Matt Jorgensen and Todd Slater, two longtime high school wrestling coaches in the area, have been recognized by the National Wrestling Coaches Association.
Jorgensen, the head coach at Deer Park for 14 years, whose Stags captured the State 1A Mat Classic championship in the winter, was named the NWCA Washington and Section 8 Head Coach of the Year.
Slater, an assistant at East Valley for 10 years, was the NWCA Washington and Section 8 Assistant Coach of the Year. EV finished sixth in State 2A at Mat Classic.
Section 8 includes schools in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.
“This is a first for me; it’s pretty cool,” Jorgensen said of the honor. “I’m pretty excited.”
The Deer Park graduate has compiled a 143-45 career record and guided the Stags to eight state championships and top-10 finishes the last 13 years. Deer Park took 11 wrestlers to Mat Classic with nine of them placing.
When Deer Park was a 2A school early in his coaching career, it won five state titles in a row over one stretch and finished second the next year before the school dropped to 1A.
The letter of nomination for the 17-year Spokane Valley Firefighter said in part “he has built a great program with a great group of assistant coaches (and) wrestlers that are extremely committed.” And he has “a supportive Deer Park wrestling community, administration and staff at the high school.”
Besides being the head assistant at EV, Slater runs all phases of the school’s youth program, helps organize and run many tournaments in the state and has been a leader in using and promoting the trackwrestling.com online program that the WIAA has adopted.
“He is not only valuable to the East Valley wrestling program,” head coach Craig Hanson wrote in his letter nominating Slater, “but to our state as well.”
Five members of State 2B champion Northwest Christian were among 13 players on a Spokane-based team that represented USA Athletes International in the Italian Softball Series that began in late July.
Three-time Northeast 2B League MVP Mattea Nelson, who is headed to Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, was joined on the touring team by former Crusaders teammates Sydney Frampton, Faith Iverson, Makenzie Nelson and Jordan Rabe.
Kimber Tutt, a Mt. Spokane graduate attending Bellevue College; Sophia Tuff, Mt. Spokane; Paula Pintler, North Central; and Taylor Woolly, Lakeland of Rathdrum, were also on the team that went 4-0, including a victory over another touring team from the U.S.
Rounding out the roster were Jazzlyn Johnson, Okanogan, Washington; Sophia Clark, Sentinel of Missoula, Montana; and Abigail Driscoll, Owego, New York.