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Issue Home November 19, 2002 Site Home

Local Sports Scene
Jeff Rood Earns Running Honors

Local Sports Scene
By Tom J. Robinson

Mountain View Athlete Facing Rehabilitation

While efforts in the community worked on organizing the fundraising effort to help his family with the anticipated growing expenses, Mountain View athlete Brian Belcher prepared for the next phase in his recovery from a broken neck.

Belcher learned this weekend that he was scheduled to be transferred from the Intensive Care Unit of the Lehigh Valley Medical Center in Allentown to the rehabilitation center of the duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del. Tuesday.

Mountain View coach Mike Panasevich was in Chicago on business Oct. 27 when he learned that Belcher had suffered the injury while trying to complete a roll from the bottom position in a pre-season tournament in Parkland.

Panasevich first hoped that Belcher might have suffered a "stinger" type injury that temporarily affects nerve endings, but soon learned otherwise.

"When they said he wasn't moving anything, that's when it hits you," Panasevich said.

Two days later, Belcher underwent surgery to rebuild the vertebrae in his neck.

Belcher recovered from complications that affected his lungs and has gradually regained some feeling in his arms.

The next step is the rehabilitation program.

While Belcher goes through that process, Panasevich said the people involved with fund-raisers have worked on becoming more organized.

"What we're trying to do is coordinate it so that we are spread out rather than all together competing against each other," Panasevich said. "This is not a one-time deal. We're looking at a long-term situation here."

One of the larger events should be a Nov. 30 roast beef dinner at the Elk Mountain VFW.

In conjunction with the dinner, there will be a bake sale and raffles, both 50-50 and for a series a prizes that have been donated by businesses from Scranton to Binghamton.

The 15-year-old from Hop Bottom is a freshman who was also the third-leading scorer on Mountain View's championship soccer team. He won a District 2 junior high wrestling championship last season and was preparing for his first season in the varsity lineup.

A Web site has been established at It is updated regularly with information on fund-raisers, donations and also with reports from Panasevich and friends who have visited Belcher since the injury.

Donations can be made directly to: The Brian Belcher Recovery Fund, Pennstar Bank, Lenox Branch, Routes 92 & 106, Kingsley, PA 18826.


Two Lackawanna Football Conference teams won District 2 titles to advance to the state quarterfinals.

Lakeland and Lackawanna Trail, two of the four teams to defeat Montrose this season, are still alive in the playoffs.

Scranton was eliminated in the District 1-2-4 Class AAAA semifinals with a 36-19 loss to Interboro.

Nate Hosie intercepted three passes to lead Lakeland past Hanover Area, 27-20, in the District 2 Class AA final. Hosie returned one interception 80 yards for Lakeland's first touchdown and made his last interception at the Lakeland 4 with 1:06 left to preserve the win.

Lackawanna Trail gave up the first score then recovered to defeat Old Forge, 28-6, in the District 2 Class A final.

The other District 2 team still playing is Pittston Area, which edged Shamokin, 7-6, in the District 2-4 Class AAA final.

Tony Avvisato returned the opening kickoff 65 yards to set up Matt Pisano's 27-yard touchdown run and the Patriots held on from there.

District 2 teams split in the Eastern Conference finals.

Wyoming Area beat Selinsgrove, 27-24, to win Class AAA, but Dunmore lost to Catasauqua, 31-6, in Class AA.

In field hockey, Lake-Lehman gave District 2 a state champion. After struggling past Oley Valley, 3-2, in double overtime in the Class AA semifinals, Lake-Lehman handled Lancaster Mennonite, 3-0, for the state championship.

Wyoming Seminary had also reached the Class AA semifinals before losing to Mennonite, 2-1.


The second week of the high school football playoffs produced my second perfect week of predictions in the last three.

I went 4-0 last week, making my season record 89-30 (74.8 percent).

The predictions will continue until the final Lackawanna Football Conference team is eliminated.

This week's predictions, with the winners in CAPS: MOUNT CARMEL 39, Lakeland 7 in Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class AA quarterfinal, and SCHUYLKILL HAVEN 41, Lackawanna Trail 0 in PIAA Class A quarterfinal.


Montrose graduate Joe Frick saw a promising freshman season at Mansfield University end early because of a knee injury.

Frick bounced back with an even stronger effort as a sophomore this season.

Frick was one of the top defenders on a Mansfield team that finished 2-4 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference and 3-7 overall.

The season ended Saturday when West Chester used a field goal with 10 seconds left to edge Mansfield, 9-7.

Frick led the team in interceptions (three) and passes broken up (six). He was fourth on the team in tackles with 34 tackles and 19 assists.

Three of Frick's tackles were for losses. He also recovered two fumbles.

As a freshman, the 6-foot, 206-pounder played in seven games, including five starts. He had 30 tackles, 18 assists and two sacks while spending some time at linebacker before becoming a defensive back this season.

TOM J. ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached on-line at

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BUSCH Gets Fourth Win Of Season Homestead, FL – Fast qualifier Kurt Busch led the early laps, then worked his way back to the front with 11-laps to go to win Sunday's Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the final race of the 2002 Winston Cup season.

Despite a disappointing 18th-place finish, Tony Stewart hung on to capture the first Winston Cup championship of his career by 38-points over Mark Martin.

"It was just an awesome day," Busch said. "This team has showed it could do it. We've had an awesome year and we can't wait for next year."

Joe Nemechek, who led a race-high 111-laps of the 267-lap event, had to settle for second. Jeff Burton, Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon rounded out the top-five finishers.

"We just got behind on pits stops," said Nemechek. "We just got bogged down. We were running fourth when we pitted, and we came out eighth. That hurt us."

Mark Martin who raced hard all day came in fourth.

"You can't say we ever gave up," said Martin. "I'm proud of this team. I'm glad it's over, but we gained points in the last three races, so in a way I wish it wasn't over."

Joe Gibbs, the car owner of the No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac driven by Tony Stewart celebrated his second Winston Cup title. The other one came with Bobby Labonte in 2000.

"It's a great life experience," he said. "A lot happened this year, but this team overcame a lot. I can tell you we're an exhausted team right now."

Top ten finishing order: 1. Kurt Busch, 2. Joe Nemechek, 3. Jeff Burton, 4. Mark Martin, 5. Jeff Gordon, 6. Ryan Newman, 7. Bill Elliott, 8. Jimmie Johnson, 9. Elliott Sadler, 10. Bobby Hamilton.

Top-10 final unofficial points leaders: 1. Stewart-4800, 2. Martin-4762, 3. Busch-4641, 4. J. Gordon-4607, 5. Johnson-4600, 6. Newman-4593, 7. R. Wallace-4574, 8. Kenseth-4432, 9. Jarrett-4415, 10. Rudd-4323.

Sun Has Set On 2002 Season – The events at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend is the culmination of the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season.

For many drivers like Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman, who will finish in the top-10 for the first time in their careers, this has been a good season. For others, like veterans Dale Jarrett and Bobby Hamilton, this season has not been up to the expectations of either.

This will be the first year Jarrett's team has not finished in the top five in the final Winston Cup point standings since their inception in 1996. Even still, Jarrett will take what they've learned from 2002 and make 2003 their run for a second NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship.

"This obviously hasn't been one of our better years," Jarrett says. "We performed well at a number of tracks like Michigan, Dover and Pocono, but we still have to improve at the tracks where we didn't do as well like Bristol, Charlotte and the road courses. There were a number of things that contributed to our problems this year, but it all comes down to the fact that we didn't perform at the level we needed to week in and week out. But, hopefully we've learned from the problems we had this year so we can correct those and be ready in 2003."

WIMMER Wins Over Gasless KELLER – Scott Wimmer won the Ford 300 on Saturday at Homestead after Jason Keller ran out of gas while leading on the final lap. The win was Wimmer's fourth in the past eight races.

Top ten finishing order: 1. Scott Wimmer, 2. Hank Parker Jr., 3. Joe Nemechek, 4. Greg Biffle, 5. Bobby Hamilton Jr., 6. Randy LaJoie, 7. Michael Waltrip, 8. Jimmy Spencer, 9. Ashton Lewis Jr., 10. Jeff Green.

Top-10 final Busch Series points leaders: 1. Biffle-4919, 2. Keller-4655, 3. Wimmer-4488, 4. McLaughlin-4253, 5. Sprague-4206, 6. McMurray-4147, 7. K. Wallace-4078, 8. Hamilton Jr.-4058, 9. Compton-4042, 10. Riggs-4023.

HORNADAY Wins Truck Race, BLISS Gets Championship, Homestead, FL – Ron Hornaday won Friday's Craftsman Truck Series Ford 200, while Mike Bliss won the 2002 series championship.

Top ten finishing order: 1. Ron Hornaday, 2. Ted Musgrave, 3. Jason Leffler, 4. Robert Pressley, 5. Mike Bliss, 6. Dennis Setzer, 7. Rick Crawford, 8. David Starr, 9. Matt Crafton, 10. Terry Cook.

Final top-10 points leaders: 1. Bliss-3359, 2. Crawford-3313, 3. Musgrave-3308, 4. Leffler-3156, 5. Starr-3144, 6. Setzer-3132, 7. Pressley-3097, 8. Cook-3070, 9. Kvapil-3039, 10. Gibbs-3010.

Racing Trivia Question: Which team will Winston Cup driver Jimmy Spencer be driving for next season?
Answer To Last Week's Question: Teresa Earnhardt is the owner of the No. 15 Winston Cup team, driven by Michael Waltrip?

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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Jeff Rood Earns Running Honors

Millersville – Millersville University men’s cross country student-athlete Jeff Rood (Jr., Susquehanna/Susquehanna) earned All-East Region honors at the NCAA Division II East Regional Championships at Canaan Valley, West Virginia this past Saturday.

Jeff placed 13th overall in the ten-kilometer run with a time of 33:43. Millersville University earned second place in the team competition with 66 points.

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