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Issue Home December 5, 2001 Site Home

Local Sports News
Football Boosters Honor Gridders, Cheerleaders; Mulka Resigns Coaching
Junior Bowling

Local Sports News
By Tom E. Robinson


The Susquehanna Lady Sabers basketball team kept the first-place trophy at home by winning the second annual Tony Aliano Memorial tournament over the weekend.

The Lady Sabers were led by tournament MVP Nadine Taylor, as she poured in 26 points in a 55-44 win over Carbondale in the semifinal game.

She followed that with a 17-point effort in the championship game, a 39-33 win over Lakeland.

The Lackawanna Basketball League begins play this weekend in both boys’ and girls’ basketball.


The Lackawanna Girls’ Volleyball League’s All-Star Team contains several county athletes.

"Player of the Year" Heather Bradley of Blue Ridge’s undefeated team heads up the first unit, and is joined by teammate Maria Conigliaro and Mountain View’s Danielle Bonham.

The second team has four teams represented, Susquehanna’s Jennifer Benson and Lynette Bedford, Leah Simko of Mountain View, Jan Gardner of Forest City and Brooke Hinkley of Blue Ridge.

"Honorable Mention" was earned by Mountain View’s Amy Pencek, Forest City’s Jessica Andrews and Katie Skarbez, Elk Lake’s Sarah Henry, Susquehanna’s Mikela Ackley and Blue Ridge’s Ashley Ambirge.

The girls’ soccer league has named Amanda Vitzakovich of Forest City and Katie Kowalski of Blue Ridge to their all-star team.


BOYS’ BASKETBALL: Elk Lake 76, Carbondale 67; Mid Valley 56, Forest City 52; Mountain View 63, Sacred Heart 60; Blue Ridge 65, Tioga 44; Honesdale 58, Montrose 46; Mid Valley 54, Mountain View 31; Forest City 86, Sacred Heart 73.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL: Susquehanna 55, Carbondale 44; Western Wayne 50, Forest City 47; Susquehanna 39, Lakeland 33; Carbondale 51, Blue Ridge 28; Mountain View 42, Valley View 40; Tunkhannock 57, Elk Lake 49; Montrose 54, Wyalusing 44.

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34th Snowball Derby Goes To WAYNE ANDERSON, Pensacola, FL – Wayne Anderson of Wildwood, FL, and the 2001 NASCAR Gatorade All-Pro Champion won the 34th Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway.

The Derby is the last major late model race of the year, and the 300 lap event is one of the most prestigious in late model racing. Former champions include NASCAR legends Donnie Allison and Darrell Waltrip.

Anderson, who started from the third position, did not dominate the race, but he remained near the leaders, and after taking on a set of four fresh tires after a caution on lap 243, began his move to the front of the 38-car field.

On lap 273 he got by Freddie Query of Mooresville, NC for second. One lap later, the leader Eddie Mercer of Pensacola, FL pulled to the outside and let him go by.

Within two more laps around the half-mile oval, Anderson's No. 86 Jani-King Chevrolet was almost half a straight-away ahead of the other cars.

On lap 284 there was another caution and all cars on the lead lap pitted for fresh tires except Anderson. On the restart a group of cars bunched up in turns two and there was a four-car pileup that involved fast-qualifier, Scott Carlson, Pensacola, Ricky Turner, Dawsonville, GA, Ronnie Sanders, Fayetteville, GA, and Clay Rogers, Mooresville, NC.

This was the evening's 16th caution, and speedway officials displayed the red flag. Cars were stopped for 12 minutes while safety crews cleaned up the track.

When green flag racing resumed on lap 294, it was a single file restart. This time Eddie Mercer and Freddie Query of Mooresville, NC got together in turn two, bringing out another caution.

On the next restart, which was on lap 300, Mercer and Ronnie Sanders were at it again in the second turn. Finally, the final green flag was given on lap 306.

Anderson got a good jump on the rest of the field to win on lap 308 by six car-lengths.

"If we'd had another five laps to go I would have been a sitting duck," said Anderson. "I knew some of the other cars had fresher tires, and they could have caught me on a long run, but the way things happened with all the cautions, we made the right choice."

This was Anderson's third Derby. In two previous starts, he had not finished either.

Second-place finisher Johnny Henderson of Conyers, GA drove a smooth race, but lacked the power to overtake Anderson in the closing laps.

"We tried to drive a smart race," said Henderson. "We didn't want to get in trouble there at the end and get taken out. We might have had little better tires, but I'd rather drive him clean and settle for second, than run the risk of taking both of us out."

Unofficial top ten finishing order: 1. Wayne Anderson, 2. Johnny Henderson, 3. Freddie Query, 4. Eddie Mercer, 5. Scott Carlson, 6. John Wilkinson III, 7. Hal Goodson, 8. Scott Hansen, 9. Travis Kittleson, 10. David Rogers.

GORDON Walks Away With Almost 5-Million, New York – Four-time champion Jeff Gordon walked away with $4,787,681 from the NASCAR Winston Cup Awards Ceremony Friday night, but it was Teresa Earnhardt, widow of seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt, who drew the longest applause.

Teresa Earnhardt accepted the National Motorsports Press Association's Most Popular Driver Award as part of a tribute to her husband in the Daytona 500 on February 18, 2001.

In one of her first public appearances since her husband's memorial service in Charlotte, gave Garth Brooks a warm hug before he escorted her to the microphone. "Maybe you've missed me a little bit as much as I've missed you all," she said after receiving a long-standing ovation.

"The fact of the matter is he knew perfectly well the extent of his popularity, and he actually enjoyed that unofficial honor when he was here with us. The influence he has on our sport will no doubt live on forever."

Gordon and most of the other drivers who finished in the top ten in the final Winston Gordon, whose season earnings totaled a record $10,879,757, finished 349 points ahead of second-place Tony Stewart in the final standings, just 15 points fewer than his victory margin of 364 in 1998 when he won 13 races and set the previous record for winnings in a season with $9,306,584.

"Our goal was to win some races and finish in the top five in points," said Gordon, who won six races this year after winning just three and finishing ninth in points one year ago. "We surprised ourselves. We were able to capitalize on opportunities and build on our strengths."

As Tony Stewart spoke after getting his second-place check for $1,444,920, he pulled off the jacket of his tuxedo to reveal that he was wearing a Hutchens device, one of two head-and-neck restraints approved by NASCAR. Stewart was the last driver to put one on after NASCAR made their use mandatory.

"I began wearing it at Talladega and it's so comfortable I didn't want to take it off," joked Stewart, who resisted using the device because he said it made him feel uncomfortable in the car.

NBC Networks Lost $100 Million On NASCAR – Paul Brooks, NASCAR's vice president for broadcasting, is not denying published reports that Fox, NBC and Turner lost $100 million or more in the first year of the new television deal.

But he also is echoing network executives who say that looking at a simple profit-loss number doesn't tell the whole story.

"There are additional benefits to any broadcaster who has a sports property," Brooks said. "Look at FX, how they drove cable penetration with NASCAR product.

"I assure you there are more NASCAR fans watching Fox programming and NBC programming because they've been able to market to our audience," Brooks said.

The NBC networks paid an estimated $255 million in rights fees in the first year of the six-year, $2.4 billion deal. That figure will rise about 17 percent to around $300 million next year, industry sources have said.

The $255 million paid this year does not include production costs, including some significant start-up costs that will not be as great in subsequent years of the deal.

Advertising sales were disappointing in the first year of the deal, but the economic slowdown explains at least some of that. Also, while the networks sold this year's advertising at rates based on expected ratings increases from past year, the fact that those higher ratings became a reality could make advertising easier to sell for 2002, Brooks said.

WARD BURTON Speaks Out On Pit Safety – Driver Ward Burton discussed changes he would like to see made that he thinks would improve safety in the pit area.

"It is very tight on pit road everywhere we go," said Burton. "We're (drivers) all doing everything we can to get that extra spot on pit road. That's the nature of the business. Things just get bottled up and that's when there is a greater chance of accidents happening on pit road. Those guys that go over the wall are so vulnerable to injury; they're out there doing there job and they can't pay attention to what anyone else is doing and that puts them at greater risk.

"When I got back from Homestead, the first thing I did was called Jim Hunter. I'd like to see some changes on pit road. I'm not sure how soon NASCAR will react to the comments by other drivers and owners, but I'd like to see them mandate helmets for the over the wall guys as soon as possible.

"The other area of concern is that the fans are offered the opportunity to get too close in the pits. I'd like to see some substantial changes in that area too. I know that the fans have built NASCAR, but we can't put them at risk either. What if there was a fire in the pits like we had a couple of years ago at Rockingham? Who is going to keep them safe? We need to take any action we can to keep them safe."

Tommy Baldwin, crew chief of Burton's No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge ordered three different types of helmets for all Bill Davis Racing over the wall guys for the Atlanta race. They were going to try all three helmets and hopefully find one that would work for the crew.

Burton's new teammate, Hut Stricklin, competed in the No. 23 Hills Brothers Dodge at Atlanta. It marked his first start with the Bill Davis Organization and he will drive full-time for Bill Davis Racing and Hills Brothers in 2001.

Racing Trivia Question: Who was the first president of NASCAR?

Answer To Last Week's Question: The regular 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season kicks off February 17 with the Daytona 500.

Gerald Hodges/the Racing Reporter is a syndicated NASCAR columnist. If you have a racing question that you would like answered send it to The Racing Reporter, P.O. Box 160711, Mobile, AL, 36616, or e-mail it to:

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Football Boosters Honor Gridders, Cheerleaders; Mulka Resigns Coaching

With close to a hundred people attending, the Saber Football Booster Club on Sunday, November 18, hosted and honored Saber coaches, football players, cheerleaders, and several other sports-minded guests in attendance, with a dinner at the Lanesboro Viaduct Inn Hall.

Offering the prayer before meals was Brion Stone, a senior and a member of the football team.

Booster Club president Doug Phillips, doing the emceeing, kept the program moving after a delicious meal served by the Viaduct Inn staff. First, Mr. Phillips welcomed guests and players and singled out seniors who dedicated themselves to the task of football, working hard along with the cheerleaders.

Debbie Stone, cheerleader advisor, thanked her group of girls, who worked hard all season and received many compliments for their "cheering."

Head coach Ron Mulka, announcing his retirement as coach, expressed his heartfelt thanks to his players, coaches and the personnel connected with the team during his coaching years. In his remarks Coach Mulka called his coaching staff "one of the best." He was presented a wristwatch by the Booster Club and a plaque by his team of coaches. The plaque reads:

"Head Coach Ron Mulka, thank you for all the hard work and dedication you have given to the Susquehanna Sabers football program. We wish you the very best with your future endeavors. Best of luck. (Signed) coaches Joe Yannone, Joe Zabielski, Dave Conroy, John Salinas and Bob Goodrich."

Mulka took over in 1996 after serving several years as an assistant to Coach Dick Bagnall, who led the Sabers to many title games. Mulka led the Sabers to the District 2 Playoffs in 1997 and 2000, and the Eastern Conference Class A championship game in 1999.

"I have been coaching a long time," Mulka said. "I really enjoyed the friendship of the players. I really got along well with the kids. It kept me young. I had a good run. I did a lot of things I wanted to accomplish. I coached a lot of great players."

Mulka posted a career record of 32-31. The Sabers finished this season with a mark of 3-7 overall and 3-6 in the NEPFC Division 4.

"It’s going to be sad," Mulka said. "Every Friday night, being that we played on Saturday, I’d be going scouting somewhere. That part will be gone. That will hit me more next year. I won’t have anywhere to go."

Mulka’s fondest memory came when he was an assistant in 1994 when Susquehanna won the District 2-12 Class A Championship and advanced to the PIAA semifinals.

"Being an assistant and going to the semifinals was certainly a high point," Mulka said. "Becoming head coach was a dream of mine. It was nice making the playoffs. I really enjoyed everything."

Graduating Seniors

Nathan Williams, son of Ginny and Steve Williams. Plans on going to college.

Rich Watt, son of Carol Watt. Plans on going to college.

Brion Stone, son of Joe and Debbie Stone. Plans on attending college.

Jason Skarbez, son of Mary Hubal and Edmund Skarbez. Plans on attending college.

Stefan Potter, son of Jeff and Marcia Potter. Plans on attending college.

Carl Oropallo, son of Carl and Rose Oropallo. Plans on going to college.

Brad Mead, son of Barbara Bedford and Tracy Mead. Plans on going to college.

Isaac Hobbs, son of Frank and Robin Hobbs. Plans on going to college.

Ray Hobart, son of Dave and Patricia Hobart. Plans on attending college.

Jeff Decker, son of Jim and Shirley Decker. Plans on going to college.

Nick DeAngelis, plans to pursue wrestling career in college.

Mykes Bookman, daughter of Melody hall and Bruce Littler. Plans on going to college.

Megan VanUrff, daughter of Lorie DeWitt and Eric VanUrff. Plans on attending college.

Nicole Miszler, daughter of Bernard and Alice Miszler. Plans on joining Marine Corps and attending college.

Megan McDonald, daughter of Wendy MacDonald-Dudley and Kevin MacDonald. Plans on going to college.

Booster Club Officers

President, Doug Phillips; Vice President, Debbie Stone; Secretary, Sharon Phillips; Treasurer, Tina Haley.

Booster Bits

President Phillips extended thanks to the parents of the gridders who helped during the past season. "We need a lot of help," Mr. Phillips remarked. "It takes a lot of work to operate the food stand and many other duties to keep the Booster Club ‘alive’ so that we can help the Sabers football team and cheerleaders. Volunteers will be welcome next year."

Joe Stone was complimented for his dedication, working and keeping the food booth open, along with all his "helpers."

Coach Zabielski presented coach Mulka with a plaque and expressed his thanks to the coaching staff and players.

Coach Mulka, among other gifts was presented a "walking cane." Why, I really don’t know.

Football seniors each received a beautiful plaque with their picture and name, and also received watches.

Football coaches also received some gifts. Some they could use. Others they could do without – !

My thanks to Sharon Phillips, Debbie Stone and Tina Haley for their help during the program.

(Another personal note: a reader of the Transcript, upon learning that I was going to attend the Booster banquet and report it, asked this question, "Why is it that the football players are always honored with a banquet and not the basketball players, their cheerleaders, the softball girls’ team, and to go a little further, all of the other sports, like baseball, wrestling, volleyball?" Would someone in the school administration like to answer this question?)

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Junior Bowling

Following are top five results of junior bowling at Riverside Lanes.

LEAGUE I: C. J. Felter 181, 155; Mikie Nagel 144, 141; Kacey Norris 141; Brent Keyes 136; Nick Felter 136.

LEAGUE II: Jared Stewart 127; Ellen Biegert 125; Brittany Heller 118; Gabrielle Peksa 115; Chris Peksa 110.

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