Varsity Updates

Another peek inside the odds and ends of West Virginia athletics during the summer.

Former WVU pitcher Dustin Nippert threw seven strong innings in relief for the Texas Rangers. The Wheeling, W.Va., native allowed only one run on four hits in seven innings pitched during the Rangers' 9-6 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

Nippert, who played for the Mountaineers in 2002 after transferring from Ohio Valley College, started the season with the Rangers before being sent down to Triple A Oklahoma on a medical rehab stint after suffering a blister on his right foot. The 27-year-old righthander is also coming off a seven-inning no-hitter against the Omaha Royals on June 29. He became the second pitcher in the Pacific Coast League to toss a no-hitter this season, and is the first to accomplish the feat for the RedHawks since Rick Helling's perfect game on Aug. 13, 1996.

Also, four members of the West Virginia University swimming team wrapped up their trip to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb., on June 29-July 6. Kevin Donohue, Michael Walker, Kayla Andrews and Morgan Callaway all represented the Mountaineers as they swam their way to a conference-best finish.

"We swam well at trials," says Head Coach Vic Riggs. "Not only did we swim faster than our seed times, but we competed above the other BIG EAST schools and that says a lot about our program."

In the 100 breast, Donohue crossed the line with a time of 1:02.91 to beat his qualifying time of 1:04.60. Donohue recently earned All-American honors for his performance in the 100 breast at the NCAA Championships (53.15), the first-ever WVU swimmer to earn the honor in an individual event. Walker also had an excellent showing at trials as he finished 20th in the 200 IM with a time of 2:03.36, two seconds over his qualifying time of 2:05.91. He also finished 29th in the 400 IM (4:27.18) and 36th in the 200 breast (2:18.64).

On the women's side, Callaway's best performance came in the 100 back as she crossed the line with a time of 1:02.97, good enough for 31st place and just under one second better than her qualifying time of 1:03.90. She also finished 63rd in the 400 free (4:20.02) and 64th in the 200 back (2:17.42). Andrews concluded competition with an 81st -place finish in the 50 free with a time of 26.65. A total of 14 members on the WVU swimming and diving team secured all-conference honors at the BIG EAST Championships this season. The women's team finished third and the men came in fourth.

Finally, men's basketball players Da'Sean Butler and Wellington Smith will begin play on Thursday for the Athletes in Action team representing the United States at the 2008 Jones Cup held in Taipei, Taiwan. The team recently assembled in Xenia, Ohio, for training camp in preparation for tomorrow's first game against Jordan.

In addition to playing nine games in a span of nine days, the team will perform numerous outreach activities including basketball clinics and visits to a local orphanage. Last summer, Darris Nichols and Alex Ruoff played for Athletes in Action. Butler and Smith were key parts to West Virginia's run to the 2008 NCAA Sweet 16 on the way to a 26-11 record. Both players will be juniors next season for the Mountaineers. The official website of the 2008 Jones Cup is taiwanhoops.com.


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