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Montrose's Bob Dean is both a defending champion and a top seed for Thursday's District 2 Class AA track and field championships at North Pocono High School.
Dean represents one of the areas where county athletes could make their biggest impact. Boys' field events and girls' distance running and hurdling appear to be the spots where local athletes will be a biggest factor.
The only other top seed from the county is Dean's teammate, Joe LaBarbera in the pole vault.
Dean and Montrose javelin thrower Lori Cooper will be trying to defend titles.
Cooper won last year despite being seeded just eighth. This year she goes in as the sixth seed on the strength of a throw of 101-11.
Seeds were determined Friday based on regular-season performances that fell within guidelines set by the district.
Dean's discus throw of 159-9 made him the top seed.
LaBarbera is top in the pole vault because of clearing 13-10.
Elk Lake's Jessica Squier chose not to defend her title in the 3200 meters. Instead, she is seeded second in the 1600 meters at 5:22.6.
Dean is a contender in three events. He is also seeded second in the shot put (47-3 ¼) and javelin (167-11).
Montrose teammate Larry Lundy is right behind Dean in the shot put. Lundy is seeded third at 47-2 ½.
John Maher of Mountain View and Kyle Adriance of Montrose are tied for the second seed in the high jump at 6-4.
Blue Ridge's Chad Burman is fifth in the long jump at 20-3.
Squier is followed by third-seed Rachel Hall of Blue Ridge (5:30.8) in the 1600.
Hall is one of three county girls in the top six in the 3200. She is third (12:06.1) while Montrose's Jeanne Roszel (12:11.29) and Kodie Morrison (12:11.80) are fifth and sixth.
Three are also three seeded competitors in the 100 hurdles where Susquehanna's Teresa Covert holds the district record of 14.84 seconds in 1998 on her way to a state title.
Montrose's Julie Teed is fifth in 16.80. Jen Covert of Susquehanna and Ali Giamanco of Montrose are a tenth of a second behind and tied for the sixth seed.
Elk Lake has two of the top six in the 300 hurdles - Shannon Bennett is third at :49.3 and Blaire Lord is sixth at :50.4.
Robert Squier, Jessica's brother, is the only other county boy seeded in the top six. He is third at 9:42.10.
There are many other contenders among county girls.
Montrose shot putter Charlene Slusser (2nd at 35-6) and Blue Ridge high jumper Brittany Suchnick (tied for second at 5-2) lead that list.
Montrose's Sheena Severcool is tied for third in the 100 at :13.1 while teammate Beverly Boyle is tied for fifth in the pole vault at 7-6.
Blue Ridge has two contenders in the throwing events. Katie Onyon is third in the discus at 102-10 while Mindy Stanton ins fourth in the shot put at 32-4 ¾.
The Montrose girls' 3200 relay team is seeded third in 10:15.95 in what shapes up as a tight three-way race with Dallas and Bishop Hoban.
Blue Ridge is seeded sixth in the same event with a time of 10:41.
Elk Lake's 1600 relay team is fifth at 4:24.40.
At least one county athlete met the minimum district qualifying standard in every event.
Blue Ridge's Burman is the district's top boy in four events. He is also seventh in the 110 hurdles (:15.8) and 300 hurdles (:42.0) and tied for 12th in the 100 meters (:11.5).
The top local boys in the other events are: 400 relay, Montrose, eighth, :46.30; 3200 relay, Montrose, 11th, 9:40.0;
1600, Kevin Lee, Susquehanna, 11th, 4:49.50; 1600 relay, Montrose, 11th, 3:43.00; triple jump, Matt Wilcox, Montrose, 15th, 38-0 ½; 800, Ryan Place, Elk Lake, 19th, 2:09.00; 400, Kyle Stoddard, Montrose, tied 21st, 54.40; and 200, Rich Gutknecht, Elk Lake, 22nd, :24.5.
The top girls in other events are: 800, Kayla Shearer, Montrose, eighth, 2:33.0; 400 relay, Susquehanna, ninth, 55.0;
400, Bridgette Teed, Elk Lake, 11th, 1:04.6; triple jump, Cooper, Montrose, 11th, 31-6; 200, Sheena Severcool, Montrose, tied 12th, :28.8; and long jump, Kristen Travis, Montrose, tied 13th, 14-10.
WEEK IN REVIEW
The Blue Ridge softball and Elk Lake baseball teams continued their championship form.
Blue Ridge won four straight games to clinch a repeat of the Lackawanna League Class A North title.
Elk Lake, seeking its third straight division title, clinched at least a tie for first place in the Lackawanna League Division III North.
After facing a surprisingly tough test from Forest City in an 8-5 victory, unbeaten Blue Ridge handled its two toughest division competitors. The Lady Raiders beat Elk Lake, 9-1, between shutouts of Lackawanna Trail, 13-0 and 4-0.
"We're definitely starting to hit the ball pretty well," Blue Ridge coach Bob Pavelski said. "We struggled a little bit at the beginning, but we're starting to come along."
Susquehanna's softball team split a doubleheader with Mountain View for its first win of the season.
In professional hockey, the Binghamton Senators finished off the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 2-1, to win their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series, four games to two.
Ray Emery made 34 saves and Chris Kelly scored the winning goal.
THE WEEK AHEAD
In addition to the track championships, District 2 will determine its boys' tennis champions. Tennis tournament play continues throughout the week, moving on to doubles competition.
In the American Hockey League, Binghamton plays the first two games of its Calder Cup Eastern Conference final at Hamilton. The Senators come home for games May 19 and 20 at Broome County Arena. The sixth game of the best-of-seven series is scheduled for Binghamton May 23.
Montrose graduate Jacob Merrill finished sixth in the 400 intermediate hurdles and triple jump to help Lock Haven finish second in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championships during the weekend.
Merrill finished the hurdles in :54.36. He went 42-11 ¾ in the triple jump.
Shippensburg won the men's title with 121 points. Lock Haven, which hosted the event, finished second with 116 points.
Susquehanna graduate Jeff Rood, competing for Millersville, finished 11th in the 10000 meters in 33:25.98. Millersville finished fifth.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
A Mother's Day Present For Bobbie Sanders
Mobile, AL Late model driver Ronnie Sanders of Fayetteville, Georgia gave his sweetest and best racing fan-his wife, Bobbie-- a special present for Mother's Day.
Sanders is an old racing veteran, who has raced throughout the United States. Last Saturday night he won the 150-lap Fantastic Sam's Cottman Transmission late model race at Mobile International Speedway before over 5,000 cheering fans.
Bobbie and Ronnie Sanders of Fayetteville, GA in victory lane after Sander won the 150-lap Fantastic Sam's Cottman Transmission late model race at MIS.
While Sanders has won hundreds of races in a career that spans nearly 30-years, big wins have become harder and harder for him. He won the MIS late model championship in 1978, and took home 13 consecutive late model features in 1982, but there had been no victories at the half-mile oval in the past decade-only wrecks and middle-of-the-field finishes.
Fans were beginning to look at him and wonder if he could still win a big race-- all except his wife, that it is.
Sanders qualified on the pole, but led only the first three laps, before losing the lead to young Dale Little of Mobile. There were several cautions throughout the next 140 laps, but Sanders remained back in second and third-place.
During lap 143, John Thompson's No. 54 Chevrolet went off turn two. After two more laps, the red flag was displayed in order to give track personnel the time to clean up the track and have a green/white/checkered finish.
The yellow was given on lap 146, and when the flagman signaled there was only one lap before the green flag racing resumed, Sanders began to get his act together for one last and final charge.
Sanders was running second in his red No. 18 Skittle's Chevrolet to Dale Little on the restart. As the cars entered turn three, Sanders moved down low. As the two leaders exited turn four, Sanders car was a red blur as he moved even lower on the asphalt track.
As the field headed towards the start/finish line and the green flag, Sanders had his foot on the floorboard. When the 18 car appeared out of turn four, it resembled one of the CSX Railroad's midnight, Atlanta to New Orleans freights that pass the speedway.
In other words, the old driver from Georgia was highballing it.
As the cars entered turn one, it was Sanders by two-car lengths. When the checkered flag was given two laps later, Sanders was back in victory lane, and another Georgia driver, Larry Raines of Cumming finished third. "I'm very glad I came," said Mrs. Bobbie Sanders. "I've seen him win many times before, but this one is very nice because tomorrow is Mother's Day."
RIGGS Gets Busch Win Scott Riggs gained his third NASCAR Busch Series victory in the Charter Pipeline 250 Saturday at Gateway International Raceway after Mike Bliss ran out of fuel with less than a lap to go.
Top ten finishing order: 1. Scott Riggs, 2. David Green, 3. Jason Keller, 4. Brian Vickers, 5. Bobby Hamilton Jr., 6. Stacy Compton, 7. Johnny Sauter, 8. Scott Wimmer, 9. Stanton Barrett, 10. Kenny Wallace.
Top-10 points leaders after 11 of 34 races: 1. D. green-1486, 2. T. Bodine-1481, 3. Hmiel-1436, 4. Riggs-1413, 5. Keller-1387, 6. Hornaday-1378, 7. J. Sauter-1352, 8. Bliss-1346, 9. Vickers-1296, 10. Hamilton Jr.-1256.
KENSETH Holds On To Winston Cup Lead Top-10 points leaders after 11 of 36 races: 1. Kenseth-1619, 2. Earnhardt Jr.-1599, 3. Busch-1452, 4. J. Gordon-1441, 5. B. Labonte-1376, 6. Johnson-1372, 7. Waltrip-1361, 8. Harvick-1328, 9. R. Wallace-1274, 10. Marlin-1259.
HAMILTON Is Truck Leader Top-10 points leaders after 4 of 25 races: 1. Hamilton-670, 2. Crawford-631, 3. Gaughan-594, 4. Musgrave-591, 5. Setzer-590, 6. Kvapil-569, 7. Cook-557, 8. Pressley-551, 9. J. Wood-520, 10. Leffler-514.
It's The Winston, an all-star, non-points race at Lowe's Motor Speedway for the Winston Cup cars, plus the inaugural Craftsman Truck Series event. The Busch drivers will be at Nazareth, PA.
Friday, May 16: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Hardees 200, race 5 of 25, 134 laps/201 miles, 8 p.m. TV: Speed Channel.
Saturday, May 17: The Winston, 7 p.m. TV: FX Sports Channel.
Winston Cup driver Joe Nemechek hit racing's version of the buzzer-beater by winning the Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond, VA, earning his No. 25 UAW-Delphi team an 11th-hour berth in The Winston.
Nemechek will be one of 24 drivers competing for The Winston's million-dollar first-place check on Saturday, May 17 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, NC The purse for The Winston is $3,870,000, with the winner's share totaling at least $1-million, making The Winston one of only three events (Daytona 500, Brickyard 400) on the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup schedule worth seven-figures to the event champion.
Nemechek's victory at Richmond came in the final event for previously unqualified drivers to claim a spot on the roster of eligible stars, and means that Hendrick Motorsports' entire four-car contingent - Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Terry Labonte and Nemechek - is qualified for the evening's main event.
Twenty drivers qualified by winning races in the 2002 or 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup season. Two (Rusty Wallace and Terry Labonte) are eligible as former NASCAR Winston Cup Series champions and one (Elliott Sadler) is eligible on the special owner exemption. The final driver will be the winner of The Winston Open, the qualifying race run immediately before The Winston. The winner of the 30-lap affair wins the only transfer spot into The Winston.
The 24-driver field will be the second-largest field in the history of The Winston. One year ago, 25 drivers took the green flag. The Winston's "Survival of the Fastest" format is comprised of 90 laps that will be run in three segments of 40, 30 and 20 laps respectively. After the first segment, only the top-20 cars will advance to the second segment. Then, the top-14 cars will advance to the 20-lap dash for $1 million, or $50,000 per lap.
Driver lineup: Ward Burton, Matt Kenseth, Sterling Marlin, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, Bobby Labonte, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett, Ricky Rudd, Michael Waltrip, Kevin Harvick, Bill Elliott, Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Jamie McMurray, Johnny Benson, Ricky Craven, Joe Nemechek, Terry Labonte, Rusty Wallace, Elliott Sadler.
Lowe's Motor Speedway track information: Size: 1.5 mile oval; Banking in turns: 24 degrees; Banking on straights: 5 degrees; Length of frontstretch: 1,952 feet, backstretch: 1,360; Grandstand capacity: 175,000.
Sunday, May 18: NASCAR Busch Series Goulds Pumps ITT Industries 200, 200 laps/200 miles, time: 1 p.m. TV: FX Sports Channel.
Racing Trivia Question: How many Winston Cup championships did Dale Earnhardt Sr. win?
Answer To Last Week's Question: Davey Allison drove car No. 28.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Heather Franks played a prominent role in Blue Ridge's run to the state Class A softball championship game in her freshman season.
Offseason and after-practice work on her pitching form have allowed Franks to find a way to increase her role as a sophomore.
"She really worked hard this winter," Blue Ridge coach Bob Pavelski said.
Franks, already a defensive leader as a shortstop and one of the team's top offensive players, has become one of the area's top pitchers.
In four pitching appearances for Blue Ridge (12-0), Franks has three shutouts. She has struck out 46 while walking just three.
The combined pitching, defensive and offensive efforts have helped make Franks the latest Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month.
"I worked on it a lot during the winter," Franks said of pitching. "I'm throwing harder and I'm throwing different pitches."
Franks continues to produce elsewhere. Despite playing the demanding position of shortstop, she has just two errors.
Offensively, Franks has scored 21 runs and driven in 10 while batting .472 with three doubles and a triple.
Blue Ridge has clinched a repeat of its division title and appears ready to make a run in the postseason again.
"At the beginning, we were a little shaky with some new girls coming up," Franks said. "We're doing real well together now. We want to get to states again."
Heather, the daughter of Joe and Terry Franks of Hallstead, keeps busy with sports. She plays for the Windsor Crusaders softball team in the summer. Last fall, she was a starter on the Blue Ridge soccer team.
The winter was spent preparing to display the form she has shown on the softball field this spring.
Williamsport, PA - Montrose Area High School graduates Dave VanNort, Dan Snee, and Joe Cosmello will attend Lycoming College in the fall and compete as members of the Warrior football team.
"Dave, Dan, and Joe are all great prospects for us," said Lycoming head coach Frank Girardi. "Dave is an outstanding lineman, who should challenge for playing time on our defensive line right away. Dan and Joe had excellent high school careers together in the offensive backfield and we're confident they can continue that success at the collegiate level."
At 6'4", 260 pounds, VanNort was one of the top lineman prospects in the region. His senior season he recorded 90 tackles, including 11 sacks. VanNort was named an All-Region defensive lineman by the Scranton Times and was a three-time Division III South All-Conference defensive lineman in the Lackawanna Football Conference.
Snee, a 6'0", 225 pound fullback, rushed for 198 yards on 30 carries last season. He also played linebacker for the Meteors recording 70 tackles and returning an interception for a touchdown last season. Snee was named a member of the all-conference first-team as both a fullback and linebacker, and was named to the Scranton Times all-region team as a fullback.
Cosmello, a 5'9", 180 pound tailback, rushed for 1,571 yards in nine games last season. For his career, he gained 3,806 yards, leading the conference as a junior and senior, and scored 47 touchdowns. Cosmello was honored as a first-team all-conference player in the Lackawanna Football Conference.
Pictured (l-r) are: sitting - Dave VanNort, Joe Cosmello, Dan Snee; standing - Montrose head coach Tom Lucenti."Those three athletes were a very important part of our program for the past few years," said Montrose head coach Tom Lucenti. "Dave was a four-year starter for us and the anchor on both the offensive and defensive lines. Joe was a three-year starter and a durable running back who was the go-to guy in our offense . Dan was an excellent compliment to Joe, clearing the way as a blocker but also doing a good job of picking up yardage when called upon.
"I think all three will be very successful at Lycoming. They understand what they need to do to compete at the next level and have the work ethic to put the time in. They are also very coachable athletes who will do anything they can to be contributors."
"It is rare to get three high-level prospects from a single high school, but I think that is evidence of the quality of the program Coach Lucenti has built at Montrose," continued Girardi. "I'm confident Dave, Dan, and Joe will all play major roles for us during their careers and we are very excited they will be a part of our program for the next four years."
The Warrior football program is one of the most successful NCAA Division III programs in the nation. Lycoming has competed in the NCAA playoffs eight times since 1990 and has won the Middle Atlantic Conference championship 12 times. Head coach Frank Girardi has compiled a record of 232-72-5 during his 31 seasons at Lycoming, including 28 consecutive winning campaigns. His 232 wins rank third among active Division III coaches across the country.
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