June Machala of Spokane, who didn’t start competitive running until she was in her 60s and then proceeded to be a dominant figure in long distance running in her age group, has been inducted into the USA Track & Field Masters Hall of Fame.
Machala, 83, who said she stopped running a couple of years ago because of some knee problems, was inducted in the Class of 2013 in the Long Distance Running old-timers category.
She said she learned about the honor after returning from a trip.
“I was on vacation and when we came back there was a box at the door,” she said. “I said, ‘Why me?’ ”
It’s not difficult to understand why the USATF Masters division considered her deserving. In the roughly 15 years she was a competitive runner, Machala set 11 American age-group records from 5K to the half marathon and three times – 1996, 1997, 1998 – she was named the Masters LDR Age-Division Runner of the Year in the women’s 65-69 age group.
Machala bettered 90 percent in age-grading 17 times and her average age-graded score was 92.57. Age-grading provides an athlete with a percentage value of the world record for their age and sex. Scores in the 90 percent range are considered world class.
“I liked running,” she said, especially in her 60s and 70s, “when I was feeling really good.”
• Ryan Nicholas, a Portland senior from Gonzaga Prep, received a couple of honors from the Division I-AAA Athletic Directors Association.
A psychology major with a 3.52 GPA, Nicholas was named to the organization’s 12th annual scholar-athlete men’s basketball team and was selected the male recipient of the association’s 2014 postgraduate scholarship, $5,000 he can use toward postgraduate studies.
He will receive the awards during the association’s annual membership meeting in Orlando, Fla., June 9-12.
• Kristen Hansen, a Western Washington sophomore from Mead, is the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Player of the Year in women’s golf.
Hansen, the GNAC Freshman of the Year last year, is a first-team GNAC all-star for the second straight season after she led the conference with a 77.5 scoring average. She finished among the top 10 in seven of nine tournaments, and placed third at the conference tournament last week at the Coeur d’Alene Resort to help lead the Vikings to a third straight league title.
• Elaine Whaley, a Whitman senior from Gonzaga Prep, and two Whitworth seniors were selected student-athletes of the week in the Northwest Conference for the week of April 14-20.
Whaley was honored in women’s golf after helping to lead the Missionaries to the team title in the Whitman Invitational. She tied for third at 157.
Whitworth’s Keegan Shea from Central Valley was the men’s field events selection after breaking the school record in the hammer throw at 196 feet, 4 inches, nearly 20 feet farther than the runner-up, in the Whitworth Twilight meet. The mark ranks fifth nationally in Division III.
Teammate Peter Delap was the men’s track pick after winning the decathlon with a personal-best 6,731 points, the third-best mark nationally in D-III. He won four of the 10 events.
• Justin McClain, a George Fox senior from Mt. Spokane, was named to the All-Northwest Conference first team in men’s tennis and Drew Brigham, a Whitworth sophomore from Eagle, Idaho, was named to the second team.
• Six area athletes at Eastern Washington with grade-point averages of 3.20 or better were named to Big Sky Conference All-Academic teams for winter quarter. Those honored by sport:
Women’s basketball: Jade Redmon, freshman, Mead.
Men’s indoor track and field: Steven Kutsch, senior, Mead; Austin Upmeyer, fr., University.
Women’s indoor track and field: Erin Clark, fr., Cheney; Courtney Bray, fr., Mead; Aracia Smith, junior, Central Valley.
• Two Montana freshmen basketball players from the area, Kayleigh Valley from University HS on the women’s team and Brandon Gfeller from Colfax on the men’s, have been named to Big Sky Conference All-Academic teams. To be eligible, a student-athlete must have a GPA of 3.20 or better.
High school scene
Jenna Moser of Colton was named by the WIAA, Dairy Farmers of Washington and Les Schwab Tires as the female recipient of the second-annual Smart Choices Scholarship, a $5,000 award. Moser, who plans to enroll at Washington and pursue a degree in architecture, is a three-sport athlete, lettering all four years in volleyball, basketball and softball.
• Matt Wetzel , a two-way starter for Mead at quarterback and defensive back, will play football at Whitworth. Wetzel was a three-year starter for the Panthers and was named All-GSL honorable mention. He was a team captain his senior year.
• Kassidy Krug of Lewis and Clark, a two-time All-GSL second-team selection, has signed to play golf at St. Martin’s.
• The Greater Spokane League recognized its Scholar-Athlete Award winners for the 2013-14 school year at a luncheon last week at the Spokane Club. The GSL’s highest award annually recognizes a male and female student from each school who excel in the classroom, community and athletics. Recipients:
Central Valley: Courtney Owens, 3.82 GPA, earned seven varsity letters (four in cross country, three in track), undecided on a college; Nicholas Shaber, 3.92, five varsity letters (three in track, two in football), will attend Idaho.
Ferris: Jill Louthian, 3.88, six varsity letters (three in basketball, three in tennis), University of Washington; Jensen Rye, 3.886, seven varsity letters (four in basketball, three in track), undecided on a college.
Gonzaga Prep: Kayla Leland, 4.0, a valedictorian, seven varsity letters (three in basketball, four in track), Whitworth to play basketball and track; Jack Padon, 3.96, seven varsity letters (three in football, four in track), undecided on a college.
Lewis and Clark: Sage Scheiwiller, 3.92, eight varsity letters (four in slowpitch softball, four in fastpitch softball), NYU Polytech School of Engineering to play fastpitch softball; Colin Hardie, 3.94, six varsity letters (three in football, three in basketball), Baylor University.
Mead: Kylie Drynan, 4.0, nine varsity letters (four in soccer, one in basketball, four in track), undecided on a college; Mason Ju, 3.7, four varsity letters in wresting, undecided on a college.
Mt. Spokane: Ashlee Marie Pedersen, 4.0, 11 varsity letters (four in soccer, three in basketball, four in track), Montana on a soccer scholarship; Kees von Michalofski, 4.0, eight varsity letters (four in cross country, four in track), undecided on a college.
North Central: Lauren Hare, 4.0, seven varsity letters (four in fastpitch softball, three in basketball), WSU; Kai Wilmot, 4.0, eight varsity letters (four in cross country, four in track), University of Wisconsin to run cross country and track.
Rogers: Mashayla Combs, 3.9, 10 varsity letters (three in cross country, three in basketball, four in track and field), undecided on a college; Charles Smith, 3.4, six varsity letters (four in wrestling, two in football), Eastern Washington University.
Shadle Park: Amanda Konynenbelt, 3.7, 10 varsity letters (three in volleyball, three in basketball, four in track and field), undecided on a college; Nicholas Hauger, 3.6, eight varsity letters (four cross country, four in track and field), University of Portland.
University: Taylor Morales, 3.967, eight varsity letters (four in fastpitch softball, four in slowpitch softball), Bradley University; Trevor Martin, 3.951, six varsity letters (three in football, three in soccer), undecided on a college.