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Briefs: Trojans’ Barkley in elite company

Newport Beach resident Matt Barkley, who will be a junior on the USC football team in 2011, has been named to the watch list for the Manning Award, given annually to the top collegiate quarterback.

Barkley, entering his third season as the starter, is one of 31 on the watch list, hoping to be among the 10 finalists named on Nov. 28. The winner will be named Jan. 18.

Barkley, who played at Mater Dei High after a stint with Newport-Mesa Junior All-American Football, enters the Sept. 3 season opener against visiting Minnesota ranked sixth in USC career annals in completions with 447. He has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 20 of his 24 games and has thrown for at least 200 yards in 14 contests.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder completed 236 of 377 passes last season for 2,791 yards and 26 touchdowns. He threw 12 interceptions.


As a freshman starter in 2009, he was 211 for 352 for 2,735 yards and 15 touchdowns with 14 interceptions.

The award is voted upon by a panel of national media and presented by the Sugar Bowl organizers.

— From staff reports

Ross is runner-up


Newport Harbor High product April Ross and partner Jen Kessey lost to a pair of Brazilians in the final of the Federation International de Volleyball’s Olympic test event in London on Sunday.

Liliane Maestrini and Angela Vieira rallied for a 10-21, 21-15, 15-13 triumph over Ross and Kessey, who topped a team from Great Britain, 21-19, 21-18, in Sunday’s semifinals.

Ross and Kessey are ranked No. 5 in the world and are the second-ranked team from the United States. If they can maintain that status, they would almost assuredly be chosen by USA Volleyball to represent America in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Ross and Kessey, one of few top teams competing in the London event, swept their first five matches before needing an extra game in the semifinals.

— From staff reports

Lavery claims second

UC Irvine alum Mike Lavery tied for second in the TimberCreek Golf Classic, a National Golf Assn. Hooters Tour event completed Sunday at TimberCreek Golf Club in Daphne, Ala.

Lavery shot five-under-par 66 in the first and final rounds of the 72-hole event, finishing at 17-under 267, four shots off the pace of winner Hudson Johnson.


Lavery, a three-time All-Big West Conference honoree, completed his career at UCI in 2003. As a senior, he won the conference individual title.

— From staff reports

UCI’s Kevorkin shines

Scott Kevorkin, a freshman middle blocker at UC Irvine in 2011, helped the United States men’s junior national team finish fourth at the Federation International de Volleyball Junior World Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Team USA lost to Serbia, 25-15, 25-20, 23-25, 25-13, in the bronze-medal match to collect the top finish in the event by an American team. In five previous events, the U.S. had placed eighth twice and seventh three times.

Kevorkin had five points on three kills, a block and an ace in the bronze-medal match.

— From staff reports

USC women No. 2


Kirby Burnham, a Newport Harbor High product who will be a sophomore this season, will play for the USC women’s volleyball program, ranked No. 2 nationally in the preseason poll.

Burnham, a 6-foot-2 outside hitter and opposite, played in 20 matches, including four starts, last season for coach Mick Haley. She totaled 38 kills and two aces as a freshman.

— From staff reports

Rams release Vobora

When David Vobora was Mr. Irrelevant in 2008 he spent some time at Disneyland. But no ride at the Happiest Place on Earth can compare to the one he’s been on while in the NFL. It’s been like a roller coaster for sure.

On Friday, Vobora, a linebacker, experienced a down part of his ride, as he was released by the St. Louis Rams. The transaction came after the Rams signed veteran linebacker Ben Leber.

There have been some ups too for Vobora, who starred at Idaho.

Vobora, the last pick in the 2008 NFL Draft out of Idaho, became the first Mr. Irrelevant to start an NFL game as a rookie since Marty Moore started at fullback for the New England Patriots in 1994. Vobora had overcome being released during his rookie year, and even made his way through the Rams’ practice squad.

But in 2009, he was suspended for four games by the NFL after testing positive for a banned performance enhancer.

In June, he won a $5.4 million settlement in a suit against supplement maker. His name was cleared.

Vobora started 16 games for the Rams during three seasons. He’s now hoping there will be another up in his career.

— Steve Virgen