College Notebook: Gonzaga’s Thomas to run in NCAA West meet



Gonzaga University sophomore Emily Thomas earned a place in the NCAA Western Regional Track and Field Championship when final declarations for the meet were made Thursday.

The Camas High School graduate will run the 10,000 meters in the competition today in Austin, Texas. The full meet runs through Saturday.

Thomas is Gonzaga’s first track and field athlete — male or female — to compete in an NCAA regional.

The top 48 marks from among Western Region schools qualified for the regional meet. Thomas has been ranked between 35th and 45th in the regional rankings this season, entering the meet rated No. 36 in the field.

Thomas’ best time of the season is the school record of 35 minutes, 1.36 seconds, she set April 6 at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival.

California’s Deborah Maier is the top qualifier, with a time of 32:12.47.

The women’s 10,000 will be run at 7:40 p.m. today. The top 12 finishers qualify for the NCAA Championship June 6-9 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Blackford also to run in 10,000 at regional

Weber State University sophomore Kayla Blackford — a high school teammate of Emily Thomas at Camas High School — also qualified for the 10,000 meters in the NCAA Western Regional Track and Field Championship in Austin, Texas.

Not only did the two former Papermakers qualify for regionals in the same event — they did it by running their best times at the same meet, on April 6 at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival.

Gonzaga’s Thomas finished third in a school record 35:01.36, with Blackford fourth in a personal record 35:13.37.

Midles, Michael qualify for Western Regional

–University of Idaho senior Gabby Midles will compete in the hammer throw at the NCAA Western Regional Track and Field Championship in Austin, Texas. The Camas High School graduate placed 13th at last year’s NCAA Championships.

–Eastern Washington freshman Bradley Michael, a Skyview High School graduate, will compete in the 400 meters.

The top 12 finishers in each event advance to the national finals, June 6-9 at Des Moines, Iowa.

GFU’s Arn, Turner in D-III track nationals

George Fox University junior Alyssa Turner and freshman Charity Arn will compete in the NCAA Division III Championships starting today in Claremont, Calif.

Hudson’s Bay High School graduate Turner, the Northwest Conference Women’s Track Athlete of the Year, is the No. 6 seed in the 400-meter hurdles. Her time of 1 minute, 1.57 seconds is the second-best time in school history.

Woodland High School graduate Arn is seeded 19th in the heptathlon. She scored her top total of 4,367 points at the NWC Multi-Event Championships, putting her fourth on the all-time GFU list.

ITA honors Linfield’s Olbrich as top senior

Linfield College’s Abby Olbrich has been named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division III Women’s West Regional Senior Player of the Year.

The seventh-ranked player in the region and a two-time All-American in singles, the Skyview High School graduate begins play in the NCAA Division III Championships today in Cary, N.C.

Olbrich, the recipient of the 2011 Linfield College Female Athlete of the Year Award, has competed in the championship match of the Pacific Northwest ITA Regional three times, winning once. She lost in the first round last year in her previous appearance at D-III nationals.

Olbrich will face Laura Chen of Carnegie Melon University — the ITA senior of the year in the Atlantic South Region — in the round of 32 today.

The final is Saturday.

Harshaw helps PLU to D-III softball crown

Pacific Lutheran University junior Haley Harshaw was named to the all-tournament team after helping the Lutes claim the NCAA Division III softball championship.

The Lutes won all five of their games in Salem, Va., including two against Northwest Conference rival Linfield, the defending champion. PLU (45-11) was 6-3 against Linfield.

Harshaw, a Columbia River High School graduate who plays third base for PLU, was 5 of 11 in the tournament, with two RBI and a pair of sacrifices.

Linfield’s Doucette named All-America

Linfield College slugger Staci Doucette was named NCAA Division III All-America for the fourth time by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. The Evergreen High School graduate was honored twice at shortstop then twice at first base.

Doucette and the Wildcats finished just short of repeating as NCAA-III championships over the weekend, falling 3-0 to Northwest Conference rival Pacific Lutheran in the championship game Monday at Salem, Va. The Lutes had earlier put the Wildcats (46-7) in the losers bracket with a 5-3 win Saturday.

Doucette leaves Linfield with an NCAA career record of 73 home runs, including 20 as a .462 hitter (66 of 143) during her senior season. She also had a team-high 65 RBI.

WWU’s Piette named first team All-America

Western Washington senior stroke Jean Piette has been named to the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association/NCAA Division II Pocock All-America first team. The Columbia River High School graduate will compete at NCAA-II nationals in the Vikings’ varsity eight shell for the fourth time this weekend.

WWU is competing Thursday through Sunday at Lake Mercer near West Windsor, N.J. The Vikings are seven-time defending national champions.

UP rowers honored

University of Portland’s Michelle Bolliger and Sarah Ryan have been named National Scholar Athletes by the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association.

Bolliger, a freshman, is a graduate of Prairie High School. Ryan, a senior, is a Columbia River High School graduate. Recognition requires a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better.

The Pilots recently concluded their first season as an NCAA Division I program, and Ryan became UP’s first all-conference rower after the Pilots placed fifth in the West Coast Conference Rowing Championships at Lake Natoma near Gold River, Calif., on May 12. Ryan was also named second team academic All-WCC.

Ryan, Bolliger and Columbia River High School graduate Ellie Ficco, a freshman, competed with UP’s varsity eight. They finished fifth at the conference championship meet.

UP sophomore Taylor Nelson, a Camas High School graduate, was coxswain of the team’s second eight shell, which placed fourth at the WCC meet.

Tori Dixson wins NWAAC shot title

Mount Hood Community College freshman Tori Dixson won the women’s shot put title at the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges championships over the weekend in Spokane.

Dixson, who competed for Battle Ground High School, won — by more than 2 feet — with a mark of 40 feet, 9 inches. She was also seventh in the discus at 123-5.

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