Jenny Adams: The lone freshman

Being the only freshman on a collegiate sports team is never an easy task, and Jennifer (Jenny) Adams had her share of troubles, but with the help of her coach and teammates, she was ultimately able to have a successful season on and off the tennis court. “Jenny was a great addition to the team this year. She had a great first season and I expect she will only get better and better each season,” Coach Rachel Aldridge said. “It can be tough as a freshman not knowing anyone, but Jenny has really become part of the team and our little tennis family.”

The Whitworth women’s tennis team had an unexpected start to the season, as Jo Wagstaff, the person who recruited Adams, decided to retire after being the head coach of the program for 30 years. This came as a shock to the players, who were not expecting Wagstaff to retire in December before the spring season.

Aldridge, a former Whitworth tennis player and assistant coach, was soon named the new head coach of the program. This coaching change left a lot of doubt in the mind of Adams, who had not even started her first season before the coach who had confidence in her decided to retire.

“I was definitely frustrated because the offseason was really poor in communication and teamwork,” Adams said. “Having both our main coach and one of our assistant coaches retire made me feel uncertain of why I even came here originally. However, our assistant coach Rachel took over and it turned out to be a great season with great coaching.”

In the end, Jenny enjoyed having Rachel as a coach and had a phenomenal freshman season- starting almost every match she was healthy in at singles and doubles. Adams would typically start at the No. 4 spot in singles, and usually play in the No. 1 doubles match partnered with junior Taylor Peña.

Adams is currently a nursing major, who chose Whitworth not only for it’s good tennis program, but also for the strong academics. She is originally from Renton, Washington, and is happy her parents are not too far away when she needs some support dealing with tennis issues or her busy academic and social life off the court.

“Several people helped me adjust to Whitworth. My parents were great when I felt nervous about my tennis game or school, and everyone on the team was supportive of me,” Adams said. “Coach Rachel sat me down several times to refocus, and it has been helpful.”

Jenny’s success on and off the court as a freshman not only came with the help of her parents and coach, but also came from her “amazing” teammates. Jenny went through some difficulties during the season, from adjusting to the new coach, dealing with “nerves” during matches and even suffering an injury near the end of the season.

In addition, according to Adams, her teammates really stepped up and made this season a good experience for her- which showed in her achievement on the court and in the classroom. Peña, Adams’ doubles partner, was someone Adams found influential.

“I loved playing doubles with Jenny because we moved well on the court together and our game styles (my consistency and her volleys) complemented each other really well,” Peña said. “Jenny has such a welcoming and hardworking spirit. I was able to help her with encouraging her as my teammate and calling out strategies, like where/how we should serve or return.”

Senior Saryn Mooney was also a player Adams said really welcomed her as a freshman and had a positive influence on her first year. Mooney only got to play alongside Adams for one year, but she has a few memories about her that she says will be hard to forget.

“Each girl is assigned an animal their freshman year over spring break and has to wear a special shirt during the warm ups for a match,” Mooney said. “The shirt is quite embarrassing, but Jenny was a champ about it. It was rough for her to do by herself, but she was willing to laugh.”

Adams’ season was cut short with a couple weeks to go due to an injury to her rib area. Even though Adams was not able to help her team win the Northwest Conference Tournament, she is optimistic about her next three years as a Buc.

“After spring break I injured my serratus anterior and intercostal muscles on my side. Mentally, I feel a lot better, but ending my year with injury was not what I would have wanted. However, I am excited for next year and ready to start fresh again.”

  Kyle Cacoyannis

Staff Writer

Coach of the Year: Cristal Brown

Head coach Cristal Brown led the Whitworth softball team to their first conference title in the history of the program in the 2015 season. The fifth head coach to take charge of the team, Brown took up the role in 2011 and has led the team to improvements every season since. Brown’s previous softball experience includes lead-off batting in high school and college, becoming the Western State Junior College Player of the year in 1998. From 2008 to 2011, she was the head coach at the Kingsburg High School in California. She held an impressive 101-29 record over her four seasons of coaching. The team won four Central Sequoia League Championships, a Central Section crown in 2008 and were the Central Section runners-up in 2009. She was a Central Sequoia League Coach of the year honoree three times. She was also assistant varsity coach at Valencia High School for two years and assistant coached at The Master’s College.

“When I was young, I grew up without a whole lot of opportunity,” Brown said. “Softball gave me the opportunity to go to college and get my life on the straight and narrow path. I believe we have established a culture and a tradition that will continue to exist and that we can continue to achieve every year.”

At the beginning of the season, Randy Clark, long-time mentor from her time playing at The Master’s College and current softball assistant coach, suffered from a heart attack shortly before beginning the season. Brown said this occurrence caused the Whitworth women to “pull together for him” and led to the season being different than the others.

Indeed, the road to the successful season was marred by moments of discouragement; however, Brown served as a calming and inspirational force for the team, all the while providing the energy and confidence necessary to drive them along and make school history in spite of Clark’s health.

“During one of our games against George Fox, we were losing in the last inning,”  junior catcher Megan John said. “Coach brought us together and told us that she trusted us to have her back. We came out that inning, and we won the game.”

The victory at George Fox was a crucial point of the season, as the victory placed them in first place for the conference tournament.

“She just spoke with a kind of energy that made us want to go out there and win,” sophomore utility player Shannon Wessel said. That game ended with Wessel hitting a grand slam that resulted in a Bucs victory.

The team ended up breaking the season record for wins and won a conference title—putting themselves on the map for years to come. The team was drawn together by a strong sense of both camaraderie and family, all due to Brown and her emphasis on team-building. During the season, Brown would call players aside numerous times to not only discuss strategy, but to inspire a sense of self-confidence needed in order to ensure victory.

“Just her saying those few words helped us get our act together and win,” freshman outfielder Chesley Hayes said.

The idea of family and holding each other accountable for actions is a strongly promoted ideal by Brown that is echoed across the team.

“She really has challenged us to live out being a family and supporting each other through everything we’re facing, softball or not,” John said.

The team notably donated a refrigerator toward the alternative school in Mead, as well as spent time with the students. Brown’s commitment to the team and the school is another factor that plays into her leadership style.

“I love Whitworth’s welcoming culture; it’s a great institution, and I feel like I can coach without conflict toward it’s academic mission,” Brown said. The team’s season has come to an end, as they will not be advancing to the NCAA tournament. For more information on Brown, visit whitworthpirates.com.

 

Will Carsh

Staff Writer

Male Athlete of the Year: Kenny Love

Sophomore Kenny Love was chosen as Northwest Conference’s Men’s Basketball Player of the Year after a dramatic season. However, earning this award was not an easy task. Love helped the Pirates make it to the second round of the NCAA DIII Tournament before losing by a single point to Emory University. Due to starting the season out on the bench, Love had to prove his talents by earning his way into the starting lineup and into NWC recognition.

Before Love took the guard position, sophomore Kionte Brown was in the starting lineup. However, when Brown suffered a knee injury, Love had proven himself worthy of stepping into the starting guard role.

Head coach Matthew Logie said Love’s play on the defensive end of the floor was what held him back at the beginning of the year. However, Love took his coach’s instructions to heart and improved his defensive skills.

“[Love] grew a tremendous amount as the season progressed and got to the point where we just needed to have him on the floor all the time,” Logie said.

Many of Love’s teammates have noticed his determination to the sport and his willingness to grow. Love said that during the offseason, he would dedicate 10-15 hours a week to practicing basketball.

“Kenny is a really hard-working guy. He’s always in the gym, before and after practice,” junior George Valle said. “I think it’s really showed his improvement from his freshman year to sophomore year.”

On Jan. 2, Love started as guard at an away game against Willamette University. From then on, Love played in the starting lineup. On top of that, Love proved his value to the team and helped the Pirates progress to the DIII Tournament. Of the 22 games Love started in, the Pirates lost only two.

“I was getting used to coming off the bench,” Love said. “It was nice to start at the beginning of the game and feeling the flow of the game right from the beginning.”

Love helped lead the team to some of its most impressive victories. On Jan. 9 during a match against Linfield University, Love made eight shots from the field, three 3-pointers and seven free throws, resulting in a total of 29 points. The Pirates won that match—79-66.

“His confidence on a whole went up along with the playing time,” sophomore Gabriel Carter, Love’s roommate and teammate, said. “I’m glad he got the opportunity, because obviously he’s really good at it.”

By the end of the year, Love had made an impressive 42.6 percent of shots from the field, 45.1 percent of his three-pointers and 85.1 percent of his free throws. On Feb. 24, Love was announced as the 2015 NWC Men’s Basketball Player of the Year.

“It’s nice to know that throughout the school, you guys saw me as someone who had a really successful year,” Love said. “I just hope that moving forward I could keep up the work ethic and standard for myself as well as my teammates and other athletes here at school that people would be proud of.”

Love’s teammates and coaches  are comforted in the fact that he is only a sophomore and has two more years still ahead of him. Love’s fellow athletes have also seen a sense of leadership in him that is expected to grow in the coming years.

“He does a lot of stuff for us statistically,” Carter said. “That type of leadership and work ethic and help that he gives the team doesn’t show up numerically, but it helps the team a lot more than people think.”

Love said one of the things that helped him improve was the team’s motto for the year—“Bigger Than Us”—and that his attitude and preparation for his sport helped his performance.

“It doesn’t matter if I’m starting or not,” Love said. “Just being able to bring whatever I could, whether it be from a vocal leadership standpoint or being able to lead from example. Staying focused, staying ready and staying with a positive attitude is probably one of the most important things.”

Love will continue playing basketball next season and hopes to play outside of college as well.

“The future is really bright for Kenny,” Logie said. “I think he’s very excited about the challenge in front of him in terms of continuing to take our program to new heights.”

 

Peter Houston-Hencken

Staff Writer

Female Athlete of the Year: Maddye Dinsmore

The Fieldhouse was taken by storm last fall as the new court was broken in by the volleyball team. Throughout the team’s success, there was one player who stood out: junior and team captain Maddye Dinsmore. After the season the Pirates put together on the court, taking a share of the Northwest Conference title and the automatic bid to the NCAA National Tournament, Dinsmore was awarded with personal accolades as well. Dinsmore was crowned as the NWC Player of the Year and named to the First Team All-West Region.

“I was so proud of her [for winning NWC Player of the Year] because I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving, and I was thrilled that all of our opponents in the conference noticed it as well,” coach Kati Bodecker said.

However, according to her teammate, junior Izze Ginley, Dinsmore doesn’t like to talk about the awards she won.

“I’m not shooting for the accolades,” Dinsmore said. “As a setter, I want to become more consistent. The accolades I received this last year were not because of me, but rather because of my team around me.”

Even though she has already been dubbed ‘the best player in the NWC,’ Dinsmore is still hungry for more. It is her work ethic that sets her apart from the rest of the competition.

“All of her accomplishments are absolutely because of her work ethic,” Bodecker said. “All coaches say you can’t be successful without the right work ethic, but with Maddye it’s especially true.”

Not only has her coach noticed her work drive, but her teammates have as well. They frequently are pushed by Dinsmore.

“She has a stronger work ethic than anyone I’ve seen,” sophomore Brenna Bruil said.

Along with the determination, Dinsmore has created a level of trust with her teammates that is irreplaceable. As the setter for the team, everyone is reliant on Dinsmore being able to get the second touch and set up the hitters to put the ball away.

“We know that Maddye will get the ball, she’s so fast. We know she’s going to chase down every ball, even if the pass isn’t the greatest,” Bruil said.

Dinsmore is quick to point out that even though she touches the ball almost every play as a setter, that’s not where the play starts.

“I can’t give my hitters a good set without a good first pass. It’s truly a full team effort,” Dinsmore said.

However, it is not just on the court that Dinsmore is an inspiration to her teammates. Over the past year, she has taken her leadership abilities and applied them off the court as well.

“When you’re a captain, you kind of have that extra pressure to reach out to people, and I see her reaching out to everyone on the team to foster relationships,” Ginley said.

Dinsmore, an elementary education major with hopes of becoming a kindergarten teacher, will return for her senior season next year and will try to lead the Pirates back to the NCAA tournament.

“We want to get back to the tournament this next year and make some noise,” Dinsmore said.

With Dinsmore leading the Bucs, and most of the team returning, the Pirates will aim to be even better next season.

 

John Ekberg

Staff Writer

Softball knocked out of NWC tournament after Linfield and George Fox losses

The Whitworth Softball team lost two of three games in the Northwest Conference tournament last weekend, playing a total of three games against Linfield, Pacific, and George Fox. The losses proved to be the end point for the Bucs’ tournament run despite winning the first NWC title for the program. Practices will continue, as an opportunity for regionals is still a possibility to be decided on May 4. First-place Whitworth was upset in the first game by the fourth-seated Linfield Wildcats.

In the top of the second inning, the Wildcats landed two runs against the Pirates. In the bottom of the third, Whitworth managed to earn a run through freshman outfielder Chelsey Hayes bringing junior outfielder Alyssa Hall in with a hit to left field. The Wildcats added another run to the board in the fourth inning, but the Bucs came back with another run of their own in the bottom of the sixth.

With the score at 3-1 during the seventh inning, the Bucs impressively managed to shut down Linfield’s offense, putting themselves in position to take the lead at the end of the game. After two outs, however, the suspense continued to grow as the crowd fell silent. Then, the crowd and dugout erupted into chaos when junior catcher Megan John struck out to end the game. With Whitworth losing, they moved on to play Pacific later that day.

The Bucs fared better in the second game with a final score of 2-1. Both teams scored in the first inning, with sophomore utility player Shannon Wessel landing a hit that brought Hayes home. The game kept this score until the bottom of the eighth, when senior outfielder Peyton McMahon landed a hit that resulted in her making her way through all of the bases and back home, winning the game for the Bucs.

The final game of the weekend was a 3-0 loss against George Fox, removing Whitworth from the tournament. Despite the way things ended, the Wessel and Hayes had positive things to say about the season as a whole.

“We are the first team ever in Whitworth softball history to win a title, and that is something that is really special. I am so excited and thankful to have been a part of it,” Wessel said.

“I think the team grew the most in California. It was our first trip of the season and the team had to rely on each other because that is when our coach Randy had his heart attack,” Hayes said.

The Bucs continue to remain optimistic of future prospects for the season.

“We’re continuing to assume that we’re still going [to Regionals] and will rest up, but continue to practice until we find out for sure,” John said.

 

Will Carsh

Staff Writer

Golf teams take second and fourth at NWC Tournament

The Whitworth men’s and women’s golf teams both competed in the Northwest Conference tournament on Saturday and Sunday. The men ended in second place and the women in fourth at the end of the first day. The second day ended with the men taking second in the tournament, but due to positioning established beforehand, ending with a first-place ranking in the conference. The women finished in third, placing them in third for conference. Willamette led at the end of the first day on the men’s side with Whitworth and Pacific Lutheran tied for second place. Willamette’s first place golfer for the day was Clark Wilson, with a score of 71. Juniors Samson Martinez and Oliver Rudnicki of Whitworth trailed with a score of 77, tying with two other golfers for fourth place. The overall standings of the match placed them in second for the day- a goal they needed to achieve in order to reach the coveted NWC title. The final tallies for the day saw Willamette at 299, Pacific Lutheran and Whitworth at 315, and George Fox at 317.

“Finishing well at conference and going to Nationals is our goal every year,” head golf coach Warren Friedrichs said of the weekend. “Which, of course, is difficult, as we end up playing until finals week.”

The next day, the men managed to successfully hold their position through the tournament, finishing in second place and claiming the 2014-2015 Conference title. The points from the Spring Classic added to their score posted from the the most recent tournament, elevating them from second place over Willamette, who won the NWC tournament overall. Martinez finished tied for sixth place after shooting a 152 cumulative score. Junior Andrew Dodge finished in eighth place with a 153- hitting a 73 for the second day. Rudnicki ended up finishing 16th with a 158. Whitworth’s totalled 618, trailing Willamette’s 613, but pulling ahead of Linfield’s 621 and George Fox’s 624. Willamette was outshot by the Pirates at the Spring Classic earlier this season, which resulted in the Bucs claiming the conference title.

“Making it to nationals was definitely our motivation,” Martinez. “We want to put Whitworth on the map. I am so excited to represent Whitworth at nationals and hope everyone knows this win was for the Whitworth community.”

On the women’s side of things, the team finished the first day in fourth, shooting a score of 335, with Whitman’s 333, Pacific Lutheran’s 325, and George Fox’s 319 all leading. Paige Henry of Pacific Lutheran led the individual scoring of the day, but Whitworth senior Nicole Lomax managed to tie for second with George Fox’s Loreece Magsanide, both boasting scores of 77. Other notables included sophomore Michal Schuster tying for 12th with a score of 83 as well as junior Yvonne LaCoursiere and freshman Katie Ochoa tying for 25th with scores of 90.

The second day yielded an even greater performance for the Bucs with the women finishing in third place in the tournament and in the conference. George Fox claimed first place with a score of 622, Whitman landed in second with a score of 653, and Whitworth finished with a score of 657.

“I think we were peeved after our performance the first day and we came out with some fire,” junior Chelsea Bayley said.

Lomax finished ninth with a score of 162, with Bayley and Schuster finishing in a four-way tie for tenth with scores of 163.

The men’s team will be moving on to Nationals, which will be held May 12-15 at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C.

 

Will Carsh

Staff Writer

Whitworth alum and baseball coach Dan Ramsay chasing dream, takes Washington State position

For nine years, Dan Ramsay has called Whitworth home. It’s been a familiar place. A comfortable place. And now, it will always hold a special place in his heart as he chases his career aspirations. It was announced on April 21 that Dan Ramsay was resigning as the head baseball coach at Whitworth University after having been the head coach for seven seasons.

Ramsay will be taking a position at Washington State University as the Director of Baseball Operations.

“I think this opportunity is a step in the right direction for me,” Ramsay said. “I know that I have a heart for coaching, and I might even miss it down the road. But this will allow me to see what the operations side of baseball is like, in one of the best college baseball conferences in the country.”

Ramsay has been around the game for a long time, and he said he has always been interested in an executive-type position for an organization.

“It’s always something that’s been in the back of my mind, especially since completing my master’s program (Administrative Leadership) at Whitworth. I’ve been able to do a lot of (operations activities) here, but now it’ll be a chance for me to take the skills that I’ve learned to a higher level,” Ramsay said.

The seeds for landing this position for Ramsay were planted long ago, prior to the first game he ever coached at Whitworth.

“I reached out to every coach in the Pacific Northwest and asked if I could just come and watch practice. That’s what put my name on (Washington State head coach Donnie Marbut’s) radar,” Ramsay said. “He’s offered me volunteer positions every year for the past four or five years, but it’s never been enough to pull me away. But, this position was right. I’ve had two and a half months to pray about it and talk with my wife, and that’s how I know this position is right.”

Ramsay said he has enjoyed his nine years at Whitworth, dearly. Especially the relationships he has made.

“With student athletes, with colleagues, you name it. It’s the same answer for what I say draws me to Whitworth. This is really, truly a special place, and I will dearly miss it,” Ramsay said. “I hope to take a part of Whitworth with me. Everywhere I go, I try to take this place on my back and do it proud.”

Ramsay transferred to Whitworth at the start of the 2006-2007 school year, his junior year, from Gonzaga University. He hoped to get more playing time than he had in his first two years as a collegiate athlete. He was able to accomplish that, playing in 75 games in his two-year Whitworth career, amassing a .296 batting average with five home runs and 55 RBIs. Ramsay led the team in RBIs both years he was on the team.

After his senior season, the head coaching position for the Whitworth position was open, and Ramsay took advantage by applying for the position.

“When I applied for the position here, I didn’t expect to get it,” Ramsay said.

But it was his courage to put himself out there that helped lead to his first job: the head coaching position for the Whitworth baseball team.

During his tenure at Whitworth these past seven years, Ramsay has been a part of a team that has done a little bit of everything. All of the hard work and grinding that was done in the early years of his coaching career built up to a 20-win season in 2011- the first for Whitworth in nine years.

The following year, the program continued to grow and had the best season to date. The Pirates, under Ramsay’s guidance, won their first Northwest Conference title in 21 years. They also made their first NCAA Division III World Series appearance in the history of the program.

After a successful career at Whitworth, Ramsay will continue on, with his next stop in Pullman, as he chases his dream to be an executive in the professional baseball industry.

 

John Ekberg

Staff Writer

Men's tennis ends 2015 season with UPS and PLU victories

The men’s tennis team ended the season by shutting out both the University of Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran University at home last weekend. Whitworth swept Puget Sound 9-0 Saturday, in what turned into a one-sided victory outside at the Scotford Tennis Center.

“For both doubles and singles we had a rough season not getting into the top four of conference,” junior Drew Brigham said. “So today we had a desire to prove that we are better than our No. 5 ranking.”

Brigham started off the day with an 8-1 win in his doubles match partnered with senior Matt Goebel, and then dominated his singles match, winning both sets, 6-1. The Bucs swept through their matches with ease, winning all three of their doubles matches and not dropping a single set in any of their six singles matches.

The Bucs were knocked out of the playoffs with their loss to Pacific University last week, so the competition last weekend had no bearing on their playoff hopes. The win bumped Whitworth up to 5-6 in the Northwest Conference, and dropped Puget Sound’s Conference record to 0-12.

Sophomore Shane Sandlin also had a dominant performance, winning his doubles match with junior Drew Adams, 8-2, and his singles match in two quick sets.

“In doubles, my first serve percentage was important, while in singles, I focused on hitting to my opponent’s backhand, since he had a very powerful forehand,” Sandlin said. “I think my consistency has gotten better throughout the season as I have been focusing on not going too big when I don’t need to.”

Whitworth blew out PLU, 9-0, in their final match of the season with Senior Day on Sunday at the Scotford Tennis Center.

“In doubles, Drew and I were really aggressive and attacked the net well, while in singles I focused on hitting it to my opponent’s backhand, attacking and hitting winners,” Goebel said. “It’s going to be different leaving Whitworth. I’ve made a lot of good friends and had a lot of great experiences, but I’m looking forward to the next big adventure to see where life takes me.”

The Bucs started the day with three quick doubles win, as Goebel won his match partnered with Brigham, 8-1, while junior Blake Miller and sophomore Caleb Hughes won their doubles match, 8-2. The Bucs then swept PLU, 6-0, in singles- every single match won in straight sets except for Brigham’s win in a tiebreak.

Adams won his singles match, 6-0, in both sets, while Goebel, Hughes, and Miller also had fairly comfortable matches. Sandlin also continued his run of success with a convincing win in straight sets.

Goebel was not the only senior to finish his Whitworth career today, as fellow senior Chris Engelmann cheered on his teammates on the sideline, while continuing to recover from a knee injury.

“These are two seniors that for the rest of our lives I can easily call friends,” Coach Shanks said. “They weren’t just players. They will leave an indelible mark on the fabric of this team for years to come.”

 

Kyle Cacoyannis

Staff Writer

 

Women's tennis ends regular season with a bang, preps for Whitman

The women’s tennis team won both of their matches last weekend for their final two regular season conference games against the University of Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran University. Whitworth blew out Puget Sound 9-0 Saturday, clinching a No. 4 Northwest Conference playoff spot in the process.

“I feel good about my game personally, and feel confident in the team as well going into next week’s conference playoffs,” senior Saryn Mooney said. “These are two solid games this weekend and are important preparation for us next week.”

Mooney won her doubles match partnered with sophomore Bella Hoyos, 8-2, and won her singles match in two quick sets starting at the number three spot. Due to injury, Puget Sound only had 5 active starters, so there were only two doubles matches and five singles matches, but the Bucs won them all in convincing fashion.

Whitworth started of the day with two dominant doubles wins, and then finished it off by not dropping a set in all five of their singles matches. Junior Taylor Peña and sophomore Anabelle Burns did not drop a game in their respective singles matches, while Hoyos started at the No. 1 spot and had a convincing win.

On Sunday, the Bucs won their final regular season match of the season, 5-4, against PLU in Parkland, Washington.

“It was rewarding to play with Morgan, another senior, in doubles today,” senior Caylee Lamm said. “I think we were consistent and played our game, as we had to be the aggressor for the most part of it, but once we figured that out, it worked pretty well.”

Whitworth started off the day winning two out of their three doubles matches, and then tied their singles matches, 3-3. Lamm won her doubles match partnered with fellow senior, Morgan McDivitt, 8-4, while Mooney and Hoyos had a dominant 8-1 win in their doubles match. In singles, Mooney and Burns both won their respective matches fairly easily in straight sets, while McDivitt had a thrilling 8-6 win in the third set.

The Bucs will enter the NWC Tournament on Friday against undefeated and regular-season conference champions: Whitman. Whitworth is in a must-win situation in order to continue their season with hopes of making the NCAA Tournament.

“If we are going to beat Whitman we are going to have to come out with more intensity and energy than we did today, and just have confidence with our game,” McDivitt said. “In doubles, the key was keeping the ball cross-court, and then Caylee did a good job with poaching at the net and attacking the right short ball. In singles I played well also so hopefully I can take this confidence into the next match at Whitman.”

Lamm is also not ready for her tennis career at Whitworth to be over, and says that for Whitworth to beat Whitman in the rivalry, “having a positive attitude and playing to our strengths will be key.”

  Kyle Cacoyannis

Staff Writer

Pirates sweep Willamette on Senior Weekend, earn Conference Playoff spot

Whitworth celebrated ten seniors on their club and did so in  winning fashion by wrapping up the regular season with a three-game sweep of the Willamette Bearcats. In the process, the Pirates clinched a berth in the inaugural Northwest Conference baseball playoff tournament, which will be hosted by Pacific Lutheran this weekend. Whitworth senior Dan Scheibe got the ball rolling on Saturday, fanning nine Willamette batters in just over six innings of work, while allowing only two runs to score. Scheibe now has 295 career strikeouts in his Whitworth career.

The Pirates got solid relief efforts from freshman T.J. Orchard and senior Carson Blumenthal en route to winning the first game of the day on Saturday, 5-3.

Whitworth’s offense in the game came from a two-run double by senior Thomas Wakem in the second inning, solo home runs by senior Nick Motsinger and senior Josh Davis in the fourth and seventh innings, respectively, and an RBI single from junior Skyler Lookabill in the seventh inning.

It was after that first victory that the Pirates had clinched their berth into the Northwest Conference playoffs.

The game of the weekend – from a purist baseball viewer’s perspective – was the second game of the Saturday doubleheader. Whitworth mounted a three-run ninth inning comeback, all sparked by a pinch hitter.

Whitworth senior Spencer Ansett was roughed up a bit, allowing seven runs in six and two-thirds innings of work. However, the Pirates were able to stay close with the Bearcats, entering the ninth inning down by a pair of runs with the middle of the order coming up.

After senior Josh Davis and sophomore Matt Nelson singled to start the inning, Whitworth coach Dan Ramsay sent freshman Brett Moser to pinch-run for Nelson, and Lookabill to the plate to pinch hit. With those substitutions, Whitworth would have had some players play out of position on defense if the game went into extra innings.

“To be honest, I hadn’t thought that far ahead,” Ramsay said. “There’s something special about (Lookabill), I knew he’d pull through for us.”

Lookabill was attempting to sacrifice the runners into scoring position with a bunt. After the second strike on him, Willamette’s catcher Jacob Parra tried to pick-off Davis from second base. The ball was thrown away, and the Pirates runners moved into scoring position.

“I wasn’t really thinking, which is probably a good thing. If I was thinking anything, it was just that I was grateful to get a second chance,” Lookabill said.

On the 0-2 pitch, Lookabill shot a grounder through the middle of the infield to drive in the two runs to tie the game at seven. The Pirates were then able to sacrifice Lookabill to third base. Willamette elected to intentionally walk a pair of Pirate players to load the bases, so there were force outs at every base.

With two outs, senior Nick Motsinger came to the plate with the bases loaded. Motsinger waited out the Bearcats pitcher and earned a walk, which forced in Lookabill for the game-winning run.

After those two big wins on Saturday, the Pirates returned to the field Sunday for Senior Day, where they honored the team’s ten senior players. Before the game, the team got a surprise when faculty advisor Eric Sartell showed up at Merkel Field. Sartell had been teaching abroad in the British Isles for the past month.

“I took a red-eye flight to get back yesterday. There was no way I was going to miss Senior Day,” Sartell said.

After a ceremony honoring the seniors before the game, the Pirates came out on fire, scoring four runs in the first inning of the game. Senior Cory Mack lasted seven innings for the Pirates on the mound, allowing four runs (two earned).

“I felt really good today,” Mack said. “Other than the home run – which I’m impressed with how (Willamette senior Tiras Koon) was able to take a slider that was at his feet and put it over the wall – today was a great day.”

After Mack exited the game, Coach Ramsay handed the ball to senior Nick Scourey for the final two innings. “It was surreal. I’ve been struggling lately, and to be able to come out and pound the zone like that was good for me, especially with it being my last time here at Merkel Field,” Scourey said.

The Pirates closed out the game with a win 11-4, completing their fourth conference sweep of the season. Whitworth finished the season with a 25-13 record overall, 16-8 in the Northwest Conference. Whitworth will travel to Pacific Lutheran on Friday for the Northwest Conference tournament and will take on Linfield in the first round.

 

John Ekberg

Staff Writer

The Queen and Her Court

Many coaches of college-level sports have competed in that specific sport in their past. It is not uncommon for them to have played their sport in high school and college. However, this is not the case for Whitworth javelin coach Eloise Cappellano. Finishing up her eighth year of coaching for Whitworth, Cappellano has had some impressive achievements. Her first major achievement while coaching at Whitworth was the NCAA West Region Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year for 2011. In 2012, Cappellano began a string of successes by sending two javelin throwers to the NCAA Division III Championships, one of which earned an All-American Honor. Since then, Cappellano has coached 12 throwers to earn All-American honors. In one of her most impressive years—2013—Cappellano coached five of the top 20 male throwers in the country as well as two of the top 20 female throwers.

“It was almost like a perfect storm of a year where everyone peaked at the time they were supposed to peak,” Cappellano said. “They were throwing their best throws of the season right before we went to nationals.”

What makes these achievements even greater is that Cappellano has never thrown in any sort of javelin competition. After competing as a runner for Glassboro State College’s track and field team, Cappellano graduated and took a job at Deer Park High School teaching special education classes. She was encouraged by the Deer Park cross country coach to apply for a job coaching track and field. Upon learning that she could only apply for a position coaching throwing events, Cappellano attended a clinic that would teach her how to coach the throws.

Unfortunately, Cappellano said the clinic was not helpful, so Cappellano began meeting with Mead High School track and field coach Gary Baskett.

“He is a great coach and he was and still is a great mentor and I just learned a ton from him,” Cappellano said.

Cappellano began talking to as many javelin coaches and professionals in the sport as she could in order to get better and learn every secret there was to know.

In 2007, Cappellano took a position at Whitworth and began coaching javelin at the college level.

“She is someone who is competitive…. She loves to learn. She learned the craft of the javelin. That’s why I hired her to coach the javelin,” head track coach Toby Schwarz said.

Cappellano’s athletes said she gives specific instructions regarding specific students’ needs.

Sophomore Kelee Lambert believes Cappellano’s lack of personal experience throwing allows her to look at each student differently.

“She doesn’t really have the view of the thrower. So none of her opinions are biased in that way. She’s focused on you and your difference,” Lambert said.

Cappellano is not only limited to teaching throwers who have never played a sport before. She has also taught athletes who have picked up alternative ways of throwing from playing different sports.

“I played baseball my whole life. I had never touched a javelin until my junior year and she’s the one that really turned me around,” junior Tyler Coopman said. “I wouldn’t have had the success that I did without her.

However, one thing that truly stands out to her athletes and fellow coaches is how much time and effort she has put into learning the sport of javelin.

“She’s put in so much work going to extra clinics,” senior Chase Wright said. “She didn’t throw, but she knows so much about the event and has talked to so many professionals from all over the world.”

During the practices, Cappellano does not throw the javelin in order to show her athletes what a throw should look like. Instead, she focuses on detailed explanation and examples from the upperclassmen on how to throw effectively.

“She’s so good at explaining it in detail. A lot of times she can push us and shove us and pull us in different directions to make us feel what it’s supposed to be like. We don’t really need to watch her throw in order to know what’s good,” Coopman said.

Cappellano has said that she loves working with athletes on the college level and would like to continue coaching javelin at Whitworth in the years to come.

“The young people that I get the opportunity to work with are extraordinary. It is an absolute labor of love every day,” Cappellano said.

 

Peter Houston-Hencken

Staff Writer

Well-rounded games lift softball to NWC crown

The Whitworth softball team claimed another series on Saturday and Sunday with three winning games and one loss against the Lewis & Clark Pioneers, resulting in winning the Northwest Conference Championship. The Bucs can lay claim to winning every series with the exception of one, in which they tied against Linfield. With the performance this weekend, the team has won the first Conference title in the program’s history. The first game of the series yielded early scoring for the Bucs, with sophomore utility player Shannon Wessel hitting a sacrifice fly to bring freshman outfielder Chelsey Hayes to the home plate in the bottom of the first inning. That was shortly followed by senior outfielder Peyton McMahon hitting another sacrifice fly to bring junior catcher Megan John home. The team followed that up in the second inning with three more runs. Sophomore infielder Kelsey Stroshine landed a hit that resulted in a run by sophomore utility player Molly Steck scoring. Stroshine and senior outfielder Sacha Clow made it home after the Pioneers’ pitcher made a throwing error against junior outfielder Alyssa Hall, allowing Clow to walk in. Stroshine later scored after a hit by Hayes in the bottom of the sixth inning, leading to a final score of the first game to be 7-0, Bucs.

The team once again scored right off the bat in the second game of the day, with McMahon hitting a triple to left field that resulted in John and Hayes making runs and McMahon herself scoring due to a throwing error by the catcher, all in the bottom of the first inning. The Bucs scored again in the bottom of the third when sophomore infielder Tessa Matthews landed a double that brought McMahon home, while sophomore catcher Kayla Batastini later brought home Matthews with a hit of her own. In the top of the fourth inning, the Pioneers struck back with a home run of their own, but due to the Bucs defense, no more runs were scored, ending the game on a 5-1 Whitworth victory.

Of particular note was sophomore pitcher Makayla Lefever starting in her position for the first time this season. She pitched the entirety of the first two games due to sophomore Madi Perez suffering from an injury.

“It was really a lot of pressure, but I know I had my team behind my back,” Lefever said.

Perez was back for the next two games on Sunday and it proved to be a suspenseful ordeal for the Bucs as the first game resulted in a loss. In the first, sixth and seventh innings, the Pioneers managed to accumulate seven runs against the Bucs, though a hit landed by Hayes in the bottom of the seventh brought home freshman utility player Kelsey Downey and senior outfielder Sacha Clow, preventing the game from being a shutout, with the game ending in a 2-7 defeat. However, the loss put Whitworth’s conference title temporarily in question, as another win from the Pioneers would have resulted in a tie for the series.

“Our goal for the weekend was to play like champions, and even after that first game, we pulled together and worked really hard,” Wessel said.

The last game of the day resulted in one final Whitworth victory. For the first two innings, the scoreboard remained unmoved, as both teams utilized their defenses to cancel out the opposition. In the top of the third, Lewis & Clark managed to land three runs, pushing themselves ahead of Whitworth. The lead would not last long however, as a Hayes single resulted in Clow and Stroshine crossing the plate. John landed a single that brought Hall home and McMahon hit a sacrifice fly to bring Hayes home as well, putting the Bucs up in first at the bottom of the third by one run. Hayes later landed another hit in the bottom of the fourth that brought Clow in once again, while John, Wessel and McMahon all landed hits that resulted in runs, bringing the score up to 9-3 at the bottom of the fourth. McMahon landed a hit that brought Wessel home, and sophomore infielder Tessa Matthews concluded the game with a left-field double that brought McMahon to home plate, ending the game at 11-3.

The series victory marks the first time the Bucs have won an NWC title, and though individual games were lost, the Bucs managed to make it through the season without a single series loss on their record.

“There are hard days, but it’s about being able to come together and have these highs to carry you through to points like this. There’s always room for improvement, and I believe we can come and do this at the tournament next weekend,” John said.

The Bucs will move on to the NWC Tournament on Friday and Saturday with their first matchup against 2014 NWC champion Linfield.

 

Will Carsh

Staff Writer

Multi-Eventers begin NWC Championship hunt for track

On Monday and Tuesday, the track and field team took six athletes to compete at the NWC Multi-Event Championships in Tacoma, Washington. The women competed in a heptathlon, consisting of seven different events. The men took part in the decathlon, spanning ten events. The women began their strong performance with senior Emily Moore taking third place in the 100-meter hurdles. The women were set back after taking fifth, sixth and seventh place in the high jump. However, junior Alexandra McConnell was able to pick up the slack when she took first in the shot put with a distance of 33.88’.

Freshman Kayla Brase was able to increase Whitworth’s score by taking second in long jump with a distance of 16.6’. The women ended the meet with Brase taking third, Moore claiming fifth, and McConnell holding 13th place in the overall heptathlon. The women’s combined scores allowed Whitworth to take second place in the heptathlon.

“The women did great,” head coach Toby Schwarz said. “We scored ten points for the women’s team which is on pace to what we want to do overall on every event for the conference championship.”

Senior Jon Williams led the Pirates by placing fourth in the overall competition. During the meet, Williams beat his personal best in six different events. After a rough start on the first day, Williams hoped to increase his standing with the 1500 meter run.

“I was in sixth all the way up until, basically the end. And then the 1500 I had to run fast to move up places. It was my highest point total. It was 730 points,” Williams said.

The men’s shot put was the best event for the men’s team as a whole. Senior Lucas McGill was able to take their place with a distance of 36.7’. McGill was shy of first by less than a meter. Sophomore Teagan Brown took sixth in the event with a distance of 32’. Brown was also able to break personal records in five events.

Unfortunately, the effects of an injury McGill suffered in a previous meet became too painful and caused him to leave the competition after the third event. The decathlon ended with Williams in fourth and Brown taking ninth. The men’s team finished in third place.

“With ten events for the guys and seven events for the women, you got to learn a lot of different things,” Schwarz said. “They spent a lot of time practicing.”

By bringing in eight athletes, George Fox was able to take first place with both teams. Their men’s team finished with a lead of 13 points while Whitworth’s women trailed by five.

 

Peter Houston-Hencken

Staff Writer

Baseball closes in on playoff berth with series win

With only two weekends remaining in the conference schedule, the Pirates traveled to Forest Grove, Oregon to take on the Pacific Boxers for a three-game series. The Bucs came away with a sweep of the Saturday doubleheader before falling to the Boxers in the final game of the series on Sunday afternoon. Whitworth got a pair of incredible starts on Saturday from seniors Dan Scheibe and Spencer Ansett. Scheibe started the first game and dominated the Boxers, racking up 11 strikeouts over six innings of work.

“I got my changeup working well, which is exciting. I felt dominant out there and it was easy to set the tone when the guys put up three runs in the top of the first inning,” Scheibe said.

Those three runs were all the Pirates would need to take the first game on Saturday, as the Pirates pitching staff held Pacific to a single run. Pirate junior Jeremy Druffel doubled down the right field line in the first inning to drive in two runs. Druffel then came around to score on a single from senior Thomas Wakem.

The Pirates got another dominating performance from their starter in the second game on Saturday afternoon: Spencer Ansett.

Ansett earned his fourth win on the season after notching seven strikeouts through eight innings of dominance. He allowed only two runs in those eight innings, with only one being an earned run.

Alongside the pitching dominance from Ansett, the Pirates’ bats emerged in this game, as evidenced by a seven-run fourth inning that put the game out of reach. Five different Pirates’ batters earned RBI’s in the inning, with a pair coming on a double from senior Paul Miller, and another pair being brought around on a home run from senior Josh Davis, his ninth on the season. Davis leads the Pirates in homers and is second in the Northwest Conference.

On Sunday, the Pirates sent senior Cory Mack to the mound for the start and he turned in another solid performance. Mack struck out 12 Pacific batters in seven and two-thirds innings while allowing three runs on eight hits.

However, the Pirates offense was only able to muster a pair of runs on the day, as the Pirates dropped the third game of the series 4-2.

“Our arms have really set the tone for us,” Bucs’ coach Dan Ramsay said. “We couldn’t have asked for better performances out of Scheibe, Ansett and Mack this weekend.”

The Pirates fell just short of recording their fourth conference sweep on the season. “Obviously a bit disappointing to not get the sweep, as it would have clinched a playoff spot for us and also built some momentum heading into the final weekend,” Ansett said.

Whitworth sits in third place in the Northwest Conference with only one weekend of games left on the schedule. The Bucs trail first-place Pacific Lutheran by two games and second-place Linfield by one game.

Whitworth, with a 13-8 conference record, controls its own destiny for getting into the conference post-season tournament. If Whitworth wins one of the three games next weekend against Willamette, it will clinch a spot in the postseason tournament.

“We need to focus on one game at a time,” Ramsay said. “We will need to execute offensively and continue to pitch and play defense the way we have in order for that to become a reality.”

The Pirates and Boxers played a fourth, non-conference game on Sunday afternoon after the completion of the three-game conference set. The Boxers came away with the victory in the fourth game 6-5.

 

John Ekberg

Staff Writer

Men's tennis finishes weekend on a Willamette win

The men’s tennis team split their two matches this weekend at home against Pacific University and Willamette University, ultimately knocking the Bucs out of playoff contention in the Northwest Conference. Whitworth lost 6-3 Saturday in a hard-fought match against Pacific University inside the Scotford Tennis Center.

“Pacific played just a little bit better than us today,” Coach Mike Shanks said. “They have some real quality players, but we are making progress, as we lost 8-1 and did not win any of our doubles matches when we played them away.”

Whitworth started off the day winning two out of their three doubles matches, but had a disappointing singles performance, winning only one of six matches. Junior Drew Brigham and sophomore Shane Sandlin won their No. 1 doubles match 8-6, while sophomore Caleb Hughes and junior Drew Adams won their No. 3 doubles match in a 9-8 tiebreaker.

Hughes also started at the No. 6 spot in singles and pulled off a win in three sets after losing the first one.

“I feel like I am playing adaptable tennis, as I am able to play different opponents in different ways, and figure out how to beat them,” Hughes said. “Today it was important for us to keep the positive energy going, and continue to focus on one point at a time.”

Although Hughes was the only Buc to win in singles, the matches were much closer than the final team score suggested. Adams started at the number four spot and lost a heartbreaker in three sets, while Brigham started at the number one spot and lost a hard fought match to Giancarlo Battalgia, a senior who is undefeated this year, and who Shanks said, “will probably win the Northwest Conference player of the year.”

On Sunday, Whitworth blew out Willamette 8-1 at the Scotford Tennis Center. The Bucs started off the day by sweeping the Bearcats 3-0 in doubles, and then won 5-1 in singles, with half of the matches played outside on a windy day.

“In doubles, we were really aggressive. We saw our opponents weaknesses and took advantage of them,” junior Blake Miller said. “In singles it was different playing outside with the wind, but I definitely got my rhythm more in the second set.”

Miller started off the day with a dominant performance in doubles partnered with Matt Goebel, winning 8-1. In singles, Miller dropped the first set, but came back to win 6-3 in the second set, and finished the match off with a 10-2 win in the tiebreaker.

After losing Saturday, Brigham came back with a dominant win in straight sets on Sunday, while Hughes continued his winning run by winning in straight sets without dropping a game in the process. Sophomore Jeffrey Vulis and freshman Ryan Adams got their first starts of the season in singles, and both had assertive performances winning in straight sets.

Vulis is a transfer student from University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, who was battling a back injury in the first half of the season.

“The support of my teammates and the fans definitely helped me during the match,” Vulis said. “I did well with being patiently aggressive, waiting for my proper moment to come in and attack.”

The Bucs play again at home on Wednesday, April 15 against Lewis and Clark State.

 

Kyle Cacoyannis

Staff Writer

Softball road split

Last weekend, the Whitworth softball team split four games against Linfield College. The first day yielded mixed results for the Bucs as they lost their first game 4-0 and win the second one 8-3. The second day brought similar results, with a 3-4 loss followed by a 4-1 win. Linfield’s pitcher threw well during the first game, gaining 12 strikeouts and allowing very few hits for the Bucs.

“We may end up seeing that pitcher again in the conference tournament, so now we know how to hit her pitches and how to make the adjustment at the plate,” sophomore catcher Kayla Batastini said.

The second game resulted in a Whitworth win with sophomore UT Shannon Wessel landing a three-run homer at the top of the first inning, giving Whitworth an early lead. This was shortly followed by Batastini driving in sophomore infielder Tessa Matthews in the same inning. Batastini landed an RBI double in the fourth inning, as did freshman outfielder Chelsey Hayes. The sixth inning yielded two more runs; Wessel drove in junior outfielder Alyssa Hall, and senior outfielder Peyton McMahon drove in Wessel.

The third game resulted in another Whitworth loss, albeit a close one. Peyton McMahon landed a hit that led to Hayes coming in home in the first inning and Matthews brought home Megan John and Hayes with a hit of her own in the fifth. However, the Linfield women came back in the bottom of the fifth with four runs of their own, leading to their victory.

Whitworth came back from the loss with another win, however.

“It can really kill the mood for a team after a loss, but we came back stronger in the second games and got two wins out of it,” Wessell said.

Despite the split in wins and losses, the team remains optimistic toward future games and the conference tournament.

“Everyone was always cheering, and no matter what, our defense always stayed in the game and never gave up,” Hayes said.

The Whitworth softball team plays at home again this weekend against Lewis & Clark on the April 18-19.

 

Will Carsh

Staff Writer

Golf teams finish at the top

The men’s and women’s golf teams competed in the Northwest Conference Spring Classic tournaments this weekend, with the men’s team playing in Olympia and the women’s playing in Spanaway. The first day ended with the men’s team in first place and the women’s in second, but both ended in the top spot after the weekend ended. Of particular note was junior Samson Martinez, who led the men’s team to the top during the first day after hitting a 73, putting himself ahead of Willamette’s Ryan Kukula, who scored a 75. The difference actually led to Whitworth’s lead as a whole, as Whitworth led with a 308 against Willamette’s 310 after the first day.

“I owe my success to the support of God, my family and friends,” Martinez said, adding that his eagle on the par-five 14th hole was the highlight of his whole weekend.

The women’s team ended up in second place after the first round, with three players in the top ten. Junior Chelsea Bayley and sophomore Michal Schuster tied for fourth place along with three others with a score of 79, while senior Nicole Lomax landed in eighth with an 80. George Fox led the first round overall with a score of 317, with Whitworth at 322 and Whitman at 323.

The second day proved even better for both teams, with the men finishing in first with an even more sizable lead, and the women’s team tying for first place. Though Linfield ended up with the highest scoring individual overall on the men’s side, Whitworth ended up increasing their lead as a team, ending the day with a 300 and a tournament total of 608, as opposed to Pacific Lutheran’s 310 and 625 and Willamette’s 316 and 626. The women’s team jumped ahead of George Fox with a day score of 307. However, Whitman ended up playing a 306 that resulted in both the Missionaries and the Bucs getting a 629 total, tying for first above Fox’s 631.

Martinez ended up finishing the tournament in second place, as did Bayley.

“We did a really good job of staying in the moment and taking one shot at a time instead of just thinking about the final score,” Bayley said in regard to Whitworth’s comeback.

“We worked together and gave each other great advice during the round. We were also really positive, which helps out a ton,” junior Tyler McQuilkin said.

Both teams play again April 25-26 in Sunriver, Oregon for the NWC Tournament.

 

Will Carsh

Staff Writer

World War track meet a windy challenge at SFCC

Whitworth’s track and field teams travelled to Spokane Falls Community College on Saturday to compete in the eighth annual World War meet. The meet brought together numerous Inland Northwest schools of different divisions to compete in a massive day-long event. The men’s team took second place with 107 points, while the women’s team grabbed fourth place with 71 points. Both teams improved from the meet last year in which the men and women got third and seventh place, respectively.

However, the 16 other schools were not the only challenge the athletes faced on Saturday. The 15–23 mph winds affected runners’ times and added another obstacle to the already stiff competition. The wind was strong enough to add as much as 4.9 seconds to some runners’ scores.

“Mentally, that’s something you can get over. We weren’t taking into account what the wind could do,” junior Katie McKay said.

McKay took second place in the 800 meter run with a time of 2:16.99. It was a tight race where McKay was only a tenth of a second behind the first-place finisher. Freshman Kayla Leland came in third with a close time of 2:17.21.

“There were people that were constantly pushing the race the whole way. But gosh, if I had ten more meters, I know I could’ve gotten it,” McKay said.

Even with the competitive teams and the harsh wind, the women’s team still had a number of people take top scores. Sophomore Maggie Callan took third place in the 400 meter hurdles with a time of 65.10. The women’s ‘A’ team, consisting of freshman Kayla Leland, freshman Kathryn Jentz, Callan and McKay, took second place in the 4x400 meter relay. Whitworth’s ‘B’ team took seventh in the event.

Junior Kierstie Shellman took fourth place for the women’s pole vault with a height of 9.5’.  Second place in the women’s discus throw went to senior Courtney Fairhart with a distance of 135.5 feet. Fairhart’s throw was less than three meters away from first place.

The women’s hammer throw was a close competition that ended with first place going to junior Dakota Kliamovich. Kliamovich’s throw of 164’ gave her a lead of only 3’.

The men’s team brought in a lot of points by having athletes in the top three of seven different events.

“Our biggest competition consisted of guys from out of state and my own teammates,” senior pole vaulter Joe Green said.

Senior Matthew Landon finished half a second behind first place in the 100 meter dash with a time of 11.64. Junior Nicholas Gosselin took third place in the 400 meter dash. Gosselin’s time of 48.63 beat his previous personal best of 48.75.

Whitworth’s relay team consisting of senior Wes Sitser, Gosselin, junior Trent Alsin and Landon, took first place in the 4x100. Their time of 42.20 gave them a lead of .60. In the 4x400, Whitworth’s teams took first and third place with times of 3:24.04 and 3:27.09.

Runners were not the only ones affected by the wind on Saturday.  Those competing in field events felt the effect on their performance as well.

“I would say mentally, I had to prepare for [the wind], because I knew the conditions would not be as prime as the last meet,” Green said.

Green’s preparation paid off when he won first place in men’s pole vault with a height of 15’1’’. Each of the top three pole vaulters achieved a height of 15’1’’.

“That was my opening height. So I was thinking that if I don’t make this I don’t place,” Green said.

Sophomore Everett Kleven was also one of the top three in men’s pole vault. The top three were able to hold a 3.75’’ lead over fourth place.

In men’s shot put, junior Scott Mayfield took a narrow second place. Mayfield’s distance of 47’5.75’’ feet beat third place by .75’’.

One of the most impressive performances was that of senior Chase Wright in the men’s javelin throw. Wright took first place with a distance of 215’7’’ and beat out second place by more than 16’.

Wright said his throw boosted his confidence as he enters conference, but it was not necessarily easy.

“We had some really tough wind that made it difficult to throw. There was a lot of good competition there and a good group of guys,” Wright said.

Whitworth took part in two competitions this week. On April 13-14, the Pirates competed at the Northwest Conference Combined Championships in Tacoma. On April 16, the Pirates host their annual Whitworth Twilight Invite at 2 p.m. in the Pine Bowl.

 

Peter Houston-Hencken

Staff Writer

Mike Sando: Whitworth, the west side and the web

Mike Sando has been writing about sports as a journalist since the 1990s, most recently with ESPN.com. His experience as a sports writer stretches back to his time at Whitworth University, though Sando’s desire to be a journalist began even earlier. “I pretty much knew from high school that I wanted to be a sportswriter,” Sando said. “At the time, newspapers were where to go.”

As part of a 10th-grade career-research project, Sando spoke to professional journalists in his home town of Sacramento, California. Sando said the advice the writers gave him was the best he has ever received.

“They said, ‘Just take classes and enjoy what you’re doing,’” Sando said. “I think that’s so important for whatever job you do, too. If you can love it, then you’ll be impassioned.”

Aside from the advice given to him by professionals in Sacramento, Sando’s father became the primary reason for him going to Whitworth, as his father was a 1960 Whitworth grad. When his father died in March of Sando’s senior year, Sando still did not know where he was going to college, but made his decision soon after.

“When he passed away, I decided to go [to Whitworth],” Sando said. “I had been up there for a visit, but I drove up there not knowing anybody and just started fresh.”

Sando’s experience writing his first article for The Whitworthian in 1988 sticks with him. Assigned to cover a football game between Whitworth and Central Washington University, he did not expect what ensued.

“The headline that was put on [the article] was something like ‘Wildcats annihilate Bucs.’ It was a pretty harsh headline. I never even saw it. I didn’t even know,” Sando said. “So I get back to my dorm room and there’s a sign on my door threatening physical harm for the article I’d written. There were multiple football players that lived down there and some are my buddies still to this day, but I was shook up.”

Sando wrote the article entitled "Wildcats annihilate Pirates" in 1988.

The experience did not sway Sando from being a sports journalist, and he became the sports editor of The Whitworthian a few years later. Looking back on his role during that time, Sando said he thinks of his time with newspaper production as a valuable experience.

“I can remember spending the entire night on Sunday nights,” Sando said. “We would have to produce the paper, and we had these early Macintosh computers and I can remember just being in that office. We had to get them to the printers at 6 a.m. in the morning or something. We’d be there the whole way through. You’d stay up the whole night. I think if you’re passionate about something you want to do, there’s an element of a grind to it.”

During his time at Whitworth, Sando interned at The Spokesman-Review, spending six months as a reporter and six months as a copy editor.

“It was a great experience for me because it got my foot in the door in high schools and high school tournaments,” Sando said. “[It was great] to be in the office in that environment where you’re editing the copy that comes in and learn what does and doesn’t work.”

Joe Palmquist, who was the assistant sports editor at the time and now serves as the head sports editor of The Spokesman-Review, said Sando approached the editors of the sports section and asked if there was any work he could do.

“He was this tall, gangly kid, real young,” Palmquist said. “We said, ‘We’ll put you to work taking phone calls,’ but his interest was pretty obvious right from the beginning that he wanted to do more than just take phone calls. He was eager to learn everything he could and he was really into sports. You could tell that.”

Sando’s opportunity with The Spokesman-Review came partly with the help of a Whitworthian colleague. Greg Orwig, Whitworth vice president of admissions and financial aid, was a classmate of Sando’s and served as the news editor during the time Sando served as the sports editor of The Whitworthian.

Orwig noticed Sando’s potential and encouraged him to approach the sports staff, Orwig said.

“He was very sharp, very good writer, quick writer, good editor and being colleagues on The Whitworthian, you come to appreciate people who get it and know what they’re doing,” Orwig said.

Sando used his time at the Spokesman copy desk to read through and get an understanding for good writing and what it took to emulate it, Palmquist said.

“I think reading a lot of copy really helped and he just had a great natural curiosity,” Palmquist said. “I mean, he loved sports. Some people are just natural at it and he was one of them.”

After getting his first full-time job at the Spokesman as a copyeditor, Sando eventually transitioned to covering the Eastern Washington University basketball and football beats. Things moved quickly for Sando then as he took over a vacant seat covering Washington State University football when he was 26.

John Blanchette, who was working as a sportswriter for the Spokesman at the time, said Sando had an interesting confrontation with then-standout WSU quarterback Ryan Leaf over something Sando wrote in an article.

“I can’t even remember the circumstances of it, but something he had written had somehow, and I’m sure it wasn’t even remotely bad in terms of being hypercritical,” Blanchette said. “It was just because it was Leaf. I think it was a practice, and Mike had a ball go whizzing by his head and Leaf said, ‘If I wanted to hit you I could,’ and he didn’t throw a slow ball.”

The level of profile with the WSU football beat eventually gave Sando some notoriety, Sando said.

“At the time, my good friend from Spokane, Dave Boling, had left to take a columnist job in Tacoma. Then, what are the odds that two years there on the WSU beat, after getting some really good experience covering the prime beat at the paper, what are the odds that John Clayton, one of the foremost NFL beat reporters at any newspaper in the country, is going to be leaving the Tacoma News Tribune to work at ESPN the magazine?” Sando said.

What improved the situation was the fact that not only was Boling working for the Tribune at the time, but he and Clayton were the traveling NFL columnists, Sando said.

“Dave was like, ‘Hey, you got to do this man. You don’t even know how good this would be.’ And I didn’t. I had no idea. I wasn’t even that initially interested,” Sando said. “Then we talked it over, I sent in a resume and months went by. Finally I interviewed and I ended up getting it, but to think it was all part of some grand plan by me- not at all.”

Boling, who continues to work as a sports columnist for the News Tribune, said Sando did a lot more for himself in getting to the Tribune then he gives himself credit for. Boling simply pointed the Tribune in Sando’s direction, Boling said.

“It was very impressive how he jumped in and quickly started developing sources,” Boling said. “I think part of that is his strengths as both a reporter and a writer. There’s a lot who are one or the other, but it’s far rarer to find somebody who has both.”

When Sando arrived at the Tacoma News Tribune as the new Seattle Seahawks beat reporter, his dedication and maturity allowed him to be successful, said Dale Phelps, managing editor of the Tribune.

“He’s a mature guy. At that time he was pretty young and covering a professional sports beat for the first time, but he had the kind of maturity where he could do that,” Phelps said. “He’s a hard-working guy, very detail-oriented. It’s important on beats like that because they’re very complex.”

Due to the fact that Sando was inheriting a beat in which the previous reporters had established a working relationship with Seahawks head coach Dennis Erickson, Sando says he was at an initial loss without an established relationship. However, Erickson was soon fired and Mike Holmgren was brought in. Sando then took it upon himself to do a profile piece on Holmgren right from the start, Phelps said.

“Mike went down and talked to Holmgren’s junior high teacher and stuff and really wrote a terrific story about it, but the story also had the benefit of impressing Holmgren,” Phelps said. “Holmgren knew Sando was doing all this work and that the guy was really all in and committed to his job.”

As the 2006 NFL Draft approached, though, the idea for a Seahawks draft blog would send Sando’s writing from the west side of Washington across the country. To provide more in-depth coverage of the Seahawks in the draft, Sando was tasked with creating a blog to integrate fan interaction and following. The web traffic on the newspaper website as a result of this story was unprecedented, Phelps said. They kept the blog going afterward.

“The thing that he got earlier than most people was the digital push that was going to transform our industry,” Phelps said. “He got it, he bought into it, he was an industry leader on it. I remember as part of the sports editors convention and stuff speaking at those about the things we were doing, and it was primarily Sando; he was getting a reputation throughout the industry as the front of the digital push and ultimately that’s what kind of got him his job at ESPN.”

When considering one’s career, it is about making the most of what one has in front of them. Continually focusing on doing a good job now will set one up better in the long term, Sando said.

“I’ve never felt ambitious like I’m plotting my next move,” Sando said. “I’m ambitious with what I’m doing now with the belief that if you like what you’re doing and you do it really well, it’ll probably work out better than if you’re scheming and trying to get somewhere. I just kind of take it as it comes.”

 

Connor Soudani

Sports Editor

Softball wins first two, rained out

Last Saturday, the Whitworth softball team played two games against the Pacific University Boxers, winning the first game 4-2 and the second game 5-0. The team played the Boxers again for two more games on Monday. Those results can be found online at whitworthpirates.com. The Saturday game began with the score tied 0-0 after the first inning; however, a home run by sophomore catcher Kayla Batastini resulted in bringing sophomore infielder Kelsey Stroshine and sophomore infielder Tessa Matthews through home, bringing the score up to 3-0. Stroshine would later land a hit that resulted in sophomore utility player Shannon Wessel reaching home as well in the sixth inning, bringing the score up to 4-0. At the top of the seventh inning, the Boxers scored two runs of their own, but were unable to surpass or tie Whitworth’s score. The game ended with a 4-2 win for the Bucs.

“Scoring early on allowed our pitchers to not be as stressed out,” freshman outfielder Chelsey Hayes said.

The second game kicked off with Whitworth scoring two runs in the first inning due to Matthews landing a hit that allowed senior outfielder Peyton McMahon and junior outfielder Alyssa Hall to make it home. That was followed in the second inning by Hayes landing a hit that resulted in a Whitworth run by Batastini. In the sixth inning, junior catcher Megan John landed a hit which allowed Stroshine to add another run to the board. John would eventually score by walking to home due to a fielding error, resulting in a final score of 5-0.

“It was really awesome to come out and win the first two games against a team we lost to last year,” Batastini said.

“Our team played united in every aspect of the game. We gelled with each other, which is our goal- unity,” Stroshine said.

Next week, the softball team plays on Wednesday for a doubleheader against Eastern Oregon University.

 

Will Carsh

Staff Writer