Everett CC Selected to Host NWAC Basketball Championships

NWAC Logo and Baden Basketball

The Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) is pleased to announce that the NWAC Men’s and Women’s Championship Basketball Tournaments will be returning to the Walt Price Student Fitness Center at Everett Community College for the next three years (2019-2021).   

The NWAC is happy to be returning to a familiar facility with familiar faces supporting the championships once again.  “We are delighted to be hosting the 2019 NWAC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships at Everett Community College again” states Tammy Dunn, Sports Development Director of the Snohomish County Sports Commission. “The chance to host a collegiate championship in our community is an honor and we look forward to working with Everett Community College and the Northwest Athletic Conference in bringing a memorable basketball championship for all who attend the games.”

The 2019 Sweet 16 and Elite 8 portions of the tournament will see the men take center stage on Thursday, March 7-8, with the winners coming back to Everett Community College for championship weekend March 16-17. The women’s Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games are Friday, March 9-10. The men will join the women for championship weekend March 16-17.

According to NWAC Executive Director, Marco Azurdia, “the NWAC is pleased to partner with the Snohomish County Sports Commission, Everett Community College, and our sponsors in the City of Everett, to provide NWAC student-athletes a great championship experience. We will continue our community service project as our student-athletes not only impact the community economically, but also socially.”

Job announcement: Volleyball Head Coach – Rogue Community College

General Statement of Responsibilities
Demonstrate a willingness to develop the assigned athletic program, through participation in community awareness/fundraising events, recruitment of players, maintenance of professional and positive relationships with players, helpers, staff and administration.

Effectively coach and develop student-athletes academically, socially and athletically. Maintain knowledge of and compliance with ethical and legal aspects of coaching and athletics as stated in college and league (NWAC) policy, as well as state and federal law.

Works collaboratively with college groups, councils and committees as needed. In conjunction with the Athletic Director, manages the budget, monitors academic progress and eligibility of players, and contributes to the development of athletic department strategic plan initiatives and RCC enrollment goals.

View full job description and application information.

2018 Under Armour Men’s Soccer Athlete of the Week – Week 1

Bubacar Touray Armour Player of the Week graphic Click to enlarge image


Bubacar Touray, West Anchorage HS / Anchorage, AK., registered a pair of goals against some strong competition as the Titans kicked off the season with a  two wins over 2017 playoff teams Peninsula (2-1) and Rogue (5-0).

"Buba is a returning all-star and great teammate," said Titan head coach Jason Prenovost. "The boys on the team love him and he returns the favor with goals and assists. He is off to a great start this season and will have his work cut out for him as teams begin to key on him."

2018 Under Armour Women’s Soccer Athlete of the Week – Week 1

Rayna Santiago Armour Player of the Week graphic Click to enlarge image


Rayna Santiago, Nanakuli HS / Nanakuli, HI., scored a pair of goals on a 67% shot on goal percentage against 2017 runner-up Peninsula (4-2) and semifinalist Clark (4-0) as the Thunderbirds set to defend their 2017 NWAC title.

“Rayna did a fantastic job coming into both games at the NWAC Friendlies and making an impact," said Thunderbird head coach Tom Moore. "She is from Hawaii and is loving the experience here and I’m very excited for her this season”

Mike Nelson selected as the new head coach for Pierce College Softball

image of Mike Nelson coaching

LAKEWOOD – Mike Nelson has been named the new head coach of Raider Softball at Pierce College.  Nelson replaces Amber Coburn, who recently relocated to North Dakota, after just one season with the program.

Nelson returns to the Raiders, where he was an assistant coach for three season – from 2010-2012 – under former head coach, Mark Edmonston.  Edmonston was with the Raiders for fourteen years; serving as an assistant from 2004-2007, and as the head coach from 2008-2017.  Edmonston left the Raiders as the all-time winningest coach in Pierce College history, collecting 262 wins over ten seasons.

During Nelson’s previous stint with the Raiders, the program won two West Region titles (2010 & 2011), and captured 5th Place at the 2011 NWAACC Championships – the program’s highest tournament finish since 1984.  The team had an overall record of 87-46 in his three seasons, and tied a program record with 37 wins in 2011.  Over those three seasons, the Raiders produced 23 West Region All-Stars, 2 West Region MVP’s, 1 West Region Pitcher of the Year, and 1 NFCA All-American.

Nelson has served as a head coach with the Diamond Dusters Girls Fastpitch Organization, since 2005.  His 2016 14U team were champions of the NAFA Northwest Summer Nationals, and his 2014 18U team finished in Third Place.  Nelson was the first youth level coach inducted into the NAFA Hall of Fame, in 2014.

“We are very excited to have Mike back with the program”, said Pierce College athletic director, Duncan Stevenson.  “He was with us during one of the most successful stretches in the history of Raider Softball.  He understands the NWAC, and knows what it takes to build a top-level competitive program.  His long tenure with the Diamond Dusters and Fury Girls Fastpitch organizations, will give him leg up in recruiting the top local talent.”

Coach Nelson has high expectations for the program.  “I am honored to have the opportunity to return as the Raiders’ next head coach”, said Nelson.  “We will stress the little things in the game. Proficiency in the basic fundamentals leads to the game becoming easier to play.  Teaching not only the how, but the why.  In the long run, a better understanding of what we’re doing leads to more confidence, and that confidence can translate into other positive experiences not only on the field, but off as well.  We want to create an environment that stresses fun.  After all it’s a game!”

Joining Nelson’s coaching staff are two Raider alums.  Tiffany (Qualls) Weed (’06 & ’07) served as a member of the Raiders coaching staff from 2008-2012.  During her playing days, Weed was a two-time West Region All-Star, led the Raiders offense in ’07 with a .517 average (5th highest in the NWAACC), and finished with a .451 career average.  Aryn Knutsen (’11 & ’12) was a two-time West Region All-Star outfielder for Pierce, and hit .429 her sophomore season.  Last year, Knutsen was the head coach of the varsity squad at Clover Park High School.  Also joining the staff is Val Charron.  Charron has coached with Nelson in the Diamond Dusters organization the past ten years.

Nelson will be entering his inaugural season as the Raiders head coach with five returning sophomores and eight incoming freshmen, recently signed to letters of intent.  The Raiders start Fall practice on September 8, and will participate in the NWAC Fall Showcase, in Portland, on September 22.

2018 Under Armour Volleyball Athlete of the Week & NWAC Volleyball Athletes of the Week – Week 1

JOELLE MAHOWALD Under Armour Photo BannerClick to enlarge image


Lakeside High School Spokane, WA.

In 12 sets last week, Mahowald had 34 kills on a 53% kill efficiency to go with 9 blocks (6 solo) and 9 aces.

Mahowald was also named American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Two Year College Women Player of the Week.

"Joelle led us in almost all categories for the weekend," said Sasquatch head coach Jenni Rosselli-Hull. "Even as a middle, she led the team in kills, which is very rare. She has grown so much since last year. She is proving to be a dominant player in our conference. Joelle is headed to Montana State-Billings next year."

NWAC Players of the Week photo collageClick to enlarge image

NWAC Players of the Week – Week 1
Offensive: Carlee Rowell, Bellevue
Setter: Megan Rogers, Bellevue
Defensive: Mikkele Gallier, Olympic

Regional Players of the Week – Week 11

Offensive: Michelle Dmitruk, Edmonds
Setter: Giselle Hollaus, Whatcom
Defensive: Gwen Scharr, Whatcom

Offensive: Joelle Mahowald, Spokane
Setter: Anela Navor, Treasure Valley
Defensive: Kacey Halbert, Walla Walla

Offensive: Ashlynne Cantwell, Lower Columbia
Setter: Hattey Smith, Pierce
Defensive: Lole Taumua, Grays Harbor

Offensive: Grace Phillips, Linn-Benton
Setter: Maddie Norris/Ellie Weber, Linn-Benton
Defensive: Kyrie Keffer, Umpqua

NWAC Spotlight: Adrianna Peralez, Walla Walla Women’s Basketball

By Emily Masseth, NWAC intern

image of Adrianna Peralez fighting wild fires in eastern Washington

About Adrianna Peralez
Adrianna Peralez is not only a women’s basketball player at Walla Walla Community College (WWCC), but also the Associated Student Body (ASB) Vice President of Business, and a wildland firefighter. image of Adrianna Peralez during the 2018 NWAC basketball tournamentPeralez,“chose Walla Walla because of the outstanding recruitment visit I received. The coaches took a real interest in my goals academically and athletically. They made Walla Walla feel like a home away from home. Playing at this level has allowed me to be a part of such a diverse and talented team. We all came into a new program not knowing much about each other. Over the years, we have bonded and grown into a successful team that has great comradery on and off the court. I have met some lifelong friends by playing at this level.”

Who is your greatest influence?
“My greatest influence would have to be my little sister. We are completely opposite of each other because she is free-spirited and I’m very uptight. She reminds me to enjoy each moment, have fun, and laugh. I apply that to basketball by appreciating each moment I have with my teammates and coaches because moments fly by when you’re having fun.”

image of Adrianna Peralez coaching a youth playerDo you consider yourself a leader? If so, describe that about yourself either on or off the team.
“I do consider myself a leader because I learn from others. I have teammates who have different skill sets than I do and I feel that being a leader means constantly evaluating yourself and learning what you can from others. I am a leader because I surround myself with people who build me up and vice versa. As a leader I am always a student of the game.”

What advice do you have for incoming student-athletes?
“The advice I have for incoming student-athletes is cherish each moment, and buy in to whatever it is you are doing. Balancing school and sports gets to be a bit crazy at times, but if you learn to cherish your time and use it wisely, it will benefit you in the long run. Personally, I have always had a difficult time seeing the bigger picture. With that I was told to "buy in" to whatever I am doing at that very moment. When you buy in to something 110%, no matter what it is, you find success in the bigger picture.”

What is one challenge or obstacle that you have had to overcome in order to get where you are today?
“The biggest challenge I have had to overcome is being my own worse critic. I can be very hard on myself at times and I have had to learn to change my mentality throughout the years in order to continue to grow as an athlete and as a person.”

What is something you enjoy doing outside of your athletic pursuits?“I have had the opportunity of working as a wildland firefighter this past summer and it has been amazing! Fighting fire gives me a similar thrill to that of playing in a basketball game and keeps me in shape as well.”

What are your plans after you graduate?
“After I graduate, I plan on attending nursing school. I have always had a passion for helping others and there are so many pathways in health sciences because it is a constantly growing field.”

Name one fun fact about yourself:
“I am obsessed with double stuffed Oreos. I love Oreos so much that I have an Oreo long sleeve and wore it to a WWCC volleyball game once my freshman year. Some of the other students didn’t know my name, but recognized me as the "Oreo girl" for the first few weeks of school after that.”

Image of the 2017-2018 WWCC ASB officers

Rogue Community College adds Volleyball in 2019

Ospreys will start spiking volleyballs in Northwest Athletic Conference South Division action in 2019.  
“We are stoked,” said Rogue Community College athletic director Darren Van Lehn. “Bringing women’s volleyball to Rogue means more opportunity for local athletes to continue their athletic careers while earning a college education. It also means an exciting new sport for our fans.” 
The Ospreys will make their first serve in divisional competition in August 2019. They join 33 other college programs in the NWAC. 
RCC plans to hire a head coach this fall. “I look forward to working with our incoming head coach to build a competitive roster, continue to expand our athletics program, and further establish Rogue Community College as the Home of the Ospreys,” Van Lehn said. 
Practice and games will be held at The Courthouse all-sport facility owned and operated by Don Berryessa at 709 North Phoenix Road in Medford. “It’s an amazing space,” Van Lehn said. “It’s great to be able to further integrate the Ospreys with the community that has been so supportive of us.” 
The Courthouse manager Nicole Rosanelli agreed. "We are pleased to partner with Rogue Community College as the pilot year of the women’s volleyball program is launched. Go Ospreys!” 
RCC will first look locally for athletes, where volleyball is played at a high level. In the last two years, from 3A to 6A competition, Rogue Valley high schools have placed 14 teams in the state’s top ten. "We will also hold an open tryout in the spring 2019,” Van Lehn said. “We are looking for 8-15 women for our initial roster.”  
For more information about athletics at RCC, visit www.roguecc.edu/athletics

Cody Atkinson tabbed new skipper of Centralia Baseball

Image of Cody Atkinson

The ink had hardly dried on Cody Atkinson’s contract to coach Centralia College baseball before he began shaking hands and cataloging new names and faces around the Twin Cities.

Officially hired last Sunday, Atkinson immediately began making the rounds at Ed Wheeler Field in order to catch a glimpse of the talent pool at the American Legion “AAA” state tournament taking place at the Trailblazers home field. As Atkinson soon learned, news travels quickly in local baseball circles and the introductory interactions have followed him away from the field as well.

Not that Atkinson is complaining.

“This is a community with a lot of pride. You can really tell that they care about baseball, about the direction of the program,” said Atkinson. “People have been coming up to me and my wife at the grocery store, everywhere we go, and welcoming us. It’s been a great first couple of days.”

Atkinson, 29, was hired to replace former head coach Jake LeDuc who tendered his resignation in early July. He comes to Centralia College with 12 years of assistant coaching experience that includes an NWAC championship at Everett Community College and two years at the Division I level.

A 2007 graduate of Bothell High School, Atkinson played five years of college athletics before taking up coaching full time. Straight out of high school he headed to Occidental College in Los Angeles in order to play quarterback for the Tigers’ football team. After a year he realized that his true passion was on the baseball diamond and so he returned to the Pacific Northwest to attend Everett Community College, where he played shortstop and third base. After his two years with the Trojans, Atkinson took off across the country to play Division I baseball at Centenary College in Louisiana, where he patrolled right field while continuing to deploy the potent bat that had become his calling card throughout his playing career. For his fifth and final year of college athletics, Atkinson again returned to the Pacific Northwest, this time to patrol the diamond for Corban University in 2012.

Atkinson’s father, Ray Atkinson, is the longtime coach of Chaffey Construction, a premier summer baseball club out of the Seattle area. The elder Atkinson is also the founder of the amatuer Northwest Bandits baseball club. Thanks to his familial connections, Cody Atkinson was able to begin dipping his toes in the coaching waters during his college summer breaks.

After completing his trip around the collegiate merry-go-round as a ballplayer, Atkinson wasted no time beginning his journey as a college coach. Atkinson noted that the same day he played his final game for Corban, he pulled on an Everett Community College t-shirt and began beating the bushes for talent as an assistant coach and head recruiter. He wound up spending four years as a coach at ECC and managed to collect an NWAC championship ring in his first season on the staff.

In 2017 Atkinson returned to the Division I ranks, this time donning a coaches pullover, clipboard and stopwatch as a member of the University of West Virginia staff. He calls that year coaching in the Big 12 “the biggest opportunity” of his life.

“That experience made me who I am today and tells me what we need to do to be successful here (at CC),” said Atkinson.

Following his season at UWV, Atkinson moved on to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, another Division I program that competes in the Western Athletic Conference against schools like Seattle University. Last season, UTRGV even managed to upset a University of Washington team that later wound up qualifying for the College World Series in Omaha.

Atkinson said he has been keeping an eye out for head coaching jobs in the NWAC for two years and he jumped at the chance to take over a Centralia College program that has appeared to be on the cusp of turning the corner toward prosperity for several seasons now.

“I’m so excited. It is going to be so much fun,” said Atkinson.

Thanks to his travels as both a coach and player, in addition to connections established through his father, Atkinson has developed a wide network of allies across the college baseball landscape. He believes he is the only current NWAC head coach with Division I coaching experience and he anticipates that those relationships he has cultivated will quickly pay dividends right here in Centralia.

“That’s going to be a big deal for us in recruiting,” said Atkinson, who expects to be able to pick up kickbacks from Division I programs from across the country thanks to his array of connections.

Atkinson says that those highly touted imports will be brought in selectively in order to address specific needs on the Trailblazers roster. However, he is adamant that the bulk of the roster will be comprised of local talent. It’s an approach that Atkinson says was discussed during the interview process with Centralia College.

“A big thing was recruiting locally and building a fence around this thing and not letting anybody out,” said Atkinson.

An offensive minded coach by nature, Atkinson says he likes to see power bats at the corner defensive positions with slick gloves and speed up the middle. He says he prefers to see players hit the ball in the air as opposed to on the ground, but mostly, he just wants to see his players swing with an intent to hit the ball hard.

“I’m the son of a hitting coach. That’s what I do is teach kids how to hit. I have an obsession with it. You can ask my wife, she’ll tell you how much time I spend breaking down video,” said Atkinson.

According to Bob Peters, athletic director at Centralia College, Atkinson’s bonafides both on and off the field pushed him to the head of the pack of applicants for the head coach position.

“His vast experience at different levels as well as his NWAC experience played a big part in that,” said Peters. “I know he’s a hitting guy. His big strength is hitting, and he’s a heckuva recruiter. That’s what everyone’s said about him.”

No matter who the Trailblazers put on the field in his first season, Atkinson says he expects the team will be able to compete, even with the NWAC juggernaut just down the freeway at Lower Columbia College.

“This is a game here where it’s not how good you are. It’s how good you play,” said Atkinson. “In NWAC baseball, you’re never going to run into those titans that you’re just like, ‘How are we going to beat those guys?’ It’s just a level playing field.”

Atkinson is currently working quickly to shore up his first recruiting class and finalize his coaching staff before fall ball begins around the start of the school year. So far, Atkinson has been able to retain pitching coach Cam Margaris from last season’s staff but there are sure to be more than a few unfamiliar faces in the dugout next spring.

Ultimately, Atkinson says that beyond wins and losses and the number of players who move onto four year institutions, the success of the CC baseball program will become apparent in the response and attitudes of the local baseball community.

“My number one goal is for the community to be proud of us,” said Atkinson. “If you develop a strong alumni then that means that players are proud to play for you. They are proud to be Trailblazers.”

Chuck Stark appointed Interim Softball Head Coach for Edmonds

LYNNWOOD — Chuck Stark has been appointed as interim head coach of the softball program at Edmonds Community College. Stark takes over for Sheryl Gilmore, who was tabbed as the new head softball coach at Western Washington University last week.

Stark, who is retired, comes to Edmonds after coaching five years at Olympic College. He assisted at OC from 2013-15 and was the head coach in 2016 and 2017. In his five years there, the Rangers qualified for the NWAC playoffs four times. He played men’s fastpitch as a catcher and third baseman for 22 years at a high level, serving as player-coach for several years for teams that competed at the regional and national levels. In 2000, Stark was inducted into the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame for his softball exploits. He earned numerous all-tournament honors and was an ASA All-American in 1992 when he helped Bremerton’s Pop’s Inn to a third place finish at the 64-team national tournament.

Chuck Stark
While at Olympic, he helped many players move on to four-year schools, including Bethany Balucan-Batangan (Central Washington University), Greta Coleman (Bloomfield College), Mariah Frazier (Bloomfield College), Alyssa Espiritu (Concordia University Portland), Samantha Gorman (Central Washington University), and Kelsey Lucostic (University of Montana). Stark also coached youth baseball for over a decade and has high school baseball coaching experience. He prepped at West Bremerton High School where he was a three-sport athlete. Stark played baseball and basketball at Olympic College in 1972, and baseball in 1975. His college years were interrupted by a three-year stint in the Army.
“In our current situation with Coach Gilmore being hired so late in the summer, it became obvious that Chuck was the best fit to stabilize the program and allow us to accomplish our long-term objective of hiring an outstanding head coach for the future. His success and experience — especially in the NWAC – will help to make this transition period seamless for the players. It will also allow us to conduct the proper search for our next head coach. With these types of decisions, what’s best for our student-athletes is paramount,” athletic director Spencer Stark said. “It’s no secret that a majority of the 2019 team hails from Hawaii, and Stark’s past experience with coaching players from out of the area, including Hawaii, will be positive for this team and its transition.”

Gilmore moved on after four years at the helm for the Tritons. She guided the team to its first North Region title since 1999 this past spring. Edmonds took 3rd place at the NWAC Tournament in 2018 and went 106-60 under Gilmore’s leadership. A former Triton player, Gilmore helped the program ascend into the upper echelon of NWAC teams. Gilmore also served as the women’s commissioner for athletics. 

“I am so thankful to Sheryl for developing our softball student-athletes. We appreciate everything she’s done here at Edmonds and can’t wait to watch her do great things at Western. It’s a very exciting opportunity for her to return to her alma mater,” said Stark.

Sheryl Gilmore

Gilmore will officially start her new position on September 1 in Bellingham. The Vikings are members of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) and participate at the NCAA DII level. Gilmore returns to her former home where she taught upper division kinesiology classes and helped with strength and conditioning for the softball team in her previous time there. “I can’t thank Edmonds enough for the opportunity they gave me to lead the program the past four years. They supported me, my staff, and our players every single day. I’m grateful to all the players for everything they have given me and taught me these last four years. They are the reason I coach and they created the greatest thing I have ever been a part of. I am confident the ladies that currently make up Team 41 are in the best hands, and I will be here every step of the way during this transition period,” said Gilmore.

Gilmore coached against Stark while he was at Olympic and is very familiar with his coaching style. “Chuck is an amazing coach and an even better person. He’s a positive leader, knows the game, and is consistent. I really think he’s the perfect fit to take over right now. I am happy to know these ladies will be in good hands,” Gilmore added.

“Sheryl elevated Edmonds softball to new heights in a short amount of time, and I’m honored to be part of it while the college searches for the next leader of the program,” Stark said. “It’s a championship caliber program and I’ll do all I can to keep it that way during this transition period. I’m very excited about the coming season. Softball’s a fun game. We’ll work hard, keep it simple, and have fun. If we can channel Sheryl’s leadership and spirit, we’re all going to have a good time.”

Ex-Triton Arista Honey (’14) will join the program as a part-time assistant this season. Honey went on to play at NCAA DII Dixie State University and is currently coaching and training youth softball players in the area. More assistants will be added in the coming weeks.

The Tritons return eight playoff-tested sophomores, and have 11 incoming freshmen. Edmonds begins fall ball on September 4 and will play in the NWAC Fall Classic on September 22 at Portland’s Delta Park. More fall ball games will be added. The revamped NWAC softball showcase will take place at Centralia’s Northwest Sports Hub on October 20.

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