Katie Hnida wanted to be treated like any other University of Colorado freshman. But she knew it was unlikely since she's not like any other freshman.

She is a female walk-on place kicker for the football team, the first for the Boulder school and the Big 12 Conference.

The 5-foot-9, 130-pounder from Chatfield High School in Littleton, Colo., flashed a smile and said thanks to a well-wisher as she arrived for practice Monday.

She joined the other kickers in stretching, then badly missed her first two kicks from about 30 yards. Her third kick was perfect, with a high arc that sliced between the uprights.

She missed the rest of her kicks, including about three with the kicking team but without a defensive rush.

Hnida converted 83 of 87 extra point attempts during her four-letter Chatfield football career and made 4 of 5 field goal attempts, including a career-best 39-yarder as a junior.

"I'll coach her like she's my daughter," Colorado Coach Gary Barnett said.


N.Y. Test for Sampras

Pete Sampras could have a tough opening-round match when he begins his bid for a record 13th Grand Slam tournament men's singles title at the U.S. Open.

In yesterday's draw ceremony at the National Tennis Center in New York, Marat Safin, a 19-year-old Russian considered to be a future star, was selected to play Sampras in the opening round. . . .

Third-seeded Monica Seles barely broke a sweat in her first set against Elena Likhovtseva, then had to hang on against the Russian for a 6-0, 7-6 (8-6) second-round win at the Pilot Pen in New Haven, Conn.

Second-seeded Venus Williams breezed into the quarterfinals with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Maria Antonia Sanchez Lorenzo.

Romanian Ruxandra Dragomir eliminated fourth-seed Jana Novotna, 7-6 (7-5), 6-0. Unseeded Amelie Mauresmo of France upset countrywoman and sixth-seeded player Julie Halard-Decugis, 6-1, 6-2 . . .

Arnaud Clement of France beat third-seeded Felix Mantilla of Spain, 6-2, 6-1, to move into the quarterfinals of the U.S. Pro Tennis Championships in Brookline, Mass. . . .

Fifth-seeded Richard Krajicek of the Netherlands was eliminated by Bohdan Ulihrach of the Czech Republic, 6-3, 6-4, in the second round of the Hamlet Cup in Commack, N.Y.


Lemieux's Takeover

Mario Lemieux cleared the last hurdle in his purchase of the Pittsburgh Penguins, finalizing a Civic Arena lease two months after the deal was first announced.

The agreement with SMG was reached late Tuesday night and apparently was the final piece of the puzzle in Lemieux's $95 million takeover of the team that he led to Stanley Cup championships in 1991 and 1992. . . .

Nashville Predators all-star forward Sergei Krivokrasov must undergo counseling as part of an agreement for dismissal of a domestic violence charge brought by his wife.

The charge stemmed from a disagreement Aug. 8 at the couple's home in New Buffalo, Mich. In a police report, Natalia Krivokrasov said that after an argument her husband kicked and slapped her, pulled out a handful of her hair and pushed her down three steps. . . .

The Boston Bruins agreed to two-year contracts with center Sean Pronger and goalie Kay Whitmore.

The team also said it had re-signed center Shawn Bates to a one-year deal and left wing Ken Belanger to a two-year deal.


Game of Stars Set

The Women's National Basketball Association will hold a postseason exhibition game that will feature the 1999-2000 USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team against select WNBA players.

The Hall of Fame Enshrinement game, held in conjunction with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, will be played Oct. 2 at the Hartford Civic Center in Hartford, Conn.

The USA Basketball Senior National Team is made up of players expected to form the nucleus of the 2000 U.S. Olympic women's basketball team. Members include the Mystics' Chamique Holdsclaw and Nikki McCray.

The WNBA select team will feature former University of Connecticut stars Nykesha Sales of the Orlando Miracle, and Kara Wolters and Jennifer Rizzotti of the Houston Comets. The three players helped lead the Huskies to a 35-0 record and the NCAA title in 1995.


Lawsuit Filed

A South Korean International Olympic Committee member's son filed a defamation lawsuit against a U.S. businessman, accusing him of false testimony.

The $100,000 suit claims that 41-year-old Kim Jung Hoon had his integrity hurt by testimony from Utah businessman David Simmons, according to court officials.

Relatives confirmed that Kim, the son of South Korean IOC executive member Kim Un-yong, filed the suit with the Seoul District Civil Court, but declined to discuss details.

On Aug. 3, Simmons pleaded guilty in U.S. court to misdemeanor tax evasion. It was the first criminal case developing from U.S. investigations of Salt Lake City's vote-buying scandal.


Viloria, Bennett Prevail

Americans Brian Viloria and Michael Bennett won their bouts to earn spots in the finals of the World Amateur Boxing Championships.

Viloria, a light flyweight from Hawaii, needed only three rounds to defeat Suban Punnon of Thailand and set up a rematch with former world champion Maikro Romero of Cuba.

Bennett, a heavyweight from Chicago, is in his first international competition. He beat Germany's Steffen Kratschmann in the first round. Bennett will meet two-time Olympic champion Felix Savon of Cuba in the finals.

Houston featherweight Ricardo Juarez and Sacramento light heavyweight Michael Simms Jr. also earned finals spots.


Reyna, Sanneh Play On

Americans Claudio Reyna and Tony Sanneh will play in the European Champions League after their clubs advanced through the final qualifying round. Reyna (Virginia) and Scottish champion Glasgow Rangers fell, 1-0, to Italian power Parma but advanced, 2-1, on aggregate. Rangers will play in the Champions League for the first time since 1996. Sanneh left D.C. United after last season and joined German club Hertha Berlin, which advanced to the Champions League, 2-0, on aggregate after a scoreless tie with Anorthosis of Cyprus.