Sports Briefs April 11, 2011

Softball’s Flanary claims weekly PCSC pitching honor

PORTLAND, Ore. – Utah Valley University senior pitcher Kyli Flanary has been named the Pacific Coast Softball Conference Mountain Division Pitcher of the Week after a fine outing in the circle the week of March 27 to April 2.

Flanary went 1-2 with a 4.20 ERA (18.1 IP, 11 ER) in three starts to earn her second career Pitcher of the Week honor and her first this season. The senior righty allowed 14 runs – 11 earned – on 26 hits and nine walks and struck out six in 18.1 IP. She earned the victory in the Wolverines’ 3-2 win over Boise State (7.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 1 SO), who was ranked 80th in the RPI at the time on March 29. For the season, Flanary is 2-8 with a 6.37 ERA (78.0 IP, 71 ER) in 15 appearances, including 11 starts.

Weber State’s Erika James was named the Player of the Week. In five games last week, James went 10×16 (.625) at the plate. She also scored five runs and had one RBI and was 9×10 in SBs. James opened the week with three straight multi-hit games. She had two hits each in both games of Wednesday’s twinbill with New Mexico State and went 4×4 in the series opener against North Dakota. She also had an RBI, three runs scored and stole three bases in the series opener against UND. James stole nine straight bases before being retired on a steal attempt of third base in the series finale against the Fighting Sioux. James is the first Weber State player to win the Mountain Division Player of the Week honor since the Wildcats joined the PCSC last season. For the year, James is batting .362 with four RBI and 11 runs scored.

Also nominated for player of the week were Seattle’s Jessica Ulrich and UVU’s Meghan Yocom. Other pitchers nominated included Seattle’s Richelle Ashburn, Northern Colorado’s Kelli Henderson and Idaho State’s Christina Rayner.

UVU’s Kjar named WWC Wrestler of the Year

OREM, Utah – As voted by its coaches, the Western Wrestling Conference has announced postseason award winners for the 2010-11 season. Utah Valley University senior 125-pounder Benjamin Kjar was named WWC Wrestler of Year, 184-pound Northern Iowa redshirt freshman Ryan Loder was the unanimous WWC Freshman of the Year and Wyoming headman Mark Branch was chosen by his peers as the WWC Coach of the Year.

The Wrestler of the Year and Freshman of the Year awards were voted on by the league’s head coaches this past week, while the Coach of the Year balloting was determined after the West Regional Tournament.

Following up on a dominant career at UVU, Kjar became the underdog story of the NCAA Championships as he went from unseeded to place fourth at the 2011 NCAA Championships in Philadelphia. With the placement, Kjar became Utah Valley’s first-ever All-American. On his way through the bracket, he upset No. 4 seed James Nicholson (Old Dominion), No. 5 seed Zachary Sanders (Minnesota) and No. 7 seed Ryan Mango (Stanford) at Nationals. Kjar also found himself in the semifinals against the No. 1 seed and eventual champion Anthony Robles (Arizona State) and Kjar gave his undefeated opponent his closest match of the season at 4-2.

At the West Regional, the No. 2 seeded Kjar was upset in his first bout of the tournament and almost didn’t even make it to Nationals as he had to wrestle all the way back to earn his qualifying spot. Kjar did just that, however, as he went on to win his next four matches in a row. He finished the season with a 30-8 overall record. Kjar also posted an 8-1 dual mark and also went a solid 11-2 versus WWC opponents on the year.

Kjar was ranked No. 11 in the final NCAA Coaches Rankings at 125 pounds and was No. 8 in the final RPI. He was named the WWC Wrestler of the Week on Jan. 5 after he placed third at the Southern Scuffle with a 5-1 record. Kjar won the Cowboy Open, placed second at the Kaufman-Brand Open and seventh at the prestigious Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. He will leave UVU as its winningest wrestler in school history, as he’s compiled a career 129-35 mark. He was also recently named the 2010-11 D1CollegeWrestling.net WWC Wrestler of the Year.

Baseball’s Benson tabbed Great West Player of the Week

NAPERVILLE, Ill. – Utah Valley’s Chris Benson has been named Great West Conference Player of the Week while NJIT’s Mark Leiter has been honored as the Pitcher of the Week for their individual performances the week of March 27 to April 2. The honors were announced April 5 by the conference office.

Benson, a senior from Orem, Utah, hit at an impressive .588 clip in a three-game series at Nevada for the Wolverines April 1-3. He went 10-for-17 with two home runs, two doubles, seven runs and four RBI while recording a 1.059 slugging percentage. Benson extended his hitting streak to 15 games and is first in the GWC with a .427 average.

It’s Benson’s second award this year after being named POW on March 22 and also the fifth time this season that a UVU player or pitcher has been honored by the Great West.

Graham, Kleven earn GWC track and field honors

NAPERVILLE, Ill. – Utah Valley’s Andrew Graham and Kodi Kleven have been named Great West Conference track and field Athletes of the Week for their outstanding performances April 1 at the UVU Collegiate Invitational. The awards were announced April 6 by the league office.

Graham, a senior from Provo, Utah, won two events at the first-ever Utah Valley home track meet, posting winning times of 14.87 in the 110m hurdles and 53.53 in the 400m hurdles. The Wolverines welcomed teams from BYU, Utah State, Utah, Weber State and Mesa State as they competed at the newly constructed Hal Wing Track and Field.

Kleven won the award after posting a winning time of 16:36.34 in the 5000m run. The freshman from Mount Pleasant, Utah, broke the UVU school record while posting the fastest time in the GWC this season.

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