Trying to play catchup while the Tri-Cities Fever are on a bye week:
Congratulations to Chad Ward, a River View High School graduate who will be inducted into the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association's Hall of Fame on May 9 in Renton.
Ward was a four-year starter for the Panthers in high school before moving on to play at the University of Washington.
He started all four seasons with the Huskies as an offensive lineman and was named a team captain prior to his senior year in 2000.
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Ward was drafted by the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars in the sixth round, and he ended up playing professional football for four seasons before an injury ended his career.
Ward lives and works in the Tri-Cities.
More halls of fame
Central Washington University will induct its 29th class into its Athletic Hall of Fame tonight at Nicholson Pavillion in Ellensburg, beginning at 6 p.m.
Among those being inducted will be Prosser High grad Mike Huard, who starred for the football team from 1968-72 but is better known for coaching high school football in this state for 26 seasons.
That included 17 seasons at Puyallup, where he went 143-38 and his 1987 team won the state title.
Also being inducted will be the 1988 CWU baseball team, the last Wildcats squad to qualify for the NAIA World Series.
Among those on that squad was Kamiakin High grad Brian Baddley.
Finally, former major leaguers Dave Heaverlo and Bill North will have their Central baseball jerseys officially retired. Heaverlo is a Moses Lake resident.
As if there's not enough to do around here regarding sports, there are plenty of tournaments going on around the Mid-Columbia this weekend.
* The sixth annual Three Rivers Lacrosse ShootOut runs today and Sunday at both Hanford High School and Columbia Park.
Tournament director Rob Hart said there 51 teams of various ages competing -- anywhere from 900 to 1,200 players.
Six girls teams -- four high school and two middle-school squads -- will play a total of 10 games at Hanford High.
The remaining 45 boys teams will play at the fields near the hydroplane at the front park entrance -- 90 games on five fields.
The event is free to the public.
* The first bass fishing tournament of the year for the Columbia Basin Bass Club -- now celebrating its 40th year of existence -- is today and Sunday at the Blue Bridge launch at the east end of Columbia Park in Kennewick.
About 30 competitors will take their boats over to Ice Harbor Dam, down south to McNary Dam, and as far north as they want -- although club president Jack Lochridge says most competitors won't go any farther than Ringgold at this time of year.
The best part of the event should be the weigh-ins -- Saturday's is at the boat launch at 4 p.m., while Sunday's is at noon.
* How about the Washington State Elementary Chess Championships at TRAC in Pasco today?
Grade school kids from all around the state will be competing, beginning at 9 a.m. today. The event runs up until 5 p.m.
Before we know it the Lamb Weston Columbia Cup will be here. OK, it's really July 27-29.
But here's a quick update on what's been going on. Deep breath .... The Gregory family -- Debbie, Matt and Adam -- are back in the sport after a few years away (after patriarch Kim passed away). H1 Unlimited has given their team, USA Racing Partners, the 88 number for the upcoming season. ... That was Schumacher Racing's number last year. It's going to get 12 this season. ... Oh yes. Scott Liddycoat will drive for the Gregory family too. ... Kelly Stocklin has been approved to convert the automotive powered G-13 to a turbine powered boat for the upcoming season. ... So far, nine boats and teams are committed to the season opener in Madison, Ind., on July 6-8.
A little college news
Walla Walla High School graduate Hope Klicker picked up her first perfect game while pitching April 10 for the College of Charleston. The lefty freshman struck out 16 and her defense made five other plays in a 6-0 win over South Carolina State.
For the season, Klicker is 11-8 with a 1.92 earned run average and 100 strikeouts in 109 innings pitched for the 28-18 Cougars. She's also batting .235.
* Hanford's Erin Hegarty has done well at Baylor this spring in track. The freshman clocked a 10:21.36 time in the women's 3,000 meters at TCU in March, and she had a 16:54.10 time in the 5,000 meters at the Stanford Invitational earlier this month.
Greg Biffle wins
NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Greg Biffle picked up his first victory in two years last week when he won in Texas.
He also leads in the points standings this season, and it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
Biffle raced at Tri-City Raceway in West Richland back in the mid-1990s.
He brought weapons in the form of two fast cars, and he won Late Model titles here.
The Vancouver, Wash.,-area resident would race at Portland Speedway on Friday nights, dominating his competition there. Then he'd pack up everything into his big trailer and drive to the Tri-Cities in the middle of the night.
Then he'd dominate the competition here, making it easy for us to write headlines such as "Biffle baffles field."
He was always friendly with the fans and the media, proving that good things still happen to good people.
Earl Barden Classic football
The East roster for this summer's Earl Barden Classic football game, set for Yakima on June 23, is filled with Mid-Columbia small-school standouts. Fourteen of them, in fact.
Those scheduled to play are Columbia-Burbank wide receiver Nathan Roberts; Connell defensive tackle Tyson Brook, running back Matt Hadley and defensive back Kade Eppich; Dayton defensive lineman Kroft Sunderland; DeSales tight end Nick Wales; Othello running back Caleb Garza, defensive end Tyson Mollotte and linebacker Joseph Walker; Prosser defensive back Isaac Anderson; Wahluke defensive end Jared Sabin; Waitsburg-Prescot quarterback Zach Bartlow and offensive lineman Eshom Estes; and Warden wide receiver Victor Flores.
Head coach of the East team is Waitsburg-Prescott's Jeff Bartlow.