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Wednesday, January 23, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Northwest College Sports

Weekly report: Silence doesn't stop Seattle U. swimmer

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For swimmers, a beep is the signal to explode off the block. But for Megan Ackerman, a flash of light begins her silent plunge into the pool.

Ackerman was born legally deaf. But the Seattle University junior is so good at distance events that her disadvantage is moot by the end of a race.

"I typically get late starts, because I have to turn my head and look at the flash," Ackerman said. "Without my hearing aids, I can't hear the beeps. But I don't think of that as a disadvantage."

The graduate of Shorecrest High School in Shoreline has established herself as one of the NAIA's dominant swimmers in the mile freestyle. Her time of 17 minutes, 55.16 seconds at home against Simon Fraser on Dec. 13 is the NAIA's best time this season. She beat rival Lisa Huffman to stay undefeated this season.

Ackerman has only lost twice as a collegian, both times to Huffman at NAIA nationals. The two meet again Feb. 27-March 2 at the NAIA Nationals at Simon Fraser in Burnaby, B.C.

Ackerman, who set the mile record at the 1997 Deaf Olympics in Copenhagen, also has to deal with difficulty hearing coaches.

Sometimes, though, her problem is an advantage.

"I feel blessed sometimes because I can get more focused without all of the noise going on around me," said Ackerman, who will swim at home Friday against national runner-up California Baptist. "It's amazing how much quieter a meet is without my hearing aids."

Other Seattle U. sports

Women's basketball: Six games before the Feb. 11 deadline to determine playoff seeding, the Redhawks (4-3, 9-6) trail Northwest Nazarene by two points to host the NAIA West Independent Tournament, Feb. 21-23.

Men's basketball: The Redhawks (2-6, 3-14) hope to earn their first victory away from the Connolly Center with two weekend contests in Alaska.

Seattle Pacific

Men's basketball: Thursday's game between the Falcons and Humboldt State is the only NCAA Division II game featuring two top-10 teams this week. No. 8 SPU (7-0 GNAC, 15-1) takes its 15-game win streak to Arcata, Calif., where the 10th-ranked Lumberjacks (6-1, 15-1) have won 12 in a row.

Women's basketball: The GNAC's top two centers face off Saturday in Ellensburg as SPU (6-2, 14-3) and Central Washington (6-2, 12-4) battle for second. The Falcons' Kelley Berglund (Port Angeles) averaged 20.7 points and shot 66 percent from the field in the last six games. Central's Rose Shaw (Interlake of Bellevue) leads the GNAC in scoring (17.7). Coach Gordy Presnell of SPU tries for career win No. 300.

Women's gymnastics: The Falcons host No. 20 California on Friday. SPU, coming off its best opening-night score (190.375), has not defeated a Pac-10 team since 1997.

Washington

Golf: The Huskies are 11th in the preseason coaches poll, their highest ranking. Under first-year coach Matt Thurmond, the Huskies won three fall tournaments and finished second in another. Washington opens its spring season Feb. 4-5 at the Ping Arizona Intercollegiate in Tucson.

Gymnastics: Sophomore Ticia LaBatte, a transfer from Utah, is out after breaking her right foot during training Monday. UW had already lost junior Stacy Wong for the season due to a knee injury. UW is at home against No. 20 California Sunday at 1 p.m.

Swimming: Three Huskies have times among the nation's top 25. Sophomore Luke Ekhoff (Portland, Ore.) has the second-fastest time in the 200 breaststroke (1:58.06), is 19th in the 200 IM (1:49.62) and 23rd in the 100 breaststroke (55.68). Junior Kim Harada (San Lorenzo, Calif.), who has won her last nine individual races, is seventh in the 50 free (22.82) and 10th in the 100 free (49.63). Freshman Desiree Johnson (Post Falls, Idaho) is 24th in the 100 backstroke (55.94).

Washington State

Men's basketball: Coach Paul Graham is eighth in the "Fashion Power Index" compiled by collegeinsider.com. "Brings a sophisticated, CEO look to Pullman," said the Web site, which ranked John Calipari of Memphis first, Tubby Smith of Kentucky second.

Women's Swimming: Taryn Ternent (Johannesburg, South Africa), captain and top sprinter, remains out due to illness. The Cougars' women (5-3) host Nevada on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Women's track and field: Tamara Diles (Newport of Bellevue) shattered the meet and arena records by pole vaulting 14 feet Saturday at the Jerry Martin Invitational at Thorpe Fieldhouse in Cheney. Angelita Green (Long Beach, Calif.) set a meet record in the 500 of 1:18.45.

Western Washington

Men's basketball: Brad Jackson coaches his 500th game Saturday against second-ranked Humboldt State. Jackson has a 311-187 record (62.4 percent) in 17 seasons at WWU, and picked up his 300th victory Nov. 23 against Southern Colorado. The Vikings (6-1, 12-4) are at Western Oregon on Thursday.

Women's basketball: Senior guard Jodie Kaczor (Federal Way) has averaged 17.3 points in the last four games, making 17 of 38 three-point attempts (44.7 percent). WWU (7-1 in GNAC, 13-3) opens a three-game home stand tomorrow against Alaska Fairbanks.

Other schools

Central Washington: Sisters Sarah and Amy Forrey (Arlington) finished third and fourth in the 3,000 at an indoor meet Monday at the UW. Sarah's time was 10:17.84 and Amy's 10:21.37.

Eastern Washington: Marcus Quinto (Interlake of Bellevue) ranks second in Big Sky Conference men's basketball three-point percentage (.491).

Gonzaga: Men's basketball coach Mark Few will be busy tomorrow. Before the Zags' game with San Francisco, Few will be a support runner when the Olympic torch makes its way through Spokane. He will finish at 6:15, then will head back to The Kennel for the 8 p.m. tipoff.

Northwest: Kim Stone (Bethel of Graham) and Danyel Longmire (Rio Rancho, N.M.) each achieved NAIA indoor automatic qualifying marks Monday at the UW. Stone ran a 5:10.14 mile and Longmire ran 10:27.12 in the 3,000 meters (equivalent of an 11:08 3,200).

Pacific Lutheran: Jessica Iserman's (Federal Way) next point will be the 1,000th of her career with the Lutes (6-1 NWC, 12-2).

Puget Sound: The 102-100 victory at Linfield on Saturday was the first time since joining the Northwest Conference in 1996 that the Loggers (3-3, 7-8) have won a men's basketball game in McMinnville, Ore.

Whitman: Sunny Gulberg (Snohomish) set a school record for career three-point baskets with 158 after making 8 of 15 three-pointers in two games last weekend. The senior point guard, who played just 11 games as a junior because of foreign study, scored a career-high 30 Saturday and needed just three points last night at Linfield to reach 1,000 for her career.

Whitworth: Bryan Depew (Central Valley of Spokane) fourth in NWC scoring (17.4 average) and third in rebounding (8.1), has six double-doubles.

Elsewhere: Meghan Hartman (Garfield of Seattle) of Rensselaer Poly in Troy, N.Y., was named swimmer of the week in the Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association for the fourth time this season. The sophomore won four individual events and was on two winning relays in two meets, setting a school record of 2:14.38 in the 200 butterfly.

Compiled from submissions by sports information directors from around the state.

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