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December 31, 2015     Cheney Free Press
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Section 2 December 3 I, 2015 Cheney Free Press Young runners lead two-time champ Medical Lake to surprise finish at Pasco By PAUL DELANEY Staff Reporter Medical Lake High head cross country coach Gene Blankenship had been boldly boastful the past two seasons, success- fully predicting his teams would do well in Novem- ber at the state champion- ships. This year he had to temper his prognostications a little, having graduated over two dozen seniors, among them Domenic Rehm, Micah Dingfield and Noah Kroeze, all top finishers as the Cardinals repeated winning in 2014 the State 1A boy's championship they first captured in 2013. Despite the hits, "I think our boys' varsity team is pretty good, still," Blankenship said in an earlier inter- view. "I think ~Ne'll probably finish second in the league," That prediction, made in early September of 2015, was incorrect. Blankenship's Cardinals ended up third in the Northeast A League, but they would peak when it mattered and record a runner-up finish at the state championships Nov. 7 at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco. Deer Park won the team title, topping Medical Lake 62,94 and led Medical Lake sophomore Mason Williams paced his team to a runner-up the state 1A cross country championships in Pasco on Nov. 7.. File photo finish at a three-way sweep by Northeast A ing in he pictured a finish anywhere' League teams as Lakeside was third from first to fifth. with 126 points. The difference between fifth and Blankenship said this team sur- second - or even winning - he prised him, "A little bit," because go- said was because "We just ran better (runners) one through five, except for Deer Park. Actually, they put six guys ahead of our fourth." ".Deer Park was just too strong on the day, that's all there was to it," Blan- kenship said. "They've beat us every time we've run against them." Medical Lake got a sixth place from sophomore Mason Williams who turned in time of 16 minutes, 24 seconds for the 5,000-meter course. Tibebu Proc- tor and brother Tamire Proctor from Northwest High School finished 1-2 in respective times of 15i32 and 15:44. Cardinal senior Jacob Dingfield was 13th in a time of 16:40. Sophomore Brandon McCoy had a personal record for 5,000 meters in a time of 17:22. Had Riverside made it as a team Blankenship said it was likely the league would have nabbed the top four spots. Qualifying a team for state was the crucial factor in the Cardinals" Pasco finish. That happened Oct. 29 in the District 7 championships at the Chewelah Golf Course where Medical Lake finished second to Deer Park, 41- 60 and just ahead of Lakeside with 63 points. Ben Shaw of Riverside was the in- dividual champion finishing the 5,000- meter course in a time of 16minutes, 5 seconds. Deer Park's Cody Bollum trailed in second, 5 seconds back while the Cardinals got a 1-2 finish from Wil- liams (16:17) and Dingfield (16:25) who were third and fourth respectively. The Cardinals' 3-4-5 guys played the unsung heroes' role at Chewelah, See ML cross country page 3 y wins regular season volleyball title in 20 File photo Cheney volleyball was a pleasant surprise for new head coach Heather Zorrozua. By AL STOVER Staff Reporter The Cheney High volleyball team's 2015 season was a rollercoast- er that.ended with the team accomplishing a feat they hadn't done in many years -- winning a regular season Great Northern League cham- pionship. In 2014, the Lady Blackhawks, led by first- year head coach Courtney Webb, were 6-6 in Great Northern League play, 7-8 overall and finished third in the league stand- ings. The team started off their 2015 campaign with a new attitude, and a new head coach, Heather Zorrozua. A native of Sonora, Calif., Zorrozua played high school and club volley- ball then played for Gon- gaza University from 2004-07. She coached the Cheney Middle School's seventh-grade volley- ball team, as well as the Spokane Storm and Spo- kane Sky club volleyball squads. She works in the Cheney School District as a students connection counselor. This year's team had several returning var- sity players including sophomore Peyton Stark, who successfully tran- sitioned into her role as the team's setter. Riley Pease and Taylor Gould, both shined on offense for most of the season. KD Skillingstad and Ally Jones were two players who stood out on de- fense in their first year on varsity. Cheney started their season strong, winning seven of their first 10 matches. They shot to the top of the GNL rank- See CHS Volleyball page 2 very women By JOHN McCALLUM Editor Coming in at No. 8 on the list of 2015 Top-10 sports stories is the East- ern Washington Univer- sity women's basketball team. The Eagles experi- enced a bit of a roller coaster ride in 2015. East- ern posted non-league wins over Missouri Val- ley Conference regular- season and tournament champion Wichita State and Southeast Conference member Flori- da, and put to- gether winning streaks of six and seven games at one point, the first time the program has produced a pair of six-game-plus winning streaks in a season. Eastern also won 12 Big Sky Conference games for the second consecutive season, fin- ishing tied for third. National Invitationaland defense kept the Eag!es ran a play in their The Eagles knocked off Tournament. It was the Eagles close throughout final possession that re- .Northern Arizona73-57 team's second WNIT the contest until the final sulted in sophomore to advance to the tourna- berth in the last three minutes. Jade Redmon's lay up ment semifinals, where years, and third in headDown five points to give Eastern the 67-65 they lost a heartbreaker, coach Wendy Schuller's with under four minutes win, the first in the post 55-51, to Montana. 14 years with the pro- to play against the Cou- season for the program. The EWU-squad's gram. gars, senior Lexie Nelson Eastern advanced to 20-11 overall record, The Eagles didn't drained a 3-pointer, and face Big Sky rival Sacra- the third 20-plus game have to travel far toafter Eastern's defense mento State in the sec- winning season in the face their first round forced a WSU turnover,ond round, ending their program's 33-year his- opponent, making the hit a lay up to tie the season'with a 21-12 re- tory, along its quality short hour-plus bus ride game at 58. The teams cord on a 84-491oss to the non-conference wins south to face the Pac-12's then exchanged basketsalways tough Hornets. and success earned it Washington State Uni- until, tied at 65 with a bid to the Women's versity. Good offense 29 seconds to play, the See EWU women page 3 Cheney football h= big 2015 season By AL STOVER Staff Reporter The Cheney High football team, who was predicted to finish fourth out of fifth in the Great Northern League, had one of its best seasons in years. The Blackhawks finished the year 3-1 in league play (9-2 overall) to secure second-place in the GNL standings and make it to the first round of the 2A state playoffs. Bobby Byrd returned for his second year as head coach, com- ing off a 2014 where the team went 7-3 overall and 2-2 in GNL play. The Blackhawks, with their strong defense and pow- erful running game, tore through the first part of the 2015 season, winning their first seven games - including three shut- See OIlS football page 2 Kyle Doyle (20) prepares against Clarkston. to kick a 31-yard EWU's Kupp collects records, hardware By JOHN McCALLUM Editor How do you recount the exploits of the 2015 No. 10 top story that is the clutch-football-play-mak- from Yakima began the year as a two-time consensus All- American, and likely to win a ing, record-producing third, and ended it as the phenom that is Eastern Washington University wide receiver Cooper Kupp? Perhaps the best way is through headlines - of File photo which Kupp made plenty field goal during his season with the Eagles. The junior second wide receiver, and third Eastern player, to win the prestigious Wal- ter Payton award for the Football Championship Subdivision's best often- sive player. See Kupp page 3