The Mid-Columbia Athletes of the Week for April 1, 2011.
Jesse Houser, Kamiakin, junior
It wasn't easy to play a doubleheader against Moses Lake after the sudden and shocking death of Chiefs coach Ed McNamara. But Houser paid tribute to the respected coach the best way he knew how.
Just play, baby.
"I felt pretty good in the cage before the game," Houser said. “My coach was telling me to hit a lot of line drives, and I tried to imagine I was still in the cage."
Houser finished the day with four hits -- including a home run -- five RBIs and four runs scored in the Braves' sweep. Later in the week, he held off a late rally by Richland, picking up the save in a 6-5 home win.
"Everybody wants to have good stats, but whatever makes the team do well," Houser said of Kamiakin's 6-0 start. "If they ask me to bunt, I’m not going to complain."
Favorite food: Chinese
Favorite nonsport activity: snowboarding
Favorite athlete: Derek Jeter
Most like to meet (living or dead): Will Ferrell
Any famous relatives?: Uncle Greg Strobel was a U.S. wrestling coach at the 1996 Olympics.
Sports highlight/memory: Went to Babe Ruth World Series in Loudon County, Va., in 2007.
Favorite class: Math (algebra)
Game day ritual: I never wear my warmup jersey to school.
Between-innings snack: Mix of smoky bacon, zesty ranch sunflower seeds.
Must-have on the road: My big lunch box on wheels.
Kristin Strankman, Richland, junior
Strankman reached state as a sophomore, but that only gave her a taste of success. This spring, she’s looking for consistency.
"That's been her strength. Everything she does is pretty decent," Bombers coach Janet Schuster said. "Some players struggle just keeping it together the whole round. She's pretty much right down the middle."
Last week she did just that, shooting a 5-over 76 to win a CBBN 4A pod at Meadow Springs and then shooting 3-over 75 to win the Lee Dolquist Invite at Apple Tree.
"I want to keep playing in the 70s, and I definitely want to do well at state," said Strankman, hopes to draw some attention from college programs this year. "Last year, I had a pretty good first day but a rough second day. I want some revenge."
Favorite food: Olive Garden
Favorite nonsport activity: Cycling
Most like to meet (living or dead): Arnold Palmer
Any famous relatives?: Grandfather Fred Strankman led Hanford football to an undefeated season in 1972 and the boys basketball team to a third-place finish in 1977.
Pre-round ritual: Mary McDonald and I draw designs on our gloves and golf balls before each round.
Between holes snack: Peanut butter crackers.
Favorite TV show: NCIS
Nominations for AOTW can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to 582-1410. Nominations must be received by noon Sunday.