College notebook: Lifelong friendship bonds Click, Olbrich as Linfield teammates

Skyview High grads continue success in collegiate tennis

By Kurt Zimmer, Columbian Sports Reporter

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Sarah Click was named Northwest Conference women’s tennis player of the week after winning all six of her singles and doubles matches the previous weekend.

It was an honor that the Linfield College junior barely knew existed — and one she credits to her team’s success as much as her own.

Her team includes sophomore Abby Olbrich, a friend and frequent teammate since they were toddlers.

They played doubles together for part of last season, but Click now plays No. 2 doubles and No. 4 singles for the Wildcats. Olbrich plays at No. 1 in both singles and doubles.

“I’ve known Abby since I was in daycare,” Click said. “We’ve literally known each other our whole lives. To get to play tennis with her in college — and especially to get to see her experiencing so much success — is really great, and we have a lot of fun together.

“Even though we’re not doubles partners anymore, we have a great time being on the same team and looking forward to maybe playing with each other next year. It’s just great to have that experience with someone you’ve known for so long and someone you grew up with. It’s pretty special, and she’s doing so well. It’s pretty unique.”

Olbrich sees it the same way.

“I love it,” she said. “Sarah and I have just grown up together, playing pretty much every sport together. We’ve had a lot of fun.”

Click is 7-3 in singles and 9-2 in doubles, having won her last five matches of each. After a lineup shakeup early in the season, Click now plays doubles with Sarah Watanabe.

But she was hardly expecting any conference honors.

“It was kind of a surprise,” Click said. “I knew they did that little award thing, but I didn’t really know that it meant it a whole lot.”

The NWC might give out an individual honor each week, but Click does not see hers as being only for herself.

“My work being recognized is a product of our team’s success,” she said. “I could have won those six matches but we could have lost all three of those dual matches and I probably wouldn’t have been recognized, so it’s a team effort as much as it is my effort.”

Olbrich was a combined 19-2 in singles and doubles as a freshman, but faces much stronger competition at the No. 1 positions. She is 4-6 in singles and 5-5 in doubles, playing with Sallie Katter.

“You have to be ready to play every single match, because you’re playing the best of the best at the (NCAA Division III) level,” said Olbrich, an all-NWC selection and ITA All-American. “I feel like I’ve been playing pretty well, but the matches haven’t been going my way. That’s OK, because I’m looking to grow as a player.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, the two team-oriented players each said they prefer doubles to singles — for the same reason: having someone to share in the highs and someone to help pull through the lows.

Linfield won seven consecutive NWC titles before yielding to Whitworth last season, but Click and Olbrich aim to help the Wildcats reclaim their conference throne.

Concordia’s Dixson meets NAIA marks

Competing in her first outdoor meet, Concordia University freshman Gabi Dixson notched a pair of automatic qualifiers for the NAIA outdoor nationals — in the hammer and the discus — with her efforts at the Oregon Preview at Hayward Field in Eugene.

Dixson is a homeschool graduate who competed for Battle Ground High School.

SPU’s Alvarez wins at Oregon Preview

Seattle Pacific freshman Amanda Alvarez won the triple jump with an NCAA Division II provisional qualifying mark at the Oregon Preview in Eugene. The Columbia River High School graduate had a mark of 38 feet, 8¾ inches to win the event by nearly a foot.

CWU’s Hadenfeld pitcher of week

Central Washington junior Lauren Hadenfeld has been named Great Northwest Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week for softball, her second honor in the past three weeks.

The Evergreen High School graduate shut out Montana State-Billings twice this past weekend, including a six-inning no-hitter with eight strikeouts Saturday. She followed with a three-hit, five-inning shutout Sunday.

Hadenfeld (8-1) has won eight consecutive decisions.

Brown, McClenan earn Clark honors

Clark College basketball players Markeith Brown and Chawncy McClenan have been honored as the February 2010 “Athletes of the Month.”

Brown, a sophomore and gradute of Portland’s Cleveland High, was captain of the men’s basketball team. He has a 2.96 grade-point average.

Heritage High School graduate McClenan, a freshman, also competes in track and field at Clark.

Suggestions for College Notebook? Contact Kurt Zimmer at 360-735-4563 or by e-mail at kurt.zimmer@columbian.com