to compete in the Northwest Conference Multi-Event Championships. Dobbins took fourth after all seven events in the heptathlon with 4,184 points while Moore took seventh with 3,637 points. Their combined places will score a total of seven points towards the Whitworth women’s team score at the Northwest Conference Championships on April 26 and 27.

Tiara Pajimola

Staff Writer

Contact Tiara Pajimola at tpajimola16@my.whitworth.edu

Spotted from the crow's nest: Dustin and KC McConnell

“Determination” is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired end.” In the case of brother-sister duo, Dustin and KC McConnell, women’s basketball coach Helen Higgs and men’s tennis coach Mike Shanks, as well as teammate Drew Adams, said the McConnells are the living definition of determination and work ethic. Dustin, a junior, is a starter on the men’s basketball team and was named First Team All-Northwest Conference. Dustin plays tennis at No. 5 singles.

KC, a freshman this year, made a name for herself by playing in all 28 basketball games last season, as well as playing No. 3 doubles and No. 6 singles for tennis. KC earned honorable mention for the All-NWC team after this basketball season.

Dustin and KC grew up in Clarkston, Wash., and have been playing sports for as long as they can remember. The McConnells’ parents are physical education teachers in Clarkston. Sports became a central activity around which many family outings revolved, Dustin said.

Greg Moser | Photographer Freshman KC McConnell is a member of the Whitworth women's basketball and women's tennis teams.

“We used to go hit as a family so I’ve had a racket in my hand for quite a while,” KC said. “We’ve always done a million sports; basketball and tennis just kind of stuck.”

When KC began looking at various universities, ultimately her decision was made independently of Dustin, he said.

“I wasn’t going to try to influence her one way or the other,” Dustin said. “I knew how I felt about Whitworth and felt like it would’ve been a great fit for her as well. I wanted it to be her decision.”

The challenge of balancing two collegiate sports is inevitable, but the way the two sports complement each other provides knowledge and skills beyond what one game can teach, both McConnells said.

“Basketball is such a team-oriented sport,” Dustin said. “Tennis has a little more of an individual aspect. I kind of like that, how they complement each other and can help you in both situations.”

Playing two sports keeps things interesting and varied, KC said.

While both McConnells have been successful in basketball and tennis this year, they said there is no competition between them. The siblings are simply proud of each other’s accomplishments, they said.

“She’s done an unbelievable job,” Dustin said. “I think it just has to do with her unbelievable work ethic. She is definitely very deserving of all the success she’s had and I think she’ll continue to do very well.”

Greg Moser | Photographer Junior Dustin McConnell is a member of the Whitworth men's basketball and men's tennis teams.

The good example that Dustin has always set for KC challenges her to get better and better, she said.

“It doesn’t really surprise me that he’s done that well because I see how hard he works,” KC said. “He deserves every bit of it. I’ve never seen somebody work that hard.”

The work ethic that Dustin and KC spoke of about each other was echoed and expanded upon by coaches as well as a teammate and friend. Since coaches are unable to officially orchestrate conditioning workouts, KC has taken it upon herself to make them happen, women’s head basketball coach Helen Higgs said.

“She’s a leader,” Higgs said. “They call her ‘Captain Conditioning’. She’s very focused, very driven.”

Although the extended basketball season interfered with the tennis season and took away from Dustin’s time on the team, his work ethic quickly became obvious, Shanks said.

“He beats some of the guys that have been playing longer just because of his determination,” Shanks said. “His speed around the court and his good determination is what makes [his opponents] press harder than they normally would and then make mistakes.”

Drew Adams, a freshman who also plays both basketball and tennis, grew up in Clarkston and has known the McConnells since birth, he said.

“[The McConnells] are always working,” Adams said. “They’re both really humble; they don’t try to bring themselves any attention which is really cool for how good of athletes they are.”

While both sports’ seasons have come to an end, the McConnells will spend the off-season staying in shape and preparing for next year’s seasons.

Miranda Cloyd

Staff Writer

Contact Miranda Cloyd at mcloyd16@my.whitworth.edu

Pioneers eliminate Whitworth in tennis playoffs

Lewis & Clark College ended the Whitworth women’s tennis team’s season last Friday when the Pirates traveled to Walla Walla, Wash., for the Northwest Conference Tournament. The Pioneers knocked the Pirates out of the single-elimination bracket in a 5-2 defeat. The match began under difficult circumstances. Senior Jessi Steele had a test for a nursing program that morning that could not be rescheduled, she said. The test was taken three hours away from the match, so head coach Jo Ann Wagstaff requested that LCC’s coach agree to push the match back by one hour. He refused, Steele said.

The timing was close, and Steele did not make it in time. Having never played together before, sophomore Caylee Lamm and freshman KC McConnell were placed together at No. 3 doubles, Lamm in place of Steele.

“I felt [Lamm] would do great; I wasn’t worried about that,” Steele said. “I was upset that it was likely my last college match and I wasn’t going to be there.”

In the end, the match concluded in an 8-4 defeat. Despite the defeat, the pair was pleased with the way they played, Lamm said. Lamm was able to catch her opponents off-guard with high lobs while McConnell used her diverse strategies to keep the other team running, Lamm said.

“Once KC and I figured out our game, we were pretty competitive,” Lamm said. “We are both base-liners, so we started both of us back and kept the ball deep. It worked well and threw off their game a little.”

Freshman Taylor Pena and sophomore Saryn Mooney claimed an 8-4 win over their opponents at No. 1 doubles. The two found success in patience and taking advantage of their respective strengths, Pena said.

“Saryn plays better at the baseline and I play better at the net,” Pena said. “That dynamic works really well.”

The doubles matches concluded with the Pirates up 2-1 over the Pioneers. As conference tournaments are played first to five points instead of the usual nine, the Pirates needed to win three singles in order to clinch the win.

“We felt really, really good,” Wagstaff said. “[LCC] swept us in doubles last time, so we were very excited.”

In spite of the momentum brought by doubles, LCC swept singles, winning the first four singles matches in two sets each. Because that brought LCC to five points, No.5 and No. 6 singles did not get to complete their matches.

Pena, who played at No. 3 singles, was defeated 6-2, 6-2. Pena was challenged by the very long rallies in the match, she said.

“I just knew that I had to go for a lot, otherwise she’d put it away,” Pena said. “I’m working on being more precise and hitting with more power.”

Steele, at No. 2 singles, concluded her tennis career with a loss of 6-2, 6-1. Steele’s opponent had very powerful shots that Steele could only try to be defensive against, she said.

“I tried different styles of game and she would just hit winners on me,” Steele said. “She was hitting everything on fire. There was nothing I could really do to be much better.”

For seniors Steele, Megan Wingfield and Annika Westre, this marks the end of their tennis careers at Whitworth.

“I was really blessed with this opportunity to have these past two years playing for Whitworth,” Steele said. “I will continue supporting and coming to matches in future years.”

The Pirates end their season having scored the third highest number of points in the Northwest Conference this year. Their standing of 7-5 placed them in fifth for the season.

Miranda Cloyd

Staff Writer

Contact Miranda Cloyd at mcloyd16@my.whitworth.edu

Lutes end Bucs’ season in NWC playoffs

Pacific Lutheran avenges first loss to Bucs with Sunday elimination game

 

The Whitworth softball team took  third place in the Northwest Conference at the playoff tournament last weekend in McMinnville, Ore. The Bucs end the season with a 23-20 record overall and a 17-14 mark in the NWC.

The Pirates went 1-2 in the double elimination tournament last weekend, beating Pacific Lutheran in their first game on Saturday before losing to seventh-ranked Linfield and getting knocked out of the tournament by PLU  Sunday morning.

The Bucs came out strong against the Lutes (18-10 NWC) in their first game of the weekend, putting up four runs in the top of the first. They led 6-1 heading into the fourth, and junior first baseman Julia Johnson hit a three-run homer as part of another four-run inning. The Pirates won the game with an 11-2 victory in five innings. Sophomore pitcher Riley Fritz pitched all five innings and gave up seven hits with just one earned run.

“We were thrilled to start out that way,” senior designated hitter Jamie Brunner said. “But we tried not to get too amped up after big wins, just like we don’t want to get down after losses. It’s important to stay even-keeled, especially in a playoff tournament.”

Whitworth played a second game Saturday, this time against seventh-ranked host school Linfield. The Pirates gave up a six-run second inning and a six-run fourth inning, and only registered two hits in the game against Linfield junior pitcher Shelby VanderBergh. Linfield senior third baseman Karleigh Prestianni went 3-3 with four RBI’s and two runs scored for the Wildcats. The RBI’s put her conference-leading total up to 57 on the season.

Beth Crabtree | Photographer Junior Makenzie Hope runs toward third base as Willamette relays the ball back to the infield in a two-game series on April 16 at Marks Field.

PLU beat Pacific in Saturday’s elimination game, so they faced-off against the Pirates again on Sunday for a chance to play Linfield for the NWC Tournament title.

The Pirates took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the third, when the Lutes followed with seven runs, including a grand slam from junior shortstop Lindsey Matsunaga. PLU scattered two runs over the next three innings to bring their lead to 9-3. Brunner collected her 54th hit and drove in her 48th RBI of the season in her final at-bat, raising her career hit total to 168, a Whitworth school record.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better way to go out,” Brunner said. “It was an honor and a blessing to play with this team. We are like sisters and a family and that’s something we get to keep forever.”

Brunner and fellow senior Heather Hesselgesser combined to break five school batting records including hits (Brunner, 168), runs scored (Brunner, 121), RBI’s (Hesselgesser, 119), doubles (Brunner, 41) and walks (Brunner, 65). Brunner also committed only 5 errors in 143 career games with 336 putouts. The Pirates will lose four seniors to graduation this year: Brunner, Hesselgesser, Jessica Ross and Natalie Evers.

“Our seniors were unbelievable this year,” junior right fielder Makenzie Hope said. “They all set a certain tone and example that everyone else followed. We are going to miss the leadership and humor from all four of them next year, without a doubt.”

Korey Hope

Staff Writer

Contact Korey Hope at khope16@my.whitworth.edu

Conference golf season culminates in Oregon

Pirate men punch team ticket to the Division III National Championships

 

Men’s Golf

 

The men’s golf team competed this weekend in Woodburn, Ore., at the NWC Championship taking the conference title and will advance to compete  in the national tournament.

After day one of the tournament, Whitworth came in second with a score of 297, behind Linfield’s 295. This is a solid ranking season for Whitworth as they are now ranked No. 21 nationally in NCAA Division III.

“The course had a lot of holes in the grain, but overall we all played really well,” junior Stephen Plopper said. “We put ourselves in good position and we all played at a consistent pace.”

Plopper was Whitworth’s leading scorer for day one with a 72 and even par. He was in a four way tie for the second place player amongst all of the nine teams in the tournament. Plopper averages a 77.3 and five over par for the season.

Freshman Lyle Rudnicki was Whitworth’s second leading scorer on day one with a 74 and plus two over par and senior Joey DeGroff said Rudnicki’s short game was “unreal.”

In second place and only two shots back after day one, the men’s golf team set themselves up in a good position for round two of the two-day tournament.

“Going into the first round we wanted to put up solid scores to put ourselves in the running, take some pressure off us in the next round to just follow,” freshman Oliver Rudnicki said.

Sunday, the men’s golf team beat Linfield out for the first place spot by five with a total score of 593.

Lyle Rudnicki was Whitworth’s leading scorer for day two and had a total of 74 and four over par.

“I think we came out on fire and did what we needed to do,” DeGroff said. “We played our game and didn’t concentrate on how other teams were doing. We just focused on things that we could control.”

Overall, multiple players said the team met their goal of winning conference and making it to nationals. Whitworth has an average score of 76.41 and is ranked No. 13 for Division III schools on golfstat.com.

Five of the 12 players who made first and second team all league are from Whitworth. Junior Jesse Salzwedel and Lyle Rudnicki both made First Team All- NWC and DeGroff, Plopper and Oliver Rudnicki made Second Team All-NWC.

“The team played very consistent and we got contributions from all five players,” head coach Warren Friedrichs said. “It was really a just a team conference win.”

Whitworth will be going to Destin, Fla., to compete in the National Championships for NCAA Division III May 14-17.

“We had a great season, a lot of fun and a hard working team and they deserved it,” Friedrichs said.

 

Women’s Golf

 

The Whitworth Women’s golf team took third at the Northwest Conference Championships at OGA Golf Course in Woodburn, Ore., last weekend. While third is not high enough to advance into the national tournament as a team, three Pirates came home with top 10 finishes in the 38-golfer field.

Senior Emily Guthrie shot a seven-over par 79 on day one and a nine-over par 81 on day two to finish second overall. She finished behind George Fox senior Kelsey Morrison, who carded rounds of 75 and 77 for an eight-over par weekend.

Juliana Zajicek | File Photo Freshman Yvonne LaCoursiere follows through on her shot during the fall season at the Whitworth Invitational Sept. 30.

It was Guthrie’s last conference-play round of her career, but may not be her last round in general. Guthrie could receive a invitation to compete in the national tournament as an individual with her performance this season. She finished 12th at the weather-shortened NWC Spring Classic, which was her worst showing of the season. Guthrie finished no worse than fourth place in any other match on the year.

Freshman Chelsea Bayley was the next highest finisher for the Pirates, coming home in seventh place overall. After a 15-over par 87 on day one, Bayley finished with a much lower five-over par 77 on Sunday. The freshman’s top 10 finish was her third of the year, after finishing ninth at the Ohana Classic in Hawaii and taking first overall at the NWC Spring Classic earlier this month.

Sophomore Nicole Lomax was the third top 10 finisher for the Bucs, coming in just behind Bayley, tying for eighth place. Lomax played only one match before the NWC Championships, according to the Whitworth athletics website. It was the dual meet against Community Colleges of Spokane on April 13th, when she shot a 12-over par in the one-round match. Lomax showed no sign of inexperience last weekend, starting off Saturday with an eight-over par 80 and finishing the tournament with a 13-over round of 85.

Freshman Yvonne LaCoursiere was the fourth and final Whitworth golfer, coming home tied for 26th and carding rounds of 89 and 95. This was slightly uncharacteristic of LaCoursiere; both rounds exceeded her average round mark on the year.

Bayley and LaCoursiere both golfed in 10 matches this year, which led the squad. And with Guthrie the only senior on the team (Emily Travis has junior eligibility), the Whitworth women’s golf team will return next season with more experience and few new faces.

Check whitworthpirates.com in the coming weeks for updates on Emily Guthrie’s national tournament fate.

Sasha Siclait and Korey Hope

Staff Writers

Contact Sasha Siclait or Korey Hope at

ssiclait16@my.whitworth.edu

khope16@my.whitworth.edu

Women's track places tenth at Spokane Falls

The Whitworth women’s track and field team finished tenth with 43.2 points among the 15 teams who competed at World War #5 at Spokane Falls Community College last Saturday.

Freshman Kellyn Roiko finished third in the 3,000 meter steeplechase with a time of 11:44.35.

The 4x400 relay team consisting of freshman Joanna Hope, freshman Savanna Atherton, sophomore Kate Jones, and sophomore Meghan Holzer took fourth place crossing with a time of 4:30.59.

In the women’s hammer throw, senior Rebekah Daniels placed fourth throwing 48-31 meters followed by freshman Dakota Klimovich taking fifth with a throw of 48-3 meters.

Sophomore Christina Anderson took second in the 1,000 meter run crossing with a time of 37:48.58 while freshman Kerry Wright took second in the javelin with a throw of 42-39 meters.

“I threw well,” Wright said. “I got a good consistent mark so I was happy with that. Of course, I want that big throw but it will come.”

The weather Saturday posed a problem and had an impact on performance, Wright said.

“It was super windy,” Wright said. “It was blowing constantly for the whole morning.”

The weather may have played a factor in the performances but Wright believes there are other things the women can work on as a team.

“I think we need to come out and be more aggressive. We need to have the confidence that we can beat any of our competitors,” Wright said. “We need to trust the training that we have put in so when it comes to time to compete we can to focus on the task at hand. People are stepping up their game and I think come conference we’ll be ready.”

Head track and field coach Toby Schwarz echoed Wright’s comments about weather.

“It was not good conditions for track,” Schwarz. “It was windy all day and cold and it was a big meet so it was a long day. We got behind schedule on the track so it was just a lot of negatives. With that being said a lot of people performed well.”

The Northwest Conference Championships are two weeks away and Schwarz said the women are where they need to be.

“We just need to come in healthy,” Schwarz said. “ We need to keep improving and keep gaining confidence.”

The Bucs will next compete at the Whitworth Twilight Meet on Thursday, April 18 at the Pine Bowl starting at 2 p.m.

Tiara Pajimola
Staff Writer Contact Tiara Pajimola at tpajimola16@my.whitworth.edu