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The year in Washington State athletics

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The women’s teams shined.

Courtesy of WSU Athletics Communications

Good morning Coug fans, and congrats to the Class of 2020. Commencement ceremonies would have taken place in Pullman today, with the other campuses across the state hosting ceremonies as well this week and next. Alas, that darn Coronavirus had to screw up all our good plans.

A lot of WSU athletes will also earn degrees today during the school’s virtual celebration. It’s a big bummer they won’t get to walk across a stage or the platform at Beasley Coliseum, but that shouldn’t diminish what they’ve accomplished.

Since school’s out for the summer, it’s time to look back at the year in sports. Spring sports were obviously cut short just when things were getting good for baseball and tennis. WSU has some impressive track athletes as well, and it’s a shame they didn’t get to compete.

After looking at the team records, and despite the men’s basketball team winning the National Championship (I will hear no arguments otherwise), the women’s teams at WSU take home the battle of the sexes trophy that I just made up.

At the top of the list is soccer’s run to the College Cup. Let’s revisit the highlight of the year:

Soccer will also bring in the nation’s top recruit this fall.

Volleyball made another NCAA Tournament, which is becoming routine. Magda Jehlarova took home the Freshman of the Year Award as well. The future is bright, Coug fans.

The women’s basketball team struggled in Kamie Ethridge’s second season, but let me tell you about what is becoming my favorite WSU squad: The tennis crew. I’ve always been fascinated by the international makeup of the tennis team, and last year’s roster was entirely made up of international players. This year, all but one came from around the globe.

Oh, and tennis was 11-3 during its spring portion of the schedule before COVID-19 showed up.

On the men’s side? The football team went to another bowl game, but with a 6-7 final record, they clearly underachieved. Then Mike Leach left for the SEC, and he did so without any controversy or awkwardness, which was nice. Nick Rolovich moved from the tropical paradise to Pullman and fit in with the community real quick.

Basketball showed some massive improvement and the future seems bright with Kyle Smith at the helm. Baseball seemed to be on a roll before the season was cut short.

There are teams and athletes I didn’t mention, and they all should be commended for balancing school with athletics. It’s not an easy thing to do.

So congrats everybody, especially the Class of 2020. See you at future football tailgates.

Links

Salt Lake City offensive tackle Christian Hilborn jumps on first Pac-12 offer, commits to Washington State | The Spokesman-Review
Nick Rolovich sent out his “bat signal” two days ago – an internet GIF depicting Tom Pounds’ Ol’ Crimson flag waving high above the ESPN College GameDay crowd in Pullman two years ago – indicating Washington State’s football program had grabbed its second pledge in the 2021 recruiting class.

Washington State baseball facility takes shape under ‘Cougar Baseball Facility Project: Back to Omaha’ | The Spokesman-Review
Although he was wearing a hard hat instead of a baseball cap and a work vest instead of his uniform, Washington State baseball coach Brian Green was just happy to be sharing some good news.

Seahawks receiver D.K. Metcalf, Jacksonville’s Gardner Minshew shared experiences, lessons with 547 rookies | The Spokesman-Review
D.K. Metcalf says the best advice he received as a rookie was to sit down last at team meetings.

Colts Could Benefit From Still-Evolving Dezmon Patmon
You hear the term "height/weight/speed guy" a lot when people discuss NFL Draft prospects, and the Indianapolis Colts selected someone recently who fits the description late in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Bennett, Block Named WSU Top-Ten Seniors for Athletics - Washington State University Athletics
The duo were recognized as two of the top ten seniors in this years graduating class at WSU.

Kassidy Woods Enjoying the Journey - Washington State University Athletics
Check out the feature story on Kassidy Woods by Jan Rac from the Murrow College.