College notebook: Doucette receives Rutschman Award for second time

Evergreen grad top Oregon small-college athlete



Staci Doucette, Ad Rutschman Award winner

Former NCAA Division III All-America softball player Staci Doucette of Linfield College was picked for the second time in three years as the female recipient of the Ad Rutschman Award presented annually to the top athlete from an Oregon small college.

The Evergreen High School graduate, who was also the award’s recipient in 2011 and a finalist last year, was honored for outstanding athletic achievement at the 61st Oregon Sports Awards held Sunday at the Tiger Woods Center on the Nike World Headquarters campus in Beaverton, Ore.

The award is named in honor of Rutschman, a former Linfield football and baseball coach and athletic director.

All three finalists for the female Rutschman Award are graduates of Clark County high schools.

The other finalists:

• Heritage High School graduate Keisha Gordon, an NCAA Division III basketball All-American. She is the George Fox University career leader in points and steals and led the Bruins to a four-year record of 117-10 from 2008-12 and a national title in 2009.

• Fort Vancouver High School graduate Junia Limage, a Concordia University middle distance runner who claimed two NAIA national championships and two other All-America performances across cross country and indoor and outdoor track during the 2011-12 school year.

“It’s a great honor to be considered alongside the other great athletes, but truly the Rutschman Award is more representative of the quality of our team and the accomplishments of our program,” Doucette told

During four seasons at Linfield, Doucette set a pair of NCAA-III records with 73 home runs and 259 RBI. A major college talent, Doucette opted to attend Linfield and compete as a Division III student-athlete, rather than pursue several scholarship offers to play Division I softball.

“Coming to Linfield really was a blessing in disguise,” said Doucette, who graduated last May with a bachelor’s degree in history. “I’m very happy I chose Linfield and I’m equally happy I had the opportunity to play for a national championship.”

With Doucette in the lineup, Linfield won one NCAA crown (2011) and played in the national title game two other times (2010, 2012).

Doucette set a program record with 201 career starts from 2009 until 2012, during which time the Wildcats went 178-23, won four Northwest Conference championship, and won three regional titles.

Coach Jackson Vaughan said: “It’s almost a career award, representing not only the great season Staci enjoyed last year but also the remarkable career accomplishments she was able to achieve while at Linfield.”

Linfield student-athletes have been recipients of the Rutschman Award seven times since its inception in 2001.

Thomas sets Gonzaga records in 3K, 5K

Gonzaga University junior Emily Thomas blazed a trail for the program in the indoor 5,000-meter run at the University of Washington’s Husky Classic.

The Camas High School graduate became the first Bulldog to officially run the distance indoors, establishing a school record with a time of 17 minutes, 15.33 seconds.

Two weeks earlier at the same Dempsey Indoor facility, Thomas broke the school record in the 3,000 meters at the University of Washington Invite.

Her time of 9:43:03 broke the former record by three seconds as she placed 23rd in an event featuring seven professional runners and an Olympian.

Thomas now holds every Gonzaga school records at 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000 meters.

Dixson, Limage hit automatic qualifiers

Concordia University thrower Gabi Dixson set one school record and nearly set another, and middle distance runner Junia Limage notched another qualifying time for the NAIA indoor track and field championships Friday at the University of Washington’s Husky Classic meet at Dempsey Indoor.

Dixson, from Battle Ground High School, extended her own school record in the shot put with a mark of 48 feet, 101/4 inches.

She placed third, but leads both the Concordia all-time list and this year’s NAIA performance list by about two feet. Dixson’s mark of 57-81/4 in the weight throw is third-best on the NAIA list this season and 11/2 inches short of her school record.

Limage, a Fort Vancouver High School graduate who previously achieved “A” qualifying standards in the 600 and 800 meters, notched her third automatic qualifier of the season with a time of 58.06 seconds in the 400.

Limage currently holds the fastest time in the nation at the 800-meter distance.

NAIA indoor nationals are Feb. 28 through March 2 in Geneva, Ohio.

GFU’s Arn second in indoor pentathlon

George Fox University sophomore Charity Arn placed second to teammate Beth Stam in the indoor pentathlon at the Boise State Team Challenge meet Friday in Nampa, Idaho.

The Woodland High School graduate totaled 3,263 points, the eighth-best mark in NCAA Division III this season. Stam’s score of 3,387 points tops Division III.

Arn won the long jump with a leap of 17 feet, 6 inches; came in second in the shot put at 32-01/4 and the 800 meters with a time of 2 minutes, 34.38 seconds; and was third in the 60 meter hurdles in 9.64 and the high jump at 5-1.

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