Aaron Landon is breathing a bit easier these days.
Since his hiring in late May as men’s basketball coach at South Puget Sound Community College, Landon and his assistant coach, Carson Padon, have worked feverishly to bring in their inaugural recruiting class, which features a fresh-faced class of freshmen to campus, hailing from Olympia (Olympia High grad Michael Champlin) to Inglewood, Calif., (Joshua Proctor). No players from last season’s 4-21 team are on the roster.
But one elusive spot remains: a walk-on position to join Landon’s already-signed 11 players, nine of whom are from outside Thurston County.
The two-day tryout begins at 4 p.m. Monday at SPSCC’s gymnasium for students who have college eligibility remaining. Players are asked to wear white T-shirts to be marked on.
Landon, a former junior-college player at Monterey Peninsula College before finishing his career at the University of La Verne (Calif.), knows what can happen at a walk-on tryout. While at Monterey Bay, a 6-foot-7 player named Ryan McBride visited his team’s open tryout. McBride made the team, and eventually signed with NCAA Division I Georgia State.
“The best player I ever played against was a tryout guy,” Landon said. “What if that guy walks in (to our gym)? You never know.”
With his 11 signees, Landon said the strength of his team is speed and at guard. Despite having all freshmen in eligibility, his players don’t lack experience and athletic maturity. Chris Williams, out of Union High School in Vancouver, Wash., is 22 years old.
“We are a mature team,” Landon said.
PETERSON ERA UNDERWAY AT SMU
First-year Saint Martin’s volleyball coach Kara Peterson, who spent 15 years building Black Hills High School into a winning program, already notched her first win in the college ranks when the Saints
went 1-3 at the Otter Classic, hosted by Cal State Monterey Bay in Seaside, Calif., last weekend. The Saints won their first match of the tournament, 3-1, over Academy of Art.
After Tuesday’s 3-1 nonleague loss to Concordia, ranked No. 23 in the NAIA Division II poll, the Saints (1-4) travel back to California this weekend for the Route 92 Showdown, hosted by Cal State East Bay on Friday and Saturday.
GEODUCKS END SKID
Evergreen ended its 39-match Cascade Collegiate Conference losing streak in volleyball, dating back to 2010, when it defeated Warner Pacific, 3-1, on Saturday.
The Geoducks (2-4), winners of two out of their past three matches, got a match-high 18 kills from Victoria Love. Evergreen hits the road this weekend for its first conference trip to College of Idaho on Friday and Eastern Oregon on Saturday. Both matches start at 7 p.m.
Tayler Weiks, a 2011 Tumwater High graduate who originally signed a letter of intent with Idaho for women’s basketball, has signed with Blinn College in Texas, which went 32-4 and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NJCAA tournament last season. Weiks played in 30 games as a freshman at Idaho before transferring to Central Washington last season. … Kevin Russell, a 2011 Timberline High graduate, has transferred to University of Redlands (Calif.) in football after spending the past two seasons as a backup quarterback at Pacific Lutheran.
Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 email@example.com theolympian.com/southsoundsports @MegWochnick