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Area sports briefs for Sunday, May 20, 2001

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Dawson CC softball finishes third

ARNOLD, Md. - Dawson Community College's foray into the national junior college softball tournament ended Saturday with a 4-1 loss to host Anne Arundel Community College. The Glendive team, in its fourth year of existence, wound up in third place. Pitcher Tawnya Vernon of Stevensville, who suffered a dislocated kneecap at last week's regional tournament, completed her 10th game in two weekends, allowing four hits and three earned runs.

The Buccaneers lost their opening game on Thursday, then reeled off three straight victories before Saturday's defeat. Anne Arundel CC went on to down defending champion College of DuPage (Glenowen, Ill.) before falling to DuPage in the second championship game.

Vernon was named to the all-tournament team, along with Dawson teammates Paula Meyer of Bigfork, as well as Trish Halvorsen and Abby Cochel of Billings.

Victor's Schaefer signs with Western

Victor's Evan Schaefer has signed a letter of intent to play basketball for Western Montana College in Dillon next fall. The 5-foot-10 guard averaged 9.0 points, 11.4 assists and 2.6 steals a game last season for the Pirates. Schaefer set a Montana state record for single season assists with 273. He also earned all-state and academic all-state honors.

C. Falls' Werner signs with Mary

Kristin Werner of Columbia Falls has signed a letter of intent to play soccer at the University of Mary.

Werner lettered four years in soccer as well as two years each in volleyball and softball. She holds all goalkeeper records at Columbia Falls.

Kristin was all-conference her freshman and junior years, but she was injured her sophomore and senior years.

Ex-Ice Pirates coach takes Great Falls job

GREAT FALLS (AP) - A former head coach of the Helena Ice Pirates is the new coach of the Great Falls Americans.

Scott Cunningham replaces Rikard Gronborg, who coached the Americans for three seasons and lead them to the America West Hockey League title this year. Gronborg resigned recently to pursue other opportunities.

Cunningham served as an assistant to Gronborg two years ago, and led the Liberty Lake Lumberjacks of the Nor Pac Junior B League last winter. A native of Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Cunningham coached the Ice Pirates from 1995-1999.

NAIA considering fifth year of eligibilty

BILLINGS (AP) - The NAIA is considering a proposal to add a fifth season of athletic eligibility, but most Frontier Conference officials dislike the idea.

Athletes at the collegiate level are normally permitted four seasons of competition, but under the latest proposal, students who need a fifth year to complete their studies would be able to continue playing an extra year as well.

If approved, Montana's Frontier Conference schools would be affected by the change. However, Frontier administrators dislike the idea.

"Our conference is adamantly opposed to that," said Ron Kenison, commissioner of the eight-school conference with teams in Montana, Idaho and Utah. "Most of the athletic directors are in total agreement. … They oppose it."

Steve Hulbert, chancellor of Western Montana College and member of the NAIA's Fifth Season of Competition Committee, said such a decision would reflect poorly on Frontier schools.

"It seems to be saying that it is appropriate for students to take five years to complete their schooling, when in fact we want them to get through as quickly as possible," Hulbert said.

The fifth-season plan is scheduled for a vote at the 61st NAIA national convention in St. Louis on Sept. 15-18.

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