Coaches, athletes, scholars honored at 37th BMSAs

Jonah Hoe, a standout running back for the Wa-Hi football team, walks of the podium after accepting the Male Athlete of the Year award at the Blue Mountain Youth Recognition Evening.

Jonah Hoe, a standout running back for the Wa-Hi football team, walks of the podium after accepting the Male Athlete of the Year award at the Blue Mountain Youth Recognition Evening. Photo by Joe Tierney.


WALLA WALLA — Alyson Ambler and the Walla Walla High School softball team cleaned up at the 37th annual Blue Mountain Sports Awards held Wednesday at Baker Boyer Bank in downtown Walla Walla.

Ambler, who graduated in 2012 and plays softball for the University of Connecticut, won Female Athlete of the Year for her efforts in the circle as the Blue Devils’ ace pitcher, and the Blue Devils won Team of the Year after finishing in second place at the Class 4A state tournament.

Michelle Ferenz won Coach of the Year after leading the Whitman College women’s basketball team to the NCAA Division III tournament Elite Eight.

Jonah Hoe won Male Athlete of the Year for his efforts as the running back for the Wa-Hi football team and on the Wa-Hi track team last spring.

Molly vonBorstel took Scholar-Athlete of the Year for her efforts in both the classroom and the field of competition at Weston-McEwen High School.

Athletes, teams and coaches were considered for their accomplishments from the spring season of 2012 to the winter season of this year.

Voters included the Union-Bulletin sports department, area school athletic directors and other community figures.

The awards were a part of the Blue Mountain Youth Recognition Evening, co-sponsored by Baker Boyer Bank and the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin.

Also presented at the Blue Mountain Youth Recognition Evening, the Blue Mountain Youth awards honored area students who demonstrated scholarship, leadership and citizenship.

The winners were Harley McBride (Columbia-Burbank High School), Tim Caudill (DeSales), Keewaun Williams (Jubilee Leadership Academy), Dylan Shuler (Mac-Hi), Jeremy Burke (Pomeroy), Emily Wilson (Prescott), Mattie Smyth (Wa-Hi), Alex Aamodt (Walla Walla Valley Academy) and Joseph Baumann (Weston-McEwen).

Scholar-Athlete of the Year

VonBorstel, a junior, lettered in softball, volleyball and basketball.

She earned a 4.11 GPA and was the ASB reporter, the junior class vice president and named the East Oregonian Outstanding Student.

Her athletic honors were numerous. She was a unanimous state tournament first-team selection, co-Player of the Year in the Blue Mountain Conference, and the team’s Most Valuable Player.

She was also a basketball letter winner, team captain, and all-BMC first-team honoree. She was an all-BMC first team softball player as well.

“It is pretty cool to win the award, especially since I’m a junior,” vonBorstel said. “It is pretty exciting.”

VonBorstel said she hoped to play volleyball in college, and is considering a career in graphic design.

“I was pretty surprised to win the award,” she said. “There are a lot of good athletes, student-athletes here. I though they deserved it, too. But this was pretty cool.”

Other nominees in her category were DeSales’ Ali Zander, DeSales’ Lucas Fazzari, Mac-Hi’s Cheyenne Kessler and Wa-Hi’s Ashley Cornia.

Waitsburg-Prescott’s Zach Bartlow won the award last year.

Team of the Year

Wa-Hi’s softball team followed up its 2011 state title with another deep run into the state tournament in 2012.

The Blue Devils were the Big Nine Conference regular-season champs with a 19-1 record during the regular season. Wa-Hi defeated Wenatchee and Richland to win the district tournament and defeated Richland and Mead for the regional championship.

Once at state, Wa-Hi defeated Central Kitsap 17-0, Bothell 13-0, and Jefferson 8-6 before falling to Woodinville in the title game, 6-0.

The Blue Devils finished the season, coach Jerry Humphreys’ last as the head coach, at 26-2.

“They were an incredible group of athletes,” said Humphreys, who has since retired. “They were very talented athletically. Their strong suit was their determination and drive. They all wanted to accomplish something and they all worked hard to do it together.”

The 2012 season capped four straight trips to state for the Blue Devils, who established themselves as one of the most dominant teams in the state’s highest classification and had multiple athletes continue their softball careers at NCAA Division I colleges.

“It was a pretty amazing run,” Humphreys said. “There was a great group of athletes there, and there is still a great group of athletes there. To watch those kids work hard and do well year after year (was amazing).”

Other nominees for team of the year were DeSales’ baseball and boys’ golf teams, Weston-McEwen’s baseball team, and Whitman College’s women’s basketball team.

Coach of the Year

Ferenz led her team to the school’s first trip to the NCAA tournament in program history.

After a tough one-point loss to rival Whitworth in the Northwest Conference tournament title game, the Missionaries rebounded to put together three straight victories before falling to Williams in the Elite Eight, 63-53.

Whitman, which finished the season ranked No. 11 in the poll and No. 22 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, was the only NWC team to advance past the round of 32, finishing the season at 22-6 overall.

“I was honored to be nominated,” Ferenz said. “It was obviously a terrific year for us — kind of breakthrough year for us.”

Ferenz was also named the NWC Coach of the Year.

“I think people were kind of counting us out and were really surprised that we had such a good year,” Ferenz said. “I think that then (they thought) I was somehow some magician. To be honest, it is all the kids. This group, I’ve said it a million times, they really came to work every day.”

With only two seniors on the 2012-13 squad, Ferenz hopes to build on the team’s success this fall and winter.

“You never try to look too far ahead,” said Ferenz, who completed her 12th year as Whitman’s head coach. “But the things that made us good this year, I don’t see changing a whole lot ... and if we stay healthy — knock on wood — (and) get a few breaks along the way, then it should be another great year.”

DeSales baseball coach Kim Cox, Wa-Hi softball coach Jerry Humphreys, Wa-Hi swimming coach Katharine Curles and Weston-McEwen baseball coach TJ Haguewood were also nominated for the award.

Male Athlete of the Year

Hoe plowed his way into the record books his senior season as the running back on Wa-Hi’s football team.

Hoe will attend the University of Mary in Bismark, N.D., this fall where he will continue his football career.

Hoe set or tied nine different modern Wa-Hi records in his senior campaign as he led the Blue Devils to a 4-6 record.

The 5-foot-10, 175-pound back led or tied every important offensive category in the Mid-Columbia Conference, except for total offense and, of course, passing.

He set the career rushing yards record with 3,904, single-season rushing yards record with 1,828, and single-game rushing yards with 436. He tied the single-game rushing touchdowns record with five scores.

He was named the MCC Offensive Player of the Year and he was named to both the Class 4A all-state first team and the all-MCC first team.

Hoe also placed ninth at the Class 4A state track and field meet in the long jump and ran on the state qualifying 4x400 relay team in the spring of his junior year.

“I wish we would of had more success as a team,” Hoe said of Wa-Hi’s football season. “It (still) was a good year for everybody.”

Although Wa-Hi finished the season with a losing record, the Blue Devils made a large improvement from 2011, when Wa-Hi didn’t win a game.

Hoe was a large part of that improvement, racking up 6.3 yards per carry this season despite carrying the ball 29 times a game on average, far more than any other back in the conference.

“One person does not make a team,” Hoe said. “The guys really helped.”

The Blue Devils struggled in MCC play, finishing 1-6 in league, but concluded the year on a high note with a gut-check overtime victory over Lewis and Clark in Spokane.

“This season our first win against Moses Lake lifted a big cloud from the previous season,” Hoe said. “That was really special for all of us seniors — the first and the last game ... that was a good way to put a stamp on our senior year.”

Other finalists for Male Athlete of the Year were Ryan Baumgart of DeSales, Austin Reisdorph of Pomeroy and Whitman College’s Ben Eisenhardt.

Female Athlete of the Year

Ambler, a freshman at UConn, is now a two-time winner of this award.

She first won the award last year after leading the Blue Devils to the 2011 state softball championship, pitching Wa-Hi to four straight state tournament shutouts, including the title game in which Wa-Hi defeated Marysville-Pilchuck 1-0, with Ambler hitting the winning home run.

She helped lead the 2012 Blue Devils to runner up at the state tournament, finishing the season with a 24-2 record in the circle. She struck out 202 batters and walked 43, finishing with a 1.24 ERA and allowing just 32 runs in 129 1/3 innings of work.

The Blue Devils made it to the state championship again, but weren’t able to defend their title, falling to Woodinville.

“We wanted to get back to that championship game,” Ambler said. “We got back there and what happened in that game could happen to anybody. As long as we got back there, that’s what we wanted because Wa-Hi has never gone back to back (championship games) before.”

As a freshman at UConn this spring, Ambler pitched mostly in relief behind entrenched senior pitcher Kiki Saveriano. She had an ERA of 4.97 and went 3-4 in relief with two saves over 38 innings pitched.

“I loved it,” Ambler said of her first season as an East Coast Husky. “I became somewhat of a closer there — not what I’m used to, but I loved the role. We had a senior pitcher who pitched most of the time and she will be leaving, and (next season) will be more open.”

Other finalists for Female Athlete of the Year were DeSales’ Emily Baumgart, Walla Walla Community College’s Michelle Seitz and Weston-McEwen’s Molly vonBorstel.

Blue Mountain Sports Awards Winners

Male Athlete of the Year

2013 — Jonah Hoe, Wa-Hi

2012 — Dallas Reich, Weston-McEwen

2011 — Oscar Flores, Mac-Hi

2010 — Gary Winston, Wa-Hi

2009 — Tye Knebel, Pomeroy

2008 — Kevin Baffney, DeSales

2007 — Carl Jones, Wa-Hi

2006 — Carl Jones, Wa-Hi

2005 — Cesar Lopez, DeSales

2004 — T.J. Conley, DeSales

2003 — (tie) Casey Waddell, Wa-Hi, and Zac Widmer, Wa-Hi

2002 — (tie) David Thompson, Wa-Hi, and Brian Hall, DeSales

2001 — Thomas Kelati, Wa-Hi

2000 — Casey Richard, DeSales

1999 — Brian Lindgren, DeSales

1998 — Jared Jones, Wa-Hi

1997 — Joe Levens, DeSales

1996 — Craig Douglas, Mac-Hi

1995 — Peter Sirmon, Wa-Hi

1994 — Jason Richard, DeSales

1993 — Chad Averill, DeSales

1992 — Pat Graham, DeSales

1991 — Lance Sappington, Wa-Hi

1990 — Drew Bledsoe, Wa-Hi

1989 — (tie) David Bingham, Wa-Hi, and Ricky Wilson, Wa-Hi

1988 — David Bingham, Wa-Hi

1987 — Chris Cockburn, Mac-Hi

1986 — Darin Harvey, Wa-Hi

1985 — Scott Rahn, DeSales

1984 — Josh Baldi, Wa-Hi

1983 — Toby Long, Wa-Hi

1982 — Brian Richard, DeSales

1981 — Chris Thiessen, Wa-Hi

1980 — Jeff Reinland, Pomeroy

1979 — Todd Richard, DeSales

1978 — Pat Barker, Prescott

1977 — Don Burt, Wa-Hi

Female Athlete of the Year

2013 — Alyson Ambler, Wa-Hi

2012 — Alyson Ambler, Wa-Hi

2011 — Hope Klicker, Wa-Hi

2010 — Kati Isham, Walla Walla Community College

2009 — Kelsey Warren, Dayton

2008 — Jennifer Keyes, Wa-Hi

2007 — Laura Valaas, Whitman College

2005 — Kayla Johnson, Weston-McEwen

2004 — Denise Kirstein, Whitman College

2003 — Jamie Eggers, Wa-Hi

2002 — Terran Legard, Burbank

2001 — Lindsay Morgan, Wa-Hi

2000 — Melanie Simmons, Dayton

1999 — Anne Bickelhaupt, Waitsburg

1998 — Amber Weatherspoon, Weston-McEwen

1997 — Amber Weatherspoon, Weston-McEwen

1996 — Jessica Bissonnette, Whitman College

1995 — Seville Broussard, Wa-Hi

1994 — Seville Broussard, Wa-Hi

1993 — Amy Wilkins, Walla Walla Community College

1992 — Colby Cummings, Weston-McEwen

1991 — Amy Wilkins, Wa-Hi

1990 — Katie Rubenser, Wa-Hi

1989 — Angie Zagelow, Wa-Hi

1988 — Darcy Wahl, Whitman College

1987 — Libby Tyson, Wa-Hi

1986 — Karen Weitz, Mac-Hi

1985 — Randi Taruscio, Wa-Hi

1984 — Shelly Ray, Wa-Hi

1983 — Emily Picerne, DeSales (WW YMCA Swim Team)

1982 — Annette Bergevin, Wa-Hi

1981 — Emily Picerne, DeSales (WW YMCA Swim Team)

1980 — (tie) Debbie Reser, Wa-Hi, and Emily Picerne, DeSales (WW YMCA Swim Team)

1979 — Sheri Bates, Wa-Hi

1978 — Jeanne Eggart, Wa-Hi

1977 — Jeanne Eggart, Wa-Hi

Scholar-Athlete of the Year

2013 — Molly vonBorstel, Weston-McEwen

2012 — Zach Bartlow, Waitsburg-Prescott

2011 — Chinonso Opara, Walla Walla Valley Academy

2010 — Christoph Fuchs, Whitman College

2009 — Noel Griggs, Weston-McEwen

2008 — Noel Griggs, Weston-McEwen

2007 — Shanie Bushman, Wa-Hi

2006 — Jeremy Claridge, Walla Walla College

2005 — Nick Conley, DeSales

2004 — Bryce Bye, Pomeroy

2003 — Vinnie Graves, DeSales

2002 — Brenda Deal, Pomeroy

2001 — Jeremy Claridge, Walla Walla Valley Academy

2000 — Adam Hayner, Wa-Hi

1999 — Brian Lindgren, DeSales

1998 — Kris Wolfram, DeSales

1997 — Clay Hutchens, Dayton

1996 — Craig Douglas, Mac-Hi

1995 — Will Hutchens, Dayton

1994 — John Smelcer, Wa-Hi

1993 — Jennie Close, DeSales

1992 — Jennie Close, DeSales

1991 — Brenda Baumgart, DeSales

1990 — Fiona Lloyd, Whitman College

1989 — Todd Miller, DeSales

1988 — Judy Hall, Walla Walla Community College

1987 — Brian Martin, Dayton

1986 — Reid Nelson, Wa-Hi

1985 — Don Abbey, Waitsburg

1984 — Don Abbey, Waitsburg

Coach of the Year

2013 — Michelle Ferenz, Whitman College women's basketball

2012 — Jeff Bartlow, Waitsburg-Prescott football

2011 — Jerry Humphries, Wa-Hi softball

2010 — Bobbi Hazeltine, Walla Walla Community College women's basketball

2009 — Chad Bodnar, WWCC men's and women's soccer

2008 — Mike Spiess, DeSales football

2007 — Jose Garcia, Mac-Hi boys soccer

2006 — Jose Garcia, Mac-Hi boys soccer

2005 — Jeff Griggs, Weston-McEwen girls basketball

2004 — Michelle Ferenz, Whitman College women’s basketball

2003 — Marc Yonts, Wa-Hi football

2002 — Darrell Loney, Touchet softball

2001 — Bobbi Hazeltine, Walla Walla Community College women’s basketball

2000 — Wayne Dickey, Touchet football and baseball

1999 — Jim Thacker, Wa-Hi boys basketball

1998 — Kim Cox, DeSales baseball and football

1997 — Kim Cox, DeSales baseball and football

1996 — (tie) Gary Mires, Wa-Hi football, and Kim Cox, DeSales baseball and football

1995 — Jay Webber, Dayton boys basketball

1994 — Kim Cox, DeSales baseball and football

1993 — Kim Cox, DeSales baseball and football

1992 — Kim Cox, DeSales baseball and football

1991 — Jim Thacker, Wa-Hi boys basketball

1990 — Kim Cox, DeSales baseball and football

1989 — Scott Tibbling, Wa-Hi baseball

1988 — Art Wilmore, Walla Walla Community College men’s basketball

1987 — John Volek, Walla Walla Community College football

1986 — Jerry Ewing, Mac-Hi wrestling

1985 — Dave Curtis, DeSales football

1984 — Al Sievertsen, Wa-Hi wrestling

1983 — Jim Thacker, Wa-Hi boys basketball

1982 — Gary Knecht, Walla Walla Community College football

1981 — Jim Mastin, Whitman College men’s basketball

1980 — Wayne Dickey, Touchet football

1979 — Marda McClenny, Wa-Hi girls basketball

1978 — Charlotte Wirth, Wa-Hi girls basketball

1977 — Max Seachris, Prescott football

Team of the Year

2013 — Wa-Hi softball

2012 — Waitsburg-Prescott football

2011 — Weston-McEwen volleyball

2010 — Walla Walla Community College women's basketball

2009 — Walla Walla Community College men's soccer

2008 — DeSales football

2007 — Mac-Hi boys soccer

2006 — Mac-Hi boys soccer

2005 — Weston-McEwen girls basketball

2004 — Whitman College women’s basketball

2003 — Touchet softball

2002 — Touchet softball

2001 — Walla Walla Community College women’s basketball

2000 — (tie) Touchet football and Dayton girls basketball

1999 — Wa-Hi boys basketball

1998 — (tie) DeSales football and Pomeroy volleyball

1997 — DeSales baseball

1996 — DeSales baseball

1995 — Dayton boys basketball

1994 — DeSales baseball

1993 — Walla Walla Community College women’s rodeo

1992 — DeSales football

1991 — Walla Walla Community College football

1990 — DeSales baseball

1989 — Wa-Hi baseball

1988 — Whitman College women’s alpine skiing

1987 — Walla Walla Community College football

1986 — Mac-Hi wrestling

1985 — Waitsburg boys basketball

1984 — Wa-Hi girls basketball

1983 — Wa-Hi boys basketball

1982 — Walla Walla Community College football

1981 — Whitman College men’s basketball

1980 — Touchet football

1979 — Wa-Hi girls basketball

1978 — Walla Walla Community College men’s basketball

1977 — Wa-Hi girls basketball


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