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Area rivals become new teammates

April 18, 2011
By Dennis Grall - Sports Editor ( , Daily Press

ESCANABA - Two area All-U.P. basketball players who have been opponents the past three years will be teammates this summer. Jammie Botruff of Gladstone and Olivia Nash of Escanaba will play for MGBR Elite, a travel team in Mount Pleasant.

The juniors were among more than 50 players aged 15-17 who tried out for the team, which had only five openings. It was formed by MGBR director Amanda Rainsberger about four years ago. She has a girls basketball scouting agency and publishes a report for college coaches on strengths and weaknesses of Michigan players.

She started to sponsor the team to offer top competition in and out of state and help players receive top exposure to college coaches and scouting services. She has working relationships with three of the top scouting services in the country, and every player with the team has gone on to play at the college level.

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Dennis Grall

Her top player last year was Nicole Elmblad of St. Ignace, the Class C state player of the year who landed a scholarship to the University of Wisconsin.

The team team opens in the United States-Canada Border Challenge in Ann Arbor this weekend, the first of eight tournaments in the midwest. It could qualify to play in a national tourney in Orlando.

Botruff was a Class B fourth-team all-state pick by the Detroit Free Press while Nash was honorable mention. Botruff was All-U.P. Class A-B-C first team and Nash was second team.

* Trent Schwalbach of Escanaba was a second-team selection on the All-U.P. Class A-B-C boys basketball team recently, but information on his season was inadvertently omitted from the April 2 article in The Daily Press.

A first-team Great Northern Conference all-star, Schwalbach averaged a double-double with 13.9 points and 10 rebounds, playing inside more this season but remaining a 3-point threat.

Coach Tracy Hudson said "teams had a hard time matching up with him. He was strong inside and could go outside. He was multi-dimensional, a very strong player."

* Kyle Ryan, a left-handed starting pitcher for the West Michigan Whitecaps, is the grandson of Ray and Elorine Mott of Bark River. He is the son of Kevin and Betsy (Mott) Ryan of Auburndale, Fla.

Ryan was the opening day pitcher for the Whitecaps, a Class A minor league franchise of the Detroit Tigers. He was the Tigers' first high school pitcher taken in last year's draft, going in the 12th round. He received a $100,000 bonus.

According to the team's preview, Ryan is 6-foot-5 and has been clocked throwing in the 80s, which at this stage is about average. Baseball America reported he had a "slurvy" curve ball and struck out 46 batters and walked 13 in 54 innings last season.



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