College notebook: Klettke satisfied with cross country career as NAIA All-American

Prairie grad finishes back where she was before injury

By Kurt Zimmer, Columbian Sports Reporter

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Compiling a short list of "athletes to watch" at events based on individual results is generally simple: Look at the previous year's results, and mention the top handful who were not seniors a year ago.

Simple, but with a potential simple flaw.

Kelsey Klettke, a senior at Lewis-Clark State in Lewiston, Idaho, was an NAIA cross country All-American as junior.

Just not last year.

The year before.

After placing 11th at nationals in 2010, the Prairie High School graduate missed the entire 2011 season as she battled hip and leg injuries.

In her final collegiate cross country race, Klettke again placed 11th Saturday at Fort Vancouver National Site. Her time over the 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) course was 18 minutes, 17 seconds.

"I feel great," Klettke said. "I mean, I surprised myself. I'm always shooting to do the best anyone can ever do — shooting for the gold. I ran just smart and I felt like the way I ran laid out perfectly."

Not perfect enough to write a storybook finish by winning a national championship in her final race -- and in her hometown, no less.

But still impressive, and satisfying. Well, she was slower this year than she was in 2010.

By one second.

"I don't feel like I'm in as good a shape as I was two years ago, so the fact that I pulled it together and got the same place as I did and pretty much the same time -- it was a lot harder and a lot tougher and I really feel it in my muscles, but I'm very happy," Klettke said. "It feels good to know that I was able to take a whole year off and come back just as strong."

Klettke still has her senior seasons upcoming in indoor and outdoor track.

Farther ahead, she expects to graduate next fall with a degree in biology with a kinesiology minor.

"Plan after that?" Hmm, I guess that is the scary question," she replied about her plans after college. "But I really want to travel for a bit, experience different cultures and eventually find something that I would like to do for a career. Not too stressed about it. More excited than anything, and ready to start a new chapter."

For local runners in the men's race, Northwest University senior Matt Porter (Hockinson High School) finished 64th in 25:48; and Concordia University freshman Roman Kirvov (Union High School) placed 107th in 26:12 and senior Nick Wilson (Columbia River High School) was 263rd in 27:56.Concordia junior Kristina Cupp (Vancouver Christian High School) did not run in the women's race because of illness.

EOU's Sorensen first team All-CCC

photoStefani Sorensen Eastern Oregon volleyball

Eastern Oregon University sophomore outside hitter Stefani Sorensen was named to the All-Cascade Collegiate Conference first team.

The Camas High School graduate led the CCC with a hitting percentage of .328 (318 kills and 79 errors on 728 attempts in 101 sets), and was sixth with 3.15 kills a game.

The Mountaineers finished 23-7, including 14-4 in regular season conference play, advancing to the CCC tournament championship match on Nov. 10 before falling to College of Idaho.

MIT's Merlino named academic All-America

Massachusetts Institute of Technology junior safety Matt Merlino was named to the 2012 Capital One Academic All-District team by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Merlino, a Union High grad, tied for second on the Engineers with 69 tackles.

An electrical engineering and computer science major with a 4.4 cumulative grade point average, he shared the team lead with three interceptions while also leading the Engineers with six pass breakups.

Honorees advance to the Capitol One Academic All-America ballot, from which first, second and third team All-America honorees will be selected.

I.C. kicker Newman named all-conference

Illinois College sophomore placekicker Matt Newman was named First Team All-Midwest Conference.

The Ridgefield High School graduate was 5 of 7 on field goals during the 2012 season and made all 53 of his extra point attempts, the fifth-highest single-season total in conference history.

Suggestions for College Notebook? Contact Kurt Zimmer at 360-735-4563 or kurt.zimmer@columbian.com.