So, Smith set for NCAAs

The following are updates on local athletes at the collegiate level.

Yumi So (Crescenta Valley High, 2009) junior, USC women's swimming and diving: So and the seventh-ranked Trojans are set to compete in the 2012 NCAA Championships today through Saturday at Auburn's James E. Martin Aquatics Center in Auburn, Ala. after finishing third in thePacific-12 Conference Championships at King County Aquatics Center on Feb. 25.

At that meet, So placed sixth in the 100-yard butterfly in 52.70 seconds and ninth in the 100 backstroke in 52.65 and was part of the 200-medley relay team that placed fifth in 1:37.77, the 200-freestyle relay team that was sixth in 1:31.45 and the 400-medley relay team that turned in a fourth-place finish in 3:34.24.

So has scored individually in the 100- and 200 butterfly at past NCAAs and will swim both again, as well as the 100 backstroke, at the NCAA Championships, where the Trojans placed third in 2011.

Kenyatta Smith (Flintridge Prep, 2011) freshman, Harvard men's basketball: Smith's first year at Harvard has coincided with a major milestone for the Crimson, who are set to make their first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 1946 when they take on fifth-seeded Vanderbilt in the second round at 1:40 p.m. PST today in Albuquerque in a game set to be televised live on TNT.

One might have to watch closely to catch a glimpse of the former Rebels standout, however. The 2010-11 News-Press Male Athlete of the Year has been used sparingly over the course of the season, which saw 12th-seeded Harvard win its second straight Ivy League title after going 26-4.

Smith has appeared off the bench in eight games, averaging 0.4 points and 0.5 rebounds in 2.1 minutes per contest.

Eric Strangis (Crescenta Valley High, 2008) senior, USC men's basketball: It took a few more twists and turns along the way to get there than perhaps the former Falcon might have hoped, but Strangis finished his collegiate career in the starting lineup of an NCAA Division I team, when he was part of the starting five for the Trojans' final two games of the season.

Strangis saw increased playing time, averaging 12.9 minutes per game in his second year at USC, because of the multitude of injuries that hit the team. But he was inserted into the starting lineup for a 43-38 regular-season ending loss to Washington State on March 3, during which he was honored at Galen Center as part of senior night, and played a season-high 32 minutes in a 55-40 loss to UCLA on March 7 at Staples Center that knocked the Trojans out of the Pacific-12 Conference Tournament in the first round.

Strangis, who scored five points and didn't commit a turnover in his final collegiate game, went to Cal Lutheran out of high school, but saw limited action off the bench. A stint in the junior-college ranks followed, as he spent his sophomore season as a part-time starter for Moorpark College. Strangis maintained impeccable grades throughout it all, though, and after transferring to USC as a junior, made the Trojans as a walk-on.

After playing a total of seven minutes in six games in his first season at USC, Strangis appeared in 24 games this year, starting five. He recorded 23 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists as the Trojans finished 6-26 and 1-17 in conference for last place.

Briana Swinney (Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, 2010) sophomore, San Jose State women's swimming and diving: Accustomed to competing for Mission League and CIF Southern Section Division I championships in her Tolog days, Swinney contributed points to the Spartans' first Western Athletic Conference Women's Swimming and Diving championship Feb. 25 at the Palo Alto College Aquatic Center.

In finishing 10th in the 100 backstroke in 56.66 and eighth in the 200 backstroke in 2:04.66, Swinney helped San Jose State finish with 728 points to easily surpass runner-up Northern Arizona with 622.

Both marks were personal-bests for Swinney.

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World