On September 13, 2017, Freeman High School was added to the ever-growing list of educational facilities across the country to experience an unthinkable act of gun violence. One student was killed, and three more seriously injured, at the hands of a fellow classmate.
One of the injured, Jordyn Goldsmith, was a freshman on the volleyball team.
Her story of recovery, perseverance and triumph in the past year and a half was the emotional highlight of the 2019 Spokane Youth Sports Awards at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox on Tuesday.
“It’s such a celebration of high school sports, not just in Spokane, but the entire Inland Empire,” Greater Spokane League and District 8 director Herb Rotchford said. “To be able to put something together like this and to celebrate the hard work, the effort and the success that these kids have – individually and teams – is fantastic.”
Goldsmith returned for one play at the end of Freeman volleyball’s state seventh-place win last year. This year, she was a contributing member of the volleyball team’s sixth-place finish at state. The 6-foot forward also earned first-team all-league honors in basketball – leading the Scotties in points, rebounds and blocked shots as a sophomore – all while maintaining a 4.0 grade-point average in an AP curriculum.
She, and the complete Freeman athletic department, were co-recipients of the SYSA’s “Against All Odds” awards sponsored by the Dan Fitzgerald Memorial Basketball Tournament. Goldsmith was presented a scholarship award for $2,500 and the athletic department was awarded a check in the same amount.
Goldsmith spoke of the responsibility she feels to the Freeman community.
“I kinda knew from the beginning,” she said. “I’ve taken on that role and tried to make the best of it.”
The big winner of the evening was Gonzaga Prep’s boys basketball team, which swept three awards: big school team of the year, big school coach of the year for Matty McIntyre and boys player of the year for Anton Watson.
G-Prep celebrated its second consecutive state title and Watson – who will play for Gonzaga next season – won a multitude of awards, including all-classification state player of the year by the Associated Press and “Mr. Basketball” by the state coaches association.
“It’s pretty sweet to be out here and get recognized with the team and have one last get-together,” Watson said.
“It’s very humbling,” McIntyre said. “I know there are a lot of great teams and coaches and players in our area, so we’re very honored to be a part of it.”
Mt. Spokane volleyball, which won its first state title this season, won the girls big school team of the year. The title capped a three-year run that included second- and third-place finishes.
The other multiple-category winners came from Colton basketball, where Dakota Patchen won girls player of the year and Clark Vining won small school coach of the year.
Colton won its 10th State 1B title in 11 seasons. Patchen was a huge part of that, finishing her career with 1,539 career points – second most at Colton – winning back-to-back AP State 1B player of the year.
“I couldn’t have done this without my teammates,” said Patchen, who liked the idea that the event recognizes smaller schools with the big schools – along with being on TV.
“It’s pretty neat, because nobody really knows about Colton,” she said. “So when they recognized us this year, it’s really cool for our town.”
Colton was edged by Oakesdale volleyball for girls small school team of the year. The Nighthawks won their fourth consecutive state title – and seventh in eight years – with an undefeated season.
The Colville football and wrestling teams shared the boys small school team award.
“It’s a really special group of athletes,” said Colville football coach Randy Cornwell, a small school coach nominee. “To have the year that we had this year where every program got to the top was really remarkable.”
The girls non-high school sport winner was Cassidy Wilson, a senior at Riverside High School who participates in shooting sports with Spokane Junior Rifle Club. Wilson was a silver medalist at the 2018 USA Shooting National Junior Olympic 3-Position Air Rifle Championships.
“We actually have a lot of girls that shoot,” Wilson said. “And we tell the boys it’s a compliment if you’re told that you shoot like a girl, because girls excel so much at this sport.”
Phillip Croft won the boys non-high school sport award. A junior at Valley Christian School, Croft is ranked first in the world in all of his wheelchair track events for the U20 division and his basketball team qualified for the National Invitational Tournament for the sixth year in a row and took fourth.
Complete list of finalists
1B/2B/1A coach: Brandy Brown (Oakesdale volleyball); Randy Cornwell (Colville football); Clark Vining (Colton girls basketball). 2A/3A/4A coach: Travis Hughes (Mt. Spokane wrestling); Matty McIntyre (Gonzaga Prep boys basketball); Dempsey Ortega (North Central girls cross country). 1B/2B/1A girls team: Colton basketball; Northwest Christian softball; Oakesdale volleyball. 1B/2B/1A boys team: Colville football; Colville wrestling; Freeman baseball; Odessa football. 2A/3A/4A girls team: East Valley basketball; Mt. Spokane volleyball; North Central cross country. 2A/3A/4A boys team: Gonzaga Prep basketball; Gonzaga Prep golf; Mt. Spokane wrestling. Non-high school girl: Hannah Carver (racquetball); Megan Carver (racquetball); Cassidy Wilson (shooting). Non-high school boy: Phillips Croft (wheelchair racing/basketball); Braxton Mikesell (weightlifting/wrestling); Akio Yamada (judo). High school girl: Aspyn Adams (Mt. Spokane basketball); Allie Janke (North Central cross country/track); Dakota Patchen (Colton basketball). High school boy: Trent Baun (Colville wrestling); Chase Tebbets (Mead wrestling); Anton Watson (Gonzaga Prep basketball).
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