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The Next Level: McNiff’s Grizzlies win cross country title

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Former volleyball, soccer stars wrap-up season

By The Staff

Adams State College junior Ryan McNiff finished his junior year with a national cross country championship and an All-American nod.

McNiff, formerly of Los Alamos, finished 29th in the NCAA Division II championship race Saturday. The D-II title race was held in Evansville, Ind.

In the race, McNiff finished the 10-kilometer course in 32 minutes, 13.8 seconds, placing him 22nd among team scorers. It was McNiff’s third cross country All-American individual title.

For the Grizzlies, it was their second-straight national title and seventh D-II championship in school history. Their team score of 23 points was the lowest team score recorded in NCAA Division I, II or III cross country since 1992.

ASC was paced by Rueben Mwei, who won the school’s first individual national championship since 2003.

During his college career, McNiff has also picked up three All-American track and field honors.

Little excels at St. Petersburg

Kristina Little wrapped up a solid sophomore season with her performance at middle blocker for St. Petersburg College.

Little, a 2008 graduate of Los Alamos High School, was among the statistical leaders in hitting efficiency and blocking at the junior college level.

In 2009, Little’s hitting efficiency was 49 percent, according to the National Junior College Athletic Association. That mark placed her fourth in the nation.

Little also cracked the top 100 in blocking with 49 total blocks.

SPC finished the 2009 season with a record of 16-13 and was fifth in the Florida State Championship tournament.

As a freshman in 2008, Little was named an Honorable Mention in the Florida Community College Athletic Association playing for the Titans.

Kluk named to All-Region team

Former LAHS standout soccer player Nichole Kluk wrapped up her collegiate soccer career by being named to the All-Central Region first team.

Kluk helped her team, the Fort Lewis (Colo.) Skyhawks, to its best finish in school history and for her efforts was named to the 2009 Daktronics All-Central Region team as a defender. The Central Region is comprised of 25 different schools.

In addition to that honor, Kluk was also named the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year for 2009. She was the first Fort Lewis player ever to receive such honor.

Fort Lewis finished its 2009 season with a mark of 18-3-3 and a conference championship. Fort Lewis advanced to the NCAA tournament but lost its first tournament game to Colorado School of Mines.

Kluk, who played every position for the Skyhawks other than goalkeeper during her four years there, earned a school record this season for most career games played (88).

Schachowskoj finishes sophomore season

Another former LAHS student, Marina Schachowskoj, just finished her second season with Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C.

Schachowskoj, a midfielder at Gulliford, started all 20 games in 2009.

During her two seasons playing for the Quakers, Schachowskoj has picked up 9 points (4 goals, 1 assist). The best statistical game of her career came this season when she earned a goal and an assist to lead the Quakers to victory over Randolph College.

Guilford closed its season with a loss in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinals. Its 2009 record was 7-12-1.

Schachowskoj is one of 15 letter-winners expected to return for the 2010 season.