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 →

Harmon the hero – Idaho native remembered for work ethic, humility

Years after he trotted onto the field as one of pro baseball’s most celebrated players, Harmon Killebrew found himself headlining another event in a quieter venue – this time as the featured speaker at an LDS fireside in his hometown of Payette, Idaho.

A convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1966 at the age of 29, Killebrew did not dwell on the gaudy statistics compiled over a 22-year career in the major leagues, nor his election to baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1984. Instead, the most famous graduate of Payette High School talked about the value of a steady work ethic, striving to achieve goals and setting a good example.

Idaho native Harmon Killebrew hit 536 home runs over a 22-year career in professional baseball. Killebrew passed away last week at the age of 74. Photo courtesy of

“He was really down to earth and very personable,” said Richard Grimmett, who grew up in Payette and now teaches at BYU-Idaho. “He never talked about his accomplishments. I remember him emphasizing the importance of the church in his life and always doing your best.”

The fireside was one of many church and community appearances Harmon would make while living in Ontario, Oregon, just across the state line from Payette in southern Idaho. Grimmett, who played football at Payette High School, remembers the baseball great clearing time in his schedule to speak at local sports banquets and other gatherings – always carrying a message of encouragement.

“He would say you should never take anything for granted, that you have to earn everything,” Grimmett said. “He also said it was important to not get so focused that you lose perspective on the... Read Full Story →

Road to the top – Former Spokane missionary concludes senior year with national title

The distance from the gym at the Spokane East Stake Center to New York City’s Madison Square Garden may be closer than you think – just ask Graham Hatch.

As a full-time missionary in the Spokane area from 2005 to 2007, Hatch would set aside some time on Monday mornings to run the court with other elders in friendly, but competitive, scrimmages. Mondays are preparation and exercise days for missionaries and, for Hatch, the games represented an opportunity for a brief return to basketball without taking his focus away from the real reason he was in Spokane – to share the restored gospel.

Hatch took an excused leave as a scholarship athlete on the Wichita State University basketball team to serve in the Inland Northwest, a decision that he said was worth the sacrifice of stepping away from his favorite sport.

“I know I was blessed by serving my mission,” Hatch said. “It was something that helped me with my maturity and work ethic and in so many other ways.”

Since returning to Wichita, Hatch has been a two-year starter for the Shockers, known for his tenacious defense and three-point shooting range. Last month, as Wichita State continued to advance in the National Invitational Tournament, Hatch’s cheering section included his past mission president, former mission companions and several Spokane-area residents whom Hatch taught while serving in the region.

Former Spokane missionary Graham Hatch was named Most Outstanding Player of the 2011 National Invitational Tournament after his Wichita State team defeated Alabama at Madison Square Garden in New York City on March 31. Photo courtesy of Wichita State Athletic Department.

It turns out they would have plenty to... Read Full Story →

BYU vs. Gonzaga – the battle, the aftermath, the Jimmer

“Jimmermania” has officially arrived at the home of Tim and Julie Powell.

Last Saturday, the Powells joined thousands of residents throughout the Inland Northwest for the broadcast of a college basketball game between the hometown Bulldogs of Gonzaga University and the Brigham Young University Cougars. The contest represented the second matchup for each team in the NCAA tournament – often referred to as “March Madness.”

Taking centerstage for BYU was guard James “Jimmer” Fredette, a senior sensation who has put up an average of nearly 29 points a game while topping many lists for the 2010-11 player of the year. Fredette, often referred to as “The Jimmer,” led the Cougars to arguably the best season in school history, including a 30-4 regular season record, a Mountain West Conference championship and the highest national ranking the program has ever attained at No. 3 earlier this month.

“Our family has all been talking about Jimmer,” Julie said.

While Julie said she and her husband “are not really big sports fans,” the couple made it a point to watch the BYU/Gonzaga matchup on March 18. Jimmer led the way again, scoring 34 points – including seven baskets from three-point range – in a resounding 89-67 BYU win. The loss eliminated Gonzaga from the tournament, while BYU moves on to face the University of Florida this Thursday.

Despite living in Gonzaga country – the Powells are members of the Moran Prairie Ward in the Spokane Stake – Julie said it was clear they would be cheering for the blue and white.

“We were totally rooting for BYU,” she said.

BYU head coach Dave Rose led the Cougars to the third... Read Full Story →

Checking in with the Sentinel all-star squad

Since our first issue in June 2009, the Latter-day Sentinel has featured the inspiring stories of LDS athletes with connections to the Inland Northwest. Beyond their accomplishments on the court, field, mat and track, these dedicated individuals have established themselves as champions of character, committed to standing as examples of the gospel, even when the opposition gets tough.

As any sports follower knows, the competition goes on well after the last game story has appeared. So, in the spirit of genuine fan dedication, the Sentinel is providing a quick update on five athletes that have reached considerable heights since we last heard from them. We salute their efforts, thank them for their commitment and cheer for their continued success.

Graham Hatch

Graham Hatch, who served in the Spokane, WA. Mission from 2005 to 2007, was featured in our March 15, 2010 issue. Hatch is a senior guard for the Wichita State University basketball team and has started 25 games for the Shockers, currently tied for first in the Missouri Valley Conference at 13-3, 22-6 overall.

Hatch is averaging 5.4 points and 2.6 rebounds a game for WSU. The senior had 10 points, four rebounds and three assists in an 83-79 loss to Connecticut of the Big East at the Maui Invitational on Nov. 22. He finished with 16 points in a 71-49 win over Alabama A&M on Dec. 13.

Since we last checked in with Graham, he was named to the NCAA Academic All-American third team and the Division 7 All-Academic first team for his efforts on the court and in the classroom; he maintains a 3.7 grade point average as a chemistry major. He was also named the team’s Most Inspirational Player and Most Improved Player. He also earned a spot on the Missouri Valley Conference Most Improved... Read Full Story →

Wrestling champion excels by holding fast to principles

Whenever Jarod Maynes begins to get a little shaky on the wrestling mat, he turns to a motivational speaker named Paul and a pep talk in Philippians 4:12.

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Maynes found the strength to add yet another medal to his collection of honors last Saturday, winning a regional 4A championship at 125 pounds for Central Valley High School. It was his third regional title in four years.

Jarod Maynes (left) won a regional 4A championship for Central Valley High School at 125 pounds last Saturday, earning his way to the state tournament next weekend in Tacoma. Photo by Craig Howard.

Yet you are more likely to hear the humble senior talk about his favorite scriptures or the latest project in his leadership class than tout his achievements in the athletic arena.

“He gets embarrassed when his dad brags about him,” said Jarod’s mom, Debbie.

In his time at Central Valley, Maynes has established himself as one of the best wrestlers in the program’s history, finishing among the top four in state for the past three years. Later this week, at the Mat Classic in Tacoma, he will vie for a state championship and, along the way, try to become only the second wrestler in the CV record books to become a four-time state placer.

Maynes (center) has won regional titles in three of his four years at Central Valley. Photo by Craig Howard.

“I would put Jarod among the top wrestlers in the state,” said Central Valley head coach Tommy Owen.... Read Full Story →

Stanford runner sets winning pace by thriving on challenges

As mountains of snow continued to form across Eastern Washington during the winter of 2008-09, Adam Thorne could be found treading up and down Spokane’s South Hill – a dedicated runner going toe-to-toe with the elements.

The arctic landscape served as a unique backdrop for the Ferris High School junior as he put in training weeks of 70-80 miles while looking ahead to the track season that spring. Thorne had finished eighth at the Washington state 4A Cross Country Championships in November 2008 while his team took the third-place trophy.

As for jogging amidst the glaciers, Thorne said it was simply a matter of commitment.

Adam Thorne was a valedictorian and running standout at Ferris High School where he led the Saxons to a state title in cross country his senior year. Thorne is now a freshman at Stanford University where he competes on the track and cross country teams. Contributed Photo.

“I just bundled up and got out there and did it,” Thorne said. “I think running in weather like that makes you tougher.”


Central Valley student to compete for Team USA at International Paralympic event

Austin Pruitt, of the Greenacres Ward in the Spokane Valley Stake, was always competitive. He played on his school basketball team and participated in track and field. He wasn’t afraid of doing anything. Except telling his friends he had a disability.

Austin Pruitt, of the Greenacres Ward in the Spokane Valley Stake, finishes a winning lap. Contributed Photo.

“For a while, I didn’t want people to know,” says Pruitt, who has Cerebral Palsy. “I sometimes made up stories to tell my friends. I was always competitive and did lots of able-bodied sports, so people didn’t really know.”

It was as a student at Central Valley High School in Spokane Valley that Pruitt discovered another outlet for his competitive streak, in the form of wheelchair racing. A friend recruited him for Team St. Luke’s (sponsored by Spokane-based St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute), a racing team that was coached by Teresa Skinner. She had previously coached rugby, basketball and track for the disabled.

Pruitt surprised both his coach and himself when he began putting up some fast racing times, almost from the start. He was so good that Skinner encouraged him to attend the Junior Nationals, and at his first large race he easily outdistanced the competition.

“I knew I was fast, but I didn’t know I was that good,” Pruitt said.


Westward trek – BYU to join Gonzaga in West Coast Conference

The latest migration from Utah won’t involve oxen and covered wagons – but it will include an ambitious journey from the mountains to the coast.

BYU will join the West Coast Conference in 12 sports beginning next June including basketball, women’s soccer, golf, tennis, baseball and cross country. Photo courtesy of the BYU Athletic Department

On Aug. 31, Brigham Young University announced it would join the West Coast Conference in a dozen sports while going independent in football. BYU will depart the Mountain West Conference officially in June 2011.

For local BYU fans like Eric Lovinger (BYU class of ’82) the announcement means his favorite team will be visiting Spokane on a regular basis to compete against Gonzaga University in basketball, cross country, tennis, baseball and other sports.


Championship character – University senior puts gospel first while excelling at sports, school

Amy Thornton is more likely to consult a team schedule than the latest weather patterns when keeping up with seasons in the Inland Northwest.

Thornton ran to a fourth-place finish at state in the 800 meters this spring. Contributed photo.

Autumn means soccer for the team captain at University High School in Spokane Valley. As winter arrives, Thornton moves indoors where she is a two-year letter winner for one of the most successful basketball programs in Washington state. Thornton transitions to track and field in the spring, circling the oval as one of the region’s leading 800-meter runners.

Despite the shifting terrain of sports, there will be one constant for Thornton during her senior year. Every weekday morning at 6:15, she will be part of a high school seminary class at the LDS Spokane East Stake Center, just down the road from the University campus.


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