Whits Up for Blue Mountain Sports Awards

News Release Date:
Monday, May 9, 2011

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- The Whitman College athletics program has finalists in three categories at Wednesday's 35th Annual Blue Mountain Sports Awards.

Whitman's finalists include 2010 graduate and tennis ace Christoph Fuchs, who is in the running for a second straight Scholar Athlete award, and the Missionary men's basketball team and its coach Eric Bridgeland.

The sports awards are given in conjunction with the Blue Mountain Youth Recognition Evening, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Walla Walla Elks Lodge, 351 E. Rose St.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin and Baker Boyer Bank.

Christoph Fuchs
Eric Bridgeland

The program gives awards in five sports categories, based on achievements during the spring sports season of 2010 through the 2011 winter sports season.

Student athletes at 13 area high schools, along with Whitman, Walla Walla University and Walla Walla Community College (WWCC), are eligible.

Fuchs, who graduated last May, is one of five finalists in the "Scholar Athlete of the Year" category, an award he won a year ago as a senior. He is finishing his first year of post-graduate studies at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

Fuchs won last year's award based on the 2009 spring season, when he helped Whitman notch its second straight Northwest Conference (NWC) title. He was nominated again this year, based on his contributions to Whitman's third consecutive championship last spring.

A young Whitman men's basketball team took the NWC by storm last winter, knocking off previously undefeated and No. 1-ranked Whitworth late in the season as part of a school-record eight-game winning streak.

Whitman, which finished the regular season in a second-place tie with Lewis & Clark, beat the Pioneers in the semifinals of the NWC playoffs before dropping a season-ending decision to Whitworth in the playoff finals.

Despite falling one game short of a national tournament berth, Whitman finished with a 19-8 record and its best season in more than two decades.

Other finalists in the "Team of the Year" category are Walla Walla High School softball, Weston-McEwen High School volleyball, and WWCC women's soccer. 

Bridgeland, who revitalized the Missionary men's team in only his third season at the helm, is one of five finalists in the "Coach of the Year" category.

The others are Jeff Bartlow (Waitsburg/Prescott High School football), Chad Bodnar (WWCC women's soccer), Bobbi Hazeltine (WWCC women's basketball) and Jerry Humphreys (Walla Walla High School softball).

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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; holden@whitman.edu