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

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

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

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

Track teams sweep Northwest competition at UPS

Both of Whitworth’s track teams took first place in the UPS 5-way meet this Saturday.  The Pirates took first place in 15 events over Western Washington University, Lewis & Clark College, Seattle Pacific University, and University of Puget Sound. Junior Katie McKay broke her personal record for the 800-meter run with a time of 2:15.58.  McKay was ahead of the pack the entire race and finished with more than a five second lead.

“It’s exciting to start out with a PR, because then I look forward and see that I have about two months left, which is plenty of time to look ahead to nationals,” McKay said.

McKay holds 4th place in the NWC for the 800 meter.

The Pirates won the men’s javelin event due to a 63.35m throw from senior Chase Wright.  Wright had been recovering from an injury prior to the meet, but overcame the challenge and qualified for the NWC Championships.

“It’s all on the trainers and the coaches. The whole week before the meet they made sure I was ready to go,” Wright said.

Three Pirates received qualifying marks in the women’s discus event, including senior Courtney Fairhart who won the event with at 42.66m throw. Second and third place went to sophomore Danielle Openiano and senior Elke Neuenschwander, respectively.

“I’m going to take each meet one day at a time. If I win again, that’d be great, but if one of my teammates also wins, that’d be awesome,” Fairhart said.

Whitworth took many other first-place finishes. Senior Kendall Chin received a time of 11:35.35 in the women’s 3000 meter steeplechase and freshman Kayla Brase took first place in Women’s Long and Triple Jump. The women’s 4x100 meter relay team ran a time of 49.79.

The men were able to claim victory in the 100, 200, and 400-meter dash.  Freshman Daniel Harper ran a 1:57.51 800, while Whitworth’s 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams each took first place. Senior Joseph Green cleared a 15’11” pole vault and senior Corey Burt threw the shot 49’4.5” for first place for the shot put as well.

At the end of the meet, the Pirates walked away with 56 qualifying marks between 42 people.  Head Coach Toby Schwarz said he hopes every member of the team will receive a qualifying mark to go to the NWC Championships.

“We had 27 men and 27 women on this trip and 21 men and 21 women qualified.  We are about halfway there to getting everyone qualified. Not bad in the first meet,” Schwarz said.

Whitworth’s next meet will be on Tuesday, March 10 at the Pine Bowl. The Pirates will compete in a dual meet with Lewis-Clark State.

 

Peter Houston-Hencken

Staff Writer

Women's basketball ends tournament run with loss to UPS

The women’s basketball team suffered a defeat from the Puget Sound Loggers, 71-64, Thursday night. Their loss in the semifinal round ended the Pirate’s run in the Northwest Conference Tournament. The Loggers took control of the first half by taking an eight-point lead only five minutes into the game. The Pirates picked up their offense when freshman Callie Harwood scored a 3-pointer and helped bring the score within four..

“The excitement of the loud crowd and the vibrant atmosphere got [the Loggers] pumped up and it got us rushing things a bit,” head coach Helen Higgs said.

The Loggers were able to widen their lead by shooting 83.3% from the strike. By 7:38, the Loggers held a nine-point lead at 22-13. Whitworth once again attempted to even the score with the help of senior forward Katara Belton-Sharp who led the Pirates’ offense for the first half.

The Puget Sound lead varied throughout the first half, but was still in UPS favor, 34-29, at halftime.

The UPS lead diminished in the second half when the Pirates began to drain more shots. However, it did not happen right away. The half began with the Loggers scoring six points while the Pirates could only earn two.

At 14:11 the Loggers held their biggest lead at 48-33. Puget Sound held a strong lead until 9:03, when Harwood made a layup that started Whitworth’s comeback.

After numerous timeouts, the Pirates were able to slowly close the gap. In the two and a half minutes between 4:46 and 2:07, Whitworth was able to score 11 points, while the Loggers were only able to score three.

“We talked about extending the pressure, and then we ran a few sets, and we tried to get different looks at shots,” Higgs said.

With the help of junior guard KC McConnell, the Pirates were only behind by one point with a score of 65-64. Belton-Sharp also assisted in the comeback by scoring seven points in the second half.

The last two minutes of the game helped the Loggers acquire their victory. By hitting six free throws, UPS iced the contest with a score of 71-64.

George Fox defeated Whitman 78-64, so the Loggers and the Bruins will compete in the tournament final on Saturday night.

 

Peter Houston-Hencken

Staff Writer

 

Women's basketball drops to No. 3

Last weekend ended with the women’s basketball team achieving a crushing victory over the Pacific Lutheran University Lutes, 75-52 and suffering a defeat from the Puget Sound University Loggers, 82-78. The Friday night game against PLU started off with the Pirates gaining six points in the first two minutes. The Lutes were able to pick up two free throws but only at the expense of the Pirates scoring another six points.  By the first timeout at 14:03, the score was 12-2. Whitworth’s lead would not drop below 10 points for the rest of the game.

The Lutes had trouble handling the ball throughout the entire first half. They were unable to shoot or pass effectively, and ended up committing 19 turnovers by the end of the game.

Whitworth’s offense in the first half was led by junior guard KC McConnell with 14 points.

“Our offensive strategy was to move the ball around and to get as many hands on the ball as possible. When we got our defense moving, it seemed to work for our offense,” senior forward Lexie Zappone said.

The first half ended with the score at 38-12, but the Lutes buckled down on their accuracy and scored 40 points in the second half. Senior forward Jessica Kramer helped the Pirate offense by shooting back-to-back baskets from the field before retiring from the game after her fourth personal foul.

“Our defense is what definitely got us going. We tried to make them take shots that they’re not comfortable with,” coach Helen Higgs said.

The Pirates were able to score 37 points in the second half and ended the game with a score of 75-52.

The Saturday night game against the Loggers began on a high note for the Pirates.  McConnell and senior guard Kendra Knutsen were able give the Pirates a four-point lead less than five minutes in. By the first timeout at 10:53, Whitworth held the lead at 15-11.

However, once the Loggers scored seven points and took the lead at 7:39, it was a fight for the lead for the rest of the half. The first half ended with the Loggers in the lead, 36-30.

“The combination of their balance and actually hitting their shots was hard for us to defend,” junior reserve Faith Emerson said.

The Pirates struggled to keep up with Puget Sound in the second half, trailing by as many as 14 points at 8:17. Knutsen was able to bring the heat on offense and score 19 points in the second half. A narrow victory seemed within the Pirates’ grasp after senior forward Katara Belton-Sharp drained a 3-pointer, narrowing the gap to only five points with 21 seconds left on the clock.

“We wanted to use a quick trap to see if they’d turn it over. If they got through that then we’d just foul them so they’d have to come down and shoot free-throws and we would gain possession and score,” Kramer said.

The Pirates were unable to win or tie the game after giving the Loggers three points in free throws.

Whitworth lost their No. 2 seed in the NWC and finished the weekend with a record of 12-4 in the conference. The Pirates will face the Loggers again on Feb. 26 for the NWC Tournament Semifinals.

 

Peter Houston-Hencken

Staff Writer

Basketball splits last regular season home games

NOTE: The version of this story that appeared in Issue 9 of The Whitworthian incorrectly quoted Head Coach Helen Higgs as saying, "We were playing hard, but we were running around without any direction." The quote should have read, "We were playing hard, but we were running around without much direction." The article in this online edition reflects this change.  

The women’s basketball team battled through some close games last weekend. The Friday night match entered an intense overtime and ended with the George Fox University Bruins’ narrow win, 53-52. The next day, the Pirates achieved victory against the Pacific University Boxers, 66-58, and ended the weekend with a record of 11-3-0 in conference play.

The Friday night game demonstrated how evenly matched the Bruins and Pirates were with each half ending with one team ahead by only one point.

The first half began with both teams scrambling for a solid lead. Whitworth managed to pull ahead with the help of junior forward KC McConnell and held a small lead for most of the first half. However, George Fox was able to make a comeback and end the half with 23 points and a one-point lead.

Head coach Helen Higgs trained the Pirates to avoid a repeat of the last George Fox game, which resulted in a dramatic 70-39 defeat.

“We attacked their zone a little bit smarter this game, so we got a little bit better shot selection,” Higgs said.

Whitworth’s defense had a rocky start in the second half, allowing George Fox to hold their lead with a score of 31-24. But the Pirates soon took charge with help from senior forward Katara Belton-Sharp, scoring six baskets from the field as well as a 3-pointer.

“We definitely emphasized defense in practice. This week especially, if you missed the box-out, you had a set of lines, or you were pulled from the drill,” Belton-Sharp said.

The Pirates’ offense improved in the second half and put up an additional 29 points for the Bucs. However, the Bruins success on offense continued as they scored 28 points during the half and tied the game at 51-51.

The match on Friday night progressed into overtime due to a last-second, crowd-electrifying 3-pointer from Belton-Sharp to tie the score. George Fox scored a field goal 40 seconds into overtime. Whitworth was able to answer with a free throw, putting them within one. With only a minute left, the Pirates attempted to take the lead, but were unable to convert on their final play and score a last-second 3-pointer.

The game ended with George Fox winning, 53-52. After this weekend, George Fox’s women’s basketball team has a record of 13-0.

The game on Saturday night against Pacific did not start off in Whitworth’s favor. In the first two minutes, the Boxers started off strong and scored six points. While the ball seemed to stay on Whitworth’s side of the court, Pacific’s offense scored quickly on each of its possessions.

Whitworth was able to score 22 points in the half, but its defense was lacking. Despite McConnell’s 3-8 shooting, the Pirates were behind after allowing Pacific to score 29 points in the first half.

“We got angry that we were down at half. We played passive in the first half, so we just buckled down on defense,” McConnell said.

The Pirates turned the tables on the Boxers for the second half by tying the score five minutes in. After senior guard Lexie Zappone hit a 3-pointer, putting Whitworth ahead, the Pirates held onto their lead for the rest of the game.

“Our focus was the first thing that changed [in the second half], and then our energy together.  We came together as a team, and we picked up our defense, which led to our offense,” Zappone said.

Zappone and McConnell carried the team in the second half scoring 22 and 17 points, respectively, en route to a 66-58 victory.

“We talked about being more focused, mentally. We were playing hard, but we were running around without much direction. You have to think about what you’re doing,” Higgs said.

Pacific University left Whitworth with a record of 5-8-0.  Next weekend the Pirates will face the Pacific Lutheran Knights in Parkland, Washington, and the Puget Sound Loggers in Tacoma.

 

Peter Houston-Hencken

Staff Writer