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Locally: Eastern Washington-Idaho football game named first Root Sports Game of the Week

UPDATED: Sat., July 6, 2019, 8:28 p.m.

The Eastern Washington Eagles were favored to win the Big Sky Conference football title in both the coaches and the media polls. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
The Eastern Washington Eagles were favored to win the Big Sky Conference football title in both the coaches and the media polls. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Eastern Washington and Idaho have the honor of kicking off the 2019 Big Sky Conference football television Game of the Week schedule on Root Sports.

It’s the fourth game of the season for both schools, but the Eagles’ Sept. 21 visit to the Kibbie-ASUI Activity Center in Moscow to face the Vandals will not only be their conference opener, but also the first game of the Big Sky-Root television package. It’s set for a noon kickoff.

Both schools will appear on the Game of the Week three times, with Eastern entertaining Northern Colorado at Roos Field with a 1 p.m. kickoff on Oct. 12 and playing Montana at Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula on Oct. 26. That game time has yet to be announced.

Idaho’s other appearances will be Oct. 19 against Idaho State in Moscow and at Montana on Nov. 9.

Only the start times for the first four games have been set. They also include Montana at UC Davis on Sept. 28 at 1 p.m. and Idaho State at Montana on Oct. 5 at noon. Montana will appear on the Game of the Week six times.

Other games in the package include Southern Utah at Montana State on Nov. 2, Weber State at Montana on Nov. 16 and the Montana-Montana State game in Bozeman on Nov. 23.

Eastern and Idaho open their seasons on Aug. 31, with the Eagles playing at Washington with a noon kickoff on the Pac-12 Networks and Idaho playing at Penn State with a 12:30 p.m. start. The game is to be televised on the Big Ten Network.

• The Big Sky Conference announced its channel lineup on Pluto TV will be changing for the 2019-20 school year due to growth in the Pluto TV platform.

All Big Sky channels will move from the 200 to the 500 channel block, with the conference’s two main channels at 530 and 531 on Pluto TV. Eastern Washington’s channel will be 534 and Idaho’s will be 542.

Others: Portland State, 532; Sacramento State, 533; Weber State, 535; Southern Utah, 536; Montana, 537; Montana State, 538; Northern Arizona, 539; Northern Colorado, 541; Idaho State, 543; Cal Poly, 544; UC Davis, 545.

College scene

Gonzaga rising seniors Kyle Everly and Vincent Rettke had successful outings recently in summer men’s tennis tournaments.

Everly, playing as the No. 4 seed, won five matches to capture the Laguna Creek Sports Club USTA Tournament in Elk Grove, California. After four straight-set wins, Everly needed three sets to get past the No. 2 seed in the title match.

Rettke, the No. 3 seed in the 2019 Atlanta City Open Southern Championship in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, won four matches, three in straight sets, to reach the final before falling to the top seed.

GU incoming freshman Eric Hadigian also fared well, reaching the semifinals in both singles and doubles before falling in the Adidas Open Championships in Portland.

• The Gonzaga women’s basketball team will spend nearly two weeks abroad, traveling in Spain and Italy from Aug. 10-22 during the first foreign trip in program history.

The Zags will play three games against international competition in Barcelona, Rome and Florence and have multi-day stays in those cities as well Venice, Vatican City and Lucca. The NCAA permits schools to participate in a foreign tour once every four years.

Washington State women’s rower Ivy Elling Quaintance was named to the 2019 Pocock All-America honorable mention list by the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association.

The junior from Sidney, British Columbia, concluded her second year as a member of the varsity eight in the seven seat after rowing with the second varsity eight as a freshman. WSU finished 14th at both the 2018 and ’19 NCAA Championships.

Eleven members of the WSU women’s rowing team were named 2019 National Scholar-Athletes by the CRCA with GPAs of 3.5 or above.

Seniors Paige Danielson (4.0) and Taija Thompson (3.64) were honored for the third straight year and were joined by seniors Sara Brevick, Linnea Davison and Hannah Welzbacker, receiving their first award.

Juniors Elling Quaintance, Renee Kemp and Kamila Ondrackova received their second honor, while junior Isabella Cristelli and sophomores Emma Barrett and Chloe White earned their first.

Kylee Dickinson, a Pacific Lutheran junior rower from University, was named a CRCA scholar-athlete for a second straight year with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above.

• Seniors Mason Elms and Marissa Mount were selected by the Northwest Conference as Whitworth’s Scholar-Athletes of the Year for 2018-19.

Elms, a four-year member of the Pirates’ football team from Sedro-Woolley, Washington, with a 3.858 GPA, capped his collegiate career with 142 carries for 774 yards with 11 rushing touchdowns, which led the NWC. He also had 25 receptions for 246 yards and two TDs for 78 total points. He was second-team All-NWC for a second straight year.

Mount, a four-year athlete from San Jose, California, who is the NWC’s NCAA Woman of the Year nominee, spent three seasons in cross country and two in track while maintaining a 4.0 GPA that has gained her multiple honors.

She played soccer in high school, but a herniated disc forced her into looking into another athletic venture in college. Because she had run the 400m one year in high school, she thought that may provide the answer. But it just brought frustration.

So Mount turned to distance running and became a two-sport NCAA Division III All-American, collecting honors in cross country in 2018 and in track and field in both 2018 and 2019.

• A record 1,155 student-athletes have been recognized by the Northwest Conference for achieving a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or higher at the end of the 2018-19 academic year.

Athletes from area high schools who are on that list (all Whitworth unless otherwise noted; * indicates also received first- or second-team All-NWC):

Baseball: Tyler Bailey*, sr., Mt. Spokane; JT Phelan, jr., East Valley; Taylor Poffenroth*, so., Spokane; Matthew Pulliam, sr., Mt. Spokane; Tyson Yamane, jr., Warden, Washington/Big Bend CC; Trainor Warren, so., Pacific, North Central.

Men’s basketball: Isaiah Hernandez, jr., Lewis and Clark.

Women’s basketball: Jordan Smith, jr., Mt. Spokane.

Men’s cross country: Matthew Christianson, so., Cheney; Gabriel Meek, jr., NC.

Women’s cross country: Emily Armstrong, fr., LC; Mary Neder, fr., St. George’s; Kristen Wanke, Whitman, jr., NC.

Football: Zach Hillman, jr., Post Falls; Brian J. Mullin, fr., Moses Lake; Gunnar Swannack, jr., Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls); Richie Houser, George Fox, sr., Post Falls.

Men’s golf: Sam Stiles, jr., Mt. Spokane.

Lacrosse: Trinity Frank, fr., Gonzaga Prep; Lauren Taylor, jr., Northwest Christian.

Rowing: Kylee Dickinson, Pacific Lutheran University, jr., University; Elizabeth Horner, fr., PLU, Mt. Spokane.

Men’s soccer: Devonte Gorman, so., East Valley; Drew Williams, jr., NC.

Women’s soccer: Annie Clark, so., G-Prep; Sidney Weiler*, sr., CC Spokane, U-Hi; Cassidy Crosswhite, so., PLU, Freeman; Liz McGraw*, sr., Puget Sound, Moses Lake; Lura Morton, sr., UPS, Moscow, Idaho.

Women’s swimming: Megan Washburn, jr., Moses Lake.

Women’s tennis: Halle Berg, so., Clarkston; Laney Search, so., George Fox, Sandpoint.

Men’s track & field: Matthew Christianson, so., Cheney; Travis Herrera, so., Ferris; Gabriel Meek, jr., NC; Matt Naccarato, jr., Central Valley; Joseph Tingstad, so., Pullman; Kasey Johnson, sr., PLU, Colfax.

Women’s track & field: Amy Blyckert, sr., CV; Alexis Caniglia, fr., Ferris; Isabel Clark*, jr., Northwest Christian; Neder, St. George’s; Anna Johnson, fr., George Fox, U-Hi; Neely Harding, jr., PLU, U-Hi; Morton, UPS, Moscow, Idaho.

Volleyball: Laney Search, so., George Fox, Sandpoint; Maddison Tollett, so., Pacific, Ferris.

• Two sophomore athletes each from North Idaho College and Community Colleges of Spokane were named Baden NWAC Athletes of the Year for 2018-19.

NIC honors went to Rayquan Evans in men’s basketball and Madi Mott in softball. CCS awards went to Joelle Mahowald in volleyball and Micaela Kostecka in women’s cross country.

Evans, a point guard, led NIC to a 31-2 record and a second consecutive NWAC championship, averaging 18.2 points. The two-time championship tournament MVP was second in the league in steals (79) and third in assists.

As a pitcher, Mott compiled a 25-2 record for the two-time NWAC champion Cardinals with a conference-leading ERA of 1.61 and 240 strike outs. At the plate, she batted .508 with a league-leading 27 home runs and 74 RBIs. The NCAA Division II St. Leo (Florida) signee is a two-time NFCA All-American and NWAC Player of the Year.

Mahowald, a middle blocker from Lakeside of Nine Mile Falls, led the NWAC in hitting (38.9%) and was second in blocks per set (1.05). She was the championship tournament MVP as the Sasquatch capped a perfect 40-0 season with Spokane’s ninth team title. Mahowald has signed with NCAA Division II Montana State Billings.

Kostecka, a Division II Western Washington signee from Mt. Spokane, was the 2018 NWAC cross country champion with a 12-second margin over the 2017 champion to whom she finished second as a freshman. Her victory led the Sasquatch to their sixth consecutive women’s title and 18th in program history.

• Seven Community Colleges of Spokane athletes from area high schools who have a GPA of 3.25 or better received NWAC Academic Excellence Awards for the spring quarter in baseball, softball, track and field, tennis and golf.

Baseball: Brenden Duncan, North Central; Ryan Gross, Gonzaga Prep. Women’s golf: Brooke Fraser, Mt. Spokane. Softball: Laurie Jones, Shadle Park; Melina Mendoza, Shadle Park. Men’s tennis: Gavin Hewett, Lewiston. Men’s track & field: Marcus Rice, Shadle Park.

Golf

Gonzaga incoming freshman Cassie Kim earned a spot in the 2019 U.S. Girls Junior Championship July 22-27 in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, by finishing as co-medalist Monday at the sectional qualifier in Everett, Washington.

Kim, a native of Yakima who recently won the PNW Junior Championship, and Madison Wu of Dublin, California, shot 1-over-par 73s at the Everett Golf and Country Club.

Hockey

George Ross, who has been a part-time area scout for the Spokane Chiefs the last five years, has been promoted to director of United States scouting, the Western Hockey League team announced.

Ross has been primarily a bantam scout since the 2014-15 season, focusing on prospects within his home state of Minnesota, before expanding those boundaries in 2016. In his new role, he will oversee all scouting in the U.S. and assist as needed in British Columbia.

He expects to relocate to Spokane in August.

Matt Leduc’s clean hit – “the Hit” – that leveled Everett Silvertips star Connor Dewar on April 13 to swing momentum in the fifth game of the second-round playoff series, with Spokane trailing 1-0, was voted the Chiefs’ 2018-19 Play of the Year. Spokane went on to a 2-1 win to close out the series that night.

Letters of intent

EWU volleyball: Hailee Etter, OH/MB, Shadle Park/North Idaho College, jr., All-NWAC East Region first team as a sophomore, second team as a freshman; Alisha Straw, OH, Freeman/CC Spokane, jr., All-NWAC second team as a sophomore; Ashlyn Blotzer, MB/RS, Corona, Calif./UC Riverside transfer, so.; Nicoletta Capizzi, MB, La Verne, Calif.; Emily Johnson, S/DS, Washougal, Washington; Ka’ehukaiiha’amaina’e Keala, RS/MB, Honolulu; Renata Lopez-Morales, OH/MB, Guadalajara, Mexico; Leah McAdams, RS/S, Tucson, Arizona; Malie McClure, DS, Kane’ohe, Hawaii; Ana Paula Zandona, S, Belo Horizonte, Brazil/Trinity Valley CC, jr. (All will be incoming freshmen unless otherwise indicated.)

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