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June 29
Ray Funk steps down as Yakima Valley College's men's basketball coach

​Will stay on as AD; Assistant London Wilson named interim coach

Yakima Herald Republic

by Roger Underwood

Ray Funk 

YAKIMA, Wash. -- As Ray Funk observed the changes surrounding him at Yakima Valley College, he couldn’t help acknowledging an eventful time within his own family.

And with some of each situation factoring in his decision, Funk announced Tuesday that he’s stepping down as the Yaks head men’s basketball coach.

He will remain as athletic director, a position he’s held along with the coaching job since 2005.​

London Wilson, Funk’s assistant during his 11-year YVC tenure, has been named interim head coach.

“When I took the job,” Funk said during a telephone interview, “Lonni (Rodriguez-Funk, his wife) was working on her bachelor’s degree and Trey (the couple’s son) hadn’t started school yet.

“Now Lonni has a master’s degree and is an administrator here at the college. Her schedule is as busy as mine. And with Trey being a freshman (at West Valley) this year, his schedule’s busy, too.”

Wilson, 35, will be the fourth new Yaks coach during the coming academic and athletic year.

Adam Strom had earlier been named to succeed Greg Oldham as women’s basketball head coach, Abigail Drollinger will be in her first season as women’s soccer coach and Emily Escamilla will take over for the late Al Rogers as volleyball coach.

Rogers, who was involved with YVC’s program the past 30 years, passed away earlier this month.

“Then you have Kyle Krustangel, who won the NWAC championship in his first year as our baseball coach, and we’ve had a lot of change,” Funk said. “There are a lot of little details and minutiae involving the NWAC that I can help them with, and not coaching will give me more time to do that.”

During his 11-year run Funk’s basketball teams went 190-139, reached the NWAC tournament eight times and won its championship in 2008.

Yakima Valley claimed the East Region title in 2009 and gained tournament final four berths three times.

Having coached previously at White Swan High School, his alma mater, the 46-year-old Funk claimed his 300th career victory during the 2013-14 season.

Wilson, who played at YVC during the 2000-2001 season, credited Funk with allowing him to develop a foundation for his own approach.

​“It was a beautiful match,” Wilson said Tuesday. “He was so gracious to let me have a lot of input. In my situation, this is the best way to use your experience regarding things you went through.

“Yakima Valley College is still going to be a stepping stone for young men. We’re going to give players a second chance for situations where maybe they didn’t get the proper instruction or whatever might have happened with them earlier in their lives. That’s basically my story.”

Wilson went from YVC to the University of Nevada where he played for two seasons. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Nevada and a master’s in sports science from the United States Sports Academy.

“I’m excited and happy for London, who’s put a great deal into our program,” Funk said. “From my own perspective, you lay it all out there and every coach I’ve spoken to, if you get to the subject of regrets, not seeing your own kids play is chief among them.”

Funk said the assistant athletic director’s job, which Oldham held in addition to coaching, is not being retained.

His athletic assistant and the department’s athletic trainer’s jobs have been changed from 10-month a year jobs to 11 months, Funk said.​

June 29
Brothers earn degrees

​Daily Sun News

The Ramos brothers of Sunnyside are the first men in their family to earn college degrees. Pictured, left to right, are  Victor, Ignacio and Jose Ramos.

SUNNYSIDE — Born of migrant workers, the Ramos’ 10 children learned early their parents wanted a better life for each of them.

Working alongside their parents, they traveled the harvest trail, living in whatever housing was available.

Sometimes that meant camping out – gypsy style – in orchards where the family was working. Every night, they listened as their parents urged their children to study hard.

“You don’t want to be working in the fields all your life,” was the common refrain heard at family meals.

So with school an important factor for their children, Ignacio and Maria Ramos worked hard to make sure their children attended a parochial elementary school and that each one completed high school. All of the Ramos children except the youngest attended the former St. Joseph’s Catholic Elementary School before it closed. They all got a good foundation in their education, the young men agreed.

​Read Full Story​

June 28
YVC’s men’s basketball coach Funk resigns

​Daily Sun News

Yakima Valley College head men’s basketball coach Ray Funk resigned this morning.

He said he’s resigning for family and career reasons.

He will remain at YVC as the college’s Director of Athletics.

Funk’s replacement is London Wilson, who has been named interim head coach for the Yaks.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity I’ve had to coach men’s basketball at YVC,” Funk said.

“Increasing work, school and activity demands on my family members’ lives the past few years, as well as my desire to continue growing as an administrator make this an ideal time to step aside,” he said.

He went on to say that Wilson is “ready for the opportunity” given to him.

“I’m looking forward to seeing him implement his high energy and passion as the Yaks’ head coach,” Funk said.

Highlights during Funk’s 11-year tenure included winning the 2008 NWAC championship, the 2009 NWAC East Region title and reaching the NWAC championship tournament semi-finals three times.

At YVC, Funk’s overall record was 190-139. He earned his 300th career win as a head coach in the 2013-14 season.

His successor, Wilson, is an alumnus of the YVC men’s basketball program, having played at the college in the 2000-01 season.

He played two years at the University of Nevada from 2001-03 under head coach Trent Johnson.

Wilson has been on the coaching staff at YVC since 2005 and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in General Studies with an emphasis in Health Education from the University of Nevada.

In 2009, he earned his Master of Sports Science Degree from the United States Sports Academy.​

June 18
‘Al is 
our rock’: Longtime YVC volleyball coach Rogers dies at 81

​Yakima Herald Republic 
by Roger UnderwoodYVCC plays the Community Colleges of Spokane

YAKIMA, Wash. -- As the 2010 Yakima Valley Yaks were making a spirited run to a third-place finish in the NWAC volleyball tournament, assistant coach Nikki Morozzo made clear what the fundamental inspiration was.

“Al is our rock,” she said via telephone from Gresham, Ore., where the tournament was being held. “Al Rogers is with us in spirit even if he isn’t here with us physically.”

Rogers was in Yakima at the time, recovering in a hospital from knee replacement surgery. But his impact on the team and program was unquestionable, just as it had been since 1978.

Rogers, YVC’s head coach since 1988 and an assistant for 10 years prior, died Tuesday. The coach was 81 according to Yakima Valley athletic director Ray Funk.

He was visiting relatives in Texas at the time of his death, Funk said, and had planned to see more family members in Oklahoma.

Neither the cause of death nor funeral plans has been announced.

With practice for the 2016 season scheduled to start Aug. 1, assistant coach Emily Escamilla has been named interim coach, Funk said, and will lead the team through the coming campaign.

“Al was a great guy with a unique personality,” said Funk, the Yaks AD for the past 11 years. “He would always tell you exactly how he felt, and he’d usually do it with a smile on his face.

“You go beyond my 11 years with Al and consider that he’s been part of the college for 38 years, you have an awful lot of lives impacted there.”

An ex-Marine who started coaching in the high school ranks, Rogers led YVC to 15 NWAC tournament appearances including seven straight from 1988-94.

His 1989 team finished second, his 1990 squad was third and his 1991 team placed fourth.

Yakima Valley won East Region championships in 1989 and 1990 under Rogers’ tutelage, and he was named the region’s coach of the year in 1995, 2010 and 2013.

Beyond his coaching resume, Rogers was also a world-class official.

He was a line judge at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and had been head official at the 1983 U.S. Olympic Festival in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Accordingly, Rogers received the Glen G. Davis Award from the USA Volleyball Association (USVBA) in 1988. And in 2001 he was presented the Wilbur H. Peck Referee Emeritus Award from USA Volleyball.

“Al still has a picture of the 84 Olympic team in his office,” Morozzo, a West Valley graduate, said Wednesday in a telephone interview. “It’s one of his prized possessions.”

​Morozzo played for Rogers at YVC during the 2002 and 2003 seasons, then moved on to Oregon Tech where she played for another ex-Yak, Amanda Mitzner. Morozzo assisted Rogers from 2006-12.

“We were having practice one day and I just said to myself, OK — Al has forgotten more (about volleyball) than I have learned,” she said. “Even when he was advancing with age, he still had an ability to adapt and make things work for him and the team.

“Al would even do jump training with the basketball team, and he would push them. He had knowledge of the metrics and needs for an athlete, and he was so much more than a volleyball coach. He was a mentor. And he had so many stories.”

Escamilla, who played for Rogers during 2008 and 2009 seasons, has been a YVC assistant the past two seasons.

“All our players — and myself, of course — have a lot of respect for Al,” she said Wednesday. “The players view him kind of like a grandpa. They think of him as family.”

As does Morozzo.

“Even my friends who played for Al or coached with him, they’ll always remember the things he taught them and the support they gave him over the years,” she said. “And they will always remember him.”​

June 17
Longtime YVC Volleyball Coach Rogers Dies


The Yakima Valley has lost a great coach and a wonderful man.

YVC's long time volleyball coach Al Rogers has died, he was 81 years old.​

Rogers died while visiting family in Texas.

Rogers had been with YVC since 1978.

He had been Yakima Valley's head volleyball coach since 1988.

On his watch, Rogers' YVC ladies played in 11 NWACC Tournaments, capturing two championships.

He was the region coach of the year several times and nationally recognized as a volleyball official.

But, he was also very much a father figure to his players and a fixture on campus.

The past couple of seasons assistant coach Emily Escamilla had taken over the majority of the head coaching duties.

Rogers planned to make 2016 his final season as head coach; the 2016 campaign will now be a tribute season to Coach Rogers.

June 16
Estudiante de Grandview transforma trabajo duro en victoria

​El Sol De Yakima

SHAWN GUST/El Sol de Yakima Esmeralda González Armenta, originaria de México, es fotografiado en Grandview High School en Grandview, Washington, el 1 de junio de 2016. González pasó cinco años escolares en el programa English Language Learner Courses para llegar hacer bilingüe, un objetivo que ha trabajado duro para lograr.

Esmeralda González Armenta
Escuela: Grandview High School
Edad: 18
GPA: 3.67
Qué sigue: Pretende asistir a la escuela para ser enfermera

GRANDVIEW – Esmeralda González Armenta llegó a los Estados Unidos y al quinto grado sin hablar una sola palabra en inglés.
El 4 de junio se graduó dentro de los 10 mejores de su clase en Grandview High School y buscará comenzar una carrera como enfermera.
El camino al éxito no ha sido fácil para González, pero sus asesores dicen que ella es una estudiante muy dedicada, una de esas personas jóvenes que raramente inspiran a sus maestros y no al revés.
“Conocerla y verla crecer ha sido algo que me cambió la vida”, dijo Sylvia Campos, coordinadora de enseñanza del idioma inglés para el distrito de las escuelas intermedia y preparatoria.
Campos trabajó con la joven de 18 años de edad, desde que González llegó a la escuela Grandview de una pequeña ciudad en Michoacán, México.
González dijo que su familia emigró cuatro días y tres noches a través del desierto mexicano para llegar a los Estados Unidos. Se establecieron en Grandview porque su padre creyó que la zona tenía buenas oportunidades para el trabajo agrícola con el cual su familia se ha sostenido desde que se establecieron en la ciudad.
Los primeros años de su educación no fueron fáciles.
Batalló para aprender inglés, dijo, pero no dejó que los chistes de otros estudiantes ralentizaran sus esfuerzos.
“Creo que el que se burlaran de mi me hizo querer hacerlo mejor y mejor, y aquí estoy como una de las mejores estudiantes”, dijo en una entrevista en la biblioteca de la escuela.
Incluso hoy en día, con todos los honores y clases de colocación avanzada que ha tomado, uno de sus mayores objetivos es mejorar sus habilidades de lenguaje y su acento, incluso utilizando aplicaciones en su teléfono celular.
Ella se ha destacado en la escuela, aun teniendo grandes responsabilidades en su hogar.
Al ser la hija mayor, dijo, ella ha tenido que tomar a cargo las tareas familiares domésticas mientras sus padres trabajan por largas horas.
Después de terminar sus tareas, su trabajo escolar y otras actividades, como asistir a clases particulares cuando puede o realizar trabajo voluntario en un hogar de ancianos, tiene suerte si le sobra una hora para ver sus telenovelas favoritas en la televisión en español.

La reciente incorporación de un hermano bebé sólo ha aumentado su sentido de la responsabilidad, aunque está buscando la manera de asistir a la universidad, tal vez a Washington State University, Heritage University o Yakima Valley College.

Por varios años le ha interesado una carrera en enfermería.
“Me gusta la ciencia, y creo que la enfermería sería una buena carrera para incluir la ciencia”, dijo ella.

Los asesores de González dijeron que esperan que ella lo​​gre sus objetivos.

“Si sus calificaciones bajan aunque sea un poco, ella viene y trata de averiguar que tiene que hacer”, dijo la consejera Beth Ice.
Campos dijo que González es un ejemplo para otros estudiantes y que siempre que puede les da consejos acerca de cómo tener éxito.
“Esmeralda siempre ha valorado la educación”, dijo Campos. “Ella se ha convertido en un gran aliciente para lograr que otros niños aprovechen la cultura americana de la educación”.
González dijo que trabajó duro en la escuela para demostrarse a sí misma que podía hacer más de lo que pensaba y para que sus padres se sintieran orgullosos.
“Es difícil, pero me encanta”, subrayó González. “Cada sacrificio vale la pena estar cerca de mi familia”.

June 11
Petrosie commits to Academy of Art baseball

​The Spectrum

Former Dixie High pitcher Chris Petrosie committed to Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California, earlier this week, per his father Brian.

Petrosie excelled as a pitcher for Yakima Valley Community College in Washington the past two years, posting a 15-6 overall record with a 1.94 ERA.

He also won the Northwest Athletic Conference Tournament MVP after throwing 13 innings and giving up a run as the Yaks won the NWAC Championship.

Petrosie said last month he planned on visiting the ACA before reporting to Reno for summer baseball with the Nevada Bighorns.

Art U plays in the Pacific West Conference along with Dixie State. DSU traveled on the road to play the Urban Knights this season, which means Art U will likely make a trip to St. George in the 2017 season.

Cedar Crush U-12 baseball team to play in Cooperstown

The Cedar Crush Under-12 traveling baseball team will play in the Cooperstown Dreams Park and American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame Invitational Tournament in New York starting this Saturday, June 11.

The tournament features teams from across the country. In addition, members of the Cedar Crush will be inducted into the American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame. Games will be live-streamed on the internet at; the Crush will play six games starting Sunday going to Tuesday.​

June 10
Yakima Valley College 87th Commencement

​Yakima Herald Republic
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June 07
Local twist on national pastime is back again

​Yakima Herald Republic

Just in time for summer — or at least summerlike triple-digit heat — the Yakima Valley Pippins have commenced their third season at Yakima County Stadium as a member of the West Coast League, a collegiate summer baseball league with teams in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. As in every season, the Pippins bring a mixture of familiar and new faces as the organization gets further grounded into a deeply rooted baseball town.

Providing stability at the top is Marcus McKimmy, the only manager in the club’s short history. McKimmy has close local ties to the area as a former Selah High School star who coached for three years at Yakima Valley College; in November, he was named assistant general manager and director of baseball operations. Also new to the front office is general manager Jeff Garretson, a longtime Yakima Herald-Republic news desk editor whose family ties to local baseball go back decades.

They have brought in six players from last year’s squad: Jace Van De Brake, Jens Jensen, Connor Lau, Branson Trube, Andrew Bernstein and Freddy Smith, with Van De Brakes, Jensen and Hanson being the products of local high schools.

The three-year-old nickname itself is a mix of the old and the new; it was resurrected from a 1930s Yakima team name that borrowed it from an apple variety. In another homage to the area’s apple industry, the “Pippin green” logo bears a baseball bat and an apple, and the club refers to Yakima County Stadium as “The Orchard.”

The team has found success on the field, achieving a winning record last year after a playoff run in its inaugural season. The team’s play and the organization’s attention to the community has dissipated the memory of the Class A Northwest League Yakima Bears, who ignominiously departed for Hillsboro, Ore., in 2012 after two-plus decades at Yakima County Stadium and YVC’s Parker Field.

Yakima historically has been a baseball town; even with the many distractions of the 21st century, the game still runs deep into the Yakima Valley’s character. Baseball’s leisurely pace fits the Valley’s languid summers perfectly, and the franchise offers a family-friendly activity and a quality-of-life amenity.​

The team’s return signals the start of summer vacation in the schools and leisurely warm-weather activities outdoors. It also means the return of the familiar call: Play ball!

June 07
Ellensburg community parade, festivities celebrate LGBT community

​Daily Record

Ellensburg Pride Parade 

Acceptance, support and love were the messages on Saturday at the first annual Pride Parade and Festival in Ellensburg.

The events were put on by Pride of Ellensburg, a nonprofit, community organization dedicated to inspiring and celebrating love, equality and diversity through local events, outreach and fostering opportunity.

Neil Lequia, Pride of Ellensburg president, said as a community member he felt a lot of the focus on the gay community in Ellensburg has been on campus, and he wanted to bring an event to the whole city. Last summer Central Washington University had its first gay pride parade on campus.

​​“We have a lot of community members who are LGBT, who aren’t recognized, who don’t fit into the college group,” Lequia said. “We’ve been trying to bring it downtown. We’ve been trying to incorporate all the businesses. It’s just incredible.”


The parade started around 10 a.m. Saturday and went from the CWU McIntyre Music Building Concert Hall to Rotary Pavilion.

The festival’s first parade grand marshal was Ellensburg native Aquasha DeLusty, who has performed for the professional drag show at CWU for the past eight years.

Participants included CWU Equality Through Queers And Allies, Teachers for Equality, Yakima Valley Community College Gay Straight Alliance, the Rodeo City Rollergirls, Active Minds, Troupe Rose, Ellensburg High School Gay Straight Alliance and Mormons Building Bridges, among other community and college groups.

Ellensburg High School Gay Straight Alliance member Sara Harper, a senior, participated in the parade on Saturday and helped carry a sign with the phrase “Because freedom doesn’t fight for itself.”

She was excited to be a part of something in the community, which is why she was at the parade.

“I don’t do sports, and I’m not a super active person,” she said. “This is really the only club I’m in. I’m actually out doing something.”

Harper said the EHS GSA group started this year.

“It used to be like tolerance awareness, but in a way that’s always been like a gay straight alliance so we just changed the name really,” she said. “We participate in meetings, talk about gay stuff in the news like what countries are legalizing gay marriage and what openly gay celebrities are coming out, mainly positive things.”

About 12 members are involved in the group on campus, which is overseen by EHS Librarian Cathie Day.


After the parade, people spent time watching live performances at the Rotary Pavilion. LGBTQIA groups provided information about their organizations, and talked to those who were interested.


The day of events included live music by local bands CobraHawk and Centaur Midwife, and a performance by Lavender Country, an American country music band who released the first gay-themed album in country music in 1973.

Other activities included a dogs in drag contest, a jazz performance by Beserat Tefasse who is finishing his music degree in euphonium, bellydancing by Troupe Rose and a humans in drag show. Queer Prom was held at CWU on Saturday evening, and an afterparty was held at Starlight Lounge.

CWU’s Equality through Queers and Allies (EQuAl) was at the front of the line in the parade, and also had a table during the activities downtown. The group has about 20 to 25 active members who attend meetings, said EQuAl president Patrick Carpenter.

Carpenter said the gay climate on CWU’s campus when he was a freshman four years ago was very quiet, and it has grown exponentially.

Administration and teachers are more supportive and there are also members of the LGBT community in faculty positions now, Carpenter said.

On Saturday EQuAl asked students to sign a petition to get a queer resource center on campus.

“We want to show administration it’s not faculty asking, it’s the students,” Carpenter said.​

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