O'Guinn gets off to fast start at UAA

Posted: Sunday, March 20, 2011

Skyview High School graduate Ivy O'Guinn was named the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Athlete of the Week on Monday.

O'Guinn, of the University of Alaska Anchorage, earned the award after a couple of outstanding meets in California.

On March 11 at the Occidental Distance Carnival in Eagle Rock, Calif., O'Guinn ran 4 minutes, 33.56 seconds, in the 1,500 meters to beat the school record of 4:34.34 set by Ruth Keino in 2010. O'Guinn finished second in the race to Sharla Manuele, running unattached. O'Guinn's time was the ninth-fastest in GNAC history.

On March 12 at the Northridge Invite in Northridge, Calif., O'Guinn ran the 800 in 2:12.30 to set another school record and win her heat. The previous record was 2:13.89, set by Stephanie Trenholm in 2009.

For automatic qualification to the NCAAs, O'Guinn needs a 2:09.61 in the 800 and a 4:27.50 in the 1,500.

Liebner is an All-American

Soldotna graduate Andy Liebner twice earned All-American status at the NCAA Nationals in early March.

On March 9, Liebner, skiing as a junior for Northern Michigan, finished ninth in the 10-kilometer freestyle at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vt. Liebner had a time of 26:45.1.

On March 11, Liebner finished eighth in the 20-kilometer classic race.

Liebner had previously twice been an All-American at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Ninilchik's Vanderford takes 4th in NAIA

Ninilchik graduate Austin Vanderford, now a junior at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Ore., placed fourth in the NAIA National Wrestling Championships in early March.

In the consolation semifinals, Vanderford defeated Missouri Valley's Preston McKinney 10-5. In the third-place match against Jon Bittenger of Notre Dame (Ohio), Vanderford lost 5-2. He still earns his first All-American honor and finishes the season with a 31-6 record.

Blackburn honored at Air Force

Soldotna graduate Paige Blackburn, a junior at Air Force Academy, was honored along with three teammates at the Sportswomen of Colorado banquet in mid-March.

Blackburn and three others were honored for a successful 2010 season as members of the throwing team. Others honored were former throwers and conference champions Sara Neubauer and Katie Weber, and current Falcons senior Christina Burke.

Blackburn also just completed a solid indoor season. She had Air Force's top marks in the shot put and the weight throw.

In the shot put, Blackburn had a mark of 48 feet, 5 1-2 inches, at the Air Force Invitational on Feb. 12. At the Mountain West Conference Indoor Championships on Feb. 26, Blackburn was fifth in the shot with a distance of 46 feet, 11 inches.

In the weight throw, Blackburn had a mark of 56 feet, 1 3-4 inches, in the Mountain West Conference Indoor Championships on Feb. 25. The throw earned Blackburn eighth place in the meet and was the third-best throw in Academy history.

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