Montana Washington St Soccer

Washington State freshman Mykiaa Minniss, right, versus Montana during the first half of a non-conference NCAA college soccer match between the Cougars and Grizzlies, Friday, Sept. 14, 2018 at Lower Soccer Field in Pullman, Wash.

Not quite one month after graduating from Doherty High School this spring, Mykiaa Minniss arrived in Pullman, Washington, ready to compete for a spot on the Washington State women’s soccer team.

Not only did she make quite the first impression, but the Cougars freshman defender continues to anchor a backline that has helped her squad start the season 7-0 heading into the Pac-12 opener Friday at UCLA.

Minniss, who has played all 631 minutes in taking over the center-back position from a four-year letter-winner, just two weeks into her rookie season was named conference defensive player of the week that also featured her first collegiate goal.

While earning the individual award was humbling, Minniss sees a much larger picture as she continues to find her place.

“I just feel like I need to tuck that in my back pocket and move on,” Minniss said after a weekend practice. “I feel like as a team, we just need to keep coming together and do what we need to do. If we do that, we’ll be perfectly fine in every aspect possible.”

At Doherty, Minniss starred not only in soccer, where she was a three-year letter-winner and scored a team-high 18 goals as a junior, but she also helped power the Spartans to the 5A state quarterfinals in basketball during her junior year as well.

And Pat McKiernan, her coach, recalled a conversation that displayed her talent and versatility.

“I had a college scout watching my post players when she and Mykiaa were both juniors,” McKiernan said. “After the game, she asked me about Mykiaa. She told me she’d sign her today if she was a basketball player. She would have had offers from quite a few schools in basketball.”

Minniss has no regrets and looks forward to big things for the remainder of her first year, which includes a trip to Boulder for a clash with Colorado on Oct. 4.

“It’s still super surreal,” Minniss said. “I’m so comfortable, and everyone makes it easy to fit in. It’s a family atmosphere, and I love it here.”

One of Minniss' new teammates Bri Alger is a 2017 Lewis-Palmer graduate.

Mesa Ridge grad climbs to all-time high

Six years ago, Chad Hovasse was a key contributor at receiver on a Mesa Ridge team that reached the 4A state semifinals for the first time in program history.

Now he’s making history as a pass catcher at Adams State.

On Sept. 8, the senior hauled in his 27th touchdown catch in a road game at New Mexico Highlands, becoming the school’s all-time leader in that category.

He added to it in Saturday’s 44-41 win over Black Hill State, catching two more touchdown passes.

After a redshirt season in 2014, Hovasse started all 11 games in 2015 and appeared nine games during the 2016 season in which he was selected captain. He again served as one of the team’s captains in 2017 and led the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in yards, receptions and receiving touchdowns and was named a Harlon Hill candidate as one of the top Division II players.

Bailey finding the mark at Montana State

Maybe Tristan Bailey has found his home after all.

The 2015 Rampart grad started his collegiate career at Wyoming, but struggled by going just 2 for 8 in field goals and took then took a year off football while attending classes at Colorado State.

He resurfaced at Coffeyville (Kansas.) Community College in 2017 and earned first-team all-conference honors after finishing the season by making 10 of his final 11 attempts and parlayed that into an offer to compete for the kicking spot at Montana State.

He seems to have captured the top position as he’s hit all six of his field-goal attempts through the Bobcats’ first three games this season. He made history Aug. 30 in a season-opening 26-23 victory over Western Illinois, hitting a 50-yarder among four field goals that landed him honors as STATS/FCS and ROOT Sports Big Sky Conference Player of the Week.

According to Montana State’s athletics media department, Bailey is the first Bobcat since 2011 to kick four field goals in a game and his 50-yarder was the longest by any player in program history making his team debut and was the team’s first national player of the week since 2015.

Quick hits

James Sims, a 2015 Air Academy graduate and key contributor on the 2014 Kadets squad that went 20-0 to win the 4A boys’ soccer state championship, Sept. 10 was named Mountain West Conference men’s soccer defensive player of the week. He anchored the defense to its fourth and fifth wins while allowing just four shots on goal in a 3-1 win over North Florida and just three in a 3-0 shutout of then 13th-ranked Colgate. … Tommy Lazzaro, who quarterbacked Pine Creek to back-to-back 4A state titles in 2013-14, nearly engineered an epic comeback as he came off the bench for Central Michigan. The 6-foot-3 junior, in relief of starting quarterback Tony Poljan, saw his first action since 2015 – he transferred from Dodge City (Kansas) CC – and completed 13 of 22 passes for 128 yards with a touchdown and added another score on the ground in a 24-16 loss to Northern Illinois. CMU was trailing 21-3 when he entered the game. “I felt like we needed a spark,” Chippewas coach John Bonamego said in a post-game release. “He showed ability to maneuver in the pocket and improvise and make positive plays when things are starting to break down. He showed a lot of mettle there.” … Abigail Garnhart, a junior on the Franklin Pierce volleyball team, knows quite a lot about one of the new freshmen who joined the team recently. That’s because Kennedy is her sister. Both are graduates of Liberty. … August Raskie, a 2015 Rampart grad and senior setter and right-side hitter at Oregon, was ranked No. 2 in the nation in assists per set (12.73) in the most-recent NCAA Division I stats. … Brittany Hernandez, who helped lead Air Academy to the 4A girls’ basketball state title in 2012 and later UCCS to national prominence, recently arrived in Luxembourg. She will be playing for the B.B.C. Sparta Bertrange women’s basketball team. She was The Gazette's 5A/4A Girls' Basketball Player of the Year in 2012.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Every month, Gazette Preps will catch up athletes who continue to stand out in the athletics arena at the collegiate level.

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