Coupeville’s Makana Stone and Oak Harbor’s Jeremy Vester highlighted the efforts of local high school graduates who are now competing in collegiate winter athletics by earning berths in their respective NCAA D-III national tournaments.
Stone, who also received first-team, all-Northwest Conference honors, is joining her teammates on the Whitman College (Walla Walla) women’s basketball squad in the opening rounds of the national tournament in Dallas this weekend.
Vester, a junior wrestler at Central College (Pella, Iowa), placed third in the Lower Midwest Regional last weekend to qualify for the national tournament in Cleveland next weekend.
Stone helped the Blues post a 22-4 record this season on the way to qualifying for the NCAA D-III tournament.
Whitman began tournament play last night (March 2) against East Texas Baptist University (22-6); results were not available at press time.
Going into last night’s game, Stone was second on the team in points (326, 12.5) and first in rebounds (187, 7.2).
She tallied a season-high 23 points at Willamette Jan. 20 and a season-high 14 rebounds at Whitworth Feb. 6.
Stone twice received the NWC Student-Athlete of the Week award this season, was selected as the Most Valuable Player of the Whitworth Holiday Classic in December and was picked for the all-tournament team for the Ramada at the Spokane Airport Whit Classic in November.
Stone’s former high school teammate Kailey Kellner is a freshman on the D’Youville College (Buffalo, N.Y.) D-III women’s basketball team.
Kellner appeared in all 25 games for the Spartans and started six. She scored 57 points, blocked six shots and recorded nine steals and 63 rebounds.
Kellner scored a career-high 11 points in her first start in a 66-58 loss to Wells College Nov. 20.
Vester, a junior, was one of three Central wrestlers to qualify for the NCAA D-III championships March 9 and 10 in Cleveland.
Vester finished third at 165 pounds at the regional last weekend to earn the national tournament berth.
During the regular season, Vester posted a 22-6 record and won the Milwaukee School of Engineering Invitational Dec. 2 and Central Under Armour Invitational Jan. 6.
Vester’s senior brother Jahleel Vester is also a member of the Central wrestling team.
Jahleel, a 141-pounder, earned a 10-10 record this season with three falls. He finished third in the MSOE Invitational and fifth in the Duhawk Open Jan. 27.
Oak Harbor’s Courtney Shavers is a senior on the Bacone College (Muskogee, Okla.) NAIA wrestling team.
He represented the Warriors at the Sooner Athletic Conference championships in the 157-pound division and placed fifth.
Oak Harbor’s Mara Rouse, a sophomore at the University of Texas at El Paso, was third on the Miners’ D-I rifle team with a season average of 1,137 as UTEP completed the season with a 1-13 record.
Rouse shot a career high of 574 in small bore in the Miners’ win over University of Tennessee-Martin Oct. 21. Her best aggregate score this season was 1,149 against the Air Force Academy and Alaska Fairbanks Feb. 2.
Alexandra Laiblin, a senior on the Western Washington University track team, placed eighth in the 5,000 meters and 10th in the 3,000 at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference indoor championships Feb. 15 and 16 in Nampa, Idaho.
The Oak Harbor graduate ran the 3,000 in 10:15.09, the eighth-best time in WWU history, at the University of Washington Open Feb. 11. She also owns the school’s ninth-best 5,000 time, 18:14.88, set at the GNAC championships last month.