Alaska-Valley City pipeline continues to flow

Posted: Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The football pipeline from Alaska to Valley City State University continues to flow.

Valley City, a state-supported university located in Valley City, N.D., recently announced the signings of four central peninsula products.

The Vikings already have 16 Alaska players on their roster, including three from the central peninsula.

Those signing with Valley City are Nikiski senior Travis McGahan, Nikiski graduate David Holloway, Soldotna senior Cameron Schneider and Kenai Central senior Dakota Craig.

The Vikings, coached by Dennis McCulloch, are in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and a member of the Dakota Athletic Conference. The Vikings have a record of 42-17 over the past six seasons. Valley City has won 24 conference championships while producing 35 NAIA All-Americans and 52 NAIA Scholar-Athletes.

Valley City is a nationally recognized leader in technology. Each student is issued a notebook computer for use in and outside the classroom.

Schneider, the son of Vernel Schneider, was first team all-small-schools state at defensive back and second team all-small-schools state at quarterback this season for the Stars, who were runner-up in the small-schools playoffs.

Schneider had 900 yards passing for 11 touchdowns and on defense had 82 tackles and five interceptions. Schneider's head coach at Soldotna was Sarge Truesdell, himself a Valley City State product. Schneider is listed as a 6-foot-1, 210-pound tight end by Valley City.

Holloway, the son of Steve and Ann Holloway, and Hil and Cathy Nowacki, graduated from Nikiski in 2002. In his senior season, he was first team all-small-schools state on both offense and defense. He had 45 receptions for 1,140 yards and 16 touchdowns on offense, and 13 interceptions on defense. He was named the Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year.

Holloway also helped lead the Bulldogs to the first two small-schools state championships sanctioned by the Alaska School Activities Association. He is listed as a 6-2, 205-pound wide receiver by Valley City.

McGahan is the son of Per and LeAnn McGahan. This season, he was first team all-small-schools state at return specialist and outside linebacker. He recorded 77 tackles, three sacks and one forced fumble on defense, and 85 yards receiving and five touchdowns on offense, and 470 yards and two touchdowns in the return game.

McGahan's head coach in high school was Ned Clooten, himself a Valley City State product. McGahan is listed as a 5-11, 180-pound defensive back by Valley City.

Craig, the son of Doug Jung and Dawn Craig, was an all-small-schools state linebacker his sophomore, junior and senior years and an all-small-schools state running back his junior and senior years. He also was the small-schools offensive player of the year as a junior and the small-schools defensive player of the year as a senior.

This season, in leading the Kardinals to their third straight small-schools state title, Craig rushed for 1,884 yards, giving him 4,675 rushing yards in his career. On defense, he had 162 career unassisted tackles and 270 career assisted tackles. Craig is listed as a 6-0, 200-pound linebacker by Valley City.

Zobeck plays baseball for Cornell College

Paul John Zobeck, a 2000 graduate of Soldotna High School, is a member of the Cornell College baseball team. Zobeck is a senior majoring in economics and business and sports marketing. He is the son of Paul and Shirley Zobeck of Soldotna.

Cornell is currently 12-14, while Zobeck has played in all of Cornell's games and is hitting .341 with six home runs with 34 RBI.

Habermann will ski at UAF

Elisabeth Habermann, who skied for the Skyview High School ski team, has signed to join the cross-country skiing team next season at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Habermann earned All-American honors twice at the 2004 Junior Olympics, once for finishing third in the 5-kilometer freestyle and another time for being a member of the third-place relay team. Habermann also took 12th place that year in the freestyle sprint.

At the state championships as a junior Habermann was second in the 7.5-kilometer freestyle, sixth in the 5-kilometer classical race and third overall.

Battling illness her senior year, Habermann was not as successful at the state meet.

"Elisabeth is a very good skier, but she is also somewhat of a diamond in the rough," UAF head coach Scott Jerome said in a released statement. "She posted very good results at the Junior Olympics in 2004, but was a little off in 2005.

"Once we work on some ski techniques next fall and winter, she may be able to make another significant jump in her skiing. Elisabeth adds quality and much-needed depth to our women's program."

Jerome also said that UAF also is excited about having Habermann, a UA Scholar, enrolled as a student. Habermann joins West Valley's Anders Gillis and Julia and Anna Coulter of Traverse City, Mich., as the cross-country skiing program's recruiting class.

Homer's Phelps to swim at UAF

Miriah Phelps of Homer is one of the first two athletes to sign with the University of Alaska Fairbanks to compete with the new women's swimming program next fall.

Phelps is currently a student at UAF. Next year, she will be a senior academically and a junior in terms of eligibility. Phelps was an age group swimmer in Anchorage, then swam for Homer High School as a senior after her family moved from Anchorage.

"I anticipate Miriah making a major contribution to our team," UAF head coach Scott Lemley said in a released statement. "She is a very good student, and she will bring a lot of maturity to the team as a senior academically.

"She will have the ability to set goals and not be distracted by the day-to-day ups and downs, and will be able to provide a great example for the freshmen coming in."

Besse makes All-American Honorable Mention

Rachel Besse, a sophomore at Vanguard University of Southern California, was named to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics All-American Honorable Mention list.

Besse, a 2003 graduate of Soldotna High School, averaged 12 points and seven rebounds per game and had seven double-doubles this season.

In three national tournament games held in Jackson, Tenn., Besse poured in 20 points per game to help Vanguard make it to the quarterfinals. Besse also garnered her second all-Golden State Athletic Conference honor this season.

The Next Level highlights Kenai Peninsula athletes who have gone on to participate in athletics after high school. If you know of such an athlete, contact the Peninsula Clarion sports staff by phone at 283-7551, by fax at 283-3299 or by e-mail at

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