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Issue Home February 3, 2004 Site Home

Local Sports Scene
Harry Marvin Enters NASCAR Institute

Raiders Fall In Semifinals; Sabers Eliminated In Quarters

Yatesville – Blue Ridge won its first round District 2 Class AA Dual Meet wrestling tournament match Friday before falling in Saturday’s semifinals at Pittston Area.

Despite three straight first-period pins by Justin Herbert, Joe Pipitone and Matt Holbrook, the Raiders did not have enough to match up with Western Wayne in a 54-27 loss.

"Joe, Herbie and Matt all came out strong for us," Blue Ridge coach Dean Lewis said.

Western Wayne’s Dave Arnold pinned Nick Pease in a matchup of returning district place-winners and three forfeits helped pad the Wildcats’ winning margin.

Blue Ridge advanced with a 43-33 victory over Hanover Area in the quarterfinals. Susquehanna also qualified for the tournament where it lost to top-seed and eventual champion Lake-Lehman, 64-12.

Harry Marvin put Blue Ridge ahead of Western Wayne with an opening decision at 140 pounds.

After Western Wayne took a 12-3 lead, Herbert needed 33 seconds at 160 pounds, Pipitone needed 46 seconds at 171 and Holbrook needed 1:14 at 189 to put the Raiders ahead, 21-12.

Western Wayne won seven of the eight remaining bouts, including the three forfeits.

"They’re a tough team, full of good wrestlers," Lewis said. "There’s not a weak spot in the lineup."

Holbrook (215) and Louis Villella (119) had first-period pins in the win over Hanover Area.

Holbrook’s pin decided the match by giving the Raiders a 37-27 lead with two bouts left – a forfeit for each team.

Marvin and Ryan Hawk had back-to-back pins at 140 and 145.

"Against another small team, the flip of the coin is so important," Lewis said. "You can say, ‘we’re not coming out. We’ll go for the next guy.’

"I thought we matched up real well with Hanover."

Lake-Lehman, consistently the top Class AA wrestling team in District 2, openeda 49-0 lead on the Sabers.

Scott Meagley’s 18-second pin at 103 pounds broke the shutout and Nathan Huyck added a pin in 1:14 at 125 pounds.

Then was plenty of excitement in the action involving teams from outside the county.

Berwick ended Abington Heights’ unbeaten season in the Class AAA semifinals on tie-breaking criteria after the match ended, 28-28. The semifinal was decided by shoelaces that were not properly secured before the first bout even started.

Abington Heights 119-pounder Cory Youtz was penalized for the uniform violation, costing him a point in a bout that he eventually lost in overtime, costing his team a penalty point for unsportsmanlike conduct and costing the Comets the tiebreaker which is based on least penalty points.

Pittston Area beat Berwick, 32-26, for the title.

Western Wayne rallied from 23 points down in the Class AA final only to lose to Lake-Lehman, 40-34, on a pin in the final bout.


Forest City and Montrose met January 26 to start an eventful week of girls’ basketball for the two teams.

When the week was over, Forest City was alone in the second-half lead of the Lackawanna League Division 2 North and the Lady Foresters had a new all-time leading scorer.

Amanda Vitzakovitch shot her way to a school record and led Forest City to three wins and the division lead.

Vitzakovitch led Montrose to a 61-52 victory in a game for a share of the division lead.

Later in the week, Montrose put Forest City alone in first place by handing Carbondale its first league loss of the season and just its second loss overall, 56-52.

Vitzakovitch started the week by scoring 21 points in the first half to get Forest City out to a 36-17 lead on Montrose. The Lady Foresters led, 48-26, after three quarters and built the lead to 24 early in the fourth before Montrose rallied.

Kelsey Tyson added 19 points, including four 3-pointers, in the win.

Montrose’s Kate LaBarbera also had four 3-pointers while scoring 16 points.

Chelsey Parvin led Montrose with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Erika Brown added five assists. Amanda Lass had nine points and five steals.

Vitzakovitch broke Tammy Herrmann’s 11-year-old school record and became the first Forest City girl to score more than 1,700 career points when she broke loose for 40 points in a 74-72 overtime win over Old Forge. Vitzakovitch topped the record-breaking night by hitting a 3-pointer to send the game into overtime where she made the winning shot.

Another 24 points by Vitzakovitch on Saturday helped Forest City roll over Mountain View, 60-31, and take sole possession of first place.

Montrose and Blue Ridge are with Carbondale at 3-1, one game behind Forest City (4-0).

Following the loss to Forest City and a 58-45 loss to Bishop Hannan in crossover play Thursday, Montrose recovered to knock off Carbondale.

Parvin had her seventh straight double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds in the loss to Bishop Hannan. Erika Brown added 12 points.

LaBarbera led the way in the way over Carbondale. She scored 15 of her 21 points in the second half and hit two free throws in the final 10 seconds.

Blue Ridge defeated Susquehanna, 52-38, to maintain its share of second place.

Susquehanna had a tough week. The Lady Sabers led 20-14 at halftime before falling victim to the first Carbondale Sacred Heart victory of the season, 38-26. Beth Kubus had 14 points in the loss.

The Lady Sabers then had just two points until the closing seconds of the half in a 59-24 crossover loss to Western Wayne.

Mountain View won twice, beating Elk Lake, 37-25, in the division and Bishop O’Hara, 56-45, in a crossover.

In boys’ basketball, Forest City and Carbondale each won twice to remain tied for the second-half Division 2 North lead.

Forest City defeated Blue Ridge, 74-64, and Elk Lake, 75-48.

Mountain View also won twice, each time by a point. The Eagles rallied past Susquehanna, 52-51, and edged Blue Ridge, 50-49.

In professional hockey, the Binghamton Senators passed the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins into fourth place in the American Hockey League East Division Friday night then stretched their lead Saturday with a 4-1 victory over the slumping Penguins.

The Penguins outshot the Senators, 44-26, but continued to have trouble scoring, including an 0-for-11 effort on the power play.

"Our power play is pathetic," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said after the team went 0-for-9, including three failed 5-on-3 chances in a 3-1 loss to Hershey Friday.

Peter Smrek led Binghamton with a goal and two assists. Alexandre Giroux added a goal and an assist.

The Senators have won four straight by a combined 16-4 margin.

Charlie Stephens and Giroux each had two goals and an assist Friday in a 6-0 win at Albany.


Susquehanna graduate Teresa Covert is competing as a senior hurdler/jumper for the University at Albany during the indoor track season.

When Albany hosted the Great Dane Classic January 18, Covert finished second in the 55-meter hurdles and failed to qualify for the finals in the 60-meter dash.

Covert is scheduled to compete in the 97th annual Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden February 6.


Blue Ridge is at Forest City Thursday in girls’ basketball with a chance to force a tie for the second-half Division 2 North lead.

The Raiders have been gaining on the division’s top teams throughout the season. The Lady Foresters are defending District 2 Class A champions and won a first-half title in the division last season.

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

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SPEEDWEEK 2004 Starts This Saturday

NASCAR’s first race of the season gets underway with the Budweiser Shootout this Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway.

Ryan Newman and Rusty Wallace

The Budweiser Shootout is a non-points, no-holds barred All-Star race under the lights.

The sprint race features last year's Bud Pole winners and past Budweiser Shootout champions. Among the who's who of NASCAR stars in the field include defending champion Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson.

In the final Bud Pole Qualifying session of the season at Homestead Miami Speedway, Jamie McMurray earned his first career Bud Pole and qualified for the 2004 Budweiser Shootout on Saturday night, February 7 at the historic speedway.

McMurray, driver of the No. 42 Havoline Dodge, turned a record lap of 181.111 mph, 29.816 seconds on the new state-of-the-art 20-degree, variable banking at Homestead Miami Speedway. He's the 21st and final driver to qualify for the Budweiser Shootout.

McMurray, also earned the 2003 Winston Cup Raybestos Rookie of the Year honor.

"Typically the guys in the Budweiser Shootout are the guys who race well all week, so it's going to be nice to get to race with those guys before the (Gatorade) 125's," McMurray said.

Drivers that have secured spots by winning poles this season include McMurray, Jeff Green, Dave Blaney, Bobby Labonte, Ryan Newman, Elliott Sadler, Jeremy Mayfield, Jeff Gordon, Terry Labonte, Steve Park, Jimmie Johnson, Boris Said, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick and Mike Skinner.

Past winners already in the field are Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin, Rusty Wallace, Ken Schrader, Bill Elliott and Dale Jarrett.

The Budweiser Shootout is a prelude to the first points race of the season, the Daytona 500, February 15.

KENSETH: Small Town Driver, Big-Time Champion – Cambridge, Wisconsin’s hero was the best of NASCAR last year.

The small town of Cambridge might seem like a peculiar place to have spawned the latest NASCAR Winston Cup champion. But by the same token, Cambridge may be precisely why Matt Kenseth is the 2003 champion.

Maybe there is truly something to it, this cliché of strong work ethic and modest behavior. Maybe it’s the foundation for a driver that team owner Jack Roush calls "extraordinary mature and borderline unshakeable."

Kenseth, who shuns the spotlight as much as a vampire does the sunshine, has been unavoidably caught up in more attention than anyone could have imagined during the off season.

The big question is whether he can repeat in 2004.

Through the entire 2003 season, Kenseth and his crew chief Robbie Reiser were a rock of consistency. There were a couple bad weeks, but his No. 17 DeWalt team led the standings for 33 weeks.

"Overall, if you look at our year as a whole and not pick out one or two races, it really was a great year for us," said Kenseth. "We were able to run up front and be very competitive. We put ourselves in position to win and led some laps and ran real good.

"If the people were looking for a flashy champion, they didn’t get it in me. But if they wanted someone who could be a role model for their children, then I think I fit that."

While the other four Roush teams did not fare as well as Kenseth, Jack Roush believes the new engine changes allowed on the Ford heads will help them win more races this year.

"I know we’re going to have stronger equipment next year with the new head, and other design changes," said Roush. "Whether that’s enough will be dependent on what we do with it, but I certainly look forward to the challenges."

Kenseth won his first NASCAR Cup Series championship in 2003, but he still has a long way to go to get to the top.

Here are the top-seven drivers by number of championships: Richard Petty-7, Dale Earnhardt-7, Jeff Gordon-4, Darrell Waltrip, Lee Petty, David Pearson and Cale Yarborough each have three.

Changes In The Schedule – This year’s NASCAR Nextel Cup series schedule will be the first under NASCAR’s new sponsor agreement, but it will have two noticeable alterations.

The first phase of NASCAR’s "Realignment and Beyond" concept has resulted in two race dates at California Speedway. In 2004, the track’s traditional spring date (May 2) will be joined by a Labor Day weekend (Sept. 6) date formerly reserved for the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

The Southern 500, NASCAR’s oldest event still on the schedule moves to Nov. 14 as the season’s next-to-last race, placing it in the thick of the late season championship stretch run.


Saturday, February 7: Before the Budweiser Shootout goes green; the ARCA RE/MAX Series will warm things up with the Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 at 4 p.m. (EST) on Speed Channel.

The ARCA RE/MAX Series is a proving ground for future NASCAR stars and past winners of the Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 at Daytona include Ryan Newman, Kenny Irwin, Mike Wallace, Kyle Petty, Joe Ruttman, Benny Parsons and Tim Richmond.

Chase Montgomery added his name to that list in the 2003 Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 when he held off veterans Bob Strait and Billy Venturini for the victory.

The 2004 Budweiser Shootout will immediately follow the ARCA RE/MAX Advance Auto Parts 200 race on TNT.

Racing Trivia Question: What year did Dale Earnhardt win his first Daytona 500?

Answer to Last Week’s Question: Which is the oldest track on the NASCAR circuit?

Answer. It is Martinsville Speedway.

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

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Harry Marvin Enters NASCAR Institute

Phoenix – Harry W. Marvin III is racing toward a new career. The resident of Great Bend has been accepted to the NASCAR Technical Institute (NTI) in Mooresville, NC. Marvin will train to become a professional automotive technician.

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