Back on top: Softball clinches NWC championship

Andrew Goodwin | Sports Editor

For the third straight season, the Northwest Conference champions will reside in Spokane.

Whitworth softball won the championship-deciding fourth game of a four-game series on Saturday afternoon to secure a split with the Linfield Wildcats, which was all the Bucs needed to win the title.

Whitworth won the second games of Friday and Saturday doubleheaders to split the series. The Bucs won 4-1 on Friday and 6-3 on Saturday. Linfield defeated Whitworth 5-0 on Friday and 7-2 on Saturday.

In Saturday’s clincher, Whitworth’s offense jumped on the scoreboard early. Michelle Silva, ‘18, got the party started with a bases-loaded double in the first inning. She then scored on a sacrifice fly by Madi Perez, ‘17. In the second inning, Shannon Wessel, ‘17, plated two more Pirates on a single to center field.

“All I was thinking was ‘see the pitch come all the way in and hit it hard,’” Silva said. “I wanted to take advantage of any good pitch I got.”

The six runs would be all Perez needed. The senior tossed seven strong innings, allowing just three runs to the conference’s top offense. Perez scattered 10 hits, walked one batter and struck out another.

“I wasn't nervous going into it,” Perez said.“I know my team can come through when they need to.”

For the weekend, Perez carried the Bucs in the circle. She started in all four games and limited a powerful offense enough for the Pirates to split. Perez threw complete games in both Whitworth wins this weekend.

“During the games I was running on adrenaline, so I wasn't focused on my body,” Perez said. “I'm definitely tired now that I've gotten to sit down for a little, but with two days off and some ice I will be good to go.”

On the weekend, Silva drove in five runs in the Bucs pair of victories, including the three-RBI double which kicked off the Bucs title-clinching win today. Senior designated player Myranda Ramirez knocked in two runs with a double of her own in Friday’s 4-1 win.

The series split ensured the Bucs will host the Northwest Conference tournament for the third consecutive year. The tournament will take place April 21-23 at Diana Marks Field. Specific game times are TBD. Whitworth is still looking for their first tournament title.

Temporary Pirates provide lasting legacy

Michelle Silva | Staff Writer

The 2016 Whitworth baseball team began their season facing the third-ranked school in the nation, Emory University.

 Ryan Bird, '17 (Hannah Brekke | Photographer)

Ryan Bird, '17 (Hannah Brekke | Photographer)

Down by four runs through the sixth inning, the Pirates were in an offensive battle and made a comeback at the bottom of the seventh inning. A 7-7 at the bottom of the ninth sent the game into extra innings.

In the bottom of the 10th inning then-junior Anthony Bonilla entered as a pinch-hitter and led off with a double to the right-center gap.

With Bonilla standing on second-base, the next pinch-hitter was Ryan Bird. Bird came in clutch with a walk-off double over the left-fielder’s head that scored Bonilla and earned the Pirates the big win.

The coaching staff knew that mental toughness would help bring in the winning run. Assistant coach CJ Perry works alongside transfer students at Whitworth. He said this game was the perfect time to show their “toughness factor.”

Bird and Bonilla are only two of the nine transfer players on the baseball team.

“It’s good to have that veteran presence of them,” Perry said.

While head coach Dan Ramsay does a lot of recruiting, Perry is also working behind the scenes as a transfer counselor. Working in Whitworth’s admissions office since 2012, Perry is knowledgeable about the process that transfer students encounter.

To help ease the transition Perry said  “It’s important to book meetings with the student’s advisors and coaches.”

Transfer players have a lot to offer on and off the field because “they each bring something a little different,” Perry said.

Current seniors on the team Bird and Bonilla were both recruited by Perry while playing for their previous school, Wenatchee Valley College. With two years of college ball under their belts, they had a lot to offer to the Pirate baseball team, Perry said.

Transfer players like Bird and Bonilla arrive to Whitworth mentally and physically prepared for the busy schedule of a student-athlete. Connor Sand, a sophomore on the baseball team, said Bird and Bonilla bring in different talents and perspectives to the team

“I like to lead by example rather than being vocal by taking what I learned from another place for two years,” says Bird.

Junior Joel Condreay has been part of the baseball team for three years. Adding transfer players to the baseball team contributed largely to the program’s success because of their diversity, Condreay said.

 Jacob Yamane, '17 (Hannah Brekke | Photographer)

Jacob Yamane, '17 (Hannah Brekke | Photographer)

“The coaches have done an excellent job of bringing in transfers that both help us on the field and fit into our program's culture,” Condreay said. “Our conference championship last year, and the rest of our successes over the last few seasons, can be attributed in large part to the contributions of transfers.”

Team members transferred in from various locations. Senior Jacob Yamane came from a school in Plainview, Texas and fellow senior Daniel Casanova originally played in  Dubuque, Iowa.

“All of us having those different experiences with coaches and teams helps us come together and figure out what’s going on,” Bonilla said.

Bonilla mentioned the comfort that comes with being a transfer student-athlete. He says that having prior experiences helped prepare him for big moments like the Emory game.

“It’s easier from a leadership standpoint, because we step up and help out the team,” Bonilla said.

In their 2016 season the Pirates faced Pacific University in a nail-biting series. The transfers came in clutch at the bottom of game one’s eighth inning. Similar to Emory, Bird was chosen to pinch hit once again.

With two outs, Bird drove a double down the left-field line advancing the tying run to third-base. Condreay proceeded with a single where Bird came around to score as the game-winning run.

The Bucs will need to pull on that same magic this weekend against Pacific on April 14 and 15. The team will face Pacific at home for their senior weekend, and the Bucs need a sweep to make the Northwest Conference tournament. The seniors being celebrated include transfer players Bonilla, Bird, Yamane and Casanova.

How they got here: The athletes' side of the recruiting equation

Andrew Goodwin | Sports Editor

Whitworth athletes have plenty to balance.

Between classes, workouts, friendships, practices, homework and weekends away at games, Pirates need to manage a truckload of factors that affect their lives.

Being recruited requires high school athletes to do the same by balancing factors like academics, playing time, future coaching style and location all while living their usual lives as student-athletes.

 Kyle Cacoyannis, '18, received Division I interest from schools in his home state of California before choosing Whitworth thanks to head coach Morgan Cathey. 

Kyle Cacoyannis, '18, received Division I interest from schools in his home state of California before choosing Whitworth thanks to head coach Morgan Cathey. 

The recruiting process begins with coaches, who use a general process The Whitworthian outlined here. Coaches scout and obtain background information on players’ grades, character and skill level before approaching athletes. Then, the process is put fully into an athlete's hands.

Usually, the process begins for athletes during their junior year of high school. For sports which play year-round like soccer and basketball, contact can happen at club soccer and AAU basketball tournaments where coaches have a chance to scout a bevy of athletes at once.

Sophomore Madison Moffat and junior Kyle Cacoyannis were both contacted by their current coaches at tournaments during the end of their junior years. Women’s basketball coach Helen Higgs and men’s soccer coach Morgan Cathey, respectively, approached club coaches after a game to ask about their potential interest before speaking with the athletes themselves.

“My first impression of Morgan and [then-assistant coach Bryan Olson] was they were energetic and positive,” Cacoyannis said. “I could tell by the way they were talking to me that they had big plans.”

Other schools were interested in Moffat and Cacoyannis as well. Division III women’s basketball powerhouse George Fox also recruited Moffat, while Cacoyannis received interest from Division I schools University of the Pacific and UC-Davis. Both students said they chose Whitworth for the same reason: they felt the coaches cared about them.

“Morgan, I could tell, cared for me,” Cacoyannis said. “For the most part, it was an easy decision.”

 Madison Moffat, '19, floats up a shot against George Fox earlier this season. Both the Bucs and Bruins recruited Moffat out of high school, but she chose Whitworth because of their high academic standards. 

Madison Moffat, '19, floats up a shot against George Fox earlier this season. Both the Bucs and Bruins recruited Moffat out of high school, but she chose Whitworth because of their high academic standards. 

Moffat concurred with Cacoyannis’ assessment, saying Higgs has the same attitude toward players when they’re on campus and being recruited, which she found to be positive. Cathey stood in contrast to coaches at Cacoyannis’ Division I options, who saw him as just another talented player.

Moffat and Cacoyannis also committed in part thanks to Whitworth’s academic reputation. Whitworth’s rate of post-graduation employment and graduate school acceptance, 94% according to the university’s website, played into her decision, Moffat said.

While Cacoyannis and Moffat had more typical recruiting processes, for other players the process becomes a little more interesting due to late twists in fortunes.

Freshman Shirley Chandler wondered if a wrench had been tossed in her plans to come to Whitworth when former women’s soccer head coach Jael Haggerot resigned in November of Chandler’s senior year. Like Moffat and Cacoyannis, relationships with coaches were a major factor in her commitment, Chandler said.

“When I heard about the resignation, my heart dropped,” Chandler said. “[Haggerot] was the kind of coach and person I want to play for.”

After the resignation, Chandler considered de-committing and exploring her options, she said. Prior to meeting Haggerot, Chandler didn’t want to go to a small school or stay in her home state, Washington.

 Shirley Chandler, '20, prepares for next season at one of the Bucs first outdoor practices of the spring. 

Shirley Chandler, '20, prepares for next season at one of the Bucs first outdoor practices of the spring. 

Other schools expressed interest during Chandler’s senior year including Division III Claremont-Mckenna and NAIA-affiliated Westmont College.

In the end, Chandler re-affirmed her commitment after her first conversation with Olson, the newly hired head coach.

“Part of me asked if this new coach was even going to like me,” Chandler said. “But he was so much nicer than I could have expected. He put all of my doubts at ease.”

Once the reluctant recruit, Chandler is now one of Olson’s best recruiters as a player, he said. Chander said she enjoys spending time with recruits during their visits, and encourages former teammates and friends to join her as Pirates. Chandler attributed Olson’s comments to how much she enjoyed her freshman year and relationships with teammates.

“On this team, you work hard because you love the person next to you,” Chandler said. “If I would have visited campus after this season, I would have fallen in love with Whitworth.”

Sophomore Hugh Smith took a little longer than Chandler, Moffat or Cacoyannis to discover Whitworth, but found a home academically as well as an all-conference pitcher for Pirate baseball.

Smith’s recruitment was a notable break from Whitworth baseball’s usual recruiting cycle, where coaches try to identify recruits by the summer after their junior year. Whitworth pitching coach CJ Perry spoke with Smith about attending Whitworth during the summer after Smith’s senior year.

Smith pitched against the summer baseball team Perry coaches in the offseason. The athleticism and pitch control Smith possessed in his warm-up convinced Perry of his talent, he said. After head coach Dan Ramsay watched Smith’s dugout interactions when he wasn’t pitching, the coaches were sold on bringing Smith to Whitworth.

“We look for little things that show a pitcher is still interested in his team’s performance even though it’s not his day to pitch,” Perry said.

 Hugh Smith, '19, became a Pirate late in the recruiting process. Here, he pitches against PLU in mid-March of this year.

Hugh Smith, '19, became a Pirate late in the recruiting process. Here, he pitches against PLU in mid-March of this year.

Perry found out Smith had already decided to attend the University of Washington without continuing his baseball career, but was interested in still playing baseball, Smith said.

Smith visited Whitworth later that summer where he had a chance to meet with professors and the baseball team, he said. Professors spoke with him about small class sizes and their roles as advisors.

“Instead of being one-in-a-million at UW, I felt I would be valued more as an individual student here,” Smith said.

While UW may have presented Smith with more opportunities to do research, the biophysics major said he has no regrets about coming to Whitworth and “loves” the Division III experience.

Women's tennis sweeps Loggers, Lutes

Jonah Snyder | Staff Writer

The Whitworth women’s tennis team had a pair of conference matches this weekend and won convincingly with two 9-0 wins.

The first match of the weekend was against PLU, a win as it finished 9-0. In doubles, Whitworth swept PLU with scores of 8-1, 8-3, and 8-6.

The dominance did not stop there as the singles won all but one single match in straight sets capping off the second 9-0 win against PLU this season.

Freshmen Erica Lee, fourth in the singles lineup, won her match against PLU’s Emily Beemsterboer 6-4, 6-3.

“I think this win shows that we’re very consistent as a team,” Lee said. “We’ve been working really hard on just being mentally tough and fighting for every point.”

The next match was against UPS and the women were able to get revenge as they lost last time 5-4. Whitworth won this match in dominant fashion, 9-0.

The doubles teams won with scores of 8-6, 8-5, and 8-3. The singles won all their matches in straight sets.

“It felt good to beat UPS this time,” Lee said. “This sets us up for a very competitive last couple matches.”

The wins were especially relevant to the team, because they came on senior day.

Lone senior Bella Hoyos won her final home match of the year 7-5, 7-5, the tightest and most competitive match of the day.

“It felt really good, it is always fun to come out and play for Whitworth,” Hoyos said. This is the last home match I am ever going to have and even though winning isn’t everything, it was a cool way to go out with my parents and coach Rachel [Aldridge] watching me and being there for me all four years.”

Hoyos left an impact on her teammates in her final year here. Lee feels close to Hoyos and feels she has been a fantastic role model, she said.

“Bella has been such an inspiration and role model for how to act on and off the court,” Lee said. “I aspire to be like her as a player and a person.”

The Whitworth women’s tennis team will be on the road to close out their season after a couple of victories as they face Pacific University on Friday April 14 at 4 p.m. and Linfield University on Saturday April 15 at 11 a.m.

Wildcats dominate Pirates in McMinnville

Jackson Bell | Staff Writer

The Linfield Wildcats swept the Whitworth Baseball in conference play, dropping the Bucs’ conference record to 9-12, but the Pirates were able to hang onto the last, non-conference game of the weekend.

The Pirates suffered a heavy loss in the first game falling 14-4 to the Cats, but kept the second game close, losing only 3-2 after 11 innings.

During the first game on Sunday the Pirates gave up another 10 runs to the Wildcats, losing the last conference game 10-4.

The Bucs won the final, non-conference, game 9-3 to finish off a tough weekend.

The Wildcats dominated the first game on Saturday. The Bucs were unable to drive many runs in during the 14-4 loss, scoring only in the fifth on a solo home run from senior Jordan McGowan and in the ninth on a three-run home run from senior Ryan Bird.

Linfield took advantage of the slow Whitworth offense late in the game with two, five-run innings that put the game well out of reach of the demoralized Whitworth lineup.

Sophomore Ryan Kingma was credited with the first loss on Saturday, dragging his record to 3-3 after giving up six earned runs on seven hits.

The second game went into extra innings as the Pirates fought to stay in the conference standings. The tight game was led off by two Linfield runs in the second inning. The Pirates battled back with one run in the fourth and another in the eighth on a sacrifice fly from Bird which scored the tying run. The game then fell into the 11th inning when Linfield’s Cameron Fox hit a walk-off home run to finish it.

Starting pitcher Matthew Young, ‘20, led the Whitworth defense, allowing only five hits and no walks through eight innings. Young’s record was  unaffected though, as the reliever Kelly Fitzpatrick, ’17, came into the game to give up the solo, walk-off home run.

The powerful Linfield offense again controlled the game early on Sunday. The Bucs allowed 10 runs versus their own four in the third game, falling behind quickly in the first and second innings. The Pirates runs came from another solo home run from McGowan, a two-run home run from senior Matthew Nelson and a sacrifice out from senior Nate Lamberty.

The Pirate pitcher, Brady Simmelink, ’18, was not conducive to the Bucs’ struggle, giving up seven hits and seven runs in the one and two-thirds innings he was active. His performance led to his first loss of the season, bringing his record to 3-1. Sophomore Darren Crosby relieved in the second inning and finished the game for Simmelink, giving up only three runs.

The Pirates were able to hold onto the last game, securing their only victory of the series. The Bucs lineup was aggressive after three losses, scoring four in the first inning and capitalizing on three Linfield errors. The Bucs showed their speed, earning hits off a few infield grounders. Nelson continued the home run streak by the Pirate batters with a solo home run in the sixth and bringing the score to 7-3 before the Pirates scored two more in the seventh.

Pitching for the Pirates, TJ Orchard, ‘18, earned his first win of the year, giving up only two earned runs and striking out five Wildcat batters. Sophomore Matthew Pulliam came in the game in the seventh to relieve, and gave up only two hits and a walk through three innings.

Whitworth will take on Pacific University at home this weekend in a last chance struggle for a playoff position, Friday April 14 at noon.

Softball sets up title fight with series win over PLU

Andrew Goodwin | Sports Editor

Whitworth softball’s winning streak ended at 14 games after winning the first three games, but dropping the fourth in a four game series against Pacific Lutheran this weekend.

Senior Madi Perez led the way from the circle by picking up a pair of wins and a save on the weekend. The wins were Perez’s 16th and 17th of year. She currently leads the nation in victories.

Whitworth’s weekend started well as the Bucs snagged a Saturday sweep. Perez shut out the Lutes in game one as the senior struck out two batters and allowed just four baserunners. It was the first of two shutouts on the weekend for Perez.

““When Madi, or any of our pitchers, are throwing well, I think it really gives us confidence in our ability to win,” Shannon Wessel, ‘17, said. “It makes us want to work hard for them as well both on defense and offense.”

In game two, Ashley Trueblood, ‘19, continued a nice day for the Pirates in the circle. The sophomore tossed 5 1/3 innings. She gave up just three runs on six hits and struck out three Lutes.

The Pirate offense scored all of their Saturday runs after the third inning, but did enough damage to win both contests. The Bucs scored four in each game to secure 4-0 and 4-3 wins on the day. Wessel led the offense with four hits and two RBIs.

“Sometimes it takes us a bit to figure out what the pitcher is throwing,” Wessel said. “Each pitcher we face is different, but our offense is really good at making adjustments.”

On Sunday, the offense sputtered, totalling just four runs between the two games. Freshman outfielder Kinsey McNaught scored two of the Bucs’ four runs in a 3-0 game one win where Perez threw her second shutout. Wessel, Michelle Silva, ‘18, and Logan Miller, ‘20, drove in the Bucs’ three runs.

Sunday’s second game marked the end of the Pirates’ 14 game winning streak. PLU’s Elli Rassbach allowed just five Bucs to reach base and allowed only one run to earn her ninth win of the year. The PLU offense heated up as well, getting 17 runners on base in a 7-1 win.

Whitworth’s series win sets up a huge weekend for the Bucs on the road. The Pirates travel to Linfield next weekend to take on the Wildcats for the Northwest Conference title. If Whitworth wins one of the four games in McMinnville, they will win their third straight conference title. If Linfield sweeps Whitworth the conference tournament will be in McMinnville.

Pirate offense sends Pioneers packing

Jackson Bell | Staff Writer

Whitworth baseball swept the Lewis and Clark Pioneers in a four-game series this weekend, improving their conference record to 9-9.

The Pirates’ wins on Saturday and the first game Sunday moved them to the fourth-place position in the conference standings, tied with Whitman College.

Senior Garrett Hughes led the Pirate offense with nine hits through the four games and five stolen bases.

In the first game on Saturday, the Whitworth lineup went to work quickly in the second inning, beginning to chip away one run at a time, when senior Jordan McGowan batted fellow senior Matthew Nelson in on a sacrifice fly. The Bucs scored again in the third, this time thanks to a single from Joel Condreay, ’18, scoring Hughes.

The Pioneers got on the board in the fifth, but the Pirates answered quickly with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning. The Bucs then closed the door for a Pioneer comeback with one more run in each the seventh and the eighth. Whitworth went on to win 5-1.

Starter Hugh Smith, ’19, (3-3) and reliever Darren Crosby, ’19, dominated the Pios’ batting, allowing only seven hits between the two arms and striking out just as many.

The Pioneers scored in the first inning of the second game thanks to a sacrifice by Connor Eggleston which scored Cooper Larson, but the Pirates immediately answered back by scoring three in the bottom of the inning.

After one more run scored in the third by the Pirates, the Pioneers tied it up at four runs in the top of the fourth thanks to a double by Matthew Donovan to score Ryan Ericksen and a sacrifice ground out by Chandler Vieira, allowing Ben Beck to score. In the bottom of the inning, the Bucs took the lead again thanks to a solo home run by senior Ryan Bird.

The game then went scoreless until the bottom of the eighth when Nelson singled to right field, driving in Condreay and Bird.

Starting the game on the mound, Ryan Kingma, ’19, threw for three and two-thirds innings giving up the Pioneers only four runs. Credited with the win, Matthew Pulliam, ’19, improved his record to 1-0 in the 7-4 win, and pitched for the next three and a third innings before TJ Orchard, ’17, took over. Orchard was quickly removed after giving up two hits and a walk, allowing Kelly Fitzpatrick, ’17, to take over and finish the game, earning his fourth save.

The Bucs dominated the first game on Sunday. By out-hitting the Pioneers 15-5, the Pirates were able to score nine runs on pitchers Robert Reaser and Nat Richman.

Going into the fifth inning, the game was tied up at one run apiece, when senior Jacob Yamane took a ball out over the left field fence, starting what would be a five-run Whitworth inning. The Pirates continued to hit well, scoring two more in the sixth and one in the seventh.

From the mound, the freshman Matthew Young pitched a nearly complete game, allowing only four hits and striking eight batters out. His records improves to 4-2 after the 9-2 victory over the Pios.

In the last game of the weekend, a non-conference game, the Pirates once again came out of the gate swinging. The Bucs lineup scored five runs in the first inning thanks to hits from a plethora of Whitworth hitters. Freshman Cody Simmons finalized the rally with a two RBI double to deep left-center field.

The Pioneers didn’t earn a run until the fifth inning when Sean Shepherd hit a home run, earning three RBIs. The Pirates replied in the bottom of the inning, scoring two more of their own on a single by Simmons and a double from freshman Jake Desidorio.

Brady Simmelink, ’18, earned the 10-5 win after giving up seven hits and three earned runs, improving his record to 3-0. The game was finished up by three more Whitworth pitchers, senior JD Page, junior Taylor Hillmick and freshman Collin Anderson.

The Pirates will take on the Linfield Wildcats on the road next weekend, April 8 and 9.

Softball cuts down Loggers to elevate win streak to 11

Andrew Goodwin | Sports Editor

Whitworth softball made their only home games of the year count this weekend. The Bucs extended their spring break winning streak to 11 games with a series sweep over the Puget Sound Loggers.

The Pirates defeated the Loggers in the first three games: 9-2, 7-4, and 10-0. The other win was an exhilarating 7-6 comeback victory in the final game of the series.

The Bucs led the final game 3-0 entering the top of the seventh inning, but the Loggers wouldn’t quit. Puget Sound scored six runs in the inning off the Bucs’ best two pitchers, Madi Perez, ‘17, and Ashley Trueblood, ‘19. Freshman Megan Truesdale had to relieve Perez  to stop the bleeding and put the game in the hands of her offense.

“I know my defense could back me up,” Truesdale said. “I thought we just needed to get one out, and then we’ll get to go hit and win the game.”

Truesdale turned out to be right as her seniors rolled out big hit after big hit. Myranda Ramirez, ‘17, Shannon Wessel, ‘17, and Michelle Silva, ‘18, rolled singles through the UPS infield to load the bases for senior Tessa Matthews. For her part, Matthews drove in two runs with a single to center field. The hit cut the deficit to 6-5.

The single gave Perez a chance for redemption after giving up the lead in the top of the inning. She took advantage. Perez doubled to the left-center field gap to tie the game, scoring Silva. After a single and a strikeout, the game came down to junior catcher Allie Rude, ‘18. Known as a glove-first catcher, Rude hit a walk-off single to center, scoring Matthews to give Whitworth the sweep.

“[The comeback] wasn’t surprising,” coach Cristal Brown said. “We have come to expect it with this team.”

The win came after the Bucs soundly defeated the Loggers in the first game of the day. Perez tossed a five-inning no-hitter and smashed a grand slam to center to give Whitworth a mercy-rule win in five innings.

On Saturday, the Pirates played just as well. They picked up their first win of the weekend 9-2 thanks to a seven-run fifth inning in which Whitworth earned 13 at-bats. Silva did damage with a two-run double and Matthews singled home an RBI of her own.

Ramirez was the MVP of Saturday’s second game. She drove in six runs for the Pirates with a pair of two-out hits. Ramirez doubled to left field in the second inning and homered to center in the fourth.

“Myranda has a great bat,” Brown said. “That’s why she’s our designated player. It was nice to see her hit with such power.”

Trueblood picked up the win thanks to four and one third innings of three-run pitching. Truesdale gave up just one run in two and two thirds innings to earn the save.

The Bucs hit the road next weekend to take on fourth place PLU on April 8-9. The first games of the two days will be at noon. Nightcaps are scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

Pirates extend NWC lead with strong week

Andrew Goodwin | Sports Editor

While many college students traveled to exoctic locales for their spring break, Whitworth softball headed to Portland this week to take on a pair of Northwest Conference foes.

The Bucs exited the weekend with seven wins and just a single loss. The successful week brings their record to 21-5 with a league-leading 14-2 mark in the Northwest Conference.

Pirate pitchers Madi Perez, ‘17, and Ashley Trueblood, ‘19, had outstanding weekends from the circle. The two starters combined to allow one run or less in six of the Bucs’ eight games, including an extra innings showdown with George Fox in the final game of the week.

Despite Perez’s best efforts, however, the Bucs dropped the first game of the week against Pacific 1-0. Kinsey McNaught, ‘20, and Desi Graham, ‘19, picked up the Pirates’ only two hits, and Pacific’s Katelyn Macaitis-Smith punished a rare mistake pitch from Perez for the Boxers’ lone run.

The Bucs bounced back after the loss to snag a series win with three consecutive victories over Pacific. Whitworth’s offense came to life, scoring 24 runs in three games to earn the wins by scores of 3-0, 15-1, and 6-4.

“As a team, we don't let little things defeat us mentally and came back strong in the last three games,” McNaught said.  

Though their record against George Fox doesn’t support this fact, the Bucs had a bit more trouble with the Bruins in their second series of the week.

Whitworth pulled out a pair of 1-0 wins, one each on Wednesday and Thursday, thanks to Perez’s outstanding work in the circle. In fourteen total innings of work Perez struck out seven Bruins and allowed just five hits.

The Pirates won their other two games against the Bruins after trailing in the late innings. On Wednesday, George Fox lead the Bucs 6-4 late in the game. The Pirates would need a comeback in the top of the seventh to secure the win.

Rheanne Lewis knocked in fellow freshman Natalie Edlin to close the gap to 6-5 before Shannon Wessel tripled to right-center field, scoring Lewis. The Bruins then intentionally walked junior Michelle Silva to no avail, as Perez drove home Wessel with a single to third base, making the score 7-6.

In the final game of the weekend, the Bucs needed an extra inning to finish off a 5-2 win.

Myranda Ramirez, ‘17, singled home the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth, but Whitworth wouldn’t have made it to extras without the work of McNaught. The freshman drove in both of Whitworth’s two runs during the first seven innings to keep the Pirates in it. She also scored Whitworth’s second run of the eighth inning.

“My coaches pulled me aside between games and helped me out mentally,” McNaught said. “They helped me remember to trust my skills and just do what I always do.”

The Pirates will look to continue their seven game win streak this weekend, when they will play at home for the first time this season.

“I actually don't even know what it's like to play at home yet,” McNaught said. “ I know it will mean a lot to the seniors to finally be back on our field.”

Whitworth will take on Puget Sound this weekend in another four-game series April 1-2. The Loggers currently own an 11-14 overall record with a 4-10 mark in Northwest Conference play. The first games of both days will take place at noon with the nightcaps scheduled for 2 p.m.

Track and field performs well at Sam Adams Invite

Andrew Goodwin | Sports Editor

Whitworth track and field hosted a record-breaking Sam Adams Classic on Thursday and Friday at the Pine Bowl.

Junior distance runner Kayla Leland broke the school record in the 5,000-meter race with a time of 17:07.11, finishing nearly 45 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor. Leland also finished third in the 1,500 meters with a time of 4:44.56.

Andrew Bloom, ‘17,  highlighted the weekend on the men’s side. Bloom won the javelin with a throw of 216’ 11” for his third straight first place finish. Danielle Openiano finished out a solid weekend for the throwers with a first place finish in the women’s shot put and a third place finish in discus.

Sprinters had a nice weekend as well. Freshman Sarah Cool won the 200-meter dash with a time of 26.01 and finished second in the 100 meters with a time of 12.73. Jacob Sturtevant, ‘17, won the 200 meters on the men’s side. He finished with a time of 22.51.

Nick McGill, ‘20, scored 5,407 points on his way to a second place finish in the Decathlon. Junior Kayla Brase scored third on the women’s side with her 4,130 points.

Pirate relays totaled up a victory and a pair of runner-up finishes on the day as well. The men’s 4x400 team led the way with a winning time of 3:25.91. The women’s 4x400 team and 4x100 finished in second with times of 4:13.06 and 49.48 respectively. The 4x100 time was a season record for the Bucs.

Track and field will be back in action on April 1. The team travels to both the Shotwell Invitational at Puget Sound and the Linfield Invite. Both meets begin at 10 a.m. The Bucs’ next home meet will be April 13 at the Whitworth Twilight Invite.

How Whitworth coaches recruit to a Division III school

Andrew Goodwin | Sports Editor

In college athletics, recruiting may be one of a coach's most difficult and important jobs.

It involves discovering talented athletes, convincing them to go to a school, and ensuring that anywhere from enough 18-year-olds end up on campus every year.

At a Division III school like Whitworth the challenges can be even more significant. While Division I and II schools offer athletic scholarships, Division III schools, such as Whitworth, cannot.

 Basketball recruiting by the numbers. All numbers are approximate and vary year-to-year. (Rain Emerick | Graphics Editor)

Basketball recruiting by the numbers. All numbers are approximate and vary year-to-year. (Rain Emerick | Graphics Editor)

“We recruit harder than scholarship schools because we have to,” baseball head coach Dan Ramsay said. “I can’t dangle money in front of a recruit’s face. I can’t entice them that way.”

Though coaches all work differently and the process is complicated, recruiting can be broken down into several steps. It begins in a recruit’s junior year of high school and continues until they officially begin practice.


Step 1: Fill the Pool

The first step in the process for Whitworth coaches can begin as early as two years prior to recruits becoming student-athletes.

In order to recruit student-athletes, coaches need to find them. This involves creating a “pool” of potential Whitworthians. Coaches say these athletes come from a variety of sources; recruiting services, high school or club coaches and players themselves contacting Whitworth’s coaches. Most, if not all, of those athletes go in the initial pool of potential recruits.

“We make it a point to follow up with every single player who contacts us,” women’s soccer coach Bryan Olson said. “We don’t want to see anyone down the road playing for UPS who says we never called them back.”

The size of the pool depends on the size of the team. The football team, which consists of over 100 student-athletes, has a 1,000 recruit pool, head coach Rod Sandberg said. Smaller teams, like soccer or baseball, usually begin with a pool of 120-250 recruits to be whittled down to smaller recruiting classes.


Step 2: Evaluate

The process of whittling classes down takes place over about a year before the recruits visit campus during their senior year of high school.

Evaluation varies by team, but most coaches evaluate recruits based on three characteristics: academics, talent and character.

Sidebar Preview: An athlete's perspective on recruiting

Michelle Silva | Staff Writer

Editor’s Note: The Whitworthian sports section is taking March and April to explore athletic recruiting at Whitworth.  We asked Whitworth softball player and Whitworthian feature writer Michelle Silva to talk to a teammate about her recruiting process to preview our next piece on the topic, which will come from the athlete’s side of the recruiting equation.

For senior softball player Shannon Wessel the recruiting process took four years. Wessel was encouraged to play college softball when a senior on her high school team committed to a university in New York, she said. The four years of recruiting involved a lot of traveling, college research and campus tours.

Only two percent of student-athletes end up playing at the collegiate level. The recruiting process is a unique experience for every athlete. It can be exciting and overwhelming all at the same time.

“I knew I didn’t want my high school games to be my last ones,” Wessel said.

To begin the process, Wessel joined a club softball team named the Nevada Lightning. The team competed in several showcase tournaments and camps where college coaches came to recruit players. Wessel’s club team had a recruiting coordinator travel with them who aided her team to contact college coaches.

The Lightning team members had weekly ‘homework’ assignments assigned by their recruiting coordinator. Wessel’s tasks included looking into potential colleges that she thought could be a good fit. She then gathered the specific school’s contact information to call the coaches.

Wessel said that it’s important to “make yourself stand out in some way, do research so you know what you’re talking about.”

Wessel learned that phone calls are more personal and can give an athlete the chance to connect at a personal level, because college coaches are barraged with emails every day. One phone call could set one apart from other athletes.

After Wessel called Whitworth softball’s assistant coach, Randy Clark, he flew to Las Vegas to watch her in action. Coach Clark was instantly impressed by Wessel’s athletic abilities, Clark said.

“What stood out was her aggression and quickness. That combo is very nice to have the way we like to play,” Clark said.

Physical abilities aren’t the only traits that coaches look for when recruiting. It’s also important to maintain a positive attitude. That’s another aspect that Clark paid attention to while scouting Wessel.

Clark said Wessel had a  “great and identifiable concern for others with a humble spirit throughout.”

Although the interest was there, she was still hesitant to commit right away.

“It was really hard to make the decision because I knew it would be the place that I’d spend four years at,” said Wessel.  

That’s why there’s a lot of value in going on official school visits, Wessel said. She knew that she was willing to commit to Whitworth when she stepped foot on campus.

Between the friendliness of the coaches, the hospitality of the students and the well-kept Diana Marks softball field, Wessel felt confidence in her final choice, she said. After all the years of hardwork and patience, it was the campus visit that sold her, said Wessel.

“It’s scary to not know where you’re going to end up,” said Wessel. She stressed the importance of going on campus visits to have a true vision of what a potential school is like in person.

It all started with a phone call for Wessel. She does not regret her decision of coming to Whitworth, she said. After her graduation this spring she plans to pursue a masters in teaching program this coming summer at Whitworth. She hopes to provide a good experience to other prospective students and to make others feel like it’s the right fit just like it was for her.

“The first factor for us is academics,” Ramsay said. “If they don’t fit the academic profile of Whitworth, we don’t recruit them.”

Focusing on academics is important to Whitworth coaches for a variety of reasons. First among them, recruits have to be accepted to Whitworth as students before they can participate in athletics.

Good students also receive larger financial aid packages, which can be the difference between a recruit affording Whitworth or being forced to go elsewhere, men’s soccer coach Morgan Cathey said.

Reasons for recruiting good students can be personal as well.

“Myself and [pitching coach] CJ Perry are alumni,” Ramsay said. “Every kid who leaves here with a Whitworth name on his degree represents us too.”

After discovering an athlete’s academic track record, coaches evaluate their talent and character. Talent, they say, is the easier of the two.

“If you take ten college coaches, have them watch the same game, and tell them to pick the best three players they’ll usually pick the same three guys,” Cathey said. “To find great character, and young men who will fit Whitworth is much more difficult.”

One aspect of recruiting every coach is firm in is not settling for two of their three categories. Recruits either qualify by being in all three categories or Whitworth coaches don’t recruit them.


Step 3: Recruit, Recruit, Recruit

Once coaches decide which athletes are good fits for their teams, it’s time to get them on campus. This is where the more publicized process of recruiting begins. Coaches build relationships with students and sell their teams and the University.

Cathey said this is the easiest part of the process for him, because he doesn’t see the process as selling. The process turns into transferring enthusiasm from coach to recruit, he said.  

“I know I am at a place here where young men are going to be valued on and off the field,” Cathey said.

Cathey noted that a current recruit who has scholarship offers from Division I and II universities is now coming to Whitworth because of the University’s commitment to community on and off the field.

Community is a key selling point for the women’s basketball team as well, along with academics and athletic excellence. Those three selling points can set Whitworth apart from other schools, head coach Helen Higgs said.

Current student-athletes can be the physical embodiment of their coaches selling points. If student-athletes in their program enjoy their time at Whitworth, they will tell others to join the team, Olson said.

Olson listed freshman defender Shirley Chandler as one of his team’s best recruiters. He estimated that six or seven former classmates of Chandler’s from Monroe High School have visited Whitworth due to her enthusiasm about the women’s soccer team.

“I didn’t know there were so many people in Monroe, Washington,” Olson said. “We’ve met, I think, every single girl from her high school because Shirley is having a great experience and is telling everyone she can about it.”

Selling points can only take coaches so far though. The most important step, they say, is to get recruits on an official visit to Whitworth. On those visits, players meet any assistant coaches they haven’t talked to yet and stay the night with current players in residence halls.

“The number one recruiters in our program are our players,” Sandberg said. “I can talk to [recruits] until I’m blue in the face, but when they hang out with our players they see if it’s true or not.”

Visits serve two purposes. They show off the campus and facilities to recruits, as well as current student-athletes, coaches said.

The baseball team encourages students to visit twice, once as an unofficial visit during the summer, and a second time during the fall as an official visitor, Ramsay said. Baseball coaches lead a tour of the facilities in the summer, while school-year visits consist of more time spent in the Whitworth community.

“We sell the people,” Sandberg said. “The people here are special.”

Regardless of the team they’re being recruited for, coaches say getting recruits on campus matters the most in recruiting at Whitworth. Often, it finalizes the recruit’s decision to be a Pirate, because they decide Whitworth is better than the recruit’s other options, Cathey said.


 Soccer recruiting by the numbers. All numbers are approximate and vary year-to-year. (Rain Emerick | Graphics Editor)

Soccer recruiting by the numbers. All numbers are approximate and vary year-to-year. (Rain Emerick | Graphics Editor)

Step 4: Fill the Spots

Each coach enters a recruiting season with the number of recruits at each position they need to be successful. Women’s soccer loses five players to graduation in May at positions all over the field. Olson filled their gaps in the roster with four committed recruits.

The small number of spots can leave coaches with tough decisions though, since most don’t want to add too many players.

“We never want to saturate a position with players,” Cathey said. “It’s not fair to people.”

Coaches have different strategies to fill the holes of graduating seniors without oversaturating. Men’s soccer recruits three or four players per position in each class, and the first to commit to filling the spot earns the place, while the rest are told the spot is full, Cathey said. Women’s soccer uses a similar technique, Olson said.

Coaches agreed that the best way to fill spots is through communication. Recruits have to know what spot they are filling, and where they will sit on the depth chart, Ramsay said.

From there, the decision is up to recruits, and in the end the process is in their hands. Some recruits choose to become Pirates, while others do not, and coaches simply have to keep working.

Step 5: Repeat

Once the current crop of Pirates is locked in to coming to Whitworth, the process begins anew with the next group. Coaches begin evaluating, recruiting, and filling spots for the next class the second the current recruiting cycle is over. Often as soon as one step in the process is over for a cycle, coaches begin it for the next one.

Women's tennis splits Western Washington road trip

Jonah Snyder | Staff Writer

The Whitworth women’s tennis team had an up and down weekend facing Pacific Lutheran University and University of Puget Sound. The results for the weekend were a win against PLU and a loss against UPS.

Whitworth started off the weekend with their 9-0 win against PLU.9-0. All singles matchups won in straight sets to cap off a dominant match. Freshman Erica Lee won her match against PLU 6-0, 6-0.

“The team came out and competed really well,” Lee said. “I think I played really well and I hope to play at the same level in upcoming matches.”

This win gave Whitworth their third win of the year and third win in Northwest Conference.

After their victory against PLU, the Bucs headed down to UPS. This was an incredibly close affair as it finished with a score of 5-4 in favor of the Loggers.

“It was a hard loss but they are a good team,” Lee said. “We will work hard in the upcoming weeks to be ready to take them on again in a couple of weeks!”

Senior Bella Hoyos, sophomore Paige Rohrbach and Lee were won their singles matches, splitting even with UPS 3-3 in singles matches. For doubles, the decisive match was a close 9-7 match that UPS won over Whitworth. The Loggers won two out of three matches in doubles.

The loss dropped Whitworth to 3-6 on the year and 3-4 in Northwest Conference.

Next up for Whitworth is a trip to southern California for three matches. They will face Cal. Tech on the March 28, Cal. Lutheran on the March 29, and will finish their trip against Chapman on the March 30.

Warren Friedrichs: A Pirate for life

Michelle Silva | Staff Writer

A basketball coach, a professor, an athletic director, a current golf coach and a Heritage Gallery Hall of Famer, Warren Friedrichs has gone above and beyond for Whitworth University.

After 31 years working for Whitworth’s athletic department Friedrichs announced his retirement at the end of the 2017 school year.

Friedrichs graduated from Concordia College with an emphasis on ministerial work, psychology, and secondary education. He was a multisport athlete and participated in baseball, basketball and golf. Friedrichs knew that he wanted to pursue a career in athletics. After his undergraduate studies he got his masters degree in physical education from Eastern Washington University. He then finished out with doctoral work in physical education administration and sport psychology.

When Whitworth hired Friedrichs as the men’s basketball head coach in 1986 he planned on setting the bar high for the team. His mindset going into the job was optimistic. Friedrichs knew he wanted to create more of a competitive environment for the team.

“You always want to shoot for the stars,” Friedrichs said “It’s important to strive for conference championships and national tournaments because it will lead to hard work.”

Friedrichs made history by leading the team to their first conference tournament appearance in 1991. He carried on the success by winning five conference championships and made three national tournament appearances.

His career highlight was the 1996 men’s basketball national championship game in Boise. Whitworth’s president at the time Bill Robinson planned on cancelling school if the men made it to the championship game, Friedrichs said.

26 games later, the team reached the championship game. President Robinson stuck to his word and proceeded to cancel school. Six buses full of Whitworth students showed up to cheer on the Pirates. There was a total of 1,000 fans there.

The packed stands brought tears to his eyes, Friedrichs said.

Although the Pirates lost in overtime it was a game that he will never forget. In the end it’s the people that matter the most in athletics, said Friedrichs. The same 1996 men’s basketball team is in the Heritage Hall of Fame.

The secret to Friedrichs’ coaching philosophy is allowing student-athletes the freedom to be themselves on the field or on the court. It’s important to not complicate things and to keep the game as simple as possible, he said.

“You don’t want your players to play in fear,” Friedrichs said. That’s what set the 1996 Hall of Fame men’s basketball team apart from the rest. They were playing freely, he said.

Current men’s head basketball coach Matt Logie was hired by Friedrichs in 2010. Logie said that one of the first things that he noticed about Friedrichs was his ability to fill people up.

“He was a walking confidence booster that really made people feel good about themselves and what they could accomplish together at Whitworth,” Logie said. “He did things the right way and that has allowed our program to stay highly connected with our alumni.”

Logie also stated that Coach Friedrichs was detail oriented and “fundamentally sound” on the basketball court. The men’s basketball team has tried to continue Friedrich’s legacy of creating lifelong relationships within the Pirate community, Logie said.

On top of his success on the basketball court, Friedrichs also contributed to Whitworth’s golf program since 2002. Back then the program was limited in resources and facilities. In Friedrichs’ 14 years of managing the program, he has made a lot of changes.

Whitworth’s athletic director at the time Scott McQuilkin asked Friedrichs to reinstate the golf program. Friedrichs ended up turning it into a varsity level sport. Not only did he relaunch the men’s golfing program, but he also created Whitworth’s first ever women’s golf team all within the same year.

James Carroll is a senior on the men’s golf team. After three years playing for Coach Friedrichs, he’s taken away the importance of building strong relationships with others, he said. It’s never a one-way street for Friedrichs because he cares for everybody.

“His door is always open if we have to talk, even if it’s not about golf,” Carroll said.

When asked what he’ll miss the most about Whitworth University Friedrichs said he’s going to miss the students and faculty . “Now as I’m finished I reflect back on all the people that have been involved and put their heart and soul into it,” Friedrichs said.

Sometimes when he’s on his way to drop his grandson off at a preschool off-campus he automatically turns into Whitworth, Friedrichs said.

“It’s just an instinct” Friedrichs said. “This place is my second home.”

Friedrichs said there’s no doubt that he’ll stick around to continue supporting Whitworth’s athletic program. Until then he has one last season to finish strong.

“I’m going out full speed,” Friedrichs said.

To support Friedrichs’ last season check out the men’s golf schedule for upcoming matches.

Athletics adds women's lacrosse for 2018-19 season

Andrew Goodwin | Sports Editor

Women’s lacrosse is coming to Whitworth in the Spring of 2019

Whitworth University hopes to attract more student athletes and expand their athletic program through the addition of a woman’s lacrosse team. The creation of the team as Whitworth’s 21st varsity sport was recently approved by the President’s cabinet, athletic director Tim Demant said.

Suggestions for a women’s lacrosse team came from the Budget Rationalization & Prioritization Steering Committee’s 2017 report to create revenue. The program is estimated to cost the university $76,000 in fiscal year 2018 but bring in $233,000 in fiscal years 2019 and 2020.

“We looked for some areas where we could bring in more students,” Demant said. “We can now tap into a market of students who may not currently be coming to Whitworth.”

Tuition revenue isn’t the only reason for the team. Women’s lacrosse will also allow Whitworth to add points to their Northwest Conference all-sports trophy total, Demant said.

“It was an opportunity to add a sport the conference already had, and lacrosse is a fast-growing sport in the NCAA right now,” Demant said. “We wanted to get ahead of the curve and provide the opportunity for potential student athletes.”

Currently, only five schools in the conference play women’s lacrosse. Whitworth and Willamette both plan to add teams for the 2019 season.

In order to create the team the athletic department’s first step is to find a coach. The department submitted their job description to the University yesterday and plan to begin a national search, Demant said.

The athletic department hopes to hire a coach this spring in order to give them a year to recruit and develop potential athletes, Demant said.  

The team will play in the Pine Bowl, and practice both there and on grass fields, Demant said. The team will be able to practice and play outdoors all season long thanks to the latest facilities project for Whitworth athletics, which includes transitioning the Pine Bowl to artificial turf. Other upgrades to facilities include an upgrade to the Pine Bowl press box and a new athletics administration building. The estimated cost of the combined project is $13 million.