Bloomsburg football player Brian Clarke is one of eight national finalists for the 2013 Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award. He was a finalist last season as well.
Clarke (Hanover Area), a 6-foot-3, 290-pound right guard, has advanced from the Super Region I ballot to the national finals. He’s one of three offensive linemen named and the only repeating finalist. The voting closes Monday and the winner will be announced Monday, Dec. 16.
Clarke anchored a line that helped the offense average 313.5 rushing yards a game, 491.2 in total offense and 474 points. It also helped senior Franklyn Quiteh of Tobyhanna to rush for 2,195 yards and score 29 touchdowns.
“Brian is a blue collar player,” offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Brian McBryan said. “He puts the hard hat on and comes to work every day. He has a workman-like attitude and leads by example.”
The 10-2 Huskies saw their season end with a 40-38 loss to West Chester in the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs. The team had 533 yards in total offense and Quiteh rushed for 208 yards and two touchdowns.
PUFFENBERGER NAMED ALL-AMERICAN – Northwestern senior Tara Puffenberger (Dallas) was named to the Division I third team by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association. She was a third-team pick last season as well.
The 5-foot-3 midfielder had seven goals and six assists for 20 points with three game-winners for the Wildcats, who finished 15-5 overall and captured the Big Ten title with a 5-1 mark. The Virginia transfer also earned All-Midwest Region and All-Big Ten first team honors in both her seasons with the team.
“Tara was such a dynamic attacker and was able to create many scoring opportunities and drew the most corners on our team,” coach Tracey Fuchs said. “She was a great leader and we will miss her next year.”
Puffenberger was the only Division I player from the Wyoming Valley Conference to be selected.
WAGNER KEEPS ON SWIMMING – Marcus Wagner was a standout on the Dallas High boys’ swim team last season and he hasn’t missed a step in his first season with the Ursinus men’s team. In the recent Swarthmore Invitational, he won the 1650 freestyle (16:51.69) and the 500 freestyle (4:47.63), helped the 800 free relay to victory (7:15.14) and finished third in the 200 free (1:48.85) to help the Bears capture the team title with 1,127.5 points.
“Marcus has picked up where he left off at Dallas and stepped into college swimming as an impact swimmer in the Centennial Conference,” coach Mark Feinberg said. “He’s already hit a personal best in his 500 free, an event that he swam at the PIAA Championships last spring.”
The coach feels that Wagner has really taken on distance freestyle swimming.
“He’s currently among the conference elite in the 500, 1000 and 1650 freestyle events,” Feinberg said.
WOYTKO COMING ON – After competing with the East Stroudsburg women’s swim team as a freshman, sophomore Alexandra Woytko (Berwick) is really doing the job this season. She’s scoring points in a number of events – the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle, the 100 butterfly and with the 200 and 400 free relay and the 400 medley relay.
“Alex has gotten accustomed to the increased volume of college swimming and is off to a great start,” coach Liza Pizzuto said. “So far she is ahead of her times from last year, dropping over one second in the 50 free and three seconds in the 100 free.”
Freshmen Kayla Keating (Hanover Area) and Kandis Venn (Tunkhannock) are also swimming for the Warriors.
“Kayla is primarily swimming the 50 free and 100 and 200 breaststroke and Kandis has been focusing on the 100 fly and 100 and 200 backstroke,” Pizzuto said. “Both of them are getting used to the increased workout load. They are both progressing well.”
SNEE A SOLID VET – Senior Katie Snee (Coughlin) is in her fourth season with the La Salle women’s swim team. She finished second in both the 50 and 100 freestyle at the Atlantic-10 meet last year and was a member of the school record-setting 200 and 400 free relays in 2011.
“Katie has been an outstanding leader,” coach Matthew Nunnally said. “Her experience and growth have helped her develop into a more complete swimmer. She is confident in her abilities and it has shown in her performances throughout the season.”
In a recent meet against a strong George Mason team, she finished second in both the 50 free (24.37) and 100 free (53.86).
“I am confident that Katie will be a contender for the A-10 title in the sprint freestyle events at the league meet in February,” Nunnally said.
ZERFOSS WORKING HARD – Sophomore Sarah Zerfoss (Dallas) is a member of the strong Clarion women’s diving team. She recently competed in the Clarion Diving Invitational and finished second on the 1-meter board (275.65) and seventh on the 3-meter board (238.0) on Saturday and came back Sunday to finished 11th in the 1-meter (207.45) and fourth in the 3-meter (248.30). Her effort on the 1-meter on Saturday qualified her for the NCAA Division II Championships March 12-15 in Geneva, OH.
“Sarah has been training hard and working on some harder degree of difficulty dives,” veteran diving coach Dave Hrovat said. “We have three girls including Sarah and four guys who have qualified for the Nationals and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Zerfoss and her teammates are in action in the three-day Zippy Invitational starting Friday in Akron, OH.
KRAWCZENIUK LEARNING – Freshman Ryan Krawczeniuk (Meyers) is seeing plenty of action with the Mansfield men’s basketball team. The 6-foot-3 guard has played in all six games with two starts for the 1-5 Mountaineers. He’s averaging 6.8 points per game and has hit eight of 20 from 3-point range (40 percent). He’s also averaging 2.5 rebounds with 11 assists and eight steals. He had a college career high 16 points in a 103-60 victory over Penn College.
“Ryan is dong a really good job so far,” coach Rich Miller said. “Adjusting to the college game has been easy for him as far as the offensive side of the ball. He can obviously shoot the ball and makes plays from the wing.”
But the coach is quick to point out that Krawczeniuk is a work in progress.
“Ryan has struggled a little more when we have used him at the point,” Miller said. “And, defensively, he needs to play with a little more confidence.”
MCGUINESS, LITTLEFORD HONORED – Scranton senior soccer player Bill McGuiness (Wyoming Valley West) was named to the Capital One Division III Academic All-American first team for the second straight season. Keystone senior women’s soccer player Samantha Littleford (Greater Nanticoke) was named to the second team.
McGuiness carries a 3.93 grade point average while seeking his Master’s in business administration.
On the field, he had seven goals and two assists for 16 points and three game-winners.
Littleford, who is majoring in psychology with a minor in criminal justice, holds a 3.87 GPA and is a two-time Colonial States Athletic Conference All-Academic winner. She had 19 goals and six assists for 44 points with six game-winners. She’s the first Keystone athlete ever to gain the All-Academic honor.