Sentinel Standout – October 2012 – Travis Thorne

Autumn in Washington state features an array of travel destinations, nearly all of them flourishing with a distinctive patchwork of seasonal colors.

For a certain group of high school student-athletes, the first priority on the sightseeing agenda is a visit to the Tri-Cities on the first Saturday in November. Along with the kaleidoscope of fall foliage, the setting represents the pinnacle of middle-distance running known as the State Cross Country Championships.

Travis Thorne of Ferris High School in Spokane was part of the select multitude in Pasco last year, a red, white and silver blur racing through a forest of yellow and orange. As a junior, he completed the 5K (3.1-mile) course in a personal best time of 15:50, placing 18th in a 4A division that included the top 148 runners from throughout the Evergreen state.

A senior at Ferris High School in Spokane, Travis Thorne has served as captain of the cross country team for the past two seasons. Photo by Liz Thorne.

A senior at Ferris High School in Spokane, Travis Thorne has served as captain of the cross country team for the past two seasons.
Photo by Liz Thorne.

This year, Thorne has continued to establish himself as one of the top competitors in the Greater Spokane League, acknowledged as the premier high school running conference in the Western U.S. He runs for a program that, beginning in 2004, captured four straight state titles... Read Full Story →

Sentinel Standout – September 2012 – Karl Otterstrom

If you want to talk with Karl Otterstrom about the benefits of public transportation, your best chance might be to board a local bus.

As the director of Planning for the Spokane Transit Authority, Otterstrom walks the talk when it comes to commuting from the comfort of an aisle seat instead of behind the wheel. Otterstrom estimates that he drives to work fewer than a dozen times a year.

“I like riding the bus because I can learn more about the city, the places that you don’t notice when driving and the diversity of people who live in this city,” Otterstrom said. “It’s also a time to read and mentally prepare for the next of my day, whether it’s going to work, a meeting or home. I also enjoy saving money, a lot of it.”



Karl Otterstrom works as director of Planning for the Spokane Transit Authority, overseeing an array of responsibilities, including the organization of bus routes throughout the greater Spokane area.
Photo by Craig Howard.

Otterstrom’s daily bus travel provides him with an opportunity to reflect on what is arguably one of the most critical urban planning roles in Washington’s second largest city. Along with overseeing a staff of seven, he is responsible for organizing the entire transit system with an emphasis on fixed-route bus service. Otterstrom’s department seeks and secures state and federal grants while continuously striving to improve the efficiency of routes throughout the greater Spokane area. His duties also entail the design and construction of capital projects – including one currently underway in downtown Spokane – with help from consultants and contractors.

With a convoy of nearly 150 buses, STA transports... Read Full Story →

Sentinel Standout – July 2012 – Mara Hanson

Mara Hanson was lugging a 70-pound backpack up a craggy trail in Missouri when she called upon a simple gospel melody.

As part of a U.S. Army contingent going through the demands of basic training, Hanson knew the 20-mile hike would be anything but a walk in the park. Now, as the trail became more rigorous and the sting of blisters began to take its toll, the former Oregon high school track standout referred to the verses of an LDS Primary tune to carry her the last five miles.



Mara Hanson returned from a tour of duty in Iraq with the Idaho National Guard last September.
Contributed Photo.

“I started singing ‘I Am a Child of God,'”Hanson said. “It led me back to my Church roots. I always knew that if I was having a problem, I could just sing this song, and it would be alright. I looked around and started noticing more of my surroundings…things like the trees and the sound of birds.”

After a while, a stern-faced captain asked her what she was singing.

“I told him and said it was helping me get through the rest of the hike,” Hanson recalled.

To Hanson’s surprise, it turned out the captain was LDS and had recognized the song above the steady clamor of combat boots.

“He said, ‘Soldier, you keep singing that song,'” Hanson remembers.

As an Army specialist in the Idaho National Guard, Hanson has faced her share of uphill battles beyond the dusty slopes of Missouri. In June 2009, she left to train for a tour of Iraq that would last until September 2011.


Read Full Story →

Sentinel Standout – June 2012 – Elisha Allred

After the final discus had been tossed at the Washington State 2A Track Championships in Tacoma last month, Elisha Allred took her place on the medal stand as the only sophomore among the elite eight.

Allred’s bronze medal effort was all the more impressive considering that just a few months earlier, she was sitting on the sidelines with her foot in a cast, cheering on her volleyball teammates at East Valley High School.




Elisha Allred of the Spokane Valley Stake is a standout track athlete for East Valley High School in Spokane Valley. She competes in the javelin and discus and, last month, placed third in the discus at the state meet in Tacoma.
Contributed Photo.

“For Elisha to place third in state as a sophomore was quite an accomplishment,” said East Valley Athletic Director Joe Kostecka. “I still think had she not been injured in volleyball, she would have been on the all-league team.”

When Allred hurt her foot last fall, she made it a point to remain an integral part of the team. In addition to attending practices and games, she worked to get stronger.

“I didn’t want to be that player that got hurt and never showed up to practice afterwards!” she said. “No way!”

Along with her achievements as an outstanding athlete and honors student, Allred was elected ASB vice-president for the 2012-13 academic year and will serve as the school’s president as a senior. Elisha also qualified for the state vocalist competition as a soprano, was part of All-State Treble Choir and is involved in groups like Washington Drug Free Youth.

“Elisha is a great example of excellence at our school,” said Kostecka.... Read Full Story →

Sentinel Standout – April 2012 – David Ross

Just about a year ago, David Ross was preparing to participate in MusicFest Northwest, one of region’s most celebrated cultural competitions on the campus of Gonzaga University.

Then he ran into trouble with a motorcycle.

The accident left Ross with a severely broken left wrist just three weeks before the event. Playing the piano, let alone a Mozart composition, seemed as probable as the junior from Central Valley High School in Spokane Valley lugging a Steinway down Interstate 90 to the Gonzaga campus.

Yet there was Ross, one hand in a cast, relearning Sonata in D, K576, in preparation for the musical occasion of the year.



David Ross of the Evergreen in the Spokane East Stake won his division at MusicFest Northwest last year despite a broken wrist.
Contributed Photo.

“I had to learn the piece in a whole new way,” Ross said. “This really taught me patience and creativity.”

In an effort that is now part of MusicFest lore, Ross competed courageously and took first place in his category. He would joke later that he “singlehandedly won” his division.

Now a senior, Ross has compiled an impressive collection of honors both in music and academics. Earlier this month, he was named Spokane Scholar of the Year in English. He has also earned recognition as a Washington State Scholar, National Commended Scholar and an AP Scholar with Distinction.

The valedictorian for Central Valley’s class of 2012 may be studious, but friends will tell you that he is far from somber. When asked about his 4.0 grade point average, the self-proclaimed “lifelong nerd” notes that the mark “has just recently been surpassed by the price of... Read Full Story →

Sentinel Standout – March 2012 – Marcus Dickson

As a seminary student in the Maple Valley Stake about an hour south of Seattle, Marcus Dickson makes it a point to study his scriptures.

One of his favorite passages is found in Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Based on his recent accomplishments as a distance runner, some might also turn to Matthew 20:16 when chronicling the story of the senior at White River High School soaring to a place among the elite prep milers in the nation.



Marcus Dickson of White River High School set a new record in the mile race at the Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle on Feb. 26. Dickson’s winning time of 4:07.18 was also a personal best.
Photo by Adam Leahy.

“The last shall be first.”

When the top mile runners from across the U.S. lined up for the start of the Brooks PR Invitational on the campus of the University of Washington last month, no one gave Dickson much of a chance to place among the top 10, let alone win the prestigious race. After all, his personal best of 4:12.8 was the slowest among the entire field. He had also been one of the last runners invited to the annual event.

“I was the last guy in,” Marcus said. “It was an honor just to be here. These are the best guys in the country – if I could just stay with them, I’d be happy.”

Dickson did just that for the first 600 meters, establishing his position and remaining within a few strides of the leaders. As the race progressed, top seed Jacob Burcham of West Virginia appeared on his way to the championship before Dickson began to gain ground.

“With 200 meters left, I realized I had a chance,” Marcus said. “With 75 left, I... Read Full Story →

Sentinel Standout – February 2012 – Sam Voigtlaender

Sam Voigtlaender does not like losing. So it’s not a surprise that it was a loss that really got him motivated in the sport of wrestling. Apparently he took it to heart, because he just won a 4A Washington state title at 170 pounds.

The senior was one of four state champions for Mead High School, which placed second in the 4A competition to Tahoma. Mead’s 168.5 points were the most ever by a state runner-up. The Panthers finished undefeated in the Greater Spokane League and earned first-place trophies at the district and regional events leading up to state.

A member of the Northpointe Ward, North Spokane Stake, Voigtlaender arrived at wrestling a little later than most of his teammates. His first season as a seventh grader went well, but it wasn’t until his sophomore year of high school that the sport took on a new meaning. It was then that he placed fourth at a districts competition, just missing his chance at the regional bracket.

“I absolutely hate losing,” Voigtlaender said. “But wrestling is a sport where, when you lose, you can’t blame anyone but yourself. I knew I needed to do more work if I wanted to really succeed.”

From there on out, Voigtlaender kicked his work into high gear and was totally committed. He started working out a lot more, learning from his teammates, listening to his coaches and attending summer camps. He worked extra jobs to pay for these camps, but was taught a good work ethic by his parents from a young age. They, in turn, supported him by driving him to competitions, and helping him find jobs that would pay for the extra training.

Voigtlaender continues to work hard at wrestling, and also puts the work of the Lord as a high priority.

“Seminary gives me focus and gets me going for the day,” he said. ... Read Full Story →

Sentinel Standout – January 2012 – Trudy Reese

“And they shall run and not be weary and they shall walk and not faint.”

— Isaiah 40:31

Perhaps someday there will be an event that combines the challenge of a cross country ultra-marathon with the unique rigors of volunteer work. Participants would stride down forest trails and check in at designated stations, gathering supplies and rallying support for nonprofit causes along the way. Winning would be based on a calculation of time and overall community impact.

If that event ever does take place, chances are that Trudy Reese will be on the medal stand.

From visiting prisoners at the Eleanor Chase Halfway House to organizing clothing drives for homeless shelters, Reese sets an inspiring pace on the pathway of service.



Trudy Reese has lived in the Spokane Valley area for 35 years. She currently serves as the Humanitarian leader in the Evergreen Ward of the Spokane East Stake.
Contributed Photo.

“We will sleep better at night if we serve,” Reese said. “We will suffer less with our shortcomings and hardships if we look around and ask ‘How I can help?’ rather than ‘What’s in it for me?'”

At Eleanor Chase, a Washington State Department of Corrections facility, Reese and other volunteers have delivered messages of hope and encouragement to those transitioning from prison back into the real world. Conversations deal with topics such as developing positive self-esteem to effectively managing stress.

“These are wellness classes,” Reese said. “We’re talking about individual worth, choice and accountability, good works and integrity. When we work on strengthening the home and... Read Full Story →

Sentinel Standout – December 2011 – Austin Rehkow

Lining up for a critical field goal with the game in the balance, Austin Rehkow simply hearkens back to the basics.

“For me, it’s about consistency and fundamentals,” Rehkow said. “Why should it be any different than in practice? Sure, there’s a little more pressure, but you just need to block that out and you’re good to go.”



Austin Rehkow has been named to the All Greater Spokane League first team for the past two years. This season, he was also honored on the Seattle Times All State Team.
Photo by Craig Howard.

The approach appears to be working. Now a junior at Central Valley High School in Spokane Valley, Rehkow has been named to the All Greater Spokane League first team for the past two years. This season, he also earned a place on the Seattle Times All-State first team after converting 89 percent of his field goals in league competition and averaging 39 yards a punt. He was also successful on 39 of 43 points after touchdowns in GSL games.

Against Lewis and Clark, Rehkow connected on a career-best 52-yard kick, one of two field goals that represented his team’s only points in a 6-0 win. He was part of a Bears team that compiled a 9-3 record and reached the Washington state 4A quarterfinals before losing to eventual state champion Skyline.



Rehkow averaged 39 yards a punt in the Greater Spokane League this season and connected on a career-best 52-yard field goal against Lewis and Clark.
Photo by Craig Howard.

A member of the Belle Terre Ward in... Read Full Story →

Sentinel Standout – October 2011 – Drew Brown

After all the runs, throws, jumps and relays, the track meet between Central Valley High School and its cross-town rival, University, came down to a single vault.

For CV junior Drew Brown, the setting was a chance to put one of his favorite expressions into practice – “actions speak louder than words.”

The cheer that went up among the Central Valley faithful told the final story that spring day – Brown soared to a winning pole vault of 13 feet and secured first place for his school.



Central Valley High School senior Drew Brown (front in blue jersey) is a four-year letter winner in cross country. He also serves as ASB president.
Contributed Photo.

“To me, that’s Drew – that’s what he’s become,” said CV track coach Chuck Bowden. “He’s built himself into that kind of person.”

These days, Brown is a senior co-captain of the cross-country team and Central Valley ASB president. A member of the Liberty Lake Ward in the Spokane Valley Stake, Brown also maintains a 4.0 grade point average and serves as second assistant in his Priest quorum.

Bowden said Brown is known at CV as a dedicated leader who “reaches out to everyone.”



Brown qualified for the regional track meet in the pole vault last season.
Contributed Photo.

“Drew doesn’t hide behind his varsity athlete status or his ASB president status – he fits in with a lot of groups,” Bowden said. “Drew is always... Read Full Story →

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