FOOTBALL

North's Strong to bypass Nebraska Shrine Bowl

Calvin Strong of Omaha North will not play in the June 6 Nebraska Shrine Bowl in Kearney.

North Shrine coach Larry Martin, also from Omaha North, cited "family reasons" for Strong pulling out of the game. Strong is the state's all-time leading rusher for 11-man football.

Martin said Strong, a South Dakota recruit, has met NCAA eligibility requirements and will take summer classes in Vermillion starting June 8.

Marquise Lewis, like Strong an All-Nebraska player from North, has taken his place on the roster.

TENNIS

Bluffs teams will compete in 2-A, 1-A tournaments

COUNCIL BLUFFS — Council Bluffs has served up some quality tennis the past two years.

For the second straight season, two city schools will be represented at the state tournament. Abraham Lincoln junior Kyle Crowl qualified as a district champion in the singles field in Class 2-A and the St. Albert tandem of junior Travis Miller and senior Cody Goeser also won a district title to earn their way into the 1-A doubles field.

Competition is Friday and Saturday with the Class 1-A tournament at Byrnes Park Tennis Complex in Waterloo and the 2-A meet at Veterans Memorial Tennis Center in Cedar Rapids.

Singles and doubles brackets are made up of eight district champions and eight runnersup. Coaches meet before play begins to seed the top four players and teams. Only district champions can be seeded, and seedings are based on a coach's nomination, the player's season resume and overall record.

Both qualifiers are attempting to bring Council Bluffs its first state tennis title.

Miller and Goeser are first-time qualifiers after a strong season. They finished 11-2 in doubles play despite not competing in a match together until midApril because Goeser was on a mission trip.

They've meshed well this season. Their only losses came against the Abraham Lincoln tandem of Crowl and Matt Seaman.

WESTERN IOWA CLASS 2-A SINGLES QUALIFIER

Kyle Crowl, Abraham Lincoln

CLASS 1-A QUALIFIERS

Singles: Nick Podhajsky, Atlantic; Weston Rolenc, Red Oak; Matt Moran, Denison-Schleswig; Ryan Kucera, Creston.Doubles: Travis Miller and Cody Goeser, St. Albert; Mitch Kinsey and Spencer Pauley, Denison-Schleswig; Dedrick Kettwick and Austin Smith, Clarinda.

— Patrick Donohue

VOLLEYBALL

Creighton recruiting class is named 11th best

Creighton's incoming recruiting class was named the nation's 11th-best by PrepVolleyball.com.

The website annually ranks the nation's top recruiting classes, and this is the first time in the 13-year history of the rankings that the Bluejays have cracked the top 30.

Creighton previously had earned "highest honorable mention" four times (2008, 2009, 2011, 2014), "high honorable mention" twice (2010, 2012), "honorable mention" once (2005) and "best of the rest" once (2004).

Creighton's five-woman class includes 6-foot-1 hitter Megan Ballenger of Ankeny, Iowa; 5-7 defensive specialist Samantha Bohnet of Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln; 6-4 outside hitter Taryn Kloth of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; 6-2middle blocker Kelsey O'Connell of Omaha Marian and 6-2 outside hitter Jaali Winters of Ankeny, Iowa.

Last fall Prep Volleyball.com named Kloth the nation's 18thbest prospect on its Senior Aces list, while Winters was tabbed the 41st-best.

"The combination of a high-level education with small class sizes, top-notch facilities, great volleyball and a more personalized college experience than the massive state schools can offer are just some of the reasons that top players are choosing Creighton," CU coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth said.

Creighton is coming off a 25-9 season that saw the program claim its first Big East regular season and tournament title. The Bluejays also made their third straight appearance in the NCAA tournament, and fourth in five years.

COLLEGE

Athletes improving in classroom, APR up

INDIANAPOLIS — The latest Academic Progress Rate results released Wednesday by the NCAA show athletes continue to improve their classroom performance even in two sports that have traditionally lagged.

This year's overall four-year average of 978 is up two points from last year's record high. Men's basketball came in at 961, a four-point jump over 2013-14. Football had a 956, a five-point increase in one year.

Scores are calculated for each team at each school. An athlete receives one point each semester for being academically eligible and another point each semester for staying in school. A perfect score is 1,000.

Fewer penalties were handed out, too. This year, 21 teams face postseason bans and 28l face other penalties. Last year, 42 teams had postseason bans and 70 faced other punishments.

Two Grand Canyon coaches get contract extensions

PHOENIX — Grand Canyon signed men's basketball coach Dan Majerle and baseball coach Andy Stankiewicz to four-year contract extensions through 2019.

The university also announced a five-year apparel deal with Nike on Wednesday.

Terms of the deals were not released, but Grand Canyon said in a release that Majerle and Stankiewicz will be the highest paid coaches in the Western Athletic Conference in their respective sports.

Grand Canyon is not eligible for NCAA postseason play until it completes its four-year transition period to Division I in 2017-18.

Compiled from press services and local reports.

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