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Tri-City volleyball coach reaches milestone, and Dust Devils staying put with Padres

Jim Steach is a steady and consistent guy.

He never gets too excited or upset, and he always gets the best out of his players as a volleyball coach.

How else can you coach for so long – 33 years?

So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Steach, in his 10th season at Chiawana High School, earned his 500th career victory on Saturday at the Linda Sheridan Classic in Spokane after the Riverhawks beat Gonzaga Prep.

Before Chiawana, Steach spent 23 seasons at Pasco High.

What’s his secret?

“Positive culture in the gym with talented players and coaches that buy in to the program and play for each other,” Steach said. “That all keeps it fun and allows a guy to stick around for a long time.”

Steach is having a good team this season at Chiawana too. The Riverhawks are 7-0 in Mid-Columbia Conference play.

Only Bob Raidl’s Richland Bombers are off to a better start at 8-0.

The two teams meet Oct. 23 at Chiawana High School in their only matchup of the regular season.

Here are the MCC standings, by the way (as of Tuesday): Richland 8-0, Chiawana 7-0, Walla Walla 6-2, Southridge 5-3, Kamiakin 3-5, Hanford 2-6, Hermiston 2-6, Kennewick 2-6, Pasco 0-7.

▪ One of Steach’s former players, Ashtin Olin, was named the Big Sky Conference’s Offensive Player of the Week on Monday.

Olin, who played for Steach at Chiawana, is a redshirt sophomore setter at Sacramento State and had at least 45 assists in a 3-1 win over Southern Utah, and a 3-2 win over Northern Arizona.

Sacramento State is 3-1 in BSC play, 8-10 overall.

Cross country

The Kamiakin boys team is ranked No. 9 in the nation in the latest Dyestat.com poll.

The Braves won the boys team title at the Sunfair Invitational last weekend, and combined with the Kamiakin girls to take the combined team title.

In the boys elite race, Eisenhower’s Jonas Price took the title, running the 3-mile course at Franklin Park in 15 minutes, 23.95 seconds. But Kamiakin’s Ryan Child was second in 15:35.87. Kennewick senior Johan Correa was third in 15:39.91.

In the girls’ elite race, Kennewick’s Geraldin Correa finished second with a time of 18:56.22. Only Bellingham’s Annika Reiss finished ahead of Correa in 18:28.61. Kamiakin’s McKinzi Teeples finished fourth in 19:13.39.

▪ Child has one of the top 5K times in the state for boys in 15:26.3. Walla Walla Valley Academy’s Justin Roosma has a nice time of 15:22.4 from earlier this season. Now, it’s all relative since you don’t know if the course was hilly or flat. But it gives cross country fans some idea of what to expect in the state meet next month.

▪ Which brings us to the next point: the state meet. It happens Saturday, Nov. 3, at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco, where it’s been held for decades. There will be 10 championship races.

Before that, though, there are some big races. That includes the 50th running of the Max Jensen Richland Invitational this Saturday at Carmichael Middle School in Richland.

Over 40 teams are expected to compete in the event, which opens with an open citizens race at 9 a.m.

There will be four varsity races – two boys, two girls, including a big-school race and small-school race for each – with the first one set to start at 12:55 p.m. The premier boys race is at 1:55, with the girls to follow.

▪ Connell’s Nolan Chase (16:54.14) and Cashmere’s Sydney Smith (20:31.53) won the boys’ and girls’ races, respectively, at last Saturday’s 5,000-meter Pasco Bulldog Invite at Big Cross.

Hockey roundup

Tri-City Americans must have mixed reactions this week after finding out that center Michael Rasmussen and defenseman Juuso Valimaki will start the season with their NHL clubs.

Rasmussen, 19, is sticking with the Detroit Red Wings. Valimaki, also 19, is with the Calgary Flames.

While it would be great to have the two back for the Ams for this Western Hockey League season, you can’t help but be happy they’re in the NHL.

They join former Ams Brandon Carlo (Boston) and Carey Price (Montreal) currently in the NHL.

▪ Happy for Ams owner Olie Kolzig, who got his name engraved on the Stanley Cup after his team, the Washington Capitals, beat the Las Vegas Golden Knights back in June. Kolzig is the team’s professional development coach.

As a goalie, Kolzig once led the Capitals to the Stanley Cup finals. But his team was swept by Detroit.

So this is the first time his name is on the Cup.

▪ Americans forward Sasha Mutala has made the list. The NHL Central Scouting’s Players to Watch list for the 2019 draft came out this week, and Mutala is on it. He was given a B ranking, meaning he’s a projected second- or third-round draft pick. The draft will be held next June 21 and 22 in Mutala’s hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Dust Devils, Padres together again

On Monday, the San Diego Padres re-upped their working agreement with the Tri-City Dust Devils for the next two seasons.

“The Padres have been a fantastic partner for the Dust Devils, on and off the field,” said Dust Devils president Brent Miles. “They have generously supported our local community with generous donations to the Pasco Little League, YMCA, and the Union Gospel Mission to name a few.”

All Northwest League teams are again affiliated with the same Major League teams they were tied to this past season: Boise (Rockies), Eugene (Cubs), Everett (Mariners), Hillsboro (Diamondbacks), Salem-Keizer (Giants), Spokane (Rangers), Tri-City (Padres) and Vancouver (Blue Jays).

College stuff

Congrats to former Hanford High standout Kurt Kraemer, who was inducted into the Eastern Washington University Athletics Hall of Fame on Sept. 22.

Kraemer is part of the school’s 18th induction class.

Kraemer was a track star at Eastern who was a four-time Big Sky Conference champ during his time there between 1999 and 2003.

He was a triple jump All-American in 2003, becoming just the school’s second athlete to do that in EWU’s Division I history.

▪ Congrats to Richland High grad Kennedy Corrigan, who finished her college hoops career at Western Oregon University and now joins the coaching staff for Walla Walla Community College coach Bobbi Hazeltine. Corrigan spent her first two post-high school seasons playing for Hazeltine. … Chiawana grad Deoin Singleton had a great game for WSU in the football team’s 28-24 win over Utah last Saturday. Stepping in at safety after starter Skylar Thomas was ejected, Singleton had 8 tackles in the contest. He also has one interception earlier this season …

The Eastern Washington University women’s soccer team played to a scoreless tie last Friday against Montana. EWU keeper Kelsee Winston, a Hanford High grad, had five saves in the match. … Also Friday at the Montana Cross Country Invite: Kamiakin grad Phillip Fullerton, running for Gonzaga, finished 20th overall in the men’s race, finished the 8K run in 28:58.50. … Pasco High grad Emilio Meraz-Rodriguez assisted on both goals to help lead the Evergreen State men’s soccer team beat Northwest University of Kirkland 2-0 on Saturday. …

Richland High grad Dontae Powell committed to playing for Washington State University in his senior season back in 2016. But Powell, an offensive lineman, couldn’t qualify academically. So he’s been with Arizona Western College, a junior college, where he’s been dominating play so well that he’s been offered scholarships by WSU again, plus Arizona and Louisville. Powell, at 6-foot-5 and 314 pounds, got things done in the classroom too, and re-committed verbally last week to WSU. He’ll have two years of eligibility left when he joins the Cougars next year. He’s also the second Mid-Columbian offensive lineman to commit to WSU this fall. Walla Walla’s Patrick Utschinski verbally committed to the Cougs last month.