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Issue Home January 6, 2004 Site Home

Local Sports Scene
What Would Earnhardt Have Done?

Four Raiders, Huyck Win Zurn-Bush Titles

Harry Marvin, Nick Pease, Justin Hurlburt and Matt Holbrook all won individual titles Saturday to lead Blue Ridge to a third-place finish in the Zurn-Bush Memorial Wrestling Tournament at Elk Lake.

The four individual champions for Blue Ridge were the most among any of the 10 teams in the tournament.

Williamson won the team title with 151 12 points to beat out East Stroudsburg South with 132 points and Blue Ridge with 124.

Susquehanna 125-pounder Nate Huyck was the county’s only other individual champion.

Elk Lake and Montrose also competed in the tournament.

Blue Ridge was followed in the team standings by: Northeast Bradford 119 12, Elk Lake 79 12, Mansfield 68, Susquehanna 58, Montrose 51, Palmerton 46 and Bucktail 44 12.

Marvin struggled past East Stroudsburg South’s Pat Featherman, 8-7, in the first of his three matches at 140 pounds but won the title decisively with a 53-second pin over Ben Green of Northeast Bradford.

Pease started with a first-period pin at 152 pounds then won a pair of decisions in which he allowed only one point.

Hurlburt won by a 42-second pin and a technical fall before defeating Elk Lake’s Mike Noldy, 6-2, in the 160-pound final.

Holbrook won both of his 189-pound bouts by first-period pin. He defeated Susquehanna’s Chris Cavanaugh in 1:40 in the final.

Huyck won two of his three bouts by first-period pin. After working past Elk Lake’s Rich Harvey, 11-8, in the semifinals, he pinned Williamson’s Matt Bolt in 1:05 in the final.

Noldy was one of three Elk Lake wrestlers to finish second. John Brooks (103) and Brandon Griffith (145) were the others. Griffiths advanced with two pins before losing the final to East Stroudsburg South’s Rich Houghtaling by injury default.

Cavanaugh was the only other county wrestler to finish second.

Blue Ridge had three third-place finishers -- Louis Villella (125), Larry Hardy (215) and Roy Marvin (heavyweight). Elk Lake’s Dylan Griffith (130) also finished third.

Jeff Oleniacz (103), Jeff Snyder (119), Adam Poodiack (130), Shane Kalpokas (135) and Silvio Soubhia (215) all finished fourth for Montrose.

Elk Lake’s Mason Palmitier (112) and Rich Harvey (125) also finished fourth along with Susquehanna’s Anthony Sellitto (140).

Northeast Bradford 135-pounder Sean Close was named Outstanding Wrestler. He had two pins in under a minute and a 14-1 decision on the way to the title.

Mansfield’s Brad Robbins won the pinners’ trophy with three in 6:06.


Earlier in the week, three county wrestling teams competed in the strong 22-team field at the 26th annual Tunkhannock Kiwanis Tournament.

Mountain View finished 18th with 37 12 points. Montrose was 19th and Elk Lake was 20th.

Wyalusing won the tournament with 235 points, followed by Delaware Valley with 191 12 and Towanda with 190.

Montrose’s Olienacz, who finished fourth at 103 pounds, and Mountain View’s Matt Panasevich, who wound up fifth at 171, reached the semifinals.

Olienacz was pinned by eventual champion Chris Tewksbury of Wyalusing late in the semifinal match.

Panasevich dropped a 9-4 decision to eventual champion Frank Colletta of Delaware Valley in the semifinals, then lost, 2-1, to third-place finisher Brian Stouffer of Pleasant Valley in the consolation semifinals. He bounced back to pin Lake-Lehman’s Joe Klemunes in 2:36 to take fifth place.

Teammate Greg Nixon also took fifth place at 145 pounds. Nixon lost to third-place finisher Pedro Hernandez of Pocono Mountain West, 4-2, in the consolation semifinals.

Montrose’s Poodiack (130) and Elk Lake’s Dylan Griffiths (135) finished sixth.

Montrose’s Snyder (119) and Elk Lake’s Brandon Griffiths (140) were seventh. Elk Lake’s Harvey (125) was eighth.

In girls’ basketball, Whitney Williams led Mountain View into overtime Saturday night and Leah Simko took over from there.

Williams and Simko led the Lady Eagles to a 60-56, double-overtime victory over Montrose in a game between teams tied for second place in the Lackawanna League Division 2 North.

Simko went 10-for-13 from the line while scoring 16 of Mountain View’s 18 overtime points. She finished with 28 points in the game.

Williams had 18 of her 23 points in the second half, including 11 in the fourth quarter when the Lady Eagles erased a seven-point deficit.

Chelsey Parvin led Montrose with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Carrie Robinson and Kate LaBarbera added 13 points each.

Carbondale remained unbeaten in the division by handling Susquehanna, 67-33. Beth Kubus scored 16 points and Sarah Biegert added 10 for the Lady Sabers.

Blue Ridge and Forest City also picked up wins as league play resumed. Blue Ridge ripped Elk Lake, 61-28, and Forest City handled Carbondale Sacred Heart, 52-27.

Montrose reached the final of the Taylor Lions Tournament where it fell to Riverside, 50-39, in the final.

Jen King led Riverside with 16 points.

Kate LaBarbera made the all-tournament team for the second straight year with 29 points, five 3-pointers and 10 rebounds in the two games.

LaBarbera scored 15 in the final. Amanda Lass and Chelsey Parvin had nine rebounds each in the loss.

Earlier, Montrose advanced with a 47-37 victory over Old Forge. Erika Brown had 16 points and six rebounds in the win. LaBarbera added 14 points.

In boys’ basketball, Forest City remained undefeated in the Division 2 North when it got past Elk Lake, 63-60, Friday night.

Mountain View edged Blue Ridge, 60-55.

In professional hockey, goalie Rick DiPietro, the first pick in the 2000 NHL draft, came down from the New York Islanders to play two games for the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

DiPietro lost both games – on an overtime goal in Wilkes-Barre by the Penguins’ Kris Beech and to a shutout by Binghamton’s Ray Emery.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Binghamton Senators each handed the AHL-leading Sound Tigers two of their only five losses in a 30-game stretch.


Matt Pisarcik was named Most Valuable Player and Forest City beat Mountain View in a boys’ basketball tournament final for the second time this season.

The Foresters had the best local performance in the holiday tournament season when they won their own Forest City Rotary Tournament Dec. 27 with a 56-53 victory in the final.

They repeated the scenario from Mountain View’s season-opening Bill McLaughlin Classic, which the Foresters won over the Eagles, 60-46.

Pisarcik scored 30 points in the final and all-tournament selection Dave Shollock added 12.

Robbie Johnson and Tim Bennett made the all-tournament team for Mountain View.

Forest City had to rally for a 55-49 overtime win over Western Wayne just to get to the final. Dave Shollock scored 14, Pisarcik 13 and Jake Beautz 11 in that win.

Blue Ridge finished third in the Newark Valley Christmas Tournament by beating the hosts, 41-39. Scott Summers led the fourth-quarter rally and finished with 22 points.

In girls’ basketball, Mountain View cut into a 15-point halftime lead but lost to Wilkes-Barre GAR, 46-43. Williams scored 13 points and Simko added 10.

In wrestling, Blue Ridge competed in the Selinsgrove Holiday Tournament where Pease (152) and Herbert (160) went undefeated in the round-robin event to win titles.


Kristy Shadduck, a 6-foot-1 sophomore forward from Elk Lake, has been Lock Haven’s most effective rebounder and one of its most accurate shooters so far this season.

Shadduck’s 24 rebounds in 77 minutes over nine games represents the best rebound per minute total on the team. She is shooting 47.6 percent (10-for-21), which is second best on the team.

Shadduck is 5-for-7 from the line and has two assists, two steals and two blocked shots while averaging 2.8 points per game.

Last season, Shadduck made seven starts and appeared in 17 games as a freshman at the NCAA Division II school. She was second on the team with a 47.2 field goal percentage, tied for second in rebounds (4.6 per game) and third in scoring (6.9). She scored a career-high 17 points against Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Shadduck had more than 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds during her high school career at Elk Lake.


The Lackawanna Wrestling League season opens Wednesday.

All five county wrestling teams are in the same division this season. Blue Ridge, Elk Lake, Montrose, Mountain View and Susquehanna will compete in Division 2 with Bishop O’Hara, Scranton Prep and Valley View.

Blue Ridge appears to the be the top contender among county schools. The Raiders tied for second in District 2 last season and return defending district champion Herbert and runner-up Pease. The Raiders open league competition Wednesday at Valley View in one of the division’s biggest matches then are at Elk Lake Saturday.

Mountain View, which is led by Matt Panasevich, a third-place finisher in the district last season as a freshman, is home for its first two matches. The Eagles face Elk Lake Wednesday and Susquehanna Saturday.

Montrose, under new coach Bob Thorne, is at Bishop O’Hara Wednesday.

Susquehanna opens its league schedule Wednesday at home against Scranton Prep.

Our predicted order of finish in the division is for Blue Ridge to come out as champion, followed by Valley View, Mountain View, Scranton Prep, Elk Lake, Susquehanna, Montrose and Bishop O’Hara.

In professional hockey, the Philadelphia Phantoms will visit the Binghamton Senators Saturday night in a rematch of the Dec. 28 game that resulted in three Phantoms being suspended by the American Hockey League.

The brawl, which was seen on ESPN’s SportsCenter, resulted in a six-game suspension for Mike Siklenka, who left the penalty box to join in the fight. Siklenka will still be out of the lineup Saturday. Peter Vandermeer, who was suspended four games, will make his return Saturday. Goalie Neil Little was suspended two games.

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

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Don’t Take Away The Grits, Bacon And Biscuits

It’s a red flag for NASCAR’s proposed championship points changes.

When Brian France, NASCAR’s new CEO announced in December that the ruling body was considering a new points system to determine future Nextel Cup champions, he really got the fans’ attention.

The bees started buzzing.

Brian France, NASCAR CEO

We received 189 e-mails, letters, and phone calls and all 189 were against the proposed changes that would allow a playoff system among the top-10 drivers. Most of the fans share the same feelings as Mrs. G. B. of LaGrange, North Carolina.

She is 79 years old and remembers the World 600 in 1964 when "Fireball" Roberts was killed in that fiery Charlotte wreck, and the famous "scuffle" between Cale Yarborough and the Allison Brothers during the 1978 Daytona 500.

"NASCAR racing is a southern sport," she says. "And I don’t like what they are doing to it. First, what’s wrong with the present system? Why does it need fixing?

"And second, if they go to some type system where only the top-10 drivers have a chance at winning the championship, what about all the other teams? It would probably generate a lot of excitement between the top-10, but then who would pay any attention to the other drivers?

"I don’t drive, but all my family knows not to bother me on Sunday when the races begin. I just think they are doing away with the real sport of racing as we have known it. It’s not going to be racing, just entertainment, and then what?"

We received another letter from K. D. of Buxton, Maine. The letter has been edited, but it pretty much sums up what most of the fans who responded had to say.

"I have been following the news regarding NASCAR’s ‘thinking’ about going to a 10-race shoot-out, which sounds like the Winston.

"I am totally against the concept.

"My favorite driver is Jeff Gordon, who is a top-10 competitor. I should be in favor of it, but it would not be fair to the other 40-plus teams, and would add more pressure to the teams to perform well at the beginning of the season.

"I think the present system works fine. I would be in favor of adding bonus points to qualifying and winning.

"Much like the television show, ‘Survivor,’ it would certainly increase the television coverage of the top-10, but it would cause hardships and much less coverage for the other teams.

"Drivers should have a say in any format change. NASCAR needs to listen to the drivers and what is fair to all concerned. The same applied to the ‘racing back to the yellow.’

"NASCAR is looking to expand the sport, but at what expense? All drivers at the beginning of the season look to be in the top-10. That is their goal and dream.

"Few are able to achieve it, but let all drivers compete equally all the time. Be fair to all the teams and drivers by rewarding the top-10 at the end of the season.

"It would be exciting to watch just 10 drivers race for the championship, but with the focus on just that, would it be worth it? NASCAR is not structured like baseball and football, where the top teams have playoffs.

"I am in favor of change, but not such a radical one, happening so fast or so soon."

Based on the responses, I think if NASCAR does go ahead with their proposed changes, it will be like taking the grits, bacon, and biscuits away from any person who loves a good southern breakfast.

It just won’t be the same.

Racing Trivia Question: How many different flags are used in NASCAR events?

Last Week’s Question: Which team will Jeremy Mayfield drive for in 2004? Answer. He will continue to drive a Dodge for Ray Evernham Motorsports.

If you would like to read additional racing stories by the Gerald Hodges/ the Racing Reporter, go to:

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What Would Earnhardt Have Done?

My first meeting with Dale Earnhardt came in 1996 at the NASCAR Exhibition race in Suzuka, Japan.

Dale Earnhardt, Sr.

Early on Friday morning while I was sitting in the media center, Earnhardt approached and looked at my media badge. After studying it for a while, he pointed his long index finger at me and said, "What in the hell is a fellow from Mobile, Alabama doing way over here."

His question kind of floored me for a minute, but then I replied, "I’ve come all this way just to watch you race, so you better win."

With that, he broke into one of his big wide grins, and from then on I felt like I had been accepted by him.

But even before that incident, I respected the man, not just because of his racing abilities, but because he seemed to know exactly the right thing to do, at exactly the right time.

He made mistakes. There were times he would get wrecked, but when he did, he usually told it like it was – no excuses. The man hardly ever hit below the belt.

That’s what I liked about him, his ability to make quick decisions. I guess that has always been one of my weaknesses, not always knowing when the right thing should be done or said.

During the week of the NASCAR Winston Cup Awards (Dec. 1-5), I found myself in a situation where I needed to make a decision.

I had just left two media press conferences on the 18th floor of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel that featured Richard Childress and Bill Elliott. As I was walking along Fifth Avenue I remembered that the weatherman had said there was going to be a lot of snow and freezing temperatures the next day.

Since I had only brought dress clothes with me I thought it would be a good idea to buy a pair of dungarees or jeans.

As I walked along Fifth Avenue, peering into the shops and watching all the people hurry by, I spotted a jean shop. It advertised the latest fashion in men’s jeans.

I went into this Times Square store.

A child of maybe sixteen with blue hair came up to me and introduced herself as the salesperson.

"I’m looking for a pair of jeans," I said.

"Like I couldn’t figure that out, okay," she responded. "I mean, like this is a jeans store, and I didn’t think you would come in here to buy, like a bottle of vodka or something like that."

That really shocked me. I considered calling the manager, but when I looked around I saw there were several other people with different colors of hair. I figured the best thing I could do was find me a pair of jeans and get out.

"I would like a pair of jeans in size 36, please," I said still smiling. "Do you have any of those relaxed fit ones, because sometimes I need a ‘tad’ more room?"

"You mean the kind old men wear when they have two bellies?" she asked.

"I guess so," I shot back.

"Sure, we have them. Follow me."

I followed her down several aisles to the back of the store, where she pulled out a big box from under one of the tables.

"Here, this is a size 38."

"But I wear a 36," I said.

"Please, don’t waste my time. There’s the dressing room over there, and don’t get your tad caught when you try to zip those things up."

By this time I was wondering what I was doing in here, and if I was in the right place.

The thought came to my mind, "What would Earnhardt do?"

No matter how many laps down I was, I had to have a pair of warmer pants.

After trying on the jeans, which were too tight, I put my regular pants back on, thanked the blue haired girl, and left the store.

A few doors further down, I went into Saks of Fifth Avenue.

I wound up wearing pleated wool trousers with what the salesman, a distinguished gentleman with regular hair, said had, "a little extra give."

The next day it did snow. I mean the white stuff really came down. By Saturday afternoon, 21 inches had fallen in Central Park.

My flight out of LaGuardia to Atlanta had been canceled, and the two flights after it also had been scrubbed.

But it wasn’t all bad. I was able to get confirmed on another flight out of JFK Airport, and as I sat in the terminal waiting for the flight that was seven hours late, I appreciated my wool pants, with a "little extra give."

But I still wonder, "What would Earnhardt have done?" Would he have taken the air off her spoiler and put her into the wall, or would he have let her ride?

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