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Issue Home October 12, 2004 Site Home

Local Sports Scene
Athlete Of The Month
Slip Of Tongue Costs Dale, Jr. The Lead

Harasymczuk Finishes 14th In District Golf

West Pittston - Montrose's Nick Harasymczuk made the cut to the final 16 golfers in District 2, but was unable to work his way into the group of six that will represent the district in the state tournament.

Harasymczuk, who along with 10 other county players had already made it through a Lackawanna League qualifier, finished 14th in the 92-player field at Fox Hill Country Club Wednesday. He shot 81 in the 18-hole round to make the cut and added a 44 to finish at 19-over-par, 125.

The 81 made Harasymczuk the only county player to get through the cut.

Harasymczuk had a birdie on the par-3, 16th.

With the start of the tournament delayed until 10 a.m. because of frost, there was a rush to get the players back out on the course in time to barely beat darkness. In that rush, district officials briefly thought players who shot 84 had made the cut, but that figure was officially adjusted to 83, leaving Montrose's Kyle Adriance out of the running by one shot.

Adriance finished with three straight pars and seven in his last nine holes, but was unable to overcome a triple bogey on 1, his 15th hole in the tournament which used a shot gun start.

Mountain View's Rhett Butler tied for 25th with a 40-45-85 that included a birdie on 8.

Forest City's Mike Green was tied for 36th with an 87 while Montrose's Jeff Evans was tied for 38th with an 88.

Mountain View's Ben Vauter shot an 89. He had five straight pars before a bogey on his final hole.

Susquehanna freshman Dusty Barton shot a 90 that included a 40, which was tied for second best among county golfers on the front nine. He was 3-over for one seven-hole stretch.

The rest of the county golfers in the event were: Kyle Kilmer, Mountain View 46-48-94; Tom Donovan, Blue Ridge 46-49-95; Mike Turano, Forest City 49-46-95; and Drew Crawford, Susquehanna 52-55-107.

Laura Heck of Forest City was the only county player among 13 who played for three state girls' berths. Heck shot 58-52-110 to place 10th in that field.


Matt Byrne, a former Scranton High School runner now living in Philadelphia, won the ninth annual Steamtown Marathon Sunday in a time of 2:26:38.

Gannon White of Greeley, Colo. was second in 2:27:59. Father Paul Leonard of Pittston, the winner of the first Steamtown Marathon, was eighth in 2:38:50.

Elvira Kolpakova of Germantown, Md. won the women's race in 2:46:29, beating Lisa Haas of Orwigsburg by 3:06.

Seven of the 17 finishers from Susquehanna County, according to results available late Sunday night, came from Forest City, the starting point in the race which ends in downtown Scranton.

Included in the Forest City group was 74-year-old Donald Teague, who was in 1,392nd place in a time of 5:02:37.

Matthew Vanlierop of Thompson was the only county runner to break three hours. Vanlierop finished in 2:59:22 to place 67th out of more than 1,700 entries and more than 1,400 finishers.

Other county finishers: David Smith, New Milford, 275th, 3:22:45; Mark Smith, Montrose, 307th, 3:25:24; Larry Cassidy, Thompson, 308th, 3:25:26; James Cook, Forest City, 362nd, 3:29:07; Frederick Malloy, New Milford, 3:40:14; Fran Graytock, Forest City, 572nd, 3:41:40; Heather Smith, New Milford, 583rd, 3:42:30; Melissa Flynn, Hop Bottom, 660th, 3:48:20; Gene Corey, Forest City, 969th, 4:12:07; Donald George, Forest City, 992nd, 4:13:50; Edward Sherwood, Forest City, 996th, 4:14:30; Susan Lucenti, Montrose, 1246th, 4:42:01; Wendy Cook, Forest City, 1313th, 4:50:55; Fred Carden, Friendsville, 1376th, 5:01:40; and Carolyn Hall, Jackson, 1381st, 5:02:37.

In high school golf, Montrose completed an unbeaten season in the Lackawanna League Northern Division to win the division title.

The Meteors finished 11-0-1 to finish a match and a half ahead of Honesdale.

Forest City also qualified for the league playoffs.

In football, Montrose and Susquehanna each lost conference games.

Montrose led early, but lost, 35-14, to unbeaten Lakeland.

Tom Burgh led the Meteors with 120 yards rushing. The first of his two touchdowns, a 32-yarder, and Dominic Lucenti's two-point conversion run gave the Meteors an 8-7 lead in the second quarter.

Old Forge shut out Susquehanna, 40-0, with the help of two defensive touchdowns.

In girls' soccer, Montrose remained in first place in the Lackawanna Northern Division with an 8-0-1 record after beating Forest City, the only team to tie the Lady Meteors. Mountain View is third, behind Lakeland, at 7-2.

In professional hockey, the Binghamton Senators swept a weekend series with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to win the first I-81 Puck Cup.

The Senators won, 6-4, at the Broome County Arena Friday night.

Brandon Bochenski and Denis Hamel each scored two goals in the game, which featured 214 minutes in penalties.

Jason Spezza scored twice Saturday in Wilkes-Barre to lift the Senators to a 3-2 overtime win. Spezza scored shorthanded and got the overtime winner.

The I-81 Puck Cup is a round-robin preseason competition between Binghamton, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Syracuse. The Senators went 3-1, the Penguins were 2-2 with an overtime loss and the Crunch were 1-3 with a shootout loss.


Ryan Place did not need long to establish himself at Allegheny College.

Place, a freshman from Elk Lake, got his first college win in his second event and has settled in as the number-two runner in a strong Division III program.

Running against primarily Division I competition October 1, Allegheny finished seventh in the Great American Cross Country Invitational in Cary, N.C. Place was 28th overall and second on the team behind Kevin Pool, who was 10th in the national Division III race a year ago.

Allegheny coach Bill Ross said Place "has quickly developed into a strong contributor for us."

In four college races, Place led his team twice, including one event in which Allegheny went with an all-freshman lineup, and was the second-best runner once.

Place got his first college win in the five-time Allegheny Invitational with a finish of 27:52 over the 5-mile course.


The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins play the American Hockey League opener for the fourth straight season when they meet the Manitoba Moose Wednesday at home.

The Binghamton Senators open Friday in Albany and play their home opener at the Broome County Arena Saturday against Syracuse.

In professional basketball, the National Basketball Association makes its closest local stop when the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets open their exhibition season Thursday night at the Wachovia Arena in Wilkes-Barre.

New Jersey won last year's meeting, the first between the two teams in Wilkes-Barre.

In high school football, the entire Lackawanna Football Conference schedule will be played on Friday night.

Predictions, with winners in CAPS: CARBONDALE 14, Montrose 8; RIVERSIDE 55, Susquehanna 7; WEST SCRANTON 15, Wallenpaupack 9; ABINGTON HEIGHTS 22, North Pocono 10; DELAWARE VALLEY 19, Honesdale 16; SCRANTON 43, Valley View 13; DUNMORE 40, Western Wayne 0; MID VALLEY 20, Old Forge 11; LAKELAND 25, Scranton Prep 22; LACKAWANNA TRAIL 40, Bishop O'Hara 3.

Last week's predictions were 10-0, improving our season record to 55-10 (84.6 percent). The perfect week, including two exact margins of victory: Lakeland by 21 over Montrose and Delaware Valley by 27 over West Scranton.

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

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Nemechek Sweeps Both Kansas Races

Kansas City, KS – The newest star of Kansas City is Joe Nemechek, driver of the No. 01 U. S. Army Chevrolet.

Nemechek made a clean sweep of Kansas Speedway as he won Sunday's Nextel Cup Banquet 400, by conserving fuel, and Saturday's Busch Series race, along with both poles.

To win each event, he had to hold off furious charges by other drivers. Sunday, it was Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 21 Woods Bros. Ford, while Saturday, it was Greg Biffle in the Busch Series race.

"Just incredible, just incredible," was the way Nemechek described his weekend.

Nemechek took the lead from Elliott Sadler during lap 232 of the 267-lap Banquet 400, and was told by his pits to try to conserve fuel if he could.

There were four more caution periods, which did allow Nemechek’s No. 01 Chevrolet to use less fuel. But with three laps to go, Ricky Rudd, who had come back from a bumping incident had closed the gap to just a few car-lengths.

"I looked in my mirror, and suddenly all I could see was that red and white hood of Ricky Rudd," continued Nemechek. "I said to myself, ‘where did he come from?’"

Rudd tried twice to get by Nemechek, but each time his car slipped, and he wisely backed off.

"We had to come from a long way back," said Rudd. "I made up quite a bit of ground. The car was very, very fast, but we gave it all we had. I wasn’t going to take a cheap shot at Joe. He was just as hungry as me. Man, this is like a win for us."

Greg Biffle, one of the early leaders finished third.

"Track position was everything," said Biffle. "We weren’t getting the fuel mileage our teammates were and we had to come back down pit road. Lap traffic was bad, and it really hurts to give them away like this."

The fourth-place finisher was Elliott Sadler.

Jeremy Mayfield led the most laps, but his car faded late in the race and he finished fifth.

Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman, two contenders for the Chase For the Championship were involved in wrecks and finished 32nd and 33rd respectively.

Kurt Busch, who finished sixth now leads Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 29 points with six races remaining.

The win was the fourth Cup win of Nemechek’s career, and the first since the May, 2003 Richmond race.

Top ten finishing order: 1. Joe Nemechek, 2. Ricky Rudd, 3. Greg Biffle, 4. Elliott Sadler, 5. Jeremy Mayfield, 6. Kurt Busch, 7. Jamie McMurray, 8. Dale Jarrett, 9. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 10. Brendan Gaughan.

Chase For The Championship Contenders – 1. Busch-5685, 2. Earnhardt Jr.-5656, 3. J. Gordon-5606, 4. Sadler-5542, 5. Martin-5535, 6. Stewart-5512, 7. Kenseth-5505, 8. Newman-5453, 9. Johnson-5438, Mayfield-5428.

While all 10 contenders still have a mathematical chance to win the championship, I believe the hunt has been narrowed down to the top-five drivers.

TRUEX Remains The Busch Leader – The top-10 NASCAR Busch Series points leaders: 1. Truex-4212, 2. Busch-4063, 3. Biffle-3732, 4. Leffler-3661, 5. Hornaday-3542, 6. D. Green-3524, 7. Keller-3492, 8. T. Powell-3466, 9. Lewis-3135, 10. Kahne-3119.

Life Goes On For RYAN NEWMAN – The Chase for the Nextel Cup is everywhere you look. From apparel to TV commercials to Internet sites, NASCAR has surely brought the Chase to the forefront of auto racing. From a marketing standpoint, they couldn’t have devised a better plan, but in spite of the distraction, life is continuing for Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 12 Alltel Dodge.

"I will say, that the hype surrounding the Chase makes me slightly more than uncomfortable," he said.

"So, when all the hype starts up, I think it should include everyone, not just the drivers. Without Matt (Borland) and the guys, whether they’re on the road, in the fab shop, engine department, or just back sweeping the floors, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to do what I do. They contributed to this team’s success every bit as much as I have.

"No matter what happens at the race track, life goes on back home. A few weeks ago in California, our team engineer, Mike Nelson, had to stay at home while his wife delivered their first child, Carter. A week later; while sitting at lunch, our team engine tuner received a surprise phone call that his wife was going to the hospital to deliver their first child, Emma. Our shock engineer, Pat Stufflett, is spending his off season getting married. Two of our Sunday guys, Trent Cherry and Dennis Terry, are also planning their impending weddings.

"We celebrate these good times, as much as we celebrate our victories. Without the support of our wives and children back home, a life on the road would be unbearable. I am very lucky in the fact that my wife is with me at every race track. Following our Dover victory, Krissie and I were very pleased to say that the victory lane pictures included her mother and father as well as mine. In turn, we emphasize to our team members to include their families in every team activity.

"This season, Krissie and I decided to say thank you to the entire team and their families. With the help of Polaris, we’re taking all of the team members and their spouses to the 25-foot snow banks of Utah in December. While we’ll still be the Alltel team, the week will be more of a vacation. No race talk. No set-up discussions. No bench-racing. Well, maybe a little."

Newman is now 232 points behind the leader, Kurt Busch.

NBC And MRN Adds Delay – NBC is adding a 5-second delay to its NASCAR telecasts after the Dale Earnhardt Jr. incident at Talladega.

"We’re disappointed for our viewers to have to do this, but the delay provides a level of protection against anything inappropriate going out over the air," said NBC chairman Dick Ebersol.

MRN Radio plans to add a 7-second delay to all their radio broadcasts.


The Nextel Cup and Busch teams are at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, NC, while the Craftsman Trucks are at Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth.

Friday, October 15, Busch Series Spongebob Squarepants 300, race 29 of 34, 200 laps/300 miles, 8 p.m. TV: TNT.

Saturday, October 16, Craftsman Trucks Silverado 350K, race 16 of 25, 146 laps/219 laps, 2 p.m. TV: Speed Channel.

Nextel Cup UAW/GM Qualify 500, race 31 of 36, 334 laps/500 miles, 7 p.m. TV: NBC.

Racing Trivia Question: Should NASCAR crack down on road rage among its drivers?

We’ll give you results of what readers say next week.

Last Week’s Question: Approximately how much money will Nextel contribute to this year’s champion at the annual awards banquet? Answer. This year’s Nextel Cup champion will receive an additional $5 million.

Gerald Hodges/the Racing Reporter is a syndicated NASCAR columnist. You can read additional racing stories by Hodges at

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Athlete Of The Month

Power and speed is an effective combination in any sport.

Whitney Williams, a junior forward at Mountain View, has used that combination to become the most prolific scorer in Lackawanna League girls' soccer this season.

Williams has the power to beat goaltenders from a distance with her booming shot and the speed to beat the defense into better scoring position.

"When she's scoring at her best, our midfield is controlling the ball and getting it up to her," Mountain View coach Dave Schulte said. "Her shot is about equal with either foot, for speed and accuracy."

Schulte said that Williams, a three-year starter who was already established as a capable scorer, has increased her input by reading the game better.

"She's a little more controlled, a little more within the system," Schulte said. "I've told her 'if you pass the ball, it will come back to you and usually with more space to operate.'

"That's what she's doing better."

Williams has produced 27 goals and six assists in 13 games. In September, she had four hat tricks, including a four-goal game, and 16 goals in six Northern Division games to earn the latest Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month award.

"I've gotten some of the goals in close when we've broken out and I've used my speed to break through a few times," Williams said.

The speed and athletic ability help Williams throughout the year and the changing sports seasons.

Williams broke into the starting lineup of a championship team in basketball as a freshman and was Mountain View's second-leading scorer last season.

It is on the softball field, however, that Williams puts in the most time and has attracted some early attention from Division I colleges.

"I think I concentrate more on softball," Williams said. "I like to play all the sports to my fullest."

Williams follows up spring softball in high school by playing for the Conklin Raiders team that went to California and finished 30th in the Amateur Softball Association national tournament. She plays shortstop and also spent some time as a third baseman for the Raiders.

Whitney is the daughter of Jeff and Beth Williams of Brooklyn.

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In our issue of October 6, we inadvertently omitted the names of Jim Walsh, Jamie Smith and Robert Wolfe as Assistant Coaches of the Susquehanna Community High School Football Team.

We also erred by not calling the visiting football team the OLD FORGE BLUE DEVILS.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

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Slip Of Tongue Costs Dale, Jr. The Lead

Dale Earnhardt Jr. won his fifth race of the season in last Sunday’s EA Sports 500 at Talladega, AL, before packed stands of over 170,000 fans. Approximately 16 million more watched on television at home.

Throughout the 188-lap race Earnhardt showed he had the car to beat as he led several different times around the 2.66-mile superspeedway, but it was in victory lane after the race was in the history book that he violated a NASCAR rule.

Asked how it felt to be creeping up on his dad’s record, an exuberant Earnhardt Jr. used one expletive (sh_t), that resulted in a $10,000 fine and the loss of 25 points toward the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship.

That one-word utterance not only knocked him from first to second in the standings, but if things play out a certain way, it could also cost him the title.

The big question is, how far should NASCAR go to rein in driver emotions?

Has NASCAR taken the emphasis away from on track racing and replaced it with political correctness?

"We (NASCAR) are the only sport that takes points off the board after they have been scored," said Richie Gilmore, director of competition for Dale Earnhardt Inc., owner of Dale Jr.’s No. 8 Chevrolet.

In February, NASCAR told all drivers to watch their language during press conferences and interviews. Less than a month later, Busch driver, Johnny Sauter was fined and lost 25 points after swearing during a radio interview.

In that case, Sauter’s words were spoken in anger, and directed towards another driver, Ron Hornaday Jr., after a bumping incident that occurred during a race.

"I think NASCAR needs to get their heads out of the sand," said Sandra D. of Albany, GA. "Let’s face it, we’ve all been overcome with our emotions. This is not something where he has to control his anger. Who wouldn’t be happy in winning the race? I think it is a shame that NASCAR has to be so definitive over their rules."

Most fans that I have talked with feel like Dale Jr. should have been hit with a fine to his wallet, but--positively, absolutely--should not have been docked the 25 points.

"It just goes to show you what a dictatorship NASCAR is," said Paul J. of Thomasville, IN. "Who is to police NASCAR? They have some catch-all rule, and apply it the way they see fit. The way I see it, NASCAR was wrong."

NASCAR’s decision to apply the sanctions against Dale Jr. was based on Rule 12-4-A, which reads, ‘actions detrimental to the sport.’

I’m not so sure just how detrimental Dale Jr.’s. remarks were. I’m sure some people were offended. But the sport of NASCAR is about winning or losing, and this involves emotions. Most people who attend the races or watch on television understand this.

Take away the emotions from the sport, and its dead.

So far, No one from the NASCAR organization has elaborated on their decision, but I’m sure they will be forced to answer questions from the media about it at this week’s upcoming race in Kansas City.

I personally wish Dale Jr. had not uttered his statement the way he did, but I’m not going to condemn him because of what he did say.

Should he have been fined? Yes, because he did violate a NASCAR policy, but the incident occurred after the race had ended.

From my standpoint, the action did not justify the penalty, and neither does Kurt Busch, who assumed the points lead.

"Hopefully, these 25 points won't come into the final factor because we want to beat him on the race track," said Busch, who was testing his No. 97 Ford at Martinsville Speedway when the penalty was announced. "I want to go into the last race with a 155-point edge and that way we won't have to worry about that last race."

Give us your view of the incident along with your address, and we will send you a free 4 X 6 photo of Dale Jr. in victory lane at Talladega. Address all mail to: The Racing Reporter, P. O. Box 160711, Mobile, AL 36616. Our E-mail address is:

Kurt Busch and Roush Racing will assume the lead with 5,530 points, 12 ahead of Earnhardt Jr. and DEI, respectively.

DEI, owners of the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet have said they will appeal the penalty.

Nextel Chase For The Championship Contenders After 3 of 10 Races: 1. Busch-5530, 2. Earnhardt Jr.-5518, 3. J. Gordon-5482, 4. Martin-5432, 5. Kenseth-5393, 6. Stewart-5391, 7. Newman-5384, 8. Sadler-5377, 9. Johnson-5371, 10. Mayfield-5263.

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