Sports News-July 18, 2013

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LeBron James padded his trophy collection, receiving three at the ESPY Awards, including male athlete of the year for helping the Miami Heat win a second straight NBA championship.  James also won in the championship performance and NBA player categories, completing a sweep of the three awards he won last year.  He shared in the best team award last night.  James beat out Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps for male athlete honors.  Serena Williams won two awards, including female athlete of the year.  She defeated a pair of Olympians, gymnast Gabby Douglas and swimmer Missy Franklin, and former Baylor basketball star Brittney Griner.  Williams didn't attend because she's playing a tournament in Sweden.  Peterson and Phelps also won two awards each.

Jack Hoffman's run at the Huskers' spring football game in April was a moment Nebraska won't forget.  ESPN and national voters agreed.  They gave the young cancer survivor from Atkinson the award for best moment at this year's ESPY Awards.  Jack appeared with his family and accepted the award on stage with his dad.  Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez was also there as a nominee for the best play award for his 76-yard run against Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game, as well as to support the honorary Husker.  The seven-year-old seemed like a star among the stars at the ESPYs.  Jack was one of four nominees for the best moment award.  His run beat out Alex Morgan's game-winning goal against Canada in the Olympics, Andy Murray's Olympic gold medal on his home court at Wimbledon and Chuck Pagano's return to the Indianapolis Colts after leaving the team during his battle with leukemia.

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel says he missed activities at the Manning Passing Academy because he "overslept," and his absence had nothing to do with being out the night before.  Manziel left the camp for high school prospects run by the Manning family in Louisiana before it ended last weekend.  He says his eventful offseason has been at times "blown out of proportion," though he did acknowledge that he needs to make better decisions because he's such a public figure.  The 20-year-old Heisman Trophy winner faced hundreds or reporters at Southeastern Conference Media Days yesterday.  Wearing a dark blue suit, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound sophomore discussed his fame, decision-making and even answered a few questions about football.  Manziel is the first freshman to win the Heisman.

One year after defeating Arizona State to win the Las Vegas Invitational championship, the Creighton men's basketball team will open The Wooden Legacy with a rematch against the Sun Devils.  Brackets for the event were released yesterday by ESPN.  The Bluejays' game vs. ASU will take place at 10:00 PM on Thanksgiving night in a contest that will air nationally on ESPN2.  Also on Creighton's side of the bracket is College of Charleston and San Diego State.  The other side of the bracket will see Miami of Florida take on George Washington, and Cal State Fullerton host Marquette.  The Wooden Legacy is an eight-team event that will be played Nov. 28, 29 and Dec. 1.  The Bluejays went 28-8 last season, winning the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and tournament titles, and then advancing to the Third Round of the NCAA Tournament.  The Bluejays will return four starters in 2013-14.

The Nebraska men's basketball team will take on a first-time foe to open the Charleston Classic, as the pairing for the eight-team field was unveiled yesterday.  The eight-team, twelve-game tournament runs Nov. 21-24 at TD Arena in Charleston, South Carolina.  The Huskers will take on UMass in their tournament opener on Thursday, Nov. 21 at 11:30 on ESPN3.  This will be the first-ever meeting on the court between the two programs, as the Minutemen went 21-12 last year and reached the NIT.  Nebraska would take on either UAB or New Mexico on Friday Nov. 22, with the semifinal taking place at 1:30 and the consolation game taking place at 11:00.  The Huskers, under second-year Coach Tim Miles, returns three starters from a team that went 15-18 in his first season, including guard Ray Gallegos and forwards David Rivers and Shavon Shields.

The Big Ten and the Detroit Lions have announced a six-year agreement to play a bowl game at Ford Field, and a person familiar with the situation says the Atlantic Coast Conference is expected to provide the opponent.  The new bowl will start in 2014 and it has not been named or sponsored.  The new Detroit postseason game is expected to be a matchup of Big Ten and ACC teams.  The new game could spell the end for the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, which has been played in Detroit and matched the Big Ten and Mid-American Conference.

Wayne State College Director of Athletics Mike Powicki announced yesterday that Tom Cliff has been named head women's soccer coach.  Cliff replaces Molly Grisham, who resigned June 6 after four seasons to take the head coaching position at the University of Illinois-Springfield.  Cliff brings 18 years of coaching experience to the Wildcat program and has served most recently as the director of soccer and head soccer coach at Adams State in Colorado.  He coached twelve Rocky Mountain Athletic All-Conference players and had 29 NSCAA All-Academic selections while also overseeing a men's soccer program at the school beginning in 2010. Wayne State finished last season with an overall record of 3-14-1.

University of Nebraska golfer Morgan Smejkal of Columbus parred the first extra hole yesterday to defeat Kayla Knopik of Papillion for the Nebraska women's match-play golf title at Wild Horse Golf Club in Gothenburg.  Smejkal, who will be a sophomore, was three down with four holes to play against Knopik, an assistant golf coach at Iowa Western who was trying to sweep the state stroke- and match-play crowns.  Smejkal won the 15th, 16th and 17th holes to square the match.  Both parred the 18th.  It's the first state title for Smejkal, who defeated UNO junior Sophie Peters of Fremont 5 and 4 in the semifinals.  Knopik advanced with a 5 and 3 over Bradley sophomore Danielle Lemek of Doniphan.

Haley Thiele of Wahoo held on to win the 13th Nebraska Girls' Amateur Championship yesterday at Oakland Golf Club after shooting a 3-over-par 75.  Thiele led after Tuesday's first round by two shots after a 1-over-par 73 and extended her lead to four for the final result.  Sarah Jo Pravecek of Omaha earned runner-up honors with a 152 total over 36 holes and Amy Ahlers of Albion took third at 153.  Snyder's Hannah Hunke carded 205 total.  Norfolk's Hannah Baldacci shot a 231.  With Thiele's victory, she becomes the fourth girl to hold the Nebraska Girls' Match Play and Girls' Amateur titles in the same year.

Andrew Holloway, Andrew Hansen and Sam Meuret are tied for the lead in the 45th Nebraska Junior Amateur with 18 holes to play after yesterday's action at Oakland Golf Club.  Holloway, carded 71 in the second round after Tuesday's 72.  Hansen of Omaha followed up his first-round 70 with a 73 yesterday and will play alongside Holloway in the final pairing this morning at 9:30.  Meuret of Brunswick, fired the round of the day with a 2-under-par 70 to go with his 73 on Tuesday.  Bancroft's Preston Peters has shot a 79 both days, Laurel's Mitchell Klooz has carded an 80 on Tuesday and a 79 yesterday, and Humphrey's Trevor Kosch put up a 79 on Tuesday and an 82 yesterday.

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