BY SPNW Staff 01:07PM 07/28/2012

State Links To London Olympics: Volleyball

The University of Washington’s highly successful women’s volleyball program has produced three players in the London Olympics.

Former Husky Courtney Thompson will be competing in her first Olympic Games. / Carlos Sanches, USA Volleyball

Sportpress Northwest offers another in a series of biographical sketches of athletes with significant ties to Washington at the Olympics.

Seattle native David Saunders (1984, 1988), who attended UCLA, is the only Washingtonian to win an Olympic medal in volleyball. Washington will be represented by three volleyball players in London.


TAMARI MIYASHIRO / University of Washington

Tamari Miyashiro

BORN: July 8, 1987, Kaneohe, HI. RESIDENCE: Kaneohe, HI. SPORT: Volleyball. POSITION: Libero. COUNTRY: USA. OLYMPICS (1st): 2012. HOW QUALIFIED: Selected by USA Volleyball. STATE CONNECTION: University of Washington.

Miyashiro, who started playing youth club volleyball in 1997 with the Asics Rainbows in Honolulu, is one of the most decorated players in University of Washington history. By the time her UW career ended in 2009, she was a three-time All-America and National Defensive Player of the Year. She joined the USA national team after graduation.

CAREER — 2012: Won a gold medal in the FIVB World Grand Prix . . . 2011: Won a gold medal in the FIVB World Grand Prix . . . Won a bronze medal at Pan American Games . . . Won a silver medal at the FIVB World Cup . . . 2010: Won a silver medal at the Montreux Volley Masters . . . Won a bronze medal at the Pan American Cup.

WASHINGTON —  2009: Named to the AVCA All-America Second Team, her third career All-America honor . . . Volleyball Magazine First Team All-America . . . Named to the All-Pac-10 Conference Team for the third year in a row . . . All-Pacific Region honorable mention . . . Played in all 105 sets and 30 matches . . . Broke the school record for career digs with 2,382, which gave her ninth highest total in NCAA history and second in Pac-10 history . . . Set school record for 5.36 digs per set and was the only Husky to average more than five digs for every set of her career . . . Anchored a defense that led the Pac-10 in opponent hitting percentage, limiting opponents to .174 despite ranking just seventh in blocks as a team . . . Second in Pac-10 with 517 digs, averaging 4.92 per set for the season … Ranked sixth in Pac-10 registering 29 service aces . . . Committed just 16 service errors to go along with her 29 aces, the only Husky to post more aces than errors  . . . Over the last 13 matches of the season, had 10 aces and just one service error  . . . Recorded double-figure digs in all but two matches and led team in digs 25 times . . . Had 20+ digs in 10 matches season, and had surpassed 30 digs twice, against USC,  30) and Oregon ( 31) . . . Tallied season-high four service aces against Washington State and led or tied for most aces in a match on 10 occasions . . . Named to the All-Tournament Team at the Northwest Challenge and again at the UTSA Classic.

2008: Named National Defensive Player of the Year by UnderArmour/Volleyball Magazine . . . Second team AVCA All-America . . . First-team All-Pac-10 . . . Led the Pac-10 and finished 16th in the nation in digs (5.14 dps) . . . Played in all 114 sets and all 32 matches . . . Recorded double-figure digs in all but four matches . . . Posted 30+ digs in four matches, 25+ digs in eight matches and 20+ digs in 10 matches . . . Had a season-high seven assists at UCLA (Oct. 10) . . . Notched four multi-ace matches, including back-to-back against UCLA and at Oregon State, in which she tallied two each.

2007: Named National Defensive Player of the Year by Asics/Volleyball Magazine . . . Third team AVCA All-American . . . Honorable mention Asics/Volleyball Magazine All-American . . . First team All-Pacific Region . . . First Team All-Pac-10 . . . One of three Huskies to see action in every game . .  . Second in the conference and 32nd nationally in digs at 5.65 dpg . . . Led the UW in digs 27 times while also leading the team in aces six times . . . Recorded double-figures in digs in 30 of 31 matches . . . Set a career-high in aces with six against North Florida. . . Had a career-best eight assists at Washington State . . . Set a career-high with 39 digs vs. Missouri in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

2006: All-Pac-10 honorable mention  . . . Pac-10 All-Freshman team . . . Averaged 5.57 digs per game . . . 32 double-figure dig performances, including 30 or more digs five times and 20 or more digs 13 times.

PERSONAL: Born Tamari Miyashiro in Honolulu . . . Parents are Joey and Gordon Miyashiro . . . Brothers Imai, Ainoa and Kaulan . . . Sister is Tehani . . . Mother played volleyball at University of Hawaii, father played football at Northern Michigan . . . A four-year letterwinner and team captain at Kalani High School . . . Also earned three letters in basketball.

JANINE SANDELL / University of Washington

Janine Sandell

BORN: Dec. 7, 1985, London, England. RESIDENCE: Seattle  SPORT: Volleyball. POSITION: Outside Hitter. COUNTRY: Great Britain. OLYMPICS (1st): 2012. HOW QUALIFIED: Selected by Great Britain’s Olympic Committee. STATE CONNECTION: University of Washington (graduated 2006).

Sandell came to Washington in 2006 with one year remaining in her collegiate eligibility, after being named Big West Conference Player of the Year the previous season at UC Santa Barbara. At UW, she played in 109 of a possible 118 sets, ranking fifth on the team with 233 kills and third with 115 total blocks. As a powerful starting hitter, Sandell was instrumental in the Huskies’ third straight Final Four appearance.

CAREER: Since leaving Washington, Sandell has played for a number of professional clubs, including the Spanish side Valeriano Menorca for the past two years.

WASHINGTON: 2006: All-Pac-10 honorable mention … played in 33 matches, making 18 starts at outside hitter. Averaged 2.14 kills per game and 1.06 blocks per game with a .214 hitting percentage . . . Eight double-figure kill performances, including 13 kills at Arizona, and 10 vs. UC Davis, at UCLA,  vs. Oregon, at Arizona State, at Oregon State, at California and vs. Penn State in the regional championship  . . . Had three aces vs. Oregon State . . . Eight blocks vs. USC and seven at Oregon . . . Nine kills and eight blocks vs. Colorado in the NCAA second round.

PERSONAL: Born in London to Pauline and David Sandell . . . Family emigrated to the U.S. when she was 11 . . . older brother, Daniel (25) . . . Majored in business major . . .  Wants to become a firefighter, international businesswoman or coach . . . Enjoys riding her go-cart, reading the works of Roald Dahl and listening to Missy Elliot . . . “Sister Act 2” is her favorite movie . . . 2003 graduate of Deer Valley High School in Glendale, AZ.


Courtney Thompson

BORN: Nov. 4, 1984, Bellevue. RESIDENCE: Colorado Springs, CO. SPORT: Volleyball. POSITION: Setter. COUNTRY: USA. OLYMPICS (1st): 2012. HOW QUALIFIED: Selected by USA Volleyball. STATE CONNECTION: Kentlake High School, University of Washington.

Seven years after the fact, Courtney Thompson still lists the University of Washington’s 2005 NCAA Championship in volleyball as her favorite sports moment. But her selection to the 2012  Olympic team in July might have trumped that. “This is pretty overwhelming,” said Thompson, who led the 2005 Huskies to the NCAA title.

CAREER — 2012: Won a gold medal at the FIVB World Grand Prix . . . Averaged 3.85 running sets with 26 sets played and two starts in the FIVB World Grand Prix in which the U.S. won its third straight title . . . 2011: Helped U.S. women to the bronze medal at the Pan American Games, including a four-set victory over Dominican Republic in the bronze medal match in which she had 41 assists…Scored three aces in a victory over Mexico. . . . 2010: Won a silver medal at the Montreux Volley Masters. Played in 14 sets . . . Won bronze at the Pan American Cup. Played in 13 sets as the setter in the double-switch. . . 2009: Finished fourth at the American Cup . . . Won gold at the FIVB World Championship Qualification Tournament . . . Played in 82 sets, averaging 3.72 assists per set while splitting time starting with two other setters . . . Helped lead Zeiler Koniz to the 2009 Swiss championship as team’s starting setter . . . 2007: Won a gold bronze medal at the Pan American Games. Tallied 81 assists in 13 sets, in addition to four aces and four blocks.

WASHINGTON: Thompson, a three-time AVCA All-America First-Team selection, set the Pac-10 Conference record with 6,552 assists for third best in NCAA Division I history. . . Set NCAA record for career assists per game with 14.5 . . . Concluded career with a school-best 450 starts leading to three appearances in the NCAA Division I Tournament, national semifinals and one regional finaL . . . Added 1,059-career digs for sixth-best in school history . . . As a junior, she earned the Honda Sports Award for best volleyball player in the country after leading the Huskies to their first national championship . . . Received an ESPY Top Female College Athlete nomination in 2005 . . . As a senior, she again was a finalist for the Honda Sports Award as she set the Huskies to a .281 team attack percentage on 14.50 assists per game . . . a three-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America.

PERSONAL: Brother Trevor played baseball at the Naval Academy for four years and was captain of the squad in 2005 . . . Hobbies include hiking, board games, reading and playing the guitar . . . Favorite professional team is the Seattle Mariners . . . Favorite musical group is U2 and favorite book is “Tuesdays with Morrie” . . . Favorite movies are Braveheart, Notting Hill, The Little Mermaid . . . Earned valedictorian honors at Kentlake High School in Kent . . . Led her high school to three state championships, earning 2002 state Player of the Year honors as well as all-state in basketball as a senior.


GOLD: David Saunders (Seattle), 1984 Los Angeles; Saunders, 1988, Seoul. SILVER: None. BRONZE: None.

Olympic Qualifiers

Athletes with connections to the state who have qualified (or been selected) for the Olympics.

Athlete Sport Gms. # Country State Connection
Nathan Adrian Swimming 2 USA Bremerton native
Scott Baynes Basketball 1 Australia WSU grad
Sue Bird Basketball 3 USA Seattle Storm guard
Kim Butler Basketball 1 G. Britain Bellarmine Prep
Dave Calder Rowing 4 Canada University of Washington
Will Crothers Rowing 1 Canada University of Washington
Tyler Farrar Cycling 1 USA Wenatchee native
Amanda Furrer Shooting 1 USA Mead High, Spokane
Scott Gault Rowing 2 USA University of Washington
Rob Gibson Rowing 1 Canada University of Washington
Lauren Jackson Basketball 4 Australia Seattle Storm forward
Anthony Jacob Rowing 1 Canada University of Washington
Ebba Jungmark Track 2 Sweden WSU grad
Seth Kelsey Fencing 3 Canada Brush Prairie
Ariana Kukors Swimming 1 USA Auburn Mountainview
Meagan Kalmoe Rowing 2 USA University of Washington
Bernard Lagat Track 4 USA Washington State University
Giuseppe Lanzone Rowing 2 USA University of Washington
Amy LePeilbet Soccer 1 USA Spokane native
Adrienne Lyle Equestrian 1 USA University of Washington
Adrienne Martelli Rowing 1 USA University of Washington
Arielle Martin Cycling 1 USA Spanaway native
Conlin McCabe Rowing 1 Canada University of Washington
Tamari Miyashiro Volleyball 1 USA University of Washington
Haley Nemra Track 2 Marshall Is. Marys.-Pilchuck
Brett Newlin Rowing 2 USA University of Washington
Kara Patterson Track 2 USA Seattle native
Jennie Reed Cycling 3 USA Seattle native
Jarred Rome Track 2 USA Marysv-Pilchuck
Janine Sandell Volleyball 1 Great Britain University of Washington
Hope Solo Soccer 2 USA University of Washington
Travis Stevens Judo 2 USA Bellevue native
Courtney Thompson Volleyball 1 USA University of Washington
Aretha Thurmond Track 4 USA University of Washington
Queen Underwood Boxing 1 USA Seattle resident
Eric Uptagrafft Shooting 1 USA Spokane resident
Tejay van Garderen Cycling 1 USA Tacoma native
Brad Walker Track 2 USA University of Washington
Mary Whipple Rowing 3 USA University of Washington


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