College notebook: Concordia’s Dixson learns at NAIA indoor nationals

Freshman makes most of experience at NAIA meet

By Kurt Zimmer, Columbian Sports Copy Editor and Writer

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Gabi Dixson adapted quickly to a new event and a new experience as a Concordia University freshman, just missing All-America status in the weight throw at last weekend’s NAIA indoor track and field championships.

Dixson, a homeschool graduate who competed for Battle Ground High School, placed eighth in the weight throw, 2½ inches shy of becoming an All-American despite going into the meet just hoping to get her bearings in the event at such a high level of competition.

“I was just going for the ride and the experience” Dixson said. “I felt really good about how I performed. It was a lot of fun just to go as a freshman.”

For collegiate women, the weight throw implement is a 20-pound shot put affixed to a handle by a chain shorter than that of the hammer implement used in outdoor competition.

Dixson’s mark at nationals in Johnson City, Tenn., was 53 feet, 4½ inches — the best by a freshman. The winning effort was 63-8¼ by Oklahoma Christian’s Denise Mattoon, while Chelsea Mass of Grandview threw 53-7 to claim the final All-America position.

Although her mark was short of her personal best of 54-7½ — which would have made her an All-American — Dixson was pleased with her effort because she shook off a mid-season slump at nationals.

“In the weight throw, my first meet I threw the school record and in my second meet I beat my school record,” she said. “The next two weeks after that, I didn’t get anywhere close to those throws.

“There were literally about a meter behind. This was the first time that I got back even close to my record. I hit 16 meters (52-6) two times, and that was the first time that’s happened for me, so I was just really pleased with that and I thought I competed very well, regardless.”

Dixson also competed in the shot put at nationals — meeting her preseason goal — and placed 29th with a mark of 38-10¼. Newly introduced to the weight throw, Dixson said, her goal “was to just go and see what the competition was.”

She added: “I was just trying it out, but I knew that I could throw it.”

Concordia’s outdoor season starts this weekend, but Dixson said she may not be competing so soon after indoor nationals. She is working on shot put, discus and the hammer for outdoor season.

“I’m so excited about outdoor track,” she said. “… I just want to see what I can do, and try to make it in all three.”

Like the weight throw, hammer is a new experience for Dixson.

“This is my first year throwing a hammer,” she said. “I started playing with it earlier, but started getting serious about it a month ago. It’s a really hard concept to grasp.”

USC’s Corral garners Pac-10 weekly honor

Southern California sophomore Ashley Corral has been named Pacific-10 Conference women’s basketball player of the week.

The Prairie High School graduate established a school record for 3-point field goals in a season (77 and counting) during a weekend sweep of Arizona and Arizona State.

The Women of Troy have won five games in a row going into this week’s conference tournament, and are the No. 3 seed.

Corral made two 3-pointers against Arizona and four against Arizona State, scoring 20 points against the Sun Devils in the regular season finale. The previous USC single-season record was 72.

Corral is also eighth on the school’s single-season assists record with 145 after dishing out nine in last week’s games.

Corral also hit important free throws in the final minute during each win.

GNAC honors SPU’s Amanda Alvarez

Seattle Pacific University freshman Amanda Alvarez, who posted an NCAA Division II outdoor provisional qualifying mark in the triple jump last Saturday, has been named the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Athlete of the Week for women’s track and field.

The Columbia River High graduate’s mark of 39 feet, 0¼ inches at the University of Puget Sound’s Outdoor Preview in Tacoma was the second-longest triple jump in GNAC history.

The record is held by Alaska Anchorage’s Kim Brady, who went 39-3¾ in 2008.

Also a a provisional qualifier for NCAA-II indoor nationals with a top mark of 38-4, Alvarez became an automatic qualifier for the GNAC outdoor championships Saturday.

She also leapt 17-7 in the long jump, a GNAC automatic qualifying mark.

Gordon, George Fox in D-III sectionals

With two home victories last weekend, the defending NCAA Division III national champion George Fox Universitiy women’s basketball team advanced to an NCAA-III sectional in St. Louis.

The Bruins (27-2) open Friday against Carthage College, with the winner to play either host Washington University of St. Louis or Mount Union.

Sophomore Keisha Gordon, a Heritage High School graduate, is an All-Northwest Conference First Team selection and leads the team in scoring at 14.1 points a game.

Honor roll

• Clackamas Community College sophomore point guard Jeff Dorman was named to the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges men’s basketball championships all-tournament team after helping the Cougars to the title. The Prairie High School graduate averaged 19.5 points, 3.5 assists and 2.5 steals a game during the 2009-10 season.

• Portland Community College freshman basketball wing Guy Varsek averaged 12.5 points and 7.2 rebounds a game for the Panthers. The Camas High School graduate was named to the all-tournament team during the Clark College holiday tournament in December.

• Whitworth College junior right-handed pitcher Ben George improved to 2-1 with a win Saturday over Menlo College in Atherton, Calif. George pitched five innings, allowing one run on four hits.

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