College notebook: Linfield outfielder Middelstadt named NFCA All-West Region

By Kurt Zimmer, Columbian Sports Copy Editor and Writer

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Linfield College junior center fielder Grace Middelstadt was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association West Region all-star.

A left-handed slap hitter, the Prairie High School senior hit .328 with 45 runs scored and 23 stolen bases. She accounted for two doubles, two triples and one memorable inside-the-park home run against Whitworth in the Northwest Conference tournament.

Defensively, Middlestadt committed just a single error in center field, accounting for her glossy .974 fielding percentage.

“She was an anchor in center field,” Linfield coach Jackson Vaughan told the school website linfield.edu/sports. “Having as much range as Grace does, she was able to track down just about every ball hit out in the gaps. And we gradually added some things to her offensive game this year. It will be exciting to see what she can do with that next year.”

Linfield finished the season 34-9 with a pair of one-run losses in NCAA Division III regional play last weekend in California.

Track and field: Turner, Arn solidify positions in events

George Fox University senior Alyssa Turner broke the school record in the 400-meter hurdles at the Whitworth University Final Qualifier meet Tuesday in Spokane — but so did teammate Rachael Kraske, who won the event with Turner second.

Turner, a Hudson’s Bay High School graduate, had a time of 1 minute, 1.17 seconds. Kraske won in 1:00.70, as both eclipsed the GFU record of 1:01.29.

Her time moved Turner into seventh this season in NCAA Division III, making likely an invitation to compete at the May 22-24 nationals in Ohio.

GFU junior Charity Arn, a Woodland High School graduate, also placed second to a teammate and moved up the national performance lists, in the heptathlon. Her total of 4,639 points — behind teammate Maria Green’s score of 4,710 points –puts her 10th in NCAA-III this season. Arn also moved up to fourth on the Bruins’ all-time list.

Track and field: Decker extends string of national qualifying

Seattle Pacific University sophomore Lynelle Decker will compete in the 800 meters at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships, May 22-24 in Michigan.

The Mountain View High School graduate was among national meet participants announced Tuesday by the NCAA.

Decker has competed at nationals in all six of her cross country, indoor track and outdoor track seasons with the Falcons.

Softball: Henderson named MVP of Big Sky tournament

Southern Utah University senior Kadi Henderson was named Most Valuable Player of the Big Sky Conference Softball Championship after leading the Thunderbirds to the title and a berth in the NCAA Division I regionals.

The Union High School graduate, who plays third base for the Thunderbirds, hit five home runs and drove in nine runs in four games in Pocatello, Idaho.

SUU beat Sacramento State on Thursday then played the tournament host Bengals three days in a row. The Thunderbirds won 8-0 on Friday then lost 7-2 on Saturday as ISU forced a second championship game. Henderson had a two-run homer in Southern Utah’s 8-5 win.

One of only two players to start all 52 games this season, Henderson is batting .296 with 12 homers, eight doubles and a triple.

The Thunderbirds (23-29) are assigned to the Los Angeles Regional, beginning Friday. No. 3 UCLA, No. 20 Notre Dame and Long Beach State are also vying for a trip to the NCAA Super Regionals.

Men’s soccer: Sea Lions add Wheelon

Mitch Wheelon will play soccer at Point Loma Nazarene University, the San Diego school announced.

A 2013 graduate of Union High School, Wheelon joins the Sea Lions as a midfielder/forward.