Several Palouse athletes made the most of their time competing in the college ranks over the spring.
In the Big Sky, there’s Moscow grad Alex Lewis, a senior jumper last season for Montana State’s track team. He set the Bobcats’ long-jump record at 25-2, finishing second at the outdoor league tournament. Lewis qualified for the West Regional in the event, where he placed 19th. He racked up five medals in the long jump in ’19.
A rival of MSU’s, the University of Montana’s softball team has a familiar face in the outfield — that’s Pullman’s Anne Mari Petrino, a regular starter and junior defensive specialist in left field for the Griz. Petrino’s father is UI football coach Paul Petrino.
At Lewis-Clark State, Jenny Sapp, a Potlatch native and four-year standout on the Warriors’ track and field team, just finished out her illustrious Warrior career with four showings in Nationals events. Sapp, a two-event All-American and four-time Nationals qualifier, set school records in the 100-meter hurdles, the heptathlon, 60-meter hurdles, 1600 relay and 400-meter hurdles.
Tristan Hites, a men’s sprinter who graduated with Sapp at Potlatch, finalized his collegiate eligibility this spring with a PR in the 400 (50.34) and a share of a school record 3:28.37 time with the 1600 relay team.
Moscow’s own, junior Josiah Anderson, primarily a distance runner from Logos High, set a personal best in the 800 (1:53.83), finishing third at the Spokane Memorial in May, and took second in the same event the week prior at the Oregon State High Performance Meet.
Fellow distance runner Paul Ryan, from Moscow’s Logos High, constructed noteworthy performances this spring as a junior, starting in March with a 16th-place culmination at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. In may, Ryan placed eighth in the 1500 to qualify for West Regionals, where he fell short of his PR (3:44.36) by three seconds for 32nd.
Brandon Lees, a 2018 Pullman High grad and GNL first-teamer who played for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ scout team, recently wrapped up his redshirt season for the Cougs, who went 11-42-1, but will have a new coach for 2020 in former New Mexico State skipper Brian Green.
On WSU’s swim team is another hometown kid — sophomore Taylor McCoy, a seven-time 2A state champion who qualified for the 2020 Olympic Trials in the 200-meter in July with a 2:14.46 time. McCoy led the Cougs in four individual events last season. She etched the second-best time in WSU history in the 200 back, the sixth-best in the 400 IM, and won a team-high 14 races.
Two more Greyhound grads — junior Nora Hefte and sophomore Aneesa Turner-Rahman — worked their ways up to the WSU varsity rowing team last season. In the spring’s Pac-12 championships, Hefte, at sixth position, and the third varsity eight crew finished fifth.
Colfax High’s Greta Geier, who walked on to Wazzu’s rowing team last fall after a Bulldog career featuring three state titles in two sports, trained on the Cougars’ novice team last year.
There’s one area-raised athlete competing for WSU’s most heated rival, Washington — that’s Angel Nkwonta, a Pullman High alumna and junior Husky thrower. This season, Nkwonta improved on PR marks in the shot and hammer, and qualified for the Regionals for the first time. She placed seventh in shot at the league championships, then competed at the West Prelims.
At the Ivy League level is Pullman’s Mayyi Mahama, a top-10 hammer thrower in the country in high school who, as a rookie, was one of the University of Pennsylvania’s best. At the NCAAs in June, she placed 24th with a 182-foot, 6-inch toss, over 20 feet under her PR. She took first at the USATF U20 Championships in June in the hammer throw.
Scout Cai, a five-time state champ at Colfax, recently finished her dominant junior year on the Seattle Pacific track and field team (D-II). Cai is currently ranked No. 1 in the country in the D-II pentathlon, and she’s also procured first-team All-America honors in the heptathlon and pole vault — her main sport at Colfax. Cai won the GNAC pole vaulting championship (12-10) two weeks before placing top 10 in eight of her nine events at the NCAAs.
Moving back to the NAIA — the College of Idaho features a pair of local athletes. Hayden Woods, an ’18 Genesee grad, just concluded his rookie year as an infielder with the ‘Yotes’ baseball team. The former All-Idaho player and state champ did not appear in a game.
In his sophomore season with the Whitworth track team, Pullman’s Joe Tingstad, a hurdler primarily — he’s done 17 different events — placed in the top 10 in 22 separate competitions throughout 2019. He hit a personal-best in April at the Northwest Conference Championships with a 15.8-second 110-meter-hurdles time, placing fifth.
Parker Warwick, a Colfax grad and sophomore hurdler on SCC’s women’s track team, placed fourth in the 100-meter hurdles and was a quarter of the Sasquatch’s third-place 400-meter relay team. In 2019, Warwick accumulated 14 top-five finishes, and a gold in the 800 relay at the Spokane Memorial in May.