Seattle Times: Torrid Teichler carries Vikings

WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM Liza Teichler
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM
Liza Teichler
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM

April 4, 2007

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Following a forgettable sophomore season, Western Washington University catcher/designated hitter Liza Teichler is once again leading the Vikings with a .412 batting average.

As a freshman in 2005, Teichler paced Western with a .395 average and was named to the All-Great Northwest Athletic Conference second team, then slumped to .194 last year.

"I think it was more my mental game," said Teichler. "I put too much stress on myself, and I was trying to be too perfect. I've learned now that if I just relax and play my game, then I hit the way that I should."

Western coach Lonnie Hicks concurs.

"As a freshman, she just went out and played without a lot of expectations," he said. "The better she hit, the more confident she got. She tried to duplicate that season as a sophomore and began pressing when things didn't happen. This year, she just went back to playing the game."

In 26 games this season, Teichler has eight three-hit games and the first three home runs of her WWU career, including a walk-off grand slam in an 11-9 come-from-behind win over arch-rival Central Washington.

"I've been lifting a lot," Teichler said of her new-found power. "I began lifting two weeks after last season ended, and I've been going every week since then."

Teichler, a graduate of Skyline High School in Sammamish, hit .421 as a senior in helping the Spartans to league and district titles and the quarterfinals of the state Class 3A tournament.

She also played on the Eastside Elite team. Three other current Western players who competed on that squad are pitcher Sarah McEnroe , first baseman/pitcher Ashley Osman and pitcher/shortstop Nicole Walker .

Western is off to a 13-13 start in nonconference play, its best in three years, and could contend for the Great Northwest Athletic Conference title. That would give the Vikings an automatic berth in the NCAA Division II West Regional.

"I'm really excited about this team," Teichler said. "We've got great chemistry and we've got all the tools to have the best season since I've been here."

Also at WWU

Softball: Western entertains Seattle University in a pair of doubleheaders Friday (2 p.m.) and Saturday (noon) to open their GNAC season. The Vikings have yet to play at home this season, having four doubleheaders either canceled or postponed.

Track and field: Western hosts the 26th annual Ralph Vernacchia Invitational on Friday (5 p.m.) and Saturday (10 a.m.) at Bellingham's Civic Stadium, plus a Spring Forward Multi-Events meet. The Vikings have won the men's division nine straight years and are also the defending champions in the women's division.

Women's rowing: Western hosts Puget Sound in a dual meet Saturday (10 a.m.) on Lake Samish, just south of Bellingham. The Vikings are ranked No. 1 nationally and have won back-to-back NCAA II titles, while UPS has placed at the NCAA III nationals the past four years.

Seattle Pacific

Rowing: The women's young (five novices, three sophomores) varsity eight absorbed its first loss last week at the NCRC Invitational. This week the Falcons face Willamette and Lewis & Clark in Salem.

Track and field: Rested and at full strength, the SPU women seek to reclaim their Vernacchia Team Classic title Saturday in Bellingham. The Falcons have nine NCAA qualifiers in their first four meets -- five weeks faster than it took a year ago.

Seattle U.

Softball: After pitching 24-1/3 innings without giving up an earned run last weekend, junior Erin Martin (Valencia, Calif.) leads the GNAC in innings pitched (106), victories (9) and earned-run average (1.25).

Track and field: At the Club Northwest Spring Break Open in Edmonds, three school records were established: Freshman Daniel Sullivan (Foster of Tukwila) in the men's 400 meter hurdles (54.3), sophomore Brock Jahner (Kalispell, Mont.) in the men's pole vault (11-5 ¾), and freshman Lindsay Currier (Beaverton, Ore.) in the women's discus (119-6). SU competes Saturday at the Shotwell Invitational in Tacoma, hosted by Puget Sound.

Washington

Softball: Sophomore right-hander Danielle Lawrie (Langley, B.C.) ranks second in the Pac-10 with a .159 opponent batting average and is third in strikeouts (241) and ERA (1.02).

Swimming: Future Husky Ariana Kukors (Auburn Mountainview) placed fifth at the FINA World Championships in Melbourne, Australia, over the weekend in the 400 IM (4:41.87). Kukors signed a letter of intent with the Huskies last November and is touted as the top female recruit in the nation.

Men's tennis: Senior Daniel Chu (Vancouver, B.C.) earned the 33rd-ranked Huskies' first singles win against a ranked opponent this past weekend, upending 40th-ranked Haythem Abid of UCLA on Saturday. UW players are 1-18 against ranked players this season.

Women's tennis: Junior Mathilde Cor (Ugine, France) is returning to form after missing much of the early season with mononucleosis. Cor, playing No. 1 singles for the Huskies, has won five straight at the top spot after the Huskies began the season 0-12 at No. 1.

Washington St.

Baseball: Junior outfielder Scott Suttmeier (Issaquah) is riding a 10-game hitting streak, the longest of his career and the longest by a Cougar this season. During the streak, Suttmeier is hitting. 333 (13-39) with four RBI, five runs scored and the first home run of his WSU career.

Women's swimming: Seven WSU swimmers competed at the 2007 U.S. Spring Nationals in East Meadow, N.Y. Senior Erin McCleave (Rutherglen, Australia) earned three top-10 finishes (seventh in the 400 and 800 freestyles, fourth in the 1,500 freestyle). As a team, the Cougars finished in the top 10 of three relay events, including second in the 400 medley relay.

Other colleges

Central Washington: The Wildcats men's and women's track and field teams each placed second at the Whitworth Buc Scoring Invitational in Spokane.

Eastern Washington: Eastern hosts the 36th annual Pelluer Invitational Track and Field Meet this weekend at Woodward Field in Cheney. Ten schools and upwards of 400 athletes are entered. The decathlon and heptathlon take place Thursday and Friday, while the rest of the events are scheduled for Friday afternoon and evening.

Evergreen State: Sophomore Emily Uhlig (Liberty of Issaquah) set a school record in the women's 3,000 meters, her time of 11:07.7 breaking the mark of 11:17.22 set by Rachel Williams nearly a year ago. Uhlig will be setting her sights on breaking the school record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Willamette Invitational in Salem, Ore., on Friday.

Gonzaga: The women's rowing team swept all five races at the NCRC Invitational at Lake Vancouver. The Bulldogs men earned three first-place finishes.

Northwest: The men's basketball team announced the signing of Brandon Foote (Bellingham), a 6-3 wing from Whatcom Community College, for the 2007-08 season. Foote averaged 17.5 points per game for the Orcas and shot 85 percent from the free-throw line.

The men's soccer team signed Vic Fonov , a junior transfer from Wasilla, Alaska, who was born in Uzbekistan.

Pacific Lutheran: When the Lutes baseball team rolled to a 10-4 victory on Sunday to wrap up a three-game sweep of George Fox, it marked only the second time in 12 years that a Pat Bailey -coached Fox team has been swept in conference play. The Lutes won the first two games on Saturday, 9-1 and 8-3. Lutes coach Geoff Loomis , now in his fifth year, was an assistant coach for Bailey at George Fox from 1996 to 2000. In addition, PLU assistant coach Will Clark played for Bailey at George Fox.

Puget Sound: UPS hosts the 22nd annual J.D. Shotwell Invitational on Saturday at Baker Stadium. Field events begin at 10 a.m. and running events at 11 a.m.

Saint Martin's: Freshman Krinda Carlson (Pateros) finished just three-hundredths of a second shy of breaking the school record in the women's 800 meters Friday at the Stanford Invitational. Carlson's time of 2:20.12 was her fastest outdoor time this year and good enough for seventh place at the meet.

Whitman: Senior left-hander Pat Johnston (Capital of Olympia) tossed a complete-game victory Sunday against Whitworth, scattering nine hits and surrendering three earned runs. Johnston got the win when Whitman rallied for seven runs in the ninth. Junior outfielder Luke Marshall (Newport of Bellevue) knocked in the go-ahead runs with a two-run single.

Whitworth: The men's tennis team clinched a spot in the upcoming six-team NWC tournament by sweeping George Fox and Lewis & Clark at home.