Kenai grads earn hoops scholarships

Posted: Friday, June 13, 2008

Kenai Central graduates Nathan Byrd and Cory Toombs have signed to play basketball in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges.

In May, Byrd signed to play at Clark College in Vancouver, Wash., next season, while Toombs signed to play at Green River Community College in Auburn, Wash.

Both were key parts of the Kardinals team that upset Dimond in the opening round of the state tournament en route to a fifth-place finish. Toombs earned Class 4A first-team all-state honors, while Byrd earned honorable mention.

The two received the scholarship offers on a trip organized by Jim Young, who has coached the Dimond girls for seven seasons, winning two state titles. Young also is an elementary school teacher in Anchorage and a 1984 graduate of Kenai Central.

For two years, Young has been running the Alaska Exposure Basketball Camp. After doing a women's camp last year, Young wanted to do a camp for men and women this year.

The women's camp got six coaches from the NWAACC up to Alaska, but Young had to cancel the men's camp when it did not draw any men's coaches.

Instead, Young decided to take six interested Alaska players, including Toombs and Byrd, to six NWAACC coaches for two-hour workouts.

The players traveled to Clark, Green River, Centralia College in Centralia, Wash., South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, Wash., Peninsula College in Port Angeles, Wash., and Shoreline Community College in Seattle.

Toombs ended up getting scholarship offers from five of the six schools visited, while five of the six players on the trip got scholarship offers. Both Toombs and Byrd have partial scholarships.

Young said playing in the NWAACC has a number of benefits. The tuition is relatively cheap and talented and skilled players can play right away. Athletes can often play more than one sport if they choose. If they play extremely well, they can move on to another college.

Kenai's Boyle earns academic all-conference honors

Kenai Central graduate Mick Boyle, a junior at the University of Alaska Anchorage, has earned recognition on the 2008 Great Northwest Athletic Conference All-Academic Track Team for the second time.

The team recognizes athletes who have a grade-point average of 3.20 or higher, are in their second year of competition and have qualified for the GNAC Championships. Boyle has a 3.46 GPA and is majoring in economics.

Nikiski graduate Herrin lauded for defense

Sarah Herrin, along with Joscelyn Shumate, earned Best Defender Award for the University of Alaska Fairbanks women's basketball team this season.

Herrin, a 5-foot-7 sophomore, was third on the team in rebounding, pulling down 4.6 rebounds per game.

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