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Local Sports Scene
Alex Stanton 3rd At Wrestling National
Blue Ridge graduates Matt Treible and Katie Onyon received national recognition for their performances on Keystone College athletic teams this spring.
Treible was a United States College Athletic Association All-American after helping his team to the national tournament in baseball.
Onyon finished second in two events at the USCAA national track and field championships to highlight Keystone's first year of competition in track and field.
Treible went 9-1 for the second-highest win total in Keystone history. The junior pitcher had a 1.06 ERA. He pitched 67 1/3 innings in 11 games, giving up 48 hits and 17 walks while striking out 54.
Keystone went 30-9 in baseball, with the help of Jeremy Pierson, a sophomore from Elk Lake. Pierson went 7-2 with a 3.95 ERA in 10 games.
Onyon had her second-place finishes in the shot put and discus.
Another former county athlete received honors recently at Keystone.
Women's basketball player Nicole Zapolski, a junior from Mountain View, received the Keystonian Award.
The Keystonian Award is given to one male and one female athlete for their excellence on and off the field. Zapolski averaged 17.3 points and 12.1 rebounds to earn USCAA All-America honors.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Montrose's Matt Hearn reached the District 2 Class AA boys' tennis singles quarterfinals before falling to returning state semifinalist John Nespoli of Scranton Prep.
Hearn received a first-round bye and won two matches, including an upset of seventh-seeded James Hart of Dunmore.
Hearn beat Crestwood's Mike Marshall, 6-3, 6-0, before getting past Hart, 6-1, 6-3. He fell to Nespoli, the second seed and eventual runner-up, 6-0, 6-1.
Elk Lake's Kyle Hanjarus won one match before being eliminated.
Hanjarus topped Andrew Dill of Wilkes-Barre Meyers, 6-4, 6-1. He then fell to fifth-seeded Nathan Mattice of Valley View, 6-1, 6-1.
Montrose's Patrick Bayer and Elk Lake's Chris Jayne were each eliminated with losses in their first match. Bayer opened with fourth-seeded P.J. Marranca of Wyoming Seminary and lost, 6-1, 6-1.
In track and field, the regular season came to a close.
Blue Ridge finished with just one girls' loss to place second in Division II of the Lackawanna League behind unbeaten Western Wayne.
Strong regular-season efforts gave five county athletes top seeds for the District 2 Class AA meet, which was scheduled to be held Tuesday at North Pocono.
Elk Lake distance runner Jessica Squier went into the event seeded first in the 1600- and 3200-meter runs.
Robert Squier, Jessica's brother, was the top seed in the 3200.
Montrose's Larry Lundy (shot put) and Joe LaBarbera (pole vault) were both top seeds.
Susquehanna's Amber Gaffey earned a top seed in the pole vault.
In professional hockey, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins held the Philadelphia Phantoms without a shot for the first 12:20 and the last 11:46 Friday night to post a 3-1 victory that decided the best-of-seven Calder Cup playoff series, four games to two.
"We just stuck to our system and played the trap we've played all season," said Matt Murley, who finished off the Phantoms with the empty-net goal with 55.6 seconds remaining. "We're sharper now.
"We tightened it up and didn't give them much at the end."
Andy Chiodo had three straight home playoff shutouts and was unscored on for two more periods Friday before Philadelphia's Mark Murphy scored at 2:51 of the third period.
Chiodo was called on to make the last three of his 20 saves in the next 5 1/2 minutes and the team defense took it from there.
"The whole team was unbelievable in the third period," Chiodo said.
Tomas Surovy, who had been scoreless in the first five games of the series, had a goal and an assist. Rookie defenseman Ryan Whitney, the leading scorer in the series, had two assists.
Philadelphia extended the series by winning, 4-2, at home in Game Five.
Chiodo's best game of a remarkable post-season put the Penguins in position to clinch by producing a 2-0 victory in Game Four in Wilkes-Barre.
There have been times during the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton playoff resurgence when the 21-year-old rookie goalie has been the center of attention, basking in the adoration of fans, receiving cheers that just as easily could have been directed at team defensive efforts.
The second period of Game Four was not one of those times.
Chiodo made a series of top-notch saves, allowing the Penguins to escape with a victory and a commanding lead in the series.
Philadelphia had a 32-17 shot advantage in the game and, 12-2, in the second period.
"Andy was outstanding," Therrien said after the May 10 victory. "That's what the playoffs are about. Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy have stolen playoff games.
"Tonight, Andy Chiodo stole a game."
While playing against two of the top four teams in the American Hockey League, the Penguins have won seven of their last nine. The turnaround started after Wilkes-Barre/Scranton fell behind, 3-1, in the Bridgeport series to end an eight-game stretch in which the team went 1-4-2-1.
Chiodo made his first start at that point and the Penguins have been one of the league's best teams since.
The Penguins are averaging more than 1,000 fans more per game than any other team in the American Hockey League playoffs.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was set to open its best-of-seven Calder Cup semifinal Tuesday at home. The Penguins are also at the Wachovia Arena in Wilkes-Barre Thursday before heading to Hartford, the Calder Cup favorite, for three games.
The Wolf Pack tied for the league's best record, lost their playoff opener and has won eight straight since.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached on-line at RobbyTR@aol.com.
DALE JRS Gamble At Richmond Pays Off
Richmond, VA Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his team made the right call Saturday at Richmond, as Little E was able to beat Jimmie Johnson by 3.5 seconds to win the Nextel Cup Chevy American Revolution 400.
Earnhardt Jr. was in second place when the ninth caution flew on lap 343 (57 laps from the finish), and his No. 8 Bud team elected not to pit with leader Tony Stewart and eight other lead-lap cars, instead opting to stay out with 40-lap old tires and leaving the balance of the race in the hands of its driver.
Dale Jr. responded by not only keeping the lead he inherited when Stewart pitted, but running away with it. He put several lapped-down cars in between himself and second-place Jimmie Johnson, and he padded his advantage to over three seconds when the checkered flag waved.
"Man, this is pretty exciting," said Earnhardt Jr. "It just came down to a gut decision on whether to pit with everyone else or stay out. We live by the sword and die by the sword. We knew Jimmie (Johnson) and Jeff (Gordon) werent going to pit, and they had really strong cars. We stayed out, and it ended up being the right thing to do. All night we were loose getting into the corner, so I was running about 90 percent just to stay in the top five and keep the car from getting torn up. When the (final) caution came out, we thought about pitting with Tony, but I was just so loose on new tires that I knew I wouldnt be able to catch them."
Bobby Labonte finished third. The victory was Dale Jr.s 12th career win in 158 starts and series-best third win this year. It was also his sixth victory at a non-restrictor plate track and second at a short-track. With his trio of victories and seven top fives, Dale Jr. continues to lead the NEXTEL Cup point standings with a 40-point advantage over Johnson.
Top ten finishing order: 1. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 2. Jimmie Johnson, 3. Bobby Labonte, 4. Tony Stewart, 5. Matt Kenseth, 6. Jeff Gordon, 7. Mark Martin, 8. Brian Vickers, 9. Ryan Newman, 10. Michael Waltrip.
Top-10 points leaders: 1. Earnhardt Jr.-1643, 2. Johnson-1603, 3. J. Gordon-1581, 4. Kenseth-1517, 5. Stewart-1449, 6. Newman-1442, 7. B. Labonte-1430, 8. Harvick-1404, 9. Busch-1391, 10. Sadler-1377.
NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge Eligible drivers: Race winners from 03 and 04, past event champions (who are active). Qualified drivers/cars: Greg Biffle, Geoffrey Bodine, Kurt Busch, Ricky Craven, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Bill Elliott, Evernham Motorsports No. 9, Jeff Gordon, Robby Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Hendrick Motorsports No. 25, Dale Jarrett, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte, Terry Labonte, Mark Martin, Joe Nemechek, Ryan Newman, Elliott Sadler, Tony Stewart, Rusty Wallace, Michael Waltrip.
TEXAS, PHOENIX, MEXICO CITY, AND MAYBE CANADA NASCAR is going west, south, and possibly north in their move to realign the series.
Texas Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway, and Mexico City are in NASCARs future, but Rockingham and Nazareth are history.
Darlington is barely hanging on, and what the future holds for Martinsville is unclear.
The sweeping schedule changes were all part of a plan that NASCAR officials announced last Friday.
New NEXTEL Cup race dates have been sanctioned at Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway. TMSs new event will be held on November 6, as the seasons 34th event. PIRs new race will be on Saturday night, April 23. Texas retains its spring date (April 17), while Phoenix retains the next-to-last slot on the schedule (November 13).
North Carolina Speedway will not be on the schedule after this season. The "Rock," which has been owned by the France family, under its banner, International Speedway Corp. has been sold to Bruton Smith, owner of Texas Motor Speedway for $100.6 million.
Darlington Raceway now will have one date on the schedule, with the tracks fall race moving from November to the evening of Saturday, May 7, which in 2005, falls on Mothers Day weekend.
NASCAR did to the Southern 500 what Sherman did to Atlanta. They completely destroyed it.
California Speedway will have the first of its two events on February 27, one week after the season-opening Daytona 500 the date previously held by North Carolina Speedway. Thus, the series will now travel from the seasons biggest race to the nations second-largest market. Californias other race will remain on Labor Day weekend (September 4).
Meanwhile Nazareth Speedway, in Nazareth, PA will close after the 2004 season.
ISC, which also owns this track plans to move the speedway's NASCAR Busch and IRL IndyCar series events to other tracks.
This month's NASCAR Busch race and an IRL race in August will run as scheduled.
ISC will buy the remaining fifty percent of Martinsville Speedway for $193 million.
Even though the Busch schedule is said to be complete, it was not released. NASCAR chairman Brian France confirmed additional races at Phoenix and Texas, just like the 2005 Nextel Cup schedule. But France and NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter said Mexico City is also under consideration.
"The Mexico City race could be a huge event," said NASCAR Vice President Hunter. "There are 25 million people in Mexico City. We're working with folks there to develop something that would guarantee a year-round presence or a seasonal presence with trucks or some other kind of tour. That's very promising."
NASCAR would likely add a second road course to the schedule, perhaps with Watkins Glen International replacing Nazareth Speedway. Watkins Glen held Busch races until 2001.
Hunter also said they were looking at Canada for a Busch or truck race.
"I know we're looking in Canada right now," Hunter said. "There's a potential for a Busch or truck race."
In January 2003, NASCAR announced "Realignment 2004 and Beyond." The plan calls for regular review of race dates and locations in order to continue bringing the most competitive racing in the world to the widest possible audience.
This "growing of the sport" is being done to accommodate television and new fans.
The old fans are the ones that have brought NASCAR racing to its current level. Many of these old fans that are associated with NASCARs past heritage are going to be lost.
Most of the new fans are just that new to the sport. Whether they are going to stick with NASCAR and its new image and format remains a big question mark.
No matter, whether you like the new schedule or not, its here to stay.
Those of us who have followed the sport for decades can only mourn the loss like we would that of an old friend.
The Craftsman Trucks and Nextel Cup cars are at Lowes Motor Speedway, Concord, NC, while the Busch Series is at Nazareth, PA.
Friday, May 21, Craftsman Trucks Infineon 200, race 5 of 25, 134 laps/201 miles, 8:30 p.m. TV: Speed Channel.
Saturday, May 22, Busch Series Goulds Pumps ITT 200, race 12 of 34, 200 laps/200 miles, 12:30 p.m. TV: FX Channel.
NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge, 90 laps/135 miles, 7: p.m. TV: FX Channel.
Racing Trivia Question: Who is Bobby Labontes teammate?
Last Weeks Question: Which three drivers are competing full-time in both the Busch and Nextel Cup Series? Answer. Greg Biffle, Johnny Sauter, and Kasey Kahne are competing in both the Busch and Cup series.
If you would like to read additional racing stories by Gerald Hodges/the Racing Reporter, go to www.race500.com.
The Blue Ridge Wrestling Booster Club is proud to announce that Alex Stanton placed third at the 2004, 37th annual Middle Atlantic Wrestling Associations" (MAWA) National Championships, held April 17-18. The tournament was held this year at Penn State, State College, PA. With only one loss out of five matches at Penn State, this was a very prestigious feat, as the competition is quite keen. There were more than 11,300 wrestlers who started this quest and only 1,350 of whom made it to the finals (with competitors from 15 states).
Alex, an eleven-year old sixth grader, is the son of Shelly and Melissa Stanton and wrestled in the junior 91-pound division. His record this year, so far, is 43 wins, four losses, with 28 pins, by far his best season yet. His journey to Nationals started with the District Qualifiers, held at Tunkhannock High School where he finished first, qualifying him for the Regional Championships, held at Shamokin High School, where he also placed first. Alex traveled to many tournaments this year, including quite a few in New York State. Out of 15 tournaments entered, he received thirteen first places. This year Alex entered the Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling (PAJW), Area 10 Championships, with a qualifier held at Western Wayne Middle School. Winning this qualifier, he then went to Loyalsock School in Williamsport, PA for the Area 10 (15 counties in NE PA), placing first. Like every wrestlers dream, Alex was on his way to Hershey for the PAJW Championships, held in the Hershey Arena, March 19-20, 2004. Alex is planning to keep in shape this summer using the schools new fitness room and wrestling throughout the summer in a few tournaments, which include a tournament in West Virginia and the Keystone State Games.
Four children from Blue Ridge qualified for the MAWA Regional Tournament, including Zach Edwards, Jr., Tim Esposito, Nik Decker, and Alex Stanton. Two children qualified for the Hershey PAJWs, Mark Willchock and Alex Stanton.
Alex would like to thank his coach/dad Shelly Stanton, Coach John Ciotoli, and wrestling partner/coach Tim Esposito for all their time and dedication.
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