Dave Mitchell of Tonasket, who coached high school wrestling for 39 years, was named to the Washington state chapter of the National Hall of Fame last month.

“This is quite an honor,” said Cole Denison, current Tonasket wrestling coach and longtime assistant with Mitchell. “Wrestling has always been a big part of my life and Dave has had a big impact on my whole wrestling and coaching career.”

Mitchell touched the lives of many Tonasket athletes.

“He was my wrestling coach when I first started in the first grade and coached me all the way through high school,” Denison said. “As I went into college to wrestle, he still had a huge impact on my success on the mat. Then when I came back home from college, we coached together for 14 years.

“Over 39 years he has coached a state championship team, 33 individual state champions and a lot of state placers. These are some very impressive accomplishments. But the most impressive and important accomplishment is the number of young individuals that he had a positive impact on.

“I know that there are lots of people out there who are extremely grateful for everything he has done and glad to see him be recognized for it.”

The induction ceremony will be June 2, 2019, in Olympia.

Larry Gibson of Omak is also in the hall as a medal of courage recipient.


Leithan Gillespie and Clancy Andrews, both seniors at Okanogan High School, competed in national cross country qualifying races this fall.

The runners, competing in the age 17-18 age group, ran at the USATF cross country Junior Olympic Championships on Nov. 10 at Franklin Park in Yakima.

They placed well enough to compete in a regional race against runners from Washington, Oregon and Idaho on Nov. 17 at Franklin Park.

Gillespie, the son of Brent and Kari Gillespie, finished third at the first race with a time of 19:34.8. He was 10th at regionals in a better time of 19:10.8.

Andrews, the son of Monte and Laurie Andrews, finished second in the first race (18:03.6) and fourth at regionals (17:44.1).

Both runners qualified for a national race Dec. 8 in Reno, Nev.

Andrews plans to compete at Reno, which will mark his third national finals race.


The fall competition rowing competition wound down in the last couple weeks.

Lauren Fitzmaurice, a 2017 graduate of Liberty Bell High School, got into shape for the upcoming basketball season with Syracuse University by participating in rowing for the Orange, which is ranked 23rd in the nation.

Syracuse recently competed against No. 8 University of Oregon.

Also rowing this fall was Jennifer O’Dell of Omak on the Washington State University team.

O’Dell, a coxswain on a women’s novice boat, took first over Gonzaga on Nov. 3 in a time of 19:09.


Shannon Fahey, a senior on the volleyball team, and Israel Escamilla, a senior on the cross country team, were named Omak High School’s student/athletes for October.

“Shannon embraces all the criteria of this award and has been a real leader in getting the team motivated this year,” volleyball coach Shannon O’Dell said. “She puts in time outside of the season to improve herself and always works on things asked of her. She is one of the top passers and hitters for me this year and is a great asset to our team.

“She is also one of only two girls playing on varsity right now that I have had a chance to coach all four years. Seeing her growth during that time has been so fun to watch.”

“Israel always comes to practice ready to work hard and sets an example that his teammates can aspire to emulate,” cross country coach Sean Kato said. “His hard work paid off by qualifying for state in a tough district meet this season by placing third and earning first team all-league honors.

“Israel represented Omak well at the state meet, earning a state medal by placing 14th. Israel now becomes the highest placing Pioneer boy at state since 1999. Israel put in six years of hard work and was extremely focused. His dedication to the sport of running has paid off.”


I reconnected with Scott Strom, who was working security at the ACH football game at Lions Field in Moses Lake on Saturday.

Strom, a 1983 graduate of Okanogan High School, has been the quarterback coach at Moses Lake High School for 10 years.

“It keeps me busy,” said Strom, who was guarding the team/press entry to the field.

He’s been a basketball referee for eight years.

Also at the game was Bill Alexander, who previously worked in the Quincy and Bridgeport school districts.

Bill says a state-of-the-art football field will be ready next season at Quincy with a replay screen on the scoreboard and lots of other top-ranked additions (I like the LED lights addition).

Server farms in the area helped produce a lot of tax revenue that the Jackrabbits dialed into via a big bond issue passage.

Al Camp is the sports editor at The Chronicle. Email him at sports@omakchronicle.com.

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