WSU Notebook: Baseball, Football, Hoops

WASHINGTON STATE football fans were thrilled when Deone Bucannon was selected in the first round of the NFL draft last Thursday, but Bucannon's parents may have even more thrilled with the honor Bucannon received the following day.

Deone Bucannon was named the Cougars' male recipient of the Pac-12 Conference Tom Hansen Conference Medal at the 32nd annual WSU Senior Recognition Luncheon.

Soccer star Micaela Castain won the award for the WSU women. The award, named in honor of former Pacific-10 Conference commissioner Tom Hansen, is presented annually to the senior male and female athletes judged to best reflect the greatest combination of athletics performance, academics and leadership at each Pac-12 school. Athletic directors and senior administrative staff make the selections.

Twin brothers Jason and Michael Monda on the baseball team and soccer's Kayla Johnson and Delaney Zalud were awarded the postgraduate scholarships the Pac-12 provides for two males and two females from each school.

Michael Monda and track and field's Shaquana Logan won the Beulah M. Blankenship Outstanding Student-Athlete Award for accomplishments in competition and elsewhere.

Rower Elise Jones and baseball player Collin Slaybaugh won the Cougar Pride Trophy for outstanding athletic, academic and personal qualities.

Jones and football player Andrew Furney won the WSU Alumni Association Big Ten Senior Award, another honor that takes into account athletic achievement and other accomplishments. Furney also won the Student-Athletic Advisory Committee True Cougar Award for outstanding achievements by a former non-scholarship athlete.

Rower Ashlee Bonahoom is the female True Cougar Award winner. Bonahoom and track and field's Spencer Wordell won the Community Service and Leadership Award.

Basketball player Will DiIorio and volleyball player Marcelina Glab took home the Athletic Director's Star Performer Award. Honorees are saluted for academic improvement that led to degrees.

The Damien Ficek Athletic Training Award went to Glab and football player Jared Byers. The award goes to an athlete who is "humble, hard working in the training room and has overcome physical and/or other personal challenges to succeed at WSU."

The Rob Oviatt Strength and Conditioning Award winners are basketball player Brandi Thomas and baseball player Kellen Camus. Andrei Lintz, who completed his football career in 2012, landed a Pac-12 Enterprises Postgraduate Internship.

Eleven athletes won the Senior Excellence in Academics Award. Seniors must have earned at least 90 credits, carry a 3.5 cumulative grade point average and make the WSU Athletics All-Academic Team each semester in school.

This year's recipients are Johnson, the Monda brothers, Jones, Slaybaugh, golfer Jared Foote, volleyball's Cameron Irwin, soccer's Rachael Doyle and track and field's Kelsey Bueno, Holly Parent and Andrew Kimpel.

THE WSU BASEBALL team shoots for its third straight series win when the Cougars travel to Stanford this weekend.

The seventh-place Cardinal (24-22, 11-13 Pac-12) is one spot behind WSU (22-25, 12-12) in the standings, but Stanford is 42nd in the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index. The Cardinal is still talking about making an NCAA tournament run, but the Cougars (125th in the RPI) likely removed all doubt about their post-season chances with losses to sub-.500 clubs Utah and Gonzaga in recent days.

All three games at Stanford will be piggy-backed on the Pac-12 National TV network with the crucial Oregon State-Washington series. The Cougars and Cardinal play at 7 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday.

The series features two junior left-handers who blossomed as starters after starting the season in the bullpen.

WSU's Joe Pistorese and Stanford's Jon Hochstatler rely on mixing and spotting pitches more than sheer velocity. Pistorese (4-2, 2.94), a regular Friday starter, has given up just 71 hits and struck out only 43 in 85 2-3 innings. Hochstatler (8-1, 1.96), who usually pitches on Saturdays, has yielded 40 hits and fanned 29 in 59 2-3 innings.

Stanford's bats have heated up of late. The Cougars' 71 runs in conference games rank last.

The Cougars visit Seattle on Monday, then finish their schedule May 23-25 at home against Arizona State.

FORMER WSU STAR Derek Jones was a streaky hitter in college, and little has changed in the pros.

Jones, the Cougars' career home runs leader, hit just .179 in his first 20 games with the Modesto (Calif.) Nuts of the Class A California League. Since then, he's hit safely in 10 of 11 games, batting .342 with all three of his home runs and 11 of his 12 RBIs. He's batting .237 for the season.

Jones, an outfielder, is in his third year in the Colorado Rockies' farm system.

OVER ON THE hardcourt, Royce Woolridge is headed home to finish his college basketball career.

Woolridge, a starting guard the past two seasons at Washington State, has decided to play his senior season at Grand Canyon University in his hometown of Phoenix.

Woolridge announced last month he is leaving WSU. Woolridge was effusive in his praise of new Cougars coach Ernie Kent, but said he needs to live closer to his ailing grandmother.

Woolridge expects to earn his degree this summer, which will make him immediately eligible at Grand Canyon. A two-time all-state pick in high school, Woolridge spent his freshman season at Kansas.

Grand Canyon moved up from NCAA Division II to Division I last season and finished 15-15 (10-6 Western Athletic Conference). The Antelopes are coached by former NBA guard Dan Majerle.

FORMER WSU linebackers coach Chris Tormey has been named head coach at South Whidbey High, a small (Class 1A) school in Langley, Wash., on Whidbey Island.

Tormey, 59, was fired as Wyoming's defensive coordinator midway through last season. He coached at WSU in 2011, the final season for head coach Paul Wulff's staff.

A former head coach at Idaho and Nevada, Tormey's only high school coaching experience came in 1978-79 at his alma mater, Spokane's Gonzaga Prep. Tormey, who had looked into college head coaching vacancies at Central Washington, Whitworth and Old Dominion, recently purchased a home on Whidbey Island.

"It's a great community," Tormey told The Seattle Times. "I enjoy the lifestyle." He added, "It's a chance to take a step back and have some fun."

Cougfan Top Stories