Next Level: Items on McDowell, Blackburn, O'Guinn

Skyview senior Amanda McDowell signed a letter of intent at the end of April to play volleyball at Lourdes University in Sylvania, Ohio.

"I'm really excited to leave here for a little bit and experience new things," McDowell said. "I get to go meet new people and get to do something I really like to do."

McDowell, who was the Northern Lights Conference Southern Division Player of the Year this season, will get a partial athletic scholarship at Lourdes, which is an NAIA school.

Skyview coach Sheila Kupferschmid has been coaching McDowell since McDowell was in seventh grade.

"She's been planning on this for four years — to go on and play college ball," Kupferschmid said. "She put in the time and effort playing club ball, camps in the summer and the volleyball festival.

"She had an outstanding year this year. She was tough."

McDowell said she plans to major in early childhood development at Lourdes. She made her way to Lourdes through a local connection. McDowell played volleyball with Nikiski's Rachel Thompson, who is the sister of Hannah Thompson, who just graduated from Lourdes after playing volleyball there.

McDowell said coach Greg Reitz has told her she will most likely be an outside hitter or right-side hitter.

"Amanda is going to give us added depth in several positions," Reitz said in a released statement. "She has experience in the middle and as an outside. I am really looking forward to training her this fall."

Kupferschmid said McDowell's athleticism will suit her well in college.

"She has an excellent leap and she's quick as a cat," Kupferschmid said. "She has agility that is really above a lot of the other players."

 

SoHi's Blackburn continues excellent senior year

Soldotna graduate Paige Blackburn, now a senior at Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., has continued to shine on the women's track and field team.

Blackburn has qualified for the West Preliminary of the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. She will travel to Austin, Texas, from Thursday through Saturday for the opening round of the national competition.

Blackburn qualified in the discus and javelin. Blackburn enters the preliminary ranked sixth in the javelin with a distance of 170 feet, 5 inches. In the discus, she is ranked 19th with a toss of 174 feet, 8 inches.

Blackburn also received two all-conference nods after the 2012 Mountain West Outdoor Track and Field Championships from May 9 to 12. She got the all-conference awards for winning the javelin and placing second in the discus.

Blackburn won the Mountain West javelin title on May 12, throwing a career-best 170 feet, 5 inches. It was Air Force's fifth javelin title since 2004 and helped the Air Force women match their best finish in Mountain West history at sixth.

On May 11, Blackburn finished second in the discus with a toss of 163 feet, 1 inch. She also finished eighth in the hammer throw that day.

 

Skyview's O'Guinn nabs All-Region honors

Skyview graduate Ivy O'Guinn, now a sophomore at the University of Alaska Anchorage, was named to the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association outdoor track and field Division II All-Region team on May 15.

O'Guinn earned the honor in both the 800- and 1,500-meter runs. The top five from each region in individual events earn the honor.

O'Guinn will be in the 2012 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Thursday through Saturday in Pueblo, Colo. O'Guinn will compete in the 1,500. She sits at sixth with a time of 4 minutes, 25.19 seconds.

At the 2012 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships on May 12 in Monmouth, Ore., O'Guinn finished third in the 1,500 at 4:33.55. That helped the Seawolves to a second-place finish at the meet.

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