WWU’s Athletic HOF Class of 2019 (Clockwise from upper left) : Lindsay Mann-King (Rowing), Ben Dragavon (Men’s Soccer), Sean Packer (Men’s Golf), Courtney Schneider (Volleyball).
PHOTOS: WWU Athletics
WWU Athletics Announces 2019 Hall of Fame Class
March 14, 2019
BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Four former student-athletes, all of whom played huge roles for the Vikings during their highly successful decade of 2000 to 2009, make up the Class of 2019 inductees into the Western Washington University Athletics Hall of Fame.
The incoming quartet includes men’s soccer goalkeeper Ben Dragavon, a four-time all-conference selection; women’s rower Lindsay Mann-King, who played a part in seven consecutive national titles; men’s golfer Sean Packer, who tied for third at nationals in 2008, and volleyball libero Courtney Schneider, who crushed the NCAA Division II record for career digs per game.
“We are so proud to induct these four outstanding Vikings into our hall of fame,” said WWU Director of Athletics Steve Card. “Today’s student-athletes stand on the shoulders of all of our hall of famers, and these four are no exception. They are all more than deserving of this prestigious honor.”
The foursome brings the hall’s membership to 149 over the 117-year history of athletics at Western.
The induction ceremony, which is part of WWU Alumni Weekend, takes place on Saturday, May 18 (1 p.m.), on WECU Court at Carver Gym. Admission to the event is free of charge and parking during alumni weekend is free on campus.
The inaugural WWU hall of fame ceremony, which had seven inductees, was held in 1968 at halftime of a Viking men’s basketball game.
On Friday, May 17, the inductees will be recognized at the WWU Alumni Association Awards Celebration in Wilson Library.
The induction ceremony is the 44th for WWU, whose hall of fame is the second oldest among Pacific Northwest colleges and universities. There is no admission charge and parking is free for the event.
BEN DRAGAVON – Men’s Soccer (Goalkeeper)
Ben Dragavon was a four-time Great Northwest Athletic Conference all-star as a goalkeeper during his career at Western from 2002 to 2005, twice being a first-team selection. The GNAC Freshman of the Year in 2002, he started and earned letters in each of those four seasons.
Dragavon, who set numerous WWU game and season records, completed his Viking career as the program leader in shutouts with 18 and third in goals against average at 1.38. He graduated from Western in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science.
“Ben was the right player at the right time for our program,” said his WWU coach Travis Connell. “He was his best when faced with a challenge. Throughout his career, he had a knack for rising to the occasion. In his first season, he earned a starting spot and was the conference freshman of the year. As his career developed he became a leader who pulled his teammates together and inspired them to be their best with his work ethic in training and clutch performances in big games.”
As a freshman in 2002 at WWU, Dragavon propelled the Vikings to a 15-4-1 record, their best in 12 years, and first place in the GNAC with a perfect 4-0-0 record, their first league title in 14 seasons. He had a 0.83 GAA and seven shutouts.
As a junior in 2004, Dragavon had a 0.90 GAA and six shutouts for the 13-7-0 Vikings.
Dragavon went on to play professional soccer for the Seattle Sounders from 2005-2008, seeing action in four games in 2007 as they won the United Soccer League First Division championship and the USL First Division Commissioner’s Cup.
In 2009, the Sounders moved up to Major League Soccer (MLS) status and Dragavon played for them that year as a member of the MLS-Wide Reserve Goalkeeper Pool.
Early that season, Dragavon was called up by Seattle to provide back-up for starter Kasey Keller while regular reserve keeper Chris Eylander was out injured. Dragavon made his MLS debut for Seattle on April 11, 2009, in a game against the Kansas City Wizards, when Keller was sent off for handling outside the penalty area.
In 2010, Dragavon signed on with the USL Austin Aztecs, but a preseason injury ended his playing career.
Dragavon competed for the Skagit Rapids of the Pacific Coast Soccer League from 2002 to 2004, being named a league all-star in both 2003 and 2004. During the winter of 2007-08, he played indoor soccer with the Seattle Wolves FC of the Premier Arena Soccer League. Dragavon also competed in indoor soccer with the Tacoma Stars and Seattle Wolves of the PASL.
Following his playing career, Dragavon was an assistant coach for the Seattle Sounders FC U-23 team, Sounders 2 and Sounders FC Academy; the U.S. Women’s National Team (2016 to 2017), and the WWU men’s and women’s squads in 2012. He also was a Goalkeeper and strength conditioning coach for the Seattle Reign professional women's team from 2013 to 2016 and full-time assistant from 2017 to 2018, working with Hope Solo, goalkeeper of the U.S. Women’s National Team that won the World Cup and Olympic Gold.
In addition, Dragavon was a biomechanics consultant for professional athletes in Major League Baseball, National Football League, Major League Soccer, U.S. Soccer, U.S. Skiing, U.S. Olympians, Women’s National Basketball Association and National Women’s Soccer League.
Dragavon was a 2018 inductee into the Monroe (Wash.) High School Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2001, he helped the Bearcats win district and state titles, the first state championship for any MHS sport since 1953. During that run, Dragavon won three playoff matches in shootouts after going into overtime. During that same year, he led his Premier Club Team, the Cascade Avalanche, to a state championship by winning shootouts in both the semi-final and title matches. His club team went on to represent the State of Washington in the Region 6 Championship at Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Currently, the 35-year-old Dragavon operates a private goalkeeper's academy, working with professional and collegiate goalkeepers. At the athletic training institute in Bellevue, he works with professional sports teams and athletes from all over the world. Also keeping him busy is his continued consultant work with the Seattle Sounders.
"I am so thankful for my time at Western,” said Dragavon. “The relationships cultivated as a member of the men's soccer team have helped shape my life in more ways than I could have imagined. Some of my teammates have become lifelong friends, some have become business associates, and others have maintained relationships in various ways. It really became a family network that still exists and thrives to this day. It is an absolute credit to the institution and the culture created by Coach Connell and Coach (Greg) Brisbon.”
LINDSAY MANN-KING – Women’s Rowing (No.7 seat)
Lindsay Mann-King was part of seven straight national championships in women’s rowing at Western, an unprecedented event in NCAA I and II rowing. Mann-King won three titles as a rower in the varsity eight shell and four as an assistant coach.
Located in the No.7 seat, Mann-King helped the Vikings to NCAA II championships from 2005 to 2007. The three consecutive championships were a first for any of the three NCAA rowing divisions at that time. She was a first-team Collegiate Coaches Rowing Association Pocock All-American in each of those campaigns, and is one of just nine Vikings in any sport to earn All-America honors three times.
As the 2007 team captain, Mann-King threw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Seattle Mariners game when the Vikings were honored on June 4, 2007. The WWU co-Female Athlete of the Year for 2006-07, she also was featured in the Sports Illustrated Faces in the Crowd for the issue of June 25, 2007.
In all, Mann-King made four consecutive national appearances as an athlete, with WWU placing third at nationals during her freshman season in 2004 after leading for most of the Grand Final at nationals.
A four-year letter winner, Mann-King was a student assistant coach in 2008 and the Vikings’ top assistant from 2009 to 2012 as they extended their string of national titles to seven straight, winning in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 before finishing as national runner-up in 2012.
“I remember her being one of the toughest women we’ve had on the team,” said WWU coach John Fuchs. “She was always very fit and ready to train. We knew early during her first year that she needed to be in the varsity eight, and she was all four years. She was a great leader and well respected. She turned into a good coach, too. She brought that fire into her coaching that few have.”
A 2007 graduate of WWU, Mann-King earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and exercise science. She co-founded the Whatcom Rowing Association and was program director for three years (2010-12).
The 35-year-old Mann-King is now in her seventh year as the wellness coordinator and ergonomics specialist at BP Cherry Point Refinery. She also was a forestry technician and wildland fire fighter for the U.S. Department of Agriculture for eight years from 2002 to 2010.
A 2002 graduate of Colville (Wash.) High School, Mann-King attended Seattle University for one year (2002-03) before transferring to Western.
At Colville High in 2001-02, Mann-King was the Julie Hall Arts Memorial award winner for outstanding achievement in the arts, as well as the school’s Arts Leadership and Principals Leadership award winner. She lettered one year in volleyball and won outstanding achievement awards in biology, English, ceramics and photography.
Mann-King was a Haran Irish Dancer from elementary school until the end of high school, and a USAVB club volleyball player during junior and senior high school.
Mann-King is married to Matthew Dykema. They have one child, daughter Ada Dykema, 1.
“Though I did not realize it at the time, my rowing experience at WWU created a road map for how I would be able to find success and happiness in my life forever,” said Mann-King. “Today, I still find that when I regularly surround myself with my loved ones, make daily exercise a priority and structure my life in an organized fashion, I am my best self.
“When I was rowing at WWU, we were guided by the ‘Four Rules.’ Take care of your relationships, your health, your education and your athleticism and the successful, focused rowing will fall into place. This philosophy, along with John Fuchs’ laid back, humorous and insightful coaching style has transcended that time and bubbles up today in my work as a movement coach and health educator."
SEAN PACKER – Men’s Golf (No.1)
Sean Packer was the WWU Male Athlete of the Year for 2007-08, tying for third place at the NCAA II National Tournament that spring, the second-highest finish in school history and just one stroke behind the co-leaders with a 72-hole total of 1-under par 279.
Packer earned third-team Golf Coaches Association of America All-America honors in 2008, helping the Vikings place eighth at nationals, second at regionals and first in the GNAC with a 72.3 scoring average.
At nationals in 2008, Packer recorded three rounds of par or better. One shot off the lead with four holes to play and the leaders in the clubhouse, he gave himself two good birdie chances to tie or win.
In 2006-07, Packer was the team captain and led Western in scoring average at 73.9, and he earned GCAA All-America honorable mention in 2005-06 by tying for 35th at nationals.
Twice a GCAA Cleveland All-America Scholar in 2006-07 and 2007-08 and a GCAA West Region all-star in 2006-07 and 2007-08, Packer was a three-time GNAC all-star and academic all-star from 2005 to 2008.
A four-year letter winner, Packer graduated from Western with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing.
“Sean was a tremendous player for us, and has continued his fine play as one of the elite amateurs in the Pacific Northwest,” said his WWU coach Steve Card. “I am extremely proud that he is being honored with this induction into the WWU Athletics Hall of Fame. In 20 years of coaching the Viking men’s golf team, I don’t recall a player as committed to his team, the Viking program, and this school than Sean. He is a devoted Viking.”
Packer graduated from Auburn-Riverside High School in 2003, after leading the Ravens to the Class 4A state title in 2002 and three South Puget Sound League North Division crowns from 2001 to 2003.
Packer advanced to the U.S. Open Sectional in 2011 and has qualified for four USGA national golf championships: the 2012 and 2013 U.S. Amateur Public Links, the 2012 U.S. Washington State Team and the 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur.
The 34-year-old Packer had runner-up finishes at the Seattle Amateur in 2006 and 2007, while winning the Fort Lewis Amateur in 2010 and 2017. At his childhood course of Sumner Meadows Golf Links, he fired a 10-under par 62 in 2007, the course record.
Packer is a three-time Tacoma City Amateur champion with victories in 2004, 2010 and 2014. Packer placed first at the 2012 Washington State Champion of Champions with a competitive course record 66 in overcoming an 11-stroke final-round deficit.
Six times Packer has represented the Pacific Northwest’s top amateur golfers in the Hudson Cup matches, an annual event pitting the region’s best amateurs and top golf professionals against one another. In 2011, playing in the final match of the event, he sank the clinching putt for the Amateur team resulting in that squad’s first victory in 33 years over the Professional team. In 2014, Packer received the Charles Congdon Award as the standout player on the Amateur team.
Packer has been a federal government employee for nearly 10 years with Social Security, currently serving as a claims specialist. He and wife Amanda (formerly Amick) have two children, son Brady, 2, and daughter Marlena, 6 months.
“I dreamed of being a college student-athlete from as early as I can remember,” said Packer. “Even with all those built-up expectations, Western exceeded my dreams in every way. Everything about my time at WWU is so memorable: from competing on the golf course, to the classroom, to the beauty of Whatcom County.”
COURTNEY SCHNEIDER – Volleyball (Libero)
Courtney Schneider averaged a school-best 7.0 digs per game during her four-year career at WWU, breaking--make that crushing--the NCAA II national record by nearly one dig per game. She finished third nationally among NCAA II career dig leaders with a GNAC and school record of 2,695.
Schneider twice led the nation in digs per game, having a NCAA record of 7.74 as a senior. She set a NCAA II tournament match record with 44 digs and established league and school marks with 50.
Schneider was a unanimous GNAC all-star in each of her four years (2004 to 2007), helping the Vikings to an overall 80-28 record. She led the league in digs all four seasons, finishing with a league and school record of 851 as a senior.
It was numbers like those that led to Schneider receiving WWU’s Co-Female Athlete of the Decade award for 2000 to 2009 and reaching the first round of the NCAA Woman of the Year balloting in 2008.
Schneider was a first-team American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American in 2007 on a WWU team that reached the title match at the NCAA II National Tournament. She was a third-team AVCA All-American in 2006 and received honorable mention in 2005.
Schneider also was a first-team Daktronics All-American in 2006 and second-team in 2007.
Schneider, a three-time West Region all-star, both AVCA and Daktronics, was GNAC Player of the Year and NCAA II Elite Eight All-Tournament in 2007. Off the court that same year, Schneider earned second-team CoSIDA Academic All-America honors.
On May 7, 2008, Schneider threw the ceremonial first pitch at a Seattle Mariners’ game.
“This is such a well-deserved honor for Courtney,” said her WWU coach Diane Flick-Williams. “She was such a game changer in a position that is not known for being described as such. It is not often that a libero is the conference Player of the Year, but Courtney was just that good. The volleyball program went to new heights specifically because Courtney was the anchor to our defense. She was a special player who made uncommon plays look common, and the toughest digs look routine. The best part is that all of her physical greatness was inside an outstanding person who was deeply rooted in solid morals and values. Courtney is a Hall of Famer in every sense of the word.”
Following her playing career, Schneider, a four-year letter winner for the Vikings, was an assistant at NCAA I Idaho in 2008 and a graduate assistant at Western in 2009. Currently, she is beginning her third year as head coach at Foothill High School in Sacramento, California.
A graduate of Snohomish High School, Schneider received Class 4A all-State honorable mention in volleyball as a senior. She was a first-team Everett Herald all-Area and all-Western Conference pick, and competed in the Washington State Volleyball Coaches Association East-West all-star series. As team captain and MVP, Schneider helped the Panthers reach the state quarterfinals and go undefeated in winning a league title. She also was first-team all-league as a junior on a team that reached the state quarterfinals.
As a high school freshman, Schneider attended Mount Whitney High School in Visalia, California, earning first-team league all-star recognition as a midfielder in soccer.
In addition to coaching, the 32-year-old Schneider works at the Liberty Towers Church and Community Impact Center in Sacramento, which provides programs and activities to engage marginalized people in the community and help bring about positive change. Specifically, she is the office administrator and assistant youth/children's director for Liberty Towers.
"There are no words to describe what my time at Western meant to me,” said Schneider. “All the countless hours of training, the grind of competition, the victories, the championships, the tears of joy, the tears of pain, and all the many, many amazing memories one can only dream of having, are what they are because of the amazing individuals I had the privilege to experience it all with. I am beyond blessed and forever grateful to have been a Viking."
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