BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Four former Western Washington University student-athletes, each of whom played an historic role in their particular sports, make up the 2017 class for induction into the school's Athletics Hall of Fame in mid-May.
The ceremony, the 42nd since WWU began its hall of fame in 1968, is part of WWU's Back to Bellingham Weekend and takes place on Saturday, May 20 at 1 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center on campus. There is no admission charge and parking is free.
This year's four honorees are:
- Grant Dykstra (Basketball) - A consensus All-American as a senior guard in men's basketball, who overcame a debilitating childhood injury to become the school's all-time career scoring leader.
- Tim Feenstra (Men's Golf) - A three-time All-America in men's golf, who has continued his outstanding play as a professional.
- Karla Landis (Rowing) - An All-America women's rower for the Vikings and an assistant coach for the first four of the school's NCAA Division II record seven consecutive national titles.
- Nicola Parker (Volleyball) - The school's first libero in volleyball, who helped WWU to a 54-match league unbeaten streak, the fourth longest in NCAA II history.
The WWU Athletics Hall of Fame began in 1968 and is the second-oldest among all Pacific Northwest colleges and universities. The four inductees bring the hall's membership to 140 [complete list], a group that spans the 115-year history of WWU Athletics.
In 2005-06, Dykstra was a consensus All-American and became the school's career scoring leader. Making those accomplishments even more impressive was that they came after he suffered a life-threatening accident as a two-year-old that nearly cost him his right arm.
Over a 10-year period, Dykstra required 16 surgeries and countless hours of physical therapy to strengthen the arm. He taught himself to shoot left-handed and learned to dribble and pass with a right arm that is shorter than his left.
His achievements earned him national and international attention, Dykstra was named winner of the 2006 V Foundation Comeback Award, the first non-NCAA I student-athlete to earn the honor, and was selected the 2005 U.S. Basketball Writers Association Most Courageous Award winner. In 2013, he was one of 48 former NCAA II student-athletes picked to the NCAA II 40th Anniversary Tribute Team.
Following a redshirt season at WWU, Dykstra started every game of his four-year career while finishing with a school record 1,844 points, a standard that lasted until 2017. He also was fourth among Viking leaders in assists with 404, sixth in rebounds with 576, and seventh in steals with 210.
"I'm extremely grateful for my time at WWU, it is where I grew up as a man," Dykstra said. "I became a husband, a father, and I learned of God's purpose for my life during my time on campus. I'm just an ordinary person but with the help of my coaches, teammates, and administration we were able to accomplish extraordinary things."
Dykstra was named to all four Division II All-America teams as a senior at WWU, being first-team National Association of Basketball Coaches and Daktronics, second-team Basketball Times and third-team DII Bulletin. He also was a first-team NABC and Daktronics West Region all-star and a first-team Great Northwest Athletic Conference all-star, each for the second straight year.
That season, Dykstra averaged 20.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.0 steals, setting a school-record for three-point makes with 101 as the Vikings went 23-7, ranked a school-best No.2 nationally twice and reached the West Regional final of the 2006 NCAA II national tournament. WWU's Male Athlete of the Year for 2005-06, he shot 50.6 percent from the field, including 43.7 percent from three-point range, and 84.5 percent at the free throw line. His average of 3.4 three-point makes a game ranked ninth nationally, and he was 16th in 3-point percentage.
"I watched him play at every level," said Brad Jackson, who was an assistant coach at the University of Washington the last five years after serving 27 seasons as head coach at Western. "He was always the best player. His `disability' was never an issue. What's so amazing is that people would watch him for several games and then ask me, `What's wrong with his hand?' They didn't even notice."
"For him to play at the level he did for four years is a phenomenal achievement for anyone," said Jackson. "But given the severity of his injury, it becomes astounding. The manner in which he competed and represented himself, his family and his teammates was both remarkable and exceptionally inspirational."
Dykstra, who received a bachelor's degree in business administration and finance from WWU in 2006, is now completing his 11th year as a Commercial Loan Officer at the Whatcom Educational Credit Union in Bellingham.
At Lynden Christian High School near his hometown of Everson, Wash., Dykstra earned Class 2A All-State honors, helping the Lyncs to four state tournament appearances, one resulting in a championship. He set a school season scoring record as a senior and holds career marks for points, assists and steals.
- Consensus All-American in 2005-06 (National Association of Basketball Coaches, Daktronics, Basketball Times, DII Bulletin)
- 2006 V Foundation Comeback Award, three-time finalist
- 2005 U.S. Basketball Writers Association Most Courageous Award
- NCAA II 40th Anniversary Tribute Team (2013)
- WWU Male Athlete of the Year (2005-06)
- WWU Career Scoring Record (1,844 points, 2002-06)
- Daktronics West Region Player of the Year (2005-06)
- First-team NABC and Daktronics West Region all-star (2004-05, 2005-06)
- First-team GNAC all-star (2004-05, 2005-06)
- Four-year letter winner, played in every game during career
A four-time West Region all-star and WWU Athlete of the Year for 2004-05, Feenstra tied for 10th at the 2005 NCAA Division II National Championships after leading Western to the regional title by taking medalist honors. He tied for 16th nationally in 2004 on a squad that reached nationals and also was on a team that competed at nationals in 2003.
"Whenever I have been asked, `Who was the best player you ever coached?' my response has been, `That's really difficult to answer,'" said WWU Director of Athletics Steve Card, who coached men's golf for 20 seasons. "However, the most decorated player I ever coached was Tim Feenstra. Tim was clearly one of the best to ever play for the Vikings. He set all kinds of records, and was always a player you could count on. He was a tournament player. When a trophy was on the line, we always knew that Tim was going to bring his best. We were blessed to have him in our program."
Feenstra, who graduated from WWU in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in general studies, was born and raised in Lynden, Wash., growing up on a 75-acre cattle farm. As a senior at Lynden High School, he took medalist honors in leading the Lions to the state championship.
Feenstra has been a PGA Golf Professional at Broadmoor Golf Club, a premier private golf course in Seattle, since 2008. He also served one-year stints as an Assistant Golf Professional at the Homestead Farms Golf Club (Lynden) in 2006 and at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge (Snoqualmie, WA) in 2007.
Feenstra was a semifinalist at the 2006 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship. He has five Western Washington Chapter PGA victories and six Pacific Northwest PGA Section major wins.
The 34-year-old Feenstra played in the PGA Professional Championship in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016, and has qualified for the 2017 event. He has qualified for the Hudson Cup from 2011 to 2016, being the Larry Lamberger award winner in 2012, 2014 and 2015. Created in honor of Robert Hudson of Portland Golf Club, this event pairs the Section's top professionals against the area's top amateurs.
Feenstra became a PGA member in 2011 and a certified PGA Professional (golf operations) in 2015.
"I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to play for and represent WWU throughout my collegiate golf career," said Feenstra. "I am deeply grateful to Coach Card for giving me the opportunity and helping shape not only my golf abilities, but also my values as an athlete and a young man. When I began my golf career at WWU, I had the goal of becoming a consistent contributor to the program. What I found was not only the ability to contribute to the success of the program, but a team of players and coaches who were instrumental in teaching me so much about the game and instilling my love and passion for the game.".
- Three-time Golf Coaches Association of America DII PING All-American (1st Team: 2004-05; 2nd Team: 2005-06; 3rd Team: 2003-04)
- GCAA National Division Freshman of the Year in 2002-03
- Four-time NCAA II West Region All-Star
- Tied for 10th nationally at NCAA II Championships in 2005, and tied for 16th in 2004
- Led WWU in scoring average four times (2002 to 2006) with overall average of 73.0 (135 rounds)
- WWU Male Athlete of the Year (2004-05)
- Semifinalist at 2006 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship
- Five Western Washington Chapter PGA victories and six Pacific Northwest PGA Section major wins
- Played in PGA Professional Championship in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017
- Qualified for Hudson Cup from 2011 to 2016, being Larry Lamberger award winner in 2012, 2014 and 2015
- PGA Golf Professional at Broadmoor Golf Club (2008 to present)
- Four-year letter winner
The 37-year-old Landis, a Haskell Scholarship recipient and a four-year letter winner, was the Vikings' team captain as a junior and senior. She received a bachelor's degree from Western in exercise science in 2003.
Landis served as the assistant rowing coach at WWU for six years. She helped the Vikings win four consecutive national titles during her tenure and completed a master's degree in kinesiology. She made such an impact on the program that a four-oared shell was christened the "Karla L" in her honor.
"Karla was a fantastic leader on the team, even though I don't know if she really wanted to be," said WWU rowing coach John Fuchs, who is in his 19th season. "But by the time Karla was a junior she was raising the bar. Her attitude towards the workouts resonated throughout the team. It was one of the reasons we were able to qualify for the NCAA Regatta in 2001. We've only missed one since then and it was her leadership that set the tone for many years to follow."
"She was also a huge part of our title run in the 2000s. She was fun to be around, grew to be a great coach, and the students enjoyed being around her. It doesn't surprise me of her recent accolades in sport and fitness and that she is still associated with rowing. She will always be a special friend and I owe much of our team's success to her."
Landis is currently in her eighth year as Deputy Director of Outreach for The George Pocock Foundation, located in Seattle, where she oversees all youth outreach programs and manages all major annual fundraising events and campaigns. She uses the power of rowing to serve as a means for young people to develop lifelong skills for healthy living, embrace teamwork, build new friendships and expand academic and professional horizons.
In 2016, Landis received a Community Leadership Award from the Office of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition for her work in the foundation and pioneer on the Row to the Future Initiative.
A graduate of Stadium High School in Tacoma, Landis won four letters in both swimming and softball.
"No one succeeds in rowing by themselves," said Landis. "During my time at Western, I could not have asked for a better coach than John Fuchs nor could I have wished for better teammates. Any success I had during my time as a coach and athlete was a direct result of the amazing community of smart, motivated people I had the good fortune of rowing with and coaching.".
- Collegiate Rowing Coaches of America Division II All-American in 2002, helping Vikings rank No.1 nationally in final USRowing CRCA Poll, place second at inaugural NCAA National Championships and win unofficial NCAA II West Regional title at Pacific Coast Rowing Championships
- Northwest Collegiate Rowing Conference All-Star (2002)
- WWU team captain in 2002 and 2001
- WWU assistant rowing coach for six years, the Vikings winning four straight national titles during that stretch
- Four-oared shell christened "Karla L" in her honor
- Haskell Scholarship recipient
- Four-year letter winner
- Received 2016 Community Leadership Award from Office of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition for work as Deputy Director of Outreach for The George Pocock Foundation
As a senior in 2003, Parker was a first-team Daktronics All-American and received honorable mention American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America honors, leading the nation with a 6.16 digs per game average, then the fourth-best mark in NCAA II history. That team finished 24-2, having a 24-match victory string and ranking as high as No.2 nationally. The WWU Female Athlete of the Year for 2003-04, she finished her four-year career with dig bests of 38 in a match, 542 in a season and 1,435 in a career.
"I think my whole team should be inducted into the Hall of Fame," said Parker. "I played defense behind some of the best blockers in the country; they made me look good. I had some of the best setters in the country making my digs look good. And our hitters put the opposition on their heels so that their attacks were easier to dig. So really my whole team belongs."
A WWU Presidential Scholarship recipient, Parker received her bachelor's degree in 2004 and master's degree in 2006, both in mathematics. She served as a graduate assistant coach for the Vikings from 2004 to 2006.
Parker was an assistant volleyball coach and instructor at Seattle Pacific University from 2009 to 2011 before going on to graduate school in education with a minor in statistics. She plans to defend her doctoral dissertation in April.
Parker was a third-team Daktronics All-American in 2002, and a first-team Daktronics and AVCA West Region All-Star and first-team GNAC All-Star in 2002 and 2003. She also was an GNAC Academic selection in 2001, 2002 and 2003, and a College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) All-District VIII Academic award winner in 2002 and 2003.
But the honor Parker considers the best was being voted the Most Inspirational Award by her teammates in each of her four seasons at WWU.
"What does it mean to me?" said Parker of being selected to WWU's Hall of Fame. "Perhaps it's a reflection of how much I loved the game, enough to pepper with my sister in the back yard for hours and hours when we were young. It's certainly a reflection of how much support I had: from my folks, my teammates, my coaches (in high school and in college), and my friends who prayed for me when I was injured and who cheered me on when I was healthy enough to play again."
"I feel thankful to God for giving me the ability to play, and for teaching me to play for Him instead of playing for myself. Psalm 33:3 says "play skillfully," and once I learned that I could worship God by playing skillful volleyball, I had a whole new edge ... When God puts meaning into the mundane, your life comes alive. That's my secret; for volleyball, and for life."
A three-sport letter winner at Auburn High School, Parker was the Most Valuable Player of the South Puget Sound League North Division as a senior, setting school records for kills in a season and career.
The 34-year-old Parker has a sister, Michelle, who also was an all-star volleyball player at WWU and the school's Female Athlete of the Year in 2000-01.
"Nicola was the pioneer as the first libero for this program and set the high standard for all other liberos to follow," said WWU volleyball coach Diane Flick-Williams, who has 367 wins over 17 seasons. "She was not only fantastic at her position, but was a great teammate, great student, and great ambassador for our program and University. She achieved so much during her time here, and did it all with the biggest, most infectious smile on her face. Her legacy has left fingerprints all over this program whether our current players know it is from her or not. Nicola is truly a special Viking!"
- First-team Daktronics All-American and honorable mention American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-American in 2003, leading nation with 6.16 digs per game average on team that finished 24-2, had 24-match winning streak and ranked as high as No. 2 nationally.
- Third-team Daktronics All-American in 2002
- Helped WWU to three consecutive GNAC titles from 2001 to 2003, during which Vikings won 54 league matches in a row, the fourth-longest string in NCAA II history
- Finished career with dig bests of 38 for match, 542 for season and 1,435 for career
- First-team Daktronics and AVCA West Region all-star and first-team GNAC all-star in 2002 and 2003
- GNAC Academic all-star in 2001, 2002 and 2003
- College Sports Information Directors of America All-District VIII Academic all-star in 2002 and 2003
- WWU Female Athlete of the Year for 2003-04
- WWU Most Inspirational Award winner four times
- WWU Presidential Scholarship recipient
- Graduate assistant coach for Vikings from 2004 to 2006
- Four-year letter winner
-- @WWUAthletics --
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