Hometown: Churchs Ferry, N.D.; College: North Dakota
A recipient of the NDHSCA Award of Merit, Savaloja has been reporting sports for The Sun since 2008.
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University of Jamestown women's basketball is ranked sixth of 12 teams in the Great Plains Athletic Conference women's basketball preseason coaches' poll, released Monday. Concordia (Neb.) is ranked ahead of Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) for the top spot. Dakota Wesleyan defeated Concordia for the NAIA Division II women's basketball national tournament championship in Sioux City, Iowa, last season, after the Bulldogs won both the GPAC regular season and tournament titles.
Backbreaking turnovers and the inability to contain the Dordt College offense Saturday sunk the Jimmies in Sioux Center, Iowa. Jimmie quarterback Jordan Mann had two passes intercepted and returned for touchdowns by senior safety Case Byker, and the Defenders averaged 7.0 yards per carry and 16.7 yards per pass play in a 49-18 Dordt College victory. Jamestown fell to 2-6 on the season and 1-5 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference but has a favorable matchup next Saturday, Oct. 27, hosting one-win Dakota Wesleyan (1-7, 0-6) at Rollie Greeno Field.
Some players just have the touch. Kevin Oberweiser's fifth 3-pointer of the first half Saturday night at Harold Newman Arena had no business finding the mark. The shot from the right wing clanked off the corner of the back iron, but somehow—someway—knuckled in reverse and dropped in for University of Jamestown. Oberweiser went 6 of 8 from the arc and scored a team-high 24 points in the Jimmies' 103-83 season-opening victory against Brandon University.
University of Jamestown's Izaak Myles possesses the measurables of a collegiate lineman: 6-foot-1, 260 pounds. But three years ago at a high school football practice in Apple Valley, Calif., Myles decided to give kicking a try. That decision has led the young man north to Jamestown, N.D. "It's colder—way colder," said Myles, University of Jamestown's true freshman punter during Wednesday's practice at Jimmie Turf Field. "The ball is harder when it's cold. But it goes farther, so I like it."
Jon Purintun is about as laser-focused as basketball players come. That all started years ago in a small-town gymnasium as a disciple of North Dakota coaching icon Dan Carr at Linton-HMB, and it's continued to his senior season for the University of Jamestown Jimmies. Purintun has helped UJ to 55 wins over the past three winters, but it was 2013 when the Jimmies last qualified for the NAIA Division II men's basketball national tournament. Purintun has one final crack at it. The Jimmies open the season Saturday, Oct. 20, hosting Manitoba's Brandon University at 7 p.m.
Jenna Doyle blocked 102 shots last season for University of Jamestown women's basketball, second most of any player in the NAIA—Division I or Division II. Thad Sankey, new head coach of the Jimmies, said it's possible Doyle matched that number while training the past six weeks against her UJ teammates. The Jimmies open the season Monday, Oct. 22, hosting Dickinson State University at Harold Newman Arena.
Medina-Pingree-Buchanan shooting guard Amanda Allen will continue her career on the hardcourt with University of Jamestown women's basketball. Jimmie women's head coach Thad Sankey announced Allen, who's a senior at Pingree-Buchanan High School, had signed with the Jimmies on Tuesday, Oct. 16. The 5-foot-8 sharpshooter helped lead the M-P-B Thunder to the Class B girls state basketball tournament last March as champions of Region 3.
Watford City has begun to feel comfortable on the Class A volleyball court, which was evident Saturday afternoon at Jerry Meyer Arena. Jamestown High School atoned for Thursday's loss at conference leader Bismarck Century but was unable to sleep against the scrappy and energetic Wolves. The Blue Jays won by set scores of 25-16, 25-17, 25-23, as Watford City's confidence expanded throughout.
If anyone blinked at the start of Friday's ACHA Division I hockey clash at John L. Wilson Arena, they missed Dylan Haney score the fastest first-period goal in University of Jamestown history. Haney turned over University of Illinois in the Jimmie zone and beat Fighting Illini goalie Jake Barnhart on the breakaway 17 seconds into the contest. Jamestown beat third-ranked Illinois 3-2, and the two teams will face each other for Round 2 tonight at 7 p.m.
University of Jamestown men's soccer was unable to break through with a goal Thursday at Jimmie Turf Field, even after playing a much better second half against Briar Cliff University. First-half goals by the visitor's Rodrigo Oliveira and Prichard Sibanda was the difference in a 2-0 Chargers' victory over the Jimmies. Briar Cliff outshot the Jimmies 10-1 and booted all five of its corner kicks over the opening 45 minutes.