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Local Sports Scene
What Would Earnhardt Have Done?
Nick Pease Is December's Athlete Of The Month
Knights Of Columbus Sponsor Free Throw

Binghamton Senators Land Three AHL All-Stars

Ray Emery was the winning goal-tender in the AHL All-Star Classic last season as a rookie.

Emery will get a chance to try to repeat that accomplishment.

Emery was one of three Binghamton Senators – one at each position – to be named to the game when the AHL announced the lineups for the February 8 game in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Forward Josh Langfeld and defenseman Julian Vauclair will play for the PlanetUSA team, which will take on an all-star team made up of Canadian-born players.

Emery stopped all nine shots he faced last season while playing in the third period when Canada rallied from a 7-6 deficit to win, 10-7. The shutout third period was similar to Emery’s season in which he tied for the AHL lead with seven shutouts.

This season, Emery has two shutouts, a 2.16 goals against average and a .925 save percentage.

Langfeld, a Minnesota native, scored the overtime, game-winning goal for Michigan in the national championship game victory over Boston College as a freshman. In his third professional season, he is Binghamton’s second-leading scorer. He was called back up to the parent Ottawa Senators last week.

Vauclair, a 24-year-old from Switzerland, has 14 points to lead Binghamton defensemen in scoring. He made his NHL debut earlier this season.

Left wing Matt Murley, a second-year pro from Troy NY who also made his NHL debut earlier this season, was the only Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguin selected for the game. Murley leads the team in assists with 17 in 30 games and is tied for the plus/minus lead at plus-13.


The rematch of the Philadelphia Phantoms-Binghamton Senators brawl that drew national television coverage was mild in comparison to the original.

Philadelphia beat Binghamton, 2-1, Saturday night before a sellout crowd of 4,717 at the Broome County Arena and the players only beat on each other twice.

Mike Brown went at it with Philadelphia’s Jim Vandermeer just 47 seconds into the game.

Philadelphia’s Craig Berube interfered with Emery early in the second period and there was one more fight later in that period before things settled down. Brian McGrattan found Philadelphia’s Peter Vandermeer in a rematch of one of the biggest fights in the brawl.

The penalty minute total dropped from 363 minutes in the last game to 34 minutes in Saturday’s game.

In wrestling, Blue Ridge made it through a relatively tough opening week of the Lackawanna Wrestling League season shorthanded, improving the Raiders chances of ultimately winning the division title.

Justin Herbert and Louis Villella had first-period pins in a 48-30 win over Valley View, which is potentially one of the top challengers to the Raiders.

With four starters out of the lineup because of injuries or family commitments, Blue Ridge still got past Elk Lake, 45-30, Friday. Herbert, Matt Holbrook and Harold McKinney each had first-period pins. Harry Marvin also had a pin.

Elk Lake had beaten Mountain View, 38-28, earlier in the week.

Two Mountain View wrestlers did well in the Delaware Valley Tournament Friday and Saturday.

Greg Nixon went 7-0 in the dual-meet event and Matt Panasevich went 6-1, including a victory over Wilkes-Barre GAR’s Ted Yelland. Panasevich bumped up from 171 to 189 to post the 5-4 victory over Yelland, who was the runner-up in the recent Tunkhannock Kiwanis Tournament.

"It was a tight match, but I just kept going hard and wrestled my match," Panasevich said.

In boys’ basketball, Susquehanna posted its first league win in two seasons when it defeated Blue Ridge, 56-50.

Forest City remained undefeated in the Lackawanna League Division 2 North when it defeated Carbondale Sacred Heart, 76-49, and Lackawanna Trail, 76-52.

In girls’ basketball, Montrose, Mountain View and Forest City all have winning records, but Carbondale clinched the first-half title in the Lackawanna League Division 2 North.

Kate LaBarbera scored 18 points in each game to lead Montrose to wins on back-to-back nights. The Lady Meteors got past Lackawanna Trail, 49-33, and Blue Ridge, 56-51.

LaBarbera hit six fourth-quarter free throws to put away Blue Ridge. Erika Brown added 10 points and eight rebounds.

Chelsey Parvin had 10 rebounds against Lackawanna Trail.


Montrose won the Honesdale Jaycees Boys’ Basketball Tournament in an outcome that was inadvertently overlooked in this space during our recap of the holiday tournaments.

Jesse Tyler was named Most Valuable Player after scoring 14 points to lead Montrose to a 61-51 victory over Honesdale in the tournament championship game.

The Meteors outscored Honesdale in each of the first three quarters to open a 48-37 lead.

Jon Rounds (13), Kyle Adriance (12) and Tom Burgh (10) also scored in double figures. Adriance and Burgh made the all-tournament team.


Nicole Zapolski, a junior from Mountain View, repeated as Keystone College Female Athlete of the Month.

Zapolski had 47 points and 32 rebounds in two games for the unbeaten Lady Giants during December.

Zapolski and Julie Lasher, also from Mountain View, are the leaders in Keystone’s perfect start.

The former high school teammates rank 1-2 on the team in scoring and rebounding. Zapolski leads with 21.0 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. Lasher adds 15.0 points and 10.8 rebounds while leading the team in all the shooting categories (field goal, free throw and 3-point percentage and 3-pointers made), blocked shots (2.6) and assists (2.4).


Blue Ridge’s wrestling team is home Wednesday, then faces what might be its toughest remaining league match Saturday at Scranton Prep.

In boys’ basketball, Forest City was scheduled to play at Carbondale Tuesday night in a meeting of unbeatens that will decide the first-half Lackawanna League Division 2 North title.

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

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Where Is That Last Martinsville Program ? Poor ole Dink.

Have you ever seen someone work so hard and still come up short?

"Dink" Gardner

Man, you’ve really got to love racing to work as a volunteer at Martinsville Speedway.

Talk about something that will build character and patience. I can’t even talk about it because many of the people in the media center never get to sit down and work 14-15 hours on race day.

W. S. "Dink" Gardner of Martinsville, Virginia is one of those persons that loves the sport of NASCAR racing. He recently retired as a probation officer, and is one of 15 local people that make up the "500 Committee," a volunteer organization at Martinsville Speedway.

"We find out from the staff here at Martinsville what they need help with and take care of their problems," said Gardner. "Since television has become so time-oriented, it’s important that we get and keep everything on schedule.

"We see to it that the drivers get to the track, and to driver introductions on time, and that the special awards and trophies are in the right place when they need to be, and take care of other problems associated with the race.

"And we take care of whatever needs taking care of.

"Back when the committee was first formed, we had what they called, ‘the triple-header.’ This consisted of a Busch race, a modified race, and a late model race. They had what they called ‘Champagne Cups,’ which were given to the winning drivers.

"Ken Horsley and myself were assigned the duty of getting those down from the press box to victory lane. Now, this was before the tunnel, and we had to beat the traffic, get over the wall, and do all the other stuff.

"After the first race, I thought Ken had the victory cup. He thought I had it, and here comes the second race, and we still thought the other one had them.

"‘What did you do with those cups?’ I asked him. He looked at me and said, ‘I thought you had them.’ Ken and I then stared at each other. I didn’t know what those silver cups cost, but I was worried for a while.

"But the cups were in the infield, and we did eventually find the cups and get them to the drivers.

"One other time we couldn’t find the pace car. We had everyone looking for it. It was getting close to race time, and buddy, we were starting to sweat. But finally, it was found back over behind one of the transporters.

"We never found out whether someone hid it on purpose, or if it was just a mistake."

Gardner is a walking historian when it comes to Martinsville Speedway information. He has tons and tons of statistics, dates, and names stored in his head, and stacks of it at home.

This makes him and the others like him a valuable asset to the track. Even though he may be at the track for 15 hours, he does not get to watch the race. The only way he is able to watch the race is to program his VCR before leaving home.

But his love for racing, especially at Martinsville began a long time ago.

"I attended my first race in 1956, when I was 10," continued Gardner. "It was a labeled, ‘The Mixed 400.’ It was convertibles as well as hardtops. My father drove a Dodge, and two ’56 Dodges were on the front row."

That was the first race on asphalt at Martinsville.

Even though he had several Martinsville programs, it wasn’t until after meeting a sportswriter many years later, and buying boxes and boxes of NASCAR collectibles from him that he became a serious collector.

"I’ve got the first five programs from 1949 that was run under the NASCAR banner, as well as both 1950 and ’51," said Gardner. "Drivers from along the way have contributed, and lots of fans."

Even though he has programs dating back to 1949, his collection won’t be complete until he finds that last, single program, featuring the Old Dominion 500, ran June 8, 1958, and won by Fireball Roberts.

That means he is a lap down.

"If anyone has that program, I have tons of other age wise memorabilia that I would like to trade them," said Gardner.

If you have the June 8, 1958 Old Dominion program and might be willing to part with it, give Gardner a call at (276) 632–7846. It would sure make his day and help him finish what he started many years ago.

Here is a tip to our readers. Each week we receive several letters and sometimes included in the letters are good racing stories. Unfortunately, we are not always able to use them because the writer doesn’t give enough information.

Please, if you send us a letter, include your name and phone number so we can contact you. Last week we received a great story about an old time racer, Roy Hall, and the Charlotte Motor Speedway. We were unable to use it because the letter was not signed.

We will not release your telephone number to anyone, and if we use your story, we will send you an 8X10 photo of your favorite driver.

Racing Trivia Question: He won 26 races and was called "Fast Freddy." Who was this Elmhurst, Illinois driver that retired after the 1972 season?

Last Week’s Question: How many different flags are used in NASCAR events? Answer. NASCAR uses seven different flags.

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

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Mark Martin Is Happy And Fortunate

Mark Martin completed his 501st consecutive start last weekend at Dover.

"I’m really thankful for what I’ve been able to do," said Martin. "I am a very lucky person, because I’ve been able to do what I love doing."

His streak is the seventh longest in NASCAR history and the third longest among active drivers. Only Ricky Rudd with 706 in a row, and Rusty Wallace with 615, have longer streaks.

Over a 21-year span, Martin has won 33 races, 41 poles and finished third or better in the Winston Cup points standings eight times.

He began his racing career in 1974 at the age of 15 on Arkansas dirt tracks. He won his first race in only his third start and the Arkansas state championship the same year. He moved to a faster division in 1976 and began racing on asphalt later that season.

His success continued and by 1977, he was competing in the ASA series against such drivers as Rusty Wallace, Bobby Allison and Dick Trickle. He was the ASA Rookie of The Year in 1977, and then went on to win three consecutive championships from 1978 to 1980.

In 1981, the then-22-year-old driver appeared on the NASCAR Winston Cup scene. Driving for his own team, he won two poles that year. The following season, he ran the full schedule and finished 14th in the point standings.

But he was unable to find a full-time ride, and Martin found himself knocking on a lot of doors -- unsuccessfully. He raced 16 times in 1983 before leaving NASCAR and returning to his ASA roots.

Martin decided to return to NASCAR racing in 1987, when he drove a full-season Busch car for Bruce Lawmaster. It was Mark’s win at Dover Downs that sparked the attention of Jack Roush.

Roush was preparing his own Winston Cup team for 1988 and selected Martin as his driver.

Since then, Martin and Roush have achieved everything just short of a Winston Cup title. Together they have earned 33 Winston Cup victories and finished second in the point standings four times (1990, 1994, 1998 and 2002).

"It's been my honor to be with Mark for the duration of this streak of 500 starts," Roush said. "There are certainly times when I wish I could have provided him better equipment or better strategy and better results at times, but overall it has certainly been a good run.

"Mark is a pillar of NASCAR. I'm sure that after he retires one day that his career will be looked at by the historians and the fans as one of the 'greatest' of all-time, regardless. Mark is one of the greatest to drive a race car, and time will show that."

Jeff Burton, who is Martin’s teammate at Roush Racing have been together since 1994.

"Mark is obviously one of the most talented drivers in NASCAR," said Burton. "He's a good, honest person who has achieved success through his dignity and character, and I think that's admirable. He eats, sleeps and breathes racing, and that dedication and hard work shows in everything he does.

"To start 500 races, let alone consecutively, is an achievement that is inconceivable to most, but I think it's the epitome of everything Mark Martin is."

Through it all, Martin has remained committed to Roush, and Roush to him. There's not a current driver who has been with the same team for as long as Martin has been with Roush Racing.

"I'm really thankful for what I have and the time that I've had and the success that I've had," Martin said. "The fact that I've been able to do this actually says a lot about the people around me over the years that worked really hard to make that possible. Jack basically gave me a second chance and the opportunity to pursue my dreams, and we have been doing that ever since.

"There are a lot of things that stand out. Perhaps the biggest thing is my relationship with Jack Roush over the years and how it has grown and changed over time. We've been through it all together, the agonizing disappointments and the highest of highs that we have had.

"As far as the streak, I've been really fortunate about not having to miss a race, or even need relief in that period of time. Thankfully I've been able to drive my car every week since it all started.

"I would say that I am a very happy and fortunate man."

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Nick Pease Is December's Athlete Of The Month

More than 40 schools, many of them with accomplished wrestling programs, sent wrestlers to College Misericordia for the Times Leader Invitational Wrestling Tournament.

None sent a better 152-pounder to the tournament than Blue Ridge’s Nick Pease.

Pease won the Times Leader Invitational and the Selinsgrove Holiday Tournament during December, making him the latest Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month.

It was a series of special performances to start Pease’s final year of wrestling. He has been accepted to Penn State University in the fall and plans to study there rather than pursuing his sport at a smaller school.

"This is my 10th year wrestling," said Pease, who started the sport as a third-grader. "As soon as I started wrestling, I loved it. By the time I was in fifth or sixth grade, I was traveling around the state for tournaments."

Justin Herbert, Matt Holbrook and Joe Pipitone were other members of the Blue Ridge Wrestling Club that often traveled with Pease. Now, they help form a Blue Ridge High School varsity wrestling team that appears to be in strong position to win the Lackawanna Wrestling League Division II title.

When the league competition is over, Pease, who is currently out of the lineup with a knee injury, hopes to take one last step in the postseason. The senior has been a District 2 runnerup twice and has not been able to advance out of the Class AA Northeast Regionals at Williamsport.

"I was in a real tough bracket last season – the top three guys from regionals all placed at states," Pease said. "I want to get through regionals and get to states.

"My biggest goal is to get to Hershey."

Pease saw signs of that possibility before his injury. An injury default against Valley View in the league opener dropped his record to 14-2 overall. His only loss in December showed some encouraging progress during a second-place finish at the Bloomsburg Tournament.

Bloomsburg’s Steve Anceravage was a state runner-up last season when he lost in the final on a double-overtime rideout. After beating Pease, 16-1, last season, Anceravage won the rematch, 8-2, in the tournament final.

Blue Ridge coach Dean Lewis said Pease, a second-team Lackawanna Division I all-star last season, has earned his improvement.

"He spends an awful lot of time working on it," Lewis said. "He’s worked on his feet. Last year, he was just average on his feet.

"He’s become a finesse wrestler. He has gotten away from being just a powerhouse wrestler."

Nick is the son of Mark and Sue Pease of Jackson.

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Knights Of Columbus Sponsor Free Throw

All boys and girls ages 10 to 14 are invited to participate in the local level of the competition for the 2004 Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship. The local competition will be held at the Newmann center in Choconut, PA, on Saturday, January 24, from 8:00 a.m. through 12:00 p.m.

The Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship is sponsored annually, with winners progressing through local, district and state competition. International champions are announced by the Knights of Columbus headquarters based on sores for the state-level competitions. All boys and girls 10 to 14 years old are eligible to compete in respective age divisions. In past years, more than 218,000 sharpshooters have participated in over 2,000 local competitions.

All contestants on the local level are recognized for their participation in the event. Participants are required to furnish proof of age and written parental consent. For more information, contact Jason Legg at (570) 278-9407.

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