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Susquehanna Graduate Reaches National Event
Susquehanna graduate Jeff Rood played a key role while helping his Millersville University team qualify for the NCAA Division II national cross country championships Saturday.
Rood finished 13th overall, earning All-Region honors, as Millersville placed second in the NCAA East Regional in West Virginia.
Teammate Mark Stallings won his second straight regional title to lead the team to its second straight trip to nationals.
Stallings finished in 31:42.
Rood's time for the 10-kilometer (about 6.2-mile) course was 33:43.
Millersville finished second to Edinboro. Shippensburg took the East's third spot at nationals.
WEEK IN REVIEW
The list of District 2 teams alive for Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association fall state championships continues to dwindle.
Included in that trend was last week's elimination of the last active Susquehanna County sports team this fall.
Blue Ridge had the strongest performance of any of the three District 2 girls' volleyball champions, but could not make it through the first round of the PIAA tournament.
Williamson, the runner-up from District 4, ended Blue Ridge's unbeaten season with a 15-13, 15-9, 13-15, 15-8 victory at Hazleton Area High School.
Williamson (14-5) was then eliminated in the pool play, which serves as the quarterfinals of the state tournament.
Blue Ridge finishes the season with a 16-1 record.
The other two District 2 volleyball champions were swept in three games. Previously unbeaten Class AA champion Bishop Hoban lost to Daniel Boone while Class AAA champion Tunkhannock fell to Susquehannock.
District 2's only team in the state girls' soccer playoffs fared much better than the boys' soccer teams.
Scranton Prep suffered its first loss of the season, 1-0, when it fell to Shamokin in the first round of the Class AA girls' tournament.
A week earlier, Prep had defeated Montrose, 1-0, for the District 2 title. Montrose outshot the Classics, 7-3, and had a 5-4 advantage in corner-kicks in that game.
The District 2 boys' soccer teams were outscored by a total of 27-4 in their four losses in the first round of state play.
Wyoming Seminary, which had defeated Mountain View for the District 2 Class A title, was the most competitive of those teams. It lost, 6-2, to District 11 champion Pine Grove.
In other games involving District 2 teams: Wyoming Valley West was roughed up by Wilson, 8-1, in AAA; North Pocono lost to Middletown, 5-1, in AA; and Lake-Lehman was shut out by District 3 champion Eastern Lebanon County, 8-0.
District 2 continues to be a force in field hockey where it is one of the nation's top recruiting hotbeds for major college programs.
All three district teams won their state openers. Both Class AA teams won again to reach the state semifinals.
District 2 Class AA champion Wyoming Seminary beat Greenwood and Palmyra by a pair of 3-0 scores. District 2 runner-up Lake-Lehman beat District 4 champion Middleburg, 4-1, then edged Southern Lehigh, 2-1.
Wyoming Valley West shut out North Penn, 3-0, in Class AAA before being eliminated by Souderton, 1-0, in the quarterfinals.
Scranton, Pittston Area, Hanover Area, Lakeland, Lackawanna Trail and Old Forge all remained alive in football.
Scranton posted the most impressive win, upsetting Quakertown, 19-13, to reach the semifinals of the District 1-2-4 Class AAAA Subregional. Hazleton Area fell, 41-35, to Interboro in double overtime.
Pittston Area defeated Valley View, 20-6, in the District 2-4 Class AAA semifinals. Honesdale lost to Shamokin, 36-12.
Lakeland shut out Wilkes-Barre Meyers, 33-0, to avenge last season's loss in the District 2 Class AA final. The Chiefs will meet Hanover Area, which knocked off District 1 representative St. Pius, 21-19.
Old Forge also beat a District 1 team, going to Bristol for a 14-10 win. Lackawanna Trail handled Northwest, 47-12.
Final District 2 playoff points were released at the district seeding meeting Monday in Pittston.
Montrose finished tied for sixth among 12 teams in Class AA where three wound up making it into the district/state playoff system.
Susquehanna, the only winless team among the district's 39 football schools, was last among the eight teams in Class A that went after three spots.
The final standings with teams listed by record and state points:
Class AAAA: Hazleton Area, 9-1, 1240; Scranton, 8-2, 1100; Abington Heights, 8-2, 1070; Delaware Valley 6-4, 670; Wyoming Valley West, 5-5, 640.
Class AAA: Valley View, 8-2, 1200; Pittston Area, 7-3, 1170; Honesdale, 7-3, 980; Wyoming Area, 7-3, 950; Dallas, 7-3, 930; Berwick, 5-5, 750; Wallenpaupack, 4-6, 390; West Scranton, 3-7, 360; Wilkes-Barre Coughlin, 3-7, 360; Tunkhannock, 2-8, 240; Lake-Lehman, 2-8, 210; Crestwood, 2-8, 170; North Pocono, 1-9, 80.
Class AA: Lakeland, 9-1, 1240; Wilkes-Barre Meyers, 9-1, 1210; Hanover Area, 7-3, 980; Dunmore, 7-3, 950; Scranton Prep, 7-3, 870; Montrose, 6-4, 710; Nanticoke, 6-4, 710; Mid Valley, 5-5, 540; Bishop Hoban, 4-6, 450; Carbondale, 4-6, 430; Wilkes-Barre GAR, 1-9, 100; Western Wayne, 1-9, 90.
Class A: Lackawanna Trail, 8-2, 1080; Old Forge, 6-4, 740; Northwest, 5-5, 590; Bishop O'Reilly, 2-8, 220; Riverside, 2-8, 210; Bishop Hafey, 1-9, 110; Bishop O'Hara, 1-9, 100; Susquehanna, 0-10, 0.
Some District 2 teams also competed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Abington Heights fell to Allentown Dieruff, 35-7, in Class AAAA.
Wyoming Area defeated Danville, 35-10, while Dallas lost to Selinsgrove, 28-14, in Class AAA.
Dunmore topped Loyalsock, 19-9, in Class AA.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Winter sports teams began practice Monday.
Final Class AAAA playoff pairings were not available at press time last week, meaning the predictions for those games reflected the wrong projected match-ups.
That was not the only flaw in my weekly football predictions. I went just 2-5 in the first round of the playoff, dropping my season record to 85-30 (73.9 percent).
The predictions will continue until the final Lackawanna Football Conference team is eliminated.
This week's predictions, with the winners in CAPS: INTERBORO 47, Scranton 34 in the District 1-2-4 Class AAAA semifinal; LAKELAND 24, Hanover Area 14 in District 2 Class AA final; LACKAWANNA TRAIL 22, Old Forge 17 in the District 1-2 Class A final; CATASAUQUA 29, Dunmore 15 in Eastern Conference Class AA final.
TOM J. ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached on-line at RobbyTR@aol.com.
MATT KENSETH Gets Fifth Win Of Season - Matt Kenseth won the NASCAR Winston Cup Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix for a series leading fifth victory.
Christian Fittipaldi, making his Winston Cup debut, hit the wall hard bringing out a caution on lap 259 of the 312-lap race. Kenseth, the driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford pitted and took on only two tires, while all the other leaders took on four. Kenseth's pit time was only 6.2-seconds, and this allowed him to beat Rusty Wallace out of the pits for the lead.
Kenseth led the remaining 52 green flag laps and finished 1.344 seconds ahead of Wallace.
Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top-five.
Earnhardt Jr. led the first 117 laps except during pits stops, but ran out of gas on lap 118 and was never able to regain the lead.
Kurt Busch, the winner last week at Atlanta, led the most laps, but finished sixth.
Winston Cup points leader Tony Stewart faded near the end of the race, but still managed an eighth place finish. Mark Martin, the second-place driver in the points race was able to gain on Stewart.
Martin is now 89-points back as the series heads for the last and final race of the season at Homestead, FL, next Sunday.
Top ten finishing order: 1. Matt Kenseth, 2. Rusty Wallace, 3. Jeff Gordon, 4. Mark Martin, 5. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 6. Kurt Busch, 7. Dave Blaney, 8. Tony Stewart, 9. Dale Jarrett, 10. Elliott Sadler.
Top-25 points leaders after 35 of 36 races: 1. Stewart-4691, 2. Martin-4602, 3. Busch-4461, 4. Johnson-4453, 5. R. Wallace-4453, 6. J. Gordon-4452, 7. Newman-4438, 8. Kenseth-4389, 9. Jarrett-4292, 10. Rudd-4217.
BIFFLE Wins Busch Series Championship Scott Wimmer won Saturday's Basha's Supermarket 200 at Phoenix International Raceway, but it was Greg Biffle that walked away with the championship.
Biffle clinched the NASCAR Busch Series championship as he led all but the last 16-laps of the 200 lap race. He finished third, just ahead of series runner-up, Jason Keller.
For Wimmer, it was his third win in the last seven races.
Top ten finishing order: 1. Scott Wimmer, 2. Stacy Compton, 3. Greg Biffle, 4. Jason Keller, 5. David Green, 6. Jimmy Spencer, 7. Johnny Sauter, 8. Ashton Lewis Jr., 9. Wally Dallenbach, 10. Kerry Earnhardt.
Top-10 points leaders after 33 of 34 races: 1. Biffle-4754, 2. Keller-4527, 3. Wimmer-4308, 4. McLaughlin-4150, 5. Sprague-4076, 6. McMurray-4026, 7. K. Wallace-3987, 8. Compton-3918, 9. Riggs-3911, 10. Hamilton Jr.-3898.
HARVICK Gets His First Truck Win Kevin Harvick beat Ted Musgrave in a last-lap shoot-out Friday at Phoenix to take the checkered flag in the Chevy Silverado 150, for his first truck win.
Craftsman Truck Series points leader, Mike Bliss started fifth and ran in the Top 3 throughout the first half of the race before his No. 16 IWX Chevy developed engine trouble on Lap 85.
Down a cylinder, Bliss soldiered his truck to the checkered flag, managing to hang on to a Top-10 finish (his 18th in 21 races this season) and the 2002 NCTS championship points lead by a 32-point margin over Rick Crawford with one race remaining.
"We had a first-place truck today," he said. "If we don't have an engine problem, we win the race. We were still running solid lap times and finished in the Top-10 despite running on seven cylinders the last half of the race. You could say we were lucky to finish after having an engine problem and you'd be right. Then again, if we don't have the problem, we're right there fighting for the win at the finish."
Top ten finishing order: 1. Kevin Harvick, 2. Ted Musgrave, 3. Rick Crawford, 4. Travis Kvapil, 5. Terry Cook, 6. Coy Gibbs, 7. Ken Schrader, 8. Dennis Setzer, 9. Matt Crafton, 10. Mike Bliss.
Top-10 points leaders after 21 of 22 races : Bliss-3199, 2. Crawford-3167, 3. Musgrave-3128, 4. Starr-2997, 5. Leffler-2991, 6. Setzer-2982, 7. Pressley-2937, 8. Cook-2936, 9. Kvapil-2916, 10. Gibbs-2883.
The 2002 NASCAR season will end this weekend for all three of its major series.
Friday, November 15, Craftsman Truck Series, Florida Dodge Dealers 200, 134 laps/200 miles. The actual race starts at 3:15 p.m., but will be shown taped-delay, beginning at 4 p.m. on ESPN2.
Saturday, November 16, Busch Series GNC Livewell 300, 200 laps/300 miles, 1:30 p.m. TV: NBC.
Sunday, November 17, Winston Cup Miami 400, 267 laps/400 miles, 12:30 p.m. TV: NBC.
Racing Trivia Question: Who is the owner of the No. 15 Winston Cup team, driven by Michael Waltrip?
Answer To Last Week's Question: Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman are the two leading Winston Cup rookies.
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: email@example.com.
Montrose worked its way back into contention for a division title and the District 2 football playoffs before finally losing its momentum in the final weekend of October.
Joe Cosmello put up the gaudiest numbers as Montrose was stringing together impressive wins.
Cosmello has been selected as the latest Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month for his efforts in leading the Meteors to five straight wins, including three to start October.
"You have to give him credit," Montrose coach Tom Lucenti said. "He worked hard in the off-season lifting and you could really see it in his running.
"We leaned on him."
The Meteors gave Cosmello the ball 36 times in the first game of the month and he responded with 288 yards to pull out a 26-13 victory over Mid Valley. Cosmello had back-to-back touchdowns and a two-point conversion to personally put together 14 straight points in the second and third quarter and give the Meteors a 20-6 lead.
For the month, Cosmello rushed for 869 yards and 12 touchdowns, totals that most running backs would be happy to achieve in a season.
"It's a physical sport. You know you're going to get hit," Cosmello said. "You have to psych yourself up and try to hit them as much as they hit you."
Cosmello had back-to-back, four-touchdown games in 41-0 romps over Western Wayne and Bishop O'Hara.
In those two games, he averaged a stunning 15.1 yards per carry, including a 13-for-279 effort against Bishop O'Hara.
When the Meteors finally saw their championship hopes evaporate in a 39-20 loss to Scranton Prep, Cosmello still went over the 100-yard mark and gave the team its only lead with an early touchdown.
Cosmello's career ended there when a pulled groin and bruised knee forced him to miss the final game of the season against Lakeland. That left him with rushing totals of 1,570 yards for the season and 3,805 for his career.
Joe, the son of Sam and Chris Cosmello, also started at cornerback, drawing the team's toughest man-to-man coverage assignment when necessary.
After getting interest from several Division II and III schools, Cosmello is hoping to continue his football career in college.
"I would like to go somewhere within two or three hours that has a good program for me to major in criminal justice," he said.
Cosmello started basketball practice this week. He was one of the Meteors' top subs last season.
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