Ferris three-sport standout leaves legacy of determination

It was yet another close clash between two of the top soccer programs in the Greater Spokane League and now it was headed into overtime – or so it seemed.

Ferris and Mead, a pair of high schools vying for the league crown, were tied at two goals apiece when Ferris senior McKenna Cutler kept her focus on a chance to win the game in regulation when most had already gazed past the possibility. When a ball near the Mead goal momentarily skid on the turf as the seconds ran down. Cutler was there – the opportunist with a lightning foot. The winning goal landed resolutely in the net and Ferris ran off the pitch with a stunning victory.

McKenna Cutler, a recent graduate of Ferris High School in Spokane, participated in soccer, basketball and track. She is a member of the Palouse Ward in the Spokane Stake along with her parents, Scott and Cari and siblings Tae and Colby.

McKenna Cutler, a recent graduate of Ferris High School in Spokane, participated in soccer, basketball and track. She is a member of the Palouse Ward in the Spokane Stake along with her parents, Scott and Cari and siblings Tae and Colby.

“Most players would have just fallen back but McKenna didn’t give up on it,” said Ferris head coach Robin Crain. “That was pretty typical of her. She was determined. She never gave up on anything.”

Cutler would tally another game-winning goal in a match against... Read Full Story →

Priorities of a point guard – Gonzaga recruit puts basketball on hold for LDS mission

One day, Jesse Wade will wear the blue and red of Gonzaga University and step onto the basketball court in front of thousands of roaring fans.

Before that, the Utah native will don a white shirt, suit and tie and walk the streets of Lyon, France, sharing his faith as a full-time missionary with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Jesse Wade averages 27 points a game as the starting senior point guard for Davis High School in Kaysville, UT. Beginning with the 2017-18 college basketball season, following a two-year LDS mission, Wade will join the roster at Gonzaga University.

Jesse Wade averages 27 points a game as the starting senior point guard for Davis High School in Kaysville, UT. Beginning with the 2017-18 college basketball season, following a two-year LDS mission, Wade will join the roster at Gonzaga University.

Today, Wade is a standout senior point guard for Davis High School in Kaysville, UT., north of Salt Lake. He runs the offense for the Darts, a program with a rich tradition that includes seven state championships. Along with pinpoint passes, swarming defense and a textbook jump shot, Wade is known for his unrelenting effort, according to Davis head coach Chad Sims.

“His work ethic is what really sets Jesse apart,” Sims said. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s practice or a game, he’s going to outwork everyone.”

When he reaches the... Read Full Story →

Faith afoot – East Valley runner soars to state title

Chad Stevens was one of 145 runners vying for the 2A Washington state cross country title in Pasco on Nov. 8.

A senior at East Valley High School in Spokane, Stevens was among the crowd at the state meet in 2013, placing second. This time around, he had hopes that he and his East Valley teammate, Scott Kopczynski, also a senior, could capture the top two medals at their final state meet.

Chad Stevens, a senior at East Valley High School, won the 2A Washington state cross country championship in Pasco on Nov. 8.

Chad Stevens, a senior at East Valley High School, won the 2A Washington state cross country championship in Pasco on Nov. 8.

“For us, it didn’t really matter who won as long as we did that,” Chad said. “We focused on working as a team instead of trying to pound the other into the ground.”

Stevens strode confidently on the 5K (3.1-mile course), tackling the rolling hills of the Sun Willows Golf Course, site of Washington’s premier prep cross country competition each November for the past 26 years. By the time he crossed the tape, the senior had eclipsed his time from last year by nearly 11 seconds, capturing the championship in a swift mark of 15:38.16.

“It was mostly relief that I finally accomplished my goal,” Stevens said of the... Read Full Story →

Orndorff caps perfect season with state wrestling title

After completing one of the most dominating seasons in the history of Washington state high school wrestling, Tate Orndorff was more interested in talking about his team’s success than individual glory.

Tate Orndorff, a junior from University High School in Spokane Valley (middle) won the Washington state 3A championship in the 285-pound division last month.

Tate Orndorff, a junior from University High School in Spokane Valley (middle) won the Washington state 3A championship in the 285-pound division last month.

Orndorff needed a pin in the championship match at the Mat Classic in Tacoma last month to vault his University High School squad to fourth place in the final 3A standings. Fifth place would mean missing out on a trophy.

The junior did not disappoint, pinning his opponent to win the 285-pound weight class in a flourish. Orndorff pinned all four of his challengers at state, wrapping up a season in which he finished 38-0 with 33 pins.

“We’ve never had a junior go undefeated,” said University head coach Don Owen. “The thing about Tate is that he’s confident, but humble. He’s not someone who’s going to be talking about himself and all his accomplishments.”

A day after winning state, Tate was in his Sunday best,... Read Full Story →

Rehkow earns first team All-American honors as punter

Last October, Austin Rehkow earned national acclaim by kicking a 67-yard field goal as a senior at Central Valley High School. 

This fall, Rehkow spanned a few more yards, leaving his home in Spokane Valley to join the football program at the University of Idaho on a full scholarship. The freshman was the starting punter and field goal kicker for the Vandals in all 12 games of the 2013 campaign, leading the team in points with 56.

Austin Rehkow, a 2013 graduate of Central Valley High School, was named to the Walter Camp All-American first team last week. (Photo courtesy of University of Idaho Athletic Department)

Austin Rehkow, a 2013 graduate of Central Valley High School, was named to the Walter Camp All-American first team last week. (Photo courtesy of University of Idaho Athletic Department)

While Rehkow earned a number of honors in 2013, including being named the Ray Guy National Punter of the Week for a game in which he averaged over 51 yards a kick, it was a distinction last week that put his first college football season in a different category.

Rehkow was one of 26 players acknowledged as a first team All-American by the Walter Camp Foundation on Dec. 12, joining the likes of A.J. McCarron of Alabama, Ka’Deem Carey of Arizona and Stanford’s... Read Full Story →

Championship strides – Trio of LDS runners prove integral in Central Valley state title

“Like the marathon, life can sometimes be difficult, challenging and present obstacles, however if you believe in your dreams and never give up, things will turn out for the best.”

– Meb Keflezighi, U.S. Olympic marathoner

“Victories don’t come at a drive-thru. It takes a lot of work.”

– Kieran Mahoney, Central Valley High School cross country coach

You can usually spot them jogging diligently in their navy blue sweatshirts with the “CV” logo – even when temperatures plummet and layers of ice blanket asphalt roads throughout Spokane Valley.

Twice a day, they train, putting in the miles when other teams are lounging at home or organizing their practice schedules for a warmer day. Back in November – on a pedestrian, overcast afternoon in the Tri-Cities – the unwavering devotion paid off for the Central Valley High School boys cross country team as they left Pasco with the first state title in the history of the program.

A triumvirate of LDS runners – Corey Hunter and Spencer Jensen from the Spokane Valley Stake and Briton Demars of the Spokane East Stake – were among Central Valley’s top seven who outdueled traditional powerhouses like Eisenhower and Gig Harbor to capture the 4A Washington crown.



A trio of LDS runners were part of a cross country state championship for Central Valley High School in November (in navy blue from left to right: Briton Demars, Corey Hunter and Spencer Jensen).
Photo by John Hunter.

For Demars, a sophomore who made the trip to state as an alternate last season, the victory bordered on... Read Full Story →

Local kicker remains humble after record-setting feat

Field goal attempts in your average football game don’t generally span two-thirds of the field.

Then again, Austin Rehkow doesn’t generally appear on the Today Show, Good Morning America or ESPN.

When he lined up for a 67-yard kick at Albi Stadium in Spokane on Oct. 18, Rehkow knew he would need to clear the uprights in order for his team to tie Shadle Park in a battle of Greater Spokane League high schools. Nevermind that the NFL field goal record of 63 yards by Tom Dempsey of the New Orleans Saints had stood since 1970, Rehkow’s Central Valley squad trailed 55-52 with only two seconds left in regulation.



Austin Rehkow of Central Valley High School in Spokane Valley set a new Washington state record with a 67-yard field goal in a game against Shadle Park on Oct. 18.
Photo courtesy of Erik Smith.

“I just wanted an opportunity,” Rehkow said. “Was I 100-percent sure that I would make it? Not really.”

The wind was neutral when Rehkow sent the ball sailing through the autumn sky. The improbable kick cleared the goalpost by a foot or two, a surreal feat that left the Shadle Park sidelines stunned and sent Rehkow’s teammates leaping across the turf as though they had won the state championship.

“I just remember thinking, ‘Oh my gosh. Are you serious?’ said Freddie Rehkow, Austin’s dad, who was one of around 1,000 fans in attendance.

Central Valley would go on to win the game, 62-55. That evening, the kick was featured on ESPN Sportcenter’s Top 10 plays of the day. By the morning, the Today Show was calling. An interview with Good Morning America followed.

Read Full Story →

Rebounding with resilience – Fortitude propels BYU to victory on and off the court

If you ask Dave Rose, a 25-point deficit is nothing compared to the uphill battle for his own life.

The BYU head basketball coach first heard the rumblings of uncertainty when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer back in June of 2009. After being whisked off a plane and undergoing emergency surgery to remove a softball-sized tumor, Rose faced a series of critical cancer scans that would dictate the next several months. Suddenly, the upcoming season and concerns like the New Mexico full-court press seemed trivial.



BYU head basketball coach Dave Rose was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the summer of 2009. After successful surgery, he coached the entire 2009-10 season, leading the Cougars to their fourth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.
Photo courtesy of BYU Athletic Department.

When Rose addressed his squad three weeks after the operation, he stood frail and depleted. His future seemed tenuous. After the meeting, the team agreed to fast and pray for their coach.

In September of 2009, Rose underwent a cancer scan at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City to determine whether he would be back as BYU’s coach for the approaching season. The news was good. Rose would return to lead the Cougars and the cancer would be relegated to the bench.

Throughout the experience, Rose said his faith, family and friends provided reinforcement and hope.

“One of the first questions, I asked myself after the diagnosis was not ‘Why me?’ but ‘What can I achieve?'” Rose said.

Shift ahead to March 13, 2012 – Rose and the Cougars are matched up against the University of Iona in the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament. After 14 minutes, BYU trails... Read Full Story →

Central Valley soars to double runner-up effort at state

Austin Rehkow stood at the free throw line with a mere 22 seconds remaining in a Washington state quarterfinal game between Central Valley and Garfield last week, his team clutching a two-point lead.

With the bright lights of the Tacoma Dome reflecting off the court and a raucous section of Garfield fans imploring him to miss, Rehkow calmly eyed the basket, released the ball and watched the backspin carry it toward the hoop.



Central Valley junior Austin Rehkow elevates for a jumpshot in the Washington 4A championship game against Davis of Yakima last Saturday in the Tacoma Dome.
Photo by Craig Howard.

All eyes followed the arc of the shot as it settled comfortably through the twine. Central Valley 51 – Garfield 48.

Rehkow’s second shot also found the net, staking the Bears to a four-point lead.

After a Garfield hoop made it 52-50, Adam Chamberlain stepped to the line for Central Valley with 12 seconds left in the game. Following a miss and a timeout, the sophomore cooly sank his free throw. The point would turn out to be the winning margin in a 53-52 victory for CV over the Metro League powerhouse and 11-time state champ.



Adam Chamberlain breaks the press in Central Valley’s semifinal win against Union of Camas last Friday in Tacoma. Chamberlain was the only sophomore starter on the team.
Photo by Craig Howard.

Rehkow, a member of the Belle Terre Ward in the Spokane East Stake, and Chamberlain, a member of the Mica Peak Ward in the Spokane Valley Stake, were integral... Read Full Story →

BYU game plan emphasizes character, winning with integrity

As he reached the conclusion of his address at the Lincoln Center in Spokane on Thursday, BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe did not draw upon the words of a coaching icon like Vince Lombardi or Casey Stengel. Instead, the administrator who oversees 21 intercollegiate sports quoted a different kind of leader – President Spencer W. Kimball, 12th president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Pres. Kimball told us, ‘We have the gospel of Jesus Christ, the gospel of peace, the gospel of joy. We have truths that can make any person better…'”

At BYU, a campus of over 35,000 students, the standards of the restored gospel apply to all facets of life, including sports. For over 600 student-athletes, that means no games or practices on Sunday, adherence to the school’s honor code and an approach to winning that puts integrity first.

“When they’re here, there’s something different,” said Holmoe, who took over as athletic director in 2005. “We give them the clearest path to success. We provide great academics, great athletics and an incredible spiritual experience.”

Holmoe, who played football at BYU from 1978 to 1982 and had a seven-year career in the National Football League, spoke before a gathering of the BYU Management Society on Feb. 23. He was joined on the agenda by Senior Associate Athletic Director Brian Santiago and former BYU football player and NFL star Chad Lewis, currently serving as an associate athletic director in charge of development.



Representatives from the BYU Athletic Department spoke at a meeting of the local BYU Management Society in Spokane on Thursday. From left to right: Associate Athletic Director Brian Santiago, Associate Athletic... Read Full Story →

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