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Locally: Former Washington State standout Borislava Hristova signs pro contract in Poland

UPDATED: Sun., July 19, 2020

Washington State forward Borislava Hristova shoots against Stanford guard Lexie Hull during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stanford, Calif., in January  (Associated Press)
Washington State forward Borislava Hristova shoots against Stanford guard Lexie Hull during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stanford, Calif., in January (Associated Press)
From staff and news services

One of the greatest players in Washington State women’s basketball history is taking her game back to Europe to play professionally.

Borislava Hristova, a native of Varna, Bulgaria, has signed with AZS AJP Gorzów Wielkopolski in Poland for the 2020-21 season.

“I am extremely excited to be joining the Gorzów family and getting to know my new team, fans and community,” Hristova is quoted in the release announcing her signing.

“I am going to be playing against the highest level of competition in Poland, which will help me grow and unfold my full potential. I am looking forward to this new journey.”

AZS AJP Gorzów Wielkopolski , which plays in the top professional league in Poland, Basket Liga Kobiet, is coming off a season that saw it qualify for the 2019 FIBA EuroCup.

“I am glad that Borislava will start her career in our club,” coach Dariusz Maciejewski is quoted as saying in a translated post on the team’s Facebook page. “Despite many offers she received after her university game at (WSU), she has just decided to play for us. I know that Laura Juškaitė … was helpful in making this decision.”

Juškaitė is a Lithuanian professional player who spent the last two seasons with AZS AJP Gorzów Wielkopolski before moving to a team in Spain for the upcoming season.

The only player in WSU basketball history, male or female, to collect more than 2,000 points and 500 rebounds in their career, “Bobi Buckets” as Borislava is affectionately known for her scoring prowess, holds the women’s career record with 2,269 points, one of her seven school marks.

The 6-foot forward, who is projected as a low winger/strong winger by the Polish team, went undrafted by the WNBA.

She is WSU’s only four-time All-Pac-12 selection who ranks No. 11 on the conference’s all-time scoring list. She led the Cougars in scoring three seasons, averaging 18.4 ppg as a senior in the abbreviated 2019-20 season, while shooting 45.2% from the floor. She also averaged 5.1 rpg.

Another newcomer at AZS AJP Gorzów Wielkopolski will be Kathleen Doyle, the 2019-20 Big Ten Player of the Year at Iowa, who was the 14th selection in the WNBA draft by Indiana. Doyle reportedly is preparing to play for the Fever before heading to Poland.

Hristova will be the seventh former WSU women’s player to play professionally overseas in 2020, joining Ireti Amojo (Germany), Maria Kostourkova (Slovenia), Nike McClure (Cyprus), Pinelopi Pavlopouli (Greece), Jazmine Perkins (Switzerland) and Tia Presley, the former Gonzaga Prep standout, who is in Israel.

Basketball

Kenny Tripp, who joined the Vandals staff for the pandemic-abbreviated 2019-20 season, will return as an assistant on the staff of Idaho men’s head coach Zac Claus.

“Our program is very fortunate to have Kenny Tripp remain as an assistant coach,” Claus is quoted in the release.

Called the main academic point person for men’s basketball at Idaho, Tripp got his start as a student manager at Nevada from 2011-15, where he worked with Klaus and another UI assistant, Doug Novsek. Tripp was coordinator of operations for the Washington State men’s team before joining the Vandals.

College scene

Gonzaga, Eastern Washington and Idaho were honored when the National Association of Basketball Coaches announced 2019-20 Honors Court recipients for student-athletes maintaining cumulative grade-point averages of 3.2 or higher.

Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert, who will be a senior with a 3.43 GPA and was honored for the second straight year, and juniors-to-be Will Graves (3.28) and Matthew Lang (3.75) are on the list. Kispert was the DI-AAA ADA Men’s Scholar Athlete of the Year.

Eastern Washington’s Mason Peatling, who had a 3.89 GPA as an undergraduate and 3.97 as a graduate student while receiving bachelor and master’s degrees, was also honored for a second straight year. He was a first-team Academic All-American.

Peatling was joined by Eagles teammates Kim Aiken Jr. (3.40), Tanner Groves (Shadle Park, 3.92) and Jack Perry (3.70). Perry will be a senior and Aiken and Groves juniors.

Idaho was represented by Scott Blakney, who will be a senior and carries a 4.0 GPA.

Additionally, Eastern and Gonzaga received NABC Team Academic Excellent Awards with GPAs of 3.0 or higher. The Eagles earned it for an eighth straight year with a team GPA of 3.74 and the Bulldogs for a fourth straight season with a 3.27 team GPA.

Scout Cai of Colfax capped her outstanding track and field career at Seattle Pacific by being named an All-Academic selection by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association for a fourth straight year.

The 2019-20 honor for the three-time All-American performer led a list of 14 athletes from the area’s four Division I schools, her at Division II, two at Division III Whitworth and Caleb Brown, also a Colfax graduate, who is a junior at NAIA College of Idaho.

Additionally, the Eastern Washington (3.48 GPA), Gonzaga (3.58), Idaho (3.74, sixth highest in the nation), Washington State (3.51) and Whitworth (3.673) women and Gonzaga (3.32), Idaho (3.42), WSU (3.02) and Whitworth (3.431) men received USTFCCCA’s All-Academic Team awards with GPAs of 3.0 or better.

To qualify, athletes at Division I and II and NAIA schools must have GPAs of 3.25 or higher and those at Division III 3.30, plus all must meet specific competition criteria.

The other All-Academic individuals by school:

Eastern Washington: Samantha Raines, sr. (repeater).

Gonzaga: Aimee Piercy, sr.

Idaho: Rechelle Meade, sr.; Ben Doucette, sr.; Zach Nunis, so.; Zack Short, sr.

Washington State: Stephanie Cho, sr.; Emily Coombs, jr.; Jelena Grujic, jr.; Zorana Grujic, jr.; Kaili Keefe, sr.; Jordyn Tucker, sr.; Jacob Englar, so.; Zach Stallings, jr.

Whitworth: Amelia Hewson, fr.; Nicholas McGill, sr.

• Seven of the 12 athletes from area schools who received the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s Faculty Athletic Representative Scholar-Athlete Award for 2019-20 for maintaining grade-point averages of 3.85 or higher are repeaters.

Rachel Bayly, a senior from Moscow on the Western Oregon women’s cross country and track teams with a 3.98 GPA, was honored for a fourth straight year.

Honored for a third time are Seattle Pacific junior men’s soccer player Travis Swallow from Lake City with a 3.95 GPA and Central Washington junior women’s track athlete Kayla Wyatt from Gonzaga Prep with a 3.94.

The other honorees by school:

Northwest Nazarene: Tyler Shea, Northwest Christian, so., men’s cross country/track, 2nd award, 3.92; Carolyn Moravec, Lewis and Clark, fr., women’s soccer, 1st, 3.90.

Central Washington: Gracee Dwyer, University, so., softball, 2nd, 3.89; Jaxyn Farmen, Medical Lake, fr., women’s soccer, 1st, 3.91; Madison Lee, Mead, volleyball, so., 2nd, 4.0.

Alaska Fairbanks: Cassidy Wilson, Deer Park (Spokane Junior Rifle Club), fr., rifle, 1st, 3.97. Concordia: Mady Simmelink, Spokane, fr., women’s basketball, 1st, 3.86.

Saint Martin’s: Megan Nilsson, Colbert, sr., women’s basketball, 2nd, 3.98.

Seattle Pacific: Libby Michael, Deer Park, fr., women’s cross country/track, 1st, 3.96.

• Rising seniors Mackenzie Duarte, Chloe Larson and Taylor McCoy (Pullman), all three-year letter-winners, have been selected as captains of the Washington State women’s swimming team for 2020-21, head coach Matt Leach announced.

Golf

Amateur Reid Hatley of Hayden Lake and professional David Nunn of the University of Idaho put together even-par scores of 142 for 36 holes to finish in a five-way tie for sixth at the Oregon Open Invitational that wound up Wednesday (July 15) at Arrowhead Golf Club in Molalla, Oregon.

Amateur Hunter Westcott of Rock Creek Country Club tied for 11th at 1-under 143 and amateur Ryan Camp of The Creek at Qualchan tied for 27th at 148.

Hatley finished fourth, Westcott was fifth and Camp tied for 10th among the amateurs.

Professional Brady Sharp from Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla won by one stroke in the 190-man field with a 3-under 139.

Rex Gallaher scored a hole-in-one on the 106-yard sixth hole at Downriver on July 15 using a 6-iron.

Jeannie Amsden scored a hole-in-one on the 120-yard second hole at Wandermere on July 3 with a 5-wood.

• Correction: Tommy Mason, 85, scored a hole-in-one on the 105-yard 11th hole at Indian Canyon on July 4 using a 9-iron. Mason’s first name and age were listed incorrectly in the July 13 Locally.

Hockey

Fifty-four power play goals by the Spokane Chiefs during the abbreviated 2019-20 Western Hockey League season at $25 apiece generated a $1,350 donation by Avista Utilities to Project Share for emergency energy assistance to those in need. With 16 goals, WHL scoring champion Adam Beckman led 16 Chiefs who contributed at least one to the cause.

Letters of intent

Eastern Washington women’s cross country/track: Marielise (Marie) Taylor, distances, North Central, ran in four Washington 3A cross country championships, placing in top nine three times, sixth in 2019, 12th as a junior, 6th as a sophomore in State 3A track 3,200; Jenni Bissell, distances, Central Valley, 22nd at 2019 District 8 4A regional CC, ran on CV’s state-qualifying 4x200 relay at State 4A track in 2019; Lilly Fetzer, distances, West Valley-Yakima; Jalina Lindstrom, distances, Granite Hills (California) HS.

EWU men’s cross country/track: Danny Maxwell, distances, Lewis and Clark, 18th at 2019 Washington 4A CC championships, 63rd in 2018 State 4A CC, 11th in preliminaries at 2019 State 4A track 800m in 2019; Caleb Lloyd, distances, Mead, 13th at 2019 Washington 4A CC championships, 29th in 2018 State 4A CC; Justin Roosma, Walla Walla Valley HS/Pacific Union (Calif.) College, will be a sophomore.

Softball

Stor-A-Way Storage Grey Sox of Spokane won the 65+ AAA Silver Division at the Jim Sherman Memorial Senior Softball USA Northwest Championships last week in Salem, Oregon, to qualify for the SSUSA Tournament of Champions in February in Winter Haven, Florida.

After going 3-0 in pool play, the Grey Sox defeated the Seattle Merchants 2-0 in a best-of-three series to capture the division title, winning the decisive game 12-10.

Five members of the Grey Sox were named to the all-tournament team – Allen Arnold, who led the team in hitting at .857; coach Ron Klawitter, who hit .833 and led the team in hits (15), runs (12) and RBI (16); Jack Parker (.667); Randy Willis (.647); and Tim Wheatley (.625).

Other players: Dan Griffith, Jerry Coulter, John Higgins, John Hollett, Cam Preston and Dan Clifton.

Brunette of Spokane went winless in the 70/75+ Gold Division.

• Two members of the Spokane Sliders girls fastpitch team, Isabella Bay (North Central) and Chloe Flerchinger (Shadle Park), have been invited to play with the Richland-based Washington Angels in the USA Softball 18U Gold National Championship this week in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Bay was a first-team selection as designated hitter on the All-Greater Spokane League team in 2019 and Flerchinger was the second-team utility choice when both were freshmen. Their sophomore seasons were wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 73-team tournament has pool games scheduled Monday and Tuesday with bracket play in the double-elimination portion of the tournament beginning Wednesday. The Angels picked up a forfeit win when one of their pool opponents dropped out before the tournament began.

• The Spokane Metro Softball Hall of Fame has selected 15 individuals for induction as the Class of 2020, 14 of them players and one coach.

Players: Margie Udahl and Debra McGill, women’s modified fastpitch; Kathy Smith, women’s slowpitch and coed SP; Bill Putney, men’s fastpitch and men’s major MFP; Dexter Bordwell and Kelly Parsons, men’s FP, MMFP and coed SP.

Also, Bill Kalivas, Kevin Healy and Guy Perham, MMFP; Connie Burnett and Dan Griffith, MMFP and men’s SP; Pat Cadagan, MMFP, men’s SP and coed SP; Erv Parkins, men’s SP and coed SP; and Ken Krogh, men’s SP.

Coach: Charlie Johnson, men’s MFP

Additionally, Larry Brunette of Brunette Sportswear & Silk Screen was chosen to receive the Denny Waltermire Distinguished Service Award for his longtime support and dedication to softball in the Spokane Metro area.

A banquet scheduled for Sept. 5 to honor award winners was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Board member Don Love said the 2020 inductees will be honored along with the Class of 2021.

Volleyball

Spike & Dig is the latest local sports fixture to fall victim to the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials of the annual 6-on-6 tournament, one of the largest outdoor coed tournaments in the country that was scheduled for Aug. 8-9 on the grass at the Dwight Merkel Sports Complex, announced the 2020 event was canceled.

“After closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation, Spike & Dig has made the difficult decision to postpone the event until August 2021,” the release read in part.

“We understand this is a disappointing outcome for our players and spectators, as we are disappointed, too, but this pandemic has forced us to make difficult choices to ensure we can come back strong and healthy in 2021.”

The release said registered teams will be contacted and have the opportunity to apply their fee to 2021 or be refunded.

“We appreciate your understanding,” the release added. “We look forward to seeing you back next year.”

Miscellany

Eastern Washington University head volleyball coach Leslie Flores-Cloud last week was named secretary of the American Volleyball Coaches Association Diversity Development Team, to which she as appointed in January.

Flores-Cloud, who became the Eagles’ head coach in 2018, will provide administrative support to a team that looks to create opportunities for diversity in the sport along with contributing to the AVCA Diversity Award-winner alumni relations programs.

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