Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 8
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman vs. Whitworth: battle of Whits

The Missionaries versus the Pirates––or, in the joking words of many Whitties, good versus evil––has developed into a healthy rivalry between two schools that are similar in some aspects, but polar opposites in others.

The two teams are travel partners on the road in the Northwest Conference and the distance between Walla Walla and Spokane is a short 118 miles, but the schools could not be more opposite in their religious affiliations. Whitman prides itself on its liberal arts identification while Whitworth is devoutly affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. One thing is for sure: The combination of similarities and differences make for an impassioned rivalry.

Whitman biology professor Delbert Hutchison, who is also an avid Whitman sports fan, believes that the rivalry has escalated in recent years because of Whitman’s commitment to improving athletics.

“The rivalry has become more fun and intense. Part of that is going to happen when we keep getting better and better. The athletic department has been working hard. There has been improvement all around,” said Hutchison.

With Whitworth enjoying their fifth consecutive NWC all-sports title-an award recognizing the school with the most compiled points earned at the end of the year based on the success of all the varsity sports teams––this past year, they obviously still are the team to beat in the NWC. As a result, every win against the Pirates is coveted by any Missionary. Earlier this season, the Whitman volleyball team knocked off Whitworth, who are also the reigning NWC champs. Senior opposite hitter Rachel Shober said that the win was extra satisfying because of how much the team respects Whitworth.

“We definitely respect them as an opponent. We enjoy playing them and it’s always a competitive match, but we really prepared for that game because we know how good they are,” said Shober.

Baseball coach Sean Kinney has seen the rivalry both as a player and now as a coach, and he sees it as a peak to the season.

“The Whitman-Whitworth battle is always at the end of the year, baseball-wise. Both teams have gone through their seasons, and whether they’re in postseason play or not, there is that added emphasis of eastern Washington teams going at it and deciding who is the better ‘Whit’ out there,” said Kinney.

One of the other benefits that the rivalry has noticed in recent years is the increased amount of non-conference opponents from different states who are more willing to travel to eastern Washington knowing that they will play two quality athletic programs. Athletics Director Dean Snider believes that the benefits of having Whitworth in such close distance to Whitman are crucial.

“Having a scheduling partner like Whitworth is invaluable. If we are going to play non-conference opponents on our campus, we have to do something extra to encourage people to come here,” said Snider.

Aside from the benefits and improvements that the Whitman-Whitworth rivalry brings to both schools, the athletic competitions themselves are what really make the rivalry special. Whether it be the trash talk between players or the chants yelled by fans, both schools competing at a high level is what creates such memorable moments for both athletic communities.


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