Soaring in the Big Sky

EWU Eagles basketball player and CHS grad Melissa Williams earns Scholar-Athlete Award

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A Camas High School graduate was recently honored for being a pinnacle example of a student-athlete in the Big Sky Conference.

Melissa Williams, CHS class of 2011, was selected as a recipient of Eastern Washington University’s Big Sky Conference Scholar-Athlete Award for the 2014-15 school year. She recently completed her final season as a standout player on the Eagles’ girls basketball team.

The award honors the “best of the best” of the conference’s more than 3,500 student-athletes. One senior male and one senior female from each of the 16 schools in the league are recognized for their athletic and academic achievements.

EWU’s other honoree was track and field athlete Jordan Arakawa, a 2010 graduate of Capitol High School in Olympia, Washington.

To qualify for the award, a student-athlete must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.20 (on a 4.0 scale), be a member of the graduating class and/or have completed their last year of intercollegiate athletic eligibility, have completed at least two years of intercollegiate competition at the institution and be a letter winner.

A veteran of 122 games as an Eagle, Williams completed her biology degree with a 3.77 GPA. She spent her senior season as EWU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council president, and was one of three Social Media Ambassadors for the athletic department. She was the organizer for the Toiletry Drive fundraiser, and participated in the Penny Drive for the Guild School. She also was a leader in on-campus student-athlete meal plan discussions.

On the court, she was a second team All-Big Sky selection and had 12 double-doubles in helping EWU to a NCAA Division I best 21 victories. She earned four Big Sky All-Academic honors in her career.

Williams finished her college basketball career tied atop the Eagles’ NCAA Division I career games played list with 122 total appearances in an EWU uniform. She ranks second all-time with 832 rebounds while her career average of 6.8 boards per game ranks sixth. She also ranks eighth all-time with 86 blocked shots and is tied for 10th all-time with 128 career steals.

Arakawa was an Academic All-American and three-time conference champion, and received his pre-medicine/biology degree with a 3.93 GPA.

He won the Big Sky Conference championship in the hammer throw in May. He concluded his career May 29 with a 26th-place finish at the NCAA West Preliminary Round in Austin, Texas, coming up short in his bid to return to the NCAA Championships.

After placing second in the hammer throw at the past two conference championships, Arakawa won his first Big Sky outdoor title with a season-best toss of 218-1, winning the event by over four feet. His personal best of 219-3 ranks second in school history behind David Paul (226-2, 2007).

He won two consecutive Big Sky titles indoors in the weight throw at the 2014 and 2015 conference championships. His personal best of 66-1 1/2 ranks second in school history, also behind David Paul (68-8 1/2, 2007).

Arakawa will end his career a perfect 8-for-8 in Big Sky All-Academic honors.

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