Western Washington’s Gracie Castaneda, an Arlington High School graduate, dribbles during an NCAA Division II Elite Eight game against Valdosta State on March 21, 2022, in Birmingham, Ala. (Western Washington photo)

Western Washington’s Gracie Castaneda, an Arlington High School graduate, dribbles during an NCAA Division II Elite Eight game against Valdosta State on March 21, 2022, in Birmingham, Ala. (Western Washington photo)

Community roundup: 3 locals head to Final 4 with WWU women

Plus, a pair of local players are named to the Tacoma Defiance roster and much more.

A trio of Snohomish County products have made it to the Final Four.

Arlington High School graduate Gracie Castaneda, Marysville Getchell graduate Maddy Grandbois and Monroe High School graduate Monique Fierke are all members of the Western Washington University women’s basketball team that advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Division II Tournament.

The Vikings, the No. 3 seed in the West Regional, knocked off sixth-seeded Alaska Anchorage 76-64, second-seeded Central Washington 64-58 and top-seeded Cal State East Bay 73-59, all in Hayward, California, to claim the regional title. Then on Monday the Vikings, who were seeded No. 5 in the Elite Eight, defeated No. 4 Valdosta State 58-55 in Birmingham, Alabama, to reach the Final Four.

Castaneda, Grandbois and Fierke all saw time in each of Western’s NCAA Tournament games, with Castaneda starting two of them. Castaneda, a senior guard, is averaging 3.4 points and 2.2 rebounds per game. Grandbois, a first-year guard, is averaging 2.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per game, including a career-high 11 points in the victory over Alaska Anchorage. Fierke, a junior guard, is averaging 2.8 points per game.

Western (24-5) faces top-seeded North Georgia (29-3) in the semifinals at 6:30 Pacific Time on Wednesday in Birmingham. The winner faces the winner between second-seeded Grand Valley State and third-seeded Glenville State for the championship at 5 p.m. Friday in Birmingham.

Kitahara, Uderitz named to Defiance roster

Snohomish County natives Sota Kitahara and Hal Uderitz were named to the Tacoma Defiance’s opening-day roster for the upcoming MLS NEXT Pro season. MLS NEXT Pro, a professional men’s soccer league, is in its inaugural season as MLS’s official reserve league. The Defiance are the development team of MLS’s Seattle Sounders FC.

Kitahara, a graduate of Edmonds-Woodway High School, is a 19-year-old midfielder who came through the Sounders Academy and played for Tacoma last season before being loaned to FC Pinzgau Saalfelden in Austria’s third division.

Uderitz, a graduate of Snohomish High School, is a 22-year-old central defender who was selected by Seattle in the third round of this year’s MLS SuperDraft out of Seattle University.

Locals named NWAC All-Region

A slew of locals were named All-Region in Northwest Athletic Conference basketball.

Former Wesco players were plastered throughout the women’s All-North Region teams. The first team included Whatcom sophomore forward Madison Chisman (Stanwood), Skagit Valley first-year forward Madison Plautz (Stanwood) and Everett first-year forward Sydney VanNess (Shorecrest). The second team contained Everett first-year forward Mikail Montez (Marysville Getchell), and the All-Defensive team included Skagit Valley first-year guard Kailyn Allison (Glacier Peak).

In addition, Lane first-year guard Sierra Schepple (Arlington) was named first-team All-South and Centralia first-year guard Allison DeBerry (Arlington) was named to the West’s All-Defensive team.

In the men’s North Region, Everett freshman guard Brendon Redford was named to the first team; Shoreline freshman forward Deshawn McFerrin (Lake Stevens) was named to the second team; and Everett freshman guard Brycen Dillworth and Bellevue freshman guard Ben Olesen (Jackson) were named to the All-Defensive team.

EvCC, EdC athletes earn NWAC weekly honors

Three athletes from Everett Community College and Edmonds College were named Northwest Athletic Conference Athletes of the Week for March 7-13.

Everett freshman Drew Hill was named the Men’s Track Athlete of the Week after winning the 100 meters at the Pacific Luthern University Open in a school-record time of 10.67 seconds.

Everett sophomore Kaylie Hoskins, a Lake Stevens High School graduate, was named the Softball Pitcher of the Week after throwing a one-hit shutout and striking out 18 in a 7-0 victory over Lower Columbia.

Edmonds freshman Tatsuya Uemoto was named Baseball Pitcher of the Week after tossing a five-hit shutout with five strikeouts in a 3-0 victory over Chemeketa.

Koonce wins hammer throw event

Kamiak High School graduate Tara Koonce, now a sophomore on the Washington State University women’s track and field team, won her first collegiate event when she placed first in the hammer throw at the Sam Adams Classic in Spokane. Koonce’s winning throw of 180 feet, 4 inches was a personal best by 13 feet.

If you have an item for the community sports roundup, email Nick Patterson at npatterson@heraldnet.com.

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