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Issue Home November 4, 2003 Site Home

Local Sports Scene
Jeff Gordon Wins At Atlanta
Stranburg Does Well In State Competition

Elk Lake Excels At State Cross Country

Elk Lake placed its boys’ team and the top individual on each of its teams in the top 10 in the state Saturday during the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association cross country championships in Hershey.

Jessica Squier led the way by finishing third in the Class AA girls’ race.

Robert Squier, Jessica’s brother, finished sixth in the Class AA boys’ race where teammate Ryan Place also earned a medal to help the Warriors finish eighth as a team.

David Monk of Westmont-Hilltop won the race in 15:57, seven seconds ahead of Chris Spooner of Lewisburg, the only runner from the eastern half of the state other than Squier to finish in the top nine.

Squier finished in 16:28.

Place’s time was 16:57, good enough for 18th place in the 260-runner field.

With Squier and Place leading the way, Elk Lake’s average finish was 17:52, fourth best out of 22 team entries in the championship.

District 10 champion Eisenhower won with 109 points, edging Lewisburg by two.

Elk Lake’s 241 points beat out defending state champion Scranton Prep, which had 244. Prep had defeated Elk Lake 10 days earlier in the District 2 championship.

Jaron Fissler was 115th in 18:11, sophomore Ken Gassaway was 157th in 18:37 and Brandon Griffiths was 205th in 19:05 to complete Elk Lake’s team scoring.

Squier and Place were by far the best finishers in District 2. The best non-Elk Lake runner from the district was Kevin Dustin of Western Wayne, who finished 38th in 17:30.

Jessica Squier had the best individual finish by any District 2 runner in any of the four races, placing third in 19:28.

Adrienne Betz of Hamburg won in 19:03. Christa Plummer of Palisades was second in 19:18.

Squier, a junior, had the best finish by an underclassman. She was also three spots and seven seconds in front of District 2 champion Lisa Giacometti, who led Dallas to the state championship.

Dallas posted an amazing team score of 49 points. Wellsboro was second with 69 and each of the other 20 teams had at least 106 points.

Montrose finished 13th in the 22-team field with 320 points.

Krista DiRiancho and Jeanne Roszel finished together to lead Montrose. They came in 102nd and 103rd out of 256 runners in 21:35 and 21:36.

Tara Chiarella was 120th in 21:51, Courtney Groll was 167th in 22:26 and Ashley Johnson was 206th in 23:11 to complete Montrose’s team scoring.

Blue Ridge sophomore Katrina Rinehimer finished 193rd in 22:56.

Like Jessica Squier, Rinehimer qualified to run at states as an individual by being one of the best 10 runners in District 2 other than those on the top two teams.

Hazleton Area freshman Brenae Edwards was 14th in 19:28 to lead District 2 Class AAA runners. Her Lady Cougars were 11th in the team race, which was won by Hatboro-Horsham.

Honesdale was 16th in Class AAA boys, which was won by West Chester Henderson. Dan McNally of Delaware Valley led District 2 boys by finishing 37th in 17:06.


Brooke Hinkley and Desiree Gardner each had a dozen kills Wednesday as Blue Ridge extended its run of unbeaten District 2 Class A volleyball championships to three straight seasons with a 25-22, 25-20, 25-16 home-court victory over Bishop O’Reilly.

Blue Ridge’s only losses in the last three seasons have been in tournament play.

Bishop O’Reilly threatened early, taking a 13-7 lead in the first game. The Lady Raiders, however, bounced back to score eight straight points and take control of the match.

All six district semifinal volleyball matches, including three involving county teams, ended in sweeps.

Blue Ridge reached the Class A final by defeating Lackawanna Trail in the most dominant of those six performances, 25-14, 25-10, 25-9. As the top seed, the Lady Raiders hosted the doubleheader that also included Susquehanna.

Mountain View and Susquehanna were each eliminated in the semifinals.

Unbeaten Bishop Hoban, the eventual champion, handled Mountain View, 25-10, 25-14, 25-20 in Class AA.

Susquehanna was clearly the most competitive of the semifinal losers. The Lady Sabers fell to Bishop O’Reilly, 25-22, 25-16, 25-21.

In boys’ soccer, Sean O’Day scored in the second overtime to lift eventual champion Bishop O’Reilly past top-seeded Mountain View, 1-0, in the District 2 Class A semifinals.

Brandon Bennett made 12 saves for the Lackawanna League Division 3 champion Eagles.

Bishop O’Reilly out-shot Mountain View, 15-14.

In football, Susquehanna had never had a winless season from 1970 to 2001.

Now, the Sabers have two straight.

Susquehanna put together one of its most competitive games of the season, but lost to playoff-bound Old Forge, 26-12, Saturday at home.

The game was scoreless through the first quarter.

After the Blue Devils scored on the first play of the second quarter, the Sabers needed just two plays to respond. Tristan Tarbox took a counter play 81 yards for a touchdown.

When the Sabers came up with a goal-line stand late in the half, it allowed them to remain within, 7-6, at half-time. The Old Forge lead was just 13-6 after three quarters.

The game was the third of the season decided by 14 points or less. A year ago, the closest Susquehanna came was 14 points in one game and all of the others were decided by at least 27.

During the 22-game losing streak, Susquehanna has been outscored, 902-180, an average of 41-8.

Both county teams finished last in their divisions.

While Susquehanna was finishing sixth in Division 3 of the Lackawanna Football Conference, Montrose was sixth in Division 2.

The Meteors completed a 2-8 season, including 0-5 in the division, when they lost to unbeaten Lakeland, 43-0, Friday.

In tennis, Christine Kansky of Crestwood completed the most successful career ever by a District 2 player when she won her second state singles title in Class AA. Kansky finished second in the state as a freshman and a junior.


Sarah Henry, a 5-foot-5 freshman from Elk Lake, was a member of the Keystone College volleyball team that recently completed its season.

Keystone started the season 0-18 but won four of its last six to finish 4-20.

In 74 games, Henry had 77 kills, 36 assists, 23 service aces, 112 digs and one block.


Blue Ridge was scheduled to play Lourdes Regional of Shamokin, the District 4 runner-up, Tuesday at Tunkhannock for one of the eight spots in the two-day state championship at Shippensburg University this weekend.

The Lady Raiders reached the final eight two years ago, but lost in the qualifying round three games to one last season against Williamson.

The Lackawanna Football Conference has seven teams – Scranton in Class AAAA; Valley View in AAA; Lakeland and Dunmore in AA; and Lackawanna Trail, Riverside and Old Forge in A – alive in the district playoffs, which advance teams into state play. West Scranton and Honesdale received the consolation prize of Eastern Conference Class AAA playoff berths.

Our football predictions were 9-1 last week, bringing the season record to 85-23 (78.7 percent).

Predictions will continue until all Lackawanna Football Conference teams have been eliminated.

This week’s predictions, with winners in CAPS: INTERBORO 38, Scranton 17; PITTSTON AREA 22, Valley View 10; LAKELAND 27, Wilkes-Barre GAR 14; WILKES-BARRE MEYERS 41, Dunmore 18; LACKAWANNA TRAIL 38, Old Forge 6; RIVERSIDE 31, Northwest 23; DALLAS 14, West Scranton 13; HONESDALE 37, Daniel Boone 30.

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

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DALE JR. Wins At Phoenix

"It was a fun race," said Dale Earnhardt Jr. after he held off Jimmie Johnson to win the Checker Auto Parts 500 on Sunday at Phoenix for his team’s first non-restrictor plate victory since Dover in 2001.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Earnhardt Jr. started 11th and quickly moved into the top-5, where he stayed for most of the race. He led for the first time on lap 87 of the 312 lap race.

He regained the lead on lap 262 from Jimmie Johnson, and then held off Johnson after two more of the race’s 10 cautions.

The 10th and final caution flag came out during lap 298 after Mike Wallace spun. When the green flag was given on lap 303, Johnson briefly edged ahead of Earnhardt’s No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet, but as the two cars exited turn-2, Earnhardt regained his lead and kept it until the race ended.

"We been wanting to get into victory lane so bad this year, just to prove we’re not just a restrictor plate team," said Earnhardt Jr. "My car was so good, I could just pass and race with whoever I wanted to.

"We had one heckuva race, and it was so much fun."

Jimmie Johnson had his third runner-up finish in the last five races.

"We had a great run," said Johnson. "I thought I was going to be able to stay out ahead of the 8, but he was just too strong."

Polesitter Ryan Newman was third.

"After the last race caution, I thought we might have something for him," said Newman. "He was quick and had cleaner air, and he took advantage of the opportunity."

An accident in turn-2 late in the race damaged the cars of Rusty Wallace, Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte and Kevin Harvick.

With a 34th place finish, Harvick dropped to fifth in the points, and now has no chance at catching the leaders for this year’s championship.

Matt Kenseth now has a 228 point lead over Dale Earnhardt Jr., with two races left in this year’s chase for the Winston Cup championship.

Top ten finishing Order: 1. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 2. Jimmie Johnson, 3. Ryan Newman, 4. Kurt Busch, 5. Michael Waltrip, 6. Matt Kenseth, 7. Jeff Gordon, 8. Jeff Burton, 9. Scott Wimmer, 10. Mark Martin.

Top-10 points leaders after 34 of 36; 1. Kenseth-4828, 2. Earnhardt Jr.-4600, 3. Johnson-4587, 4. J. Gordon-4528, 5. Newman-4499, 6. Harvick-4477, 7. Stewart-4260, 8. B. Labonte-4055, 9. Busch-3983, 10. Elliott-3966.

Roush Racing, Wood Brothers Announce Crew Chief Switch, Phoenix, AZ – Roush Racing and Wood Brothers Racing announced Sunday that they will switch crew chiefs on the No. 6 and No. 21 racing teams. Effective Monday morning (Nov. 3) Ben Leslie will become the crew chief of the No. 21 Racing Team with driver Ricky Rudd, while Pat Tryson will take over the crew chief duties for the No. 6 team driven by Mark Martin.


Truck Points Race Tightens – With only one race left in the 2003 season, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series battle will go down to the last race of the season at Homestead, FL, Nov. 14. After last Friday’s Silverado 150 at Phoenix, AZ, Brendan Gaughan’s lead over Ted Musgrave is just 26 points.

Kevin Harvick, a Winston Cup regular won the race, but series contender Ted Musgrave was the runner-up, while Gaughan finished 12th.

Gaughan’s lead was cut from 45 points over Travis Kvapil to just 26 over Musgrave. Kvapil is now third, 34 points behind the leader.

Gaughan ran as high as second before an engine problem caused him to fall back as the laps ran down.

"I was catching Kevin and we were going for it, but with nine laps to go, we ran over a piece of debris," said Gaughan. "I heard it hit, and it popped into the engine compartment and we lost a cylinder."

Top ten finishing order of the Silverado 150: 1. Kevin Harvick, 2. Ted Musgrave, 3. Dennis Setzer, 4. Carl Edwards, 5. Bobby Hamilton, 6. David Starr, 7. Jon Wood, 8. Robert Pressley, 9. Travis Kvapil, 10. Andy Houston.

Top-10 points leaders: 1. Gaughan-3721, 2. Musgrave-3695, 3. Kvapil-3687, 4. Setzer-3682, 5. Wood-3512, 6. Hamilton-3442, 7. Crawford-3403, 8. Edwards-3329, 9. Cook-3082, 10. Chaffin-3009.

HAMILTON, JR. Wins Busch Race In Pits – The top ten results of the NASCAR Busch Series Bashas’ Supermarket 200 run Saturday at Phoenix, AZ: 1. Bobby Hamilton Jr. 2. Kevin Harvick, 3. Brian Vickers, 4. Joe Nemechek, 5. Ron Hornaday, 6. Scott Riggs 7. Scott Wimmer, 8. Casey Atwood, 9. Johnny Sauter, 10. Greg Biffle.

Top 10-points leaders after 32 of 34 races: 1. Riggs-4373, 2. Hornaday-4356, 3. Vickers-4352, 4. D. Green-4351, 5. Keller-4313, 6. Hamilton Jr.-4248, 7. Wimmer-3871, 8. J. Sauter-3833, 9. Kahne-3815, 10. Compton-3678.


The NASCAR Craftsman Trucks do not race. The Busch and Winston Cup Series are at Rockingham, NC.

Saturday, November 8, Busch Series Target House 200, race 33 of 34, 197 laps/200 miles, 1 p.m. TV: TNT.

Sunday, November 9, Winston Cup Pop Secret Microwave 400, race 35 of 36, 393 laps/400 miles, 12:30 p.m. TV: NBC.

Racing Trivia Question: He was the 1986 rookie of the year and 1992 Winston Cup champion. He came from Wisconsin in 1985 and drove for himself, often serving as his own crew chief. Who was this driver?

Last Week’s Question: Which driver has the most NASCAR Busch Series wins? The answer is Mark Martin, who has 45. Jack Ingram is second with 31.

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 Gordon Wins At Atlanta

Hampton, GA – Jeff Gordon held off Tony Stewart to win the rain-delayed Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Monday, October 27 (too late for our press deadline) which ended under caution.

Gordon, who last week won at Martinsville took the lead from Bobby Labonte on lap 276 of the 325 lap race, and was leading Tony Stewart by 1.3 seconds when Dale Earnhardt Jr. got into the back of Ryan Newman with four laps to go.

This brought out the race’s final caution, and since NASCAR does not red flag a race with less than five laps remaining, it meant Gordon was assured of his third win of the season, and the 64th of his career.

"We didn’t have the best car on short runs, but it was awesome on long ones," said Gordon, "Bobby (Labonte) and others were better but we had it on the long runs.

"Tony (Stewart) was good on long runs. I did all I could when he got close by moving my line around and blocking the good air.

"It’s too late for a championship this season, but never count us out. We’re strong finishers and I hope to keep it going."

Stewart at times appeared to close on Gordon, but it is doubtful if he could have gotten by Gordon if the race had run the final four laps under green.

"I’m disappointed we didn’t win, but coming back from 17th to finish second is pretty awesome," said Stewart.

Jimmie Johnson, who finished second to Gordon last week at Martinsville, was third this time.

"That was all we had," said Johnson. "I was racing the 24 car hard, but I used up my tires and couldn’t do any better there at the end."

Kevin Harvick, who still had hopes of beating Matt Kenseth for this year’s Winston Cup championship finished one lap down in 20th, while Kenseth wound up 11th. Kenseth now has a 258 point advantage with only three races left.

Polesitter Ryan Newman finished 29th.

Top ten finishing order: 1. Jeff Gordon, 2. Tony Stewart, 3. Jimmie Johnson, 4. Bill Elliott, 5. Bobby Labonte, 6. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 7. Jeremy Mayfield, 8. Kurt Busch, 9. Jimmy Spencer, 10. Joe Nemechek.

Top-10 points leaders after 33 of 36 races: 1. Kenseth-4678, 2. Earnhardt Jr.-4420, 3. Harvick-4416, 4. Johnson-4412, 5. J. Gordon-4382, 6. Newman-4329, 7. Stewart-4151, 8. B. Labonte-4000, 9. Elliott-3845, 10. T. Labonte-3839.

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Stranburg Does Well In State Competition

Pictured is Michael Stranburg, Montrose, during competition at the Pennsylvania State Golf Tournament, in York, PA. Mike placed very well in the tournament, tying for 20th place overall.

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