Athlete Of The Month
Lady Meteors, Eagles Win; Squier Second In State
Susquehanna County high school athletes enjoyed their most productive collective week of the school year with fall sports progressing through district and state competition.
The Montrose girls and Mountain View boys each won District 2 soccer championships to advance into state tournament action.
Later in the week, Elk Lake's Jessica Squier wrapped up an impressive cross country career by finishing second in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class AA championship in Hershey.
Montrose and Mountain View each won their district finals, 1-0.
Montrose beat Valley View Wednesday at Scranton Memorial Stadium in Class AA.
Mountain View edged Wyoming Seminary Friday at College Misericordia in Class A.
Defensive dominance often comes in the form of wiping out every offensive opportunity, but Montrose took a different approach in its district final.
The Lady Meteors repeatedly stopped Valley View from even getting an offensive attack started on the way to winning the district championship with about as dominant a 1-0 victory as is possible.
Valley View never advanced the ball into the penalty area in the first 23 minutes. The only trip inside the 18-yard line in the first 31 minutes came on one errant lead pass that was easily scooped up by Montrose goalie Caitlyn Ely.
"We never got in trouble," Montrose coach John Cherundolo said. "We stopped them. Every time they tried to make a transition, we stepped up."
Montrose got the only goal it needed just 1:28 into the second half.
Amber Lattner carried the ball deep into the Valley View end and sent a pass across in front to Erika Brown.
Brown had all kinds of time and plenty of net to shoot at. Goalie Renee Pilch dove and got her hands on the shot, but was unable to keep it from going into the net.
The goal gave the Lady Meteors a district title in just the fourth year of the program. In the second year, Montrose reached the final before falling to Scranton Prep.
Montrose built a 21-5 advantage in shots and 7-2 in corner kicks.
"I would put our four on defense (Kate LaBarbera, Ashley Jones, Keesha Lunger and Maggie McNamara) and our goalie up against anybody," Cherundolo said. "Amber (Lattner) and Brittany (Ely) control the center of field."
As a result, Caitlin Ely only needed to make two saves. Her decisive reaction stopped Valley View's best chance with 10 minutes remaining.
Ely came charging out and dove to take a breakaway off the foot of Caitlin Jenkins before the Valley View forward could take a shot.
The district run helped Montrose make up for coming up a half-game short of a first-place tie with Lakeland and Mountain View in the Lackawanna League Northern Division.
"We had three bad games, but 14 good ones," Cherundolo said.
Mountain View also had some setbacks while playing in the highest division of the Lackawanna League in boys' soccer.
The Eagles (11-6-1) were strong enough, however, when it came to Class A competition.
Joe Scanlon scored the only goal of the championship game on a header off a corner from Chad Lasher.
The final was the fourth time in five years that the two teams met. Mountain View won the 2000 championship, but lost to Wyoming Seminary in the 2001 and 2002 finals.
Squier led a tight state Class AA championship race at the 2-mile mark Saturday and finished in 18:57, good for second behind Rachel Erny of Brentwood.
Squier, who was third a year ago, was first after two miles, running along with two freshmen - Erny and Neshannock's Kacey Gibson. All three hit that point at 12:09.
Erny won in 18:50. Gibson finished third in 19:06.
The top three all finished with better times than the state Class AAA winner.
For Squier, it was the third finish in the top 10 and the fourth in the top 50. She went from 47th as a freshman to 10th as a sophomore to third last year.
Montrose's Tara Chiarella had the second-best finish among county runners.
Chiarella, the District 2 runner-up, shook off a slow start. She was 68th after a mile and 50th after two, but rallied to take 32nd in a time of 20:10. She made a big jump up from 120th as a freshman last season.
Blue Ridge's Carly Devine and Montrose's Jeanne Roszel were the only other runners to crack the top half of the 284-runner field.
Devine was 66th in 20:48. Roszel was 111th in 21:25.
Blue Ridge was 19th out of 24 teams. In addition to Devine, Katrina Rinehimer was 171st, freshman Janelle Collins was 172nd, Alicia Vancott was 207th, Laurie Hall was 225th, Brenda Reed was 259th and Jenn Oliver was 274th.
Jeff Olienacz of Montrose, the only county runner to qualify for the Class AA boys' state race, finished 263rd out of 281 runners with a time of 20:20.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Montrose and Susquehanna each fell in their football finales.
The Meteors ended the season with a 3-7 record after giving playoff-bound Dunmore some trouble on the way to a 43-22 loss.
The Sabers completed a third straight winless season and saw their losing streak reach 33 games with a 14-7 loss to Bishop O'Hara.
Susquehanna took the early lead on a 70-yard run by quarterback Anthony Dorunda and led until Bishop O'Hara scored on the opening possession of the second half.
The Bruins scored one of their touchdowns after the Sabers stopped them on fourth-and-goal only to force a fumble that Dom Marino picked up and advanced the final yard for a score. The Bruins also fumbled forward on another fourth down and recovered to convert a first down after they appeared to be stopped.
Montrose finished 12th and Susquehanna was tied for last among the 16 teams that competed for four spots in the District 2 Class AA playoffs.
In soccer, Mountain View went out in the Class AA girls' semifinals in a 4-3 loss to then-unbeaten Valley View.
The Lady Eagles had defeated Forest City, 3-0, in the quarterfinals.
Montrose defeated its three district opponents by a total of 9-2. After beating Dunmore, 2-0, in the quarterfinals, the Lady Meteors romped over Lackawanna League North Division champion Lakeland, 6-2.
Mountain View reached its boys' final with a 2-1 win over top-seeded Bishop Hoban after defeating Pittston Seton Catholic, 3-0, in the quarterfinals.
Forest City and Elk Lake were each eliminated in the quarterfinals. Bishop O'Hara shut out Forest City, 3-0, and Wyoming Seminary blanked, Elk Lake, 4-0.
In other high school sports, Scranton Prep gave District 2 a pair of state championships.
The Scranton Prep boys won the Class AA cross country championship for the fourth time.
Liz Karam and Abby Pugliese won the Class AA girls' tennis doubles championship.
In professional hockey, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins extended their longest winning streak since October to 2000 to five games with back-to-back wins over the Norfolk Admirals.
Kris Beech scored twice in Saturday's shoot-out, including the deciding shot in a 3-2 win. Colby Armstrong and Michel Ouellet each had two goals in Sunday's 6-2 win.
Tyler Singleton, a freshman defenseman and midfielder from Montrose, was part of the Penn College men's soccer team that won the Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Athletic Association championship.
The Williamsport-based school defeated Penn State-Hazleton, 3-2, in the semifinals then got past Manor College, 4-3, in overtime.
Penn College finished 19-2 and outscored its opponents, 83-27.
The Mountain View boys and Montrose girls will play in Saturday's state quarterfinals if they can get through first-round games that were scheduled for Tuesday at Scranton Memorial Stadium.
Mountain View faced East Stroudsburg Notre Dame (18-5) in the first round.
Montrose took on Lewisburg (16-7-1).
In football, five Lackawanna Football Conference teams reached the District 2 playoffs and Delaware Valley qualified for its first postseason berth by reaching the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Honesdale (8-2) is at Berwick (9-1) in the District 2-11 Class AAA semifinals. The game also determines the District 2 champion.
Riverside (9-1) is at Lakeland (10-0) and Dunmore (9-1) is at Bishop Hoban (9-0) in the District 2 Class AA playoffs.
Lackawanna Trail (7-3) will face Northwest (9-1) for the District 2 Class A championship.
Delaware Valley (9-1) will be at Northampton (5-5) in Class AAAA.
Predictions for games involving Lackawanna teams in the playoffs, with the winners in CAPS are: BERWICK 33, Honesdale 6; LAKELAND 41, Riverside 20; BISHOP HOBAN 36, Dunmore 7; LACKAWANNA TRAIL 17, Northwest 12; NORTHAMPTON 10, Delaware Valley 3.
Our predictions were 8-2 last week to finish the regular season at 90-15 (85.7 percent).
Tom Robinson writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. Reach him on-line at RobbyTR@aol.com.
DALE, JR. Cruises To Desert Win
Avondale, AZ – For the second year in a row, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has won the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Earnhardt had a fast car all day, but it wasn’t until late in the 312-lap race that most of the other drivers realized just how fast his No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet was.
He took the lead for the last time from Jeff Gordon with eight laps to go. Two laps later, the 11th caution flag came out after a spin by Casey Mears in turn 1. After two caution laps, the race was red flagged.
When green flag racing resumed, it was a green/white/checkered shoot-out. The leaders were Earnhardt, Gordon, Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick, and Kasey Kahne.
Earnhardt got the jump on Gordon, who was running second, and pulled away. While the other four drivers were racing for position, Earnhardt said, “bye-bye.”
“It’s the trip out here and back that makes us race so hard,’ said Earnhardt. “If you don’t bring home the trophy, it’s a long ride back home.
“I was really surprised how good of a car we had. I was just cruising.”
Earnhardt picked up 10 bonus points for leading the most laps and is now third in points, 47 behind leader, Kurt Busch, and just 6 points out of second.
Newman squeezed under Gordon at the finish line to take second.
“I knew we had a good race car, but Junior just got out front before we could,” said Newman. “It was a coulda, shoulda, but Junior ran a smart race.”
The runner-up finish didn’t help Newman’s chances in the chase, because he is still seventh, 150 points out.
Jeff Gordon was able to hold on to third, and is second, 41 points back of the leader.
Top ten finishing order: 1. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 2. Ryan Newman, 3. Jeff Gordon, 4. Kevin Harvick, 5. Kasey Kahne, 6. Jimmie Johnson, 7. Rusty Wallace, 8. Tony Stewart, 9. Bobby Labonte, 10. Kurt Busch.
Chase For The Championship Contenders – 1. Busch-6191, 2. J. Gordon-6150, 3. Earnhardt Jr.-6144, 4. Johnson-6143, 5. Martin-6089, 6. Stewart-6049, 7. Newman-6041, 8. Sadler-5869, 9. Kenseth-5855, 10. Mayfield-5836.
Does NASCAR Manipulate Races – During an interview last week, Mark Martin, who is fourth in the chase for this year’s championship, said he would “choke,” if he learned a late race caution at Atlanta was given to provide a closer finish.
Martin was leading the race in the closing stages, when NASCAR put out a caution because of Kevin Harvick’s stalled car on pit road.
“If I find out that caution was for show, I’ll choke,” said Martin. “I saw Kevin’s car coasting slow, and if I had been NASCAR I would have told somebody to push him off of pit road. It wasn’t a problem and I hate that, but we were sitting ducks.”
When the race was restarted, there were about 20-laps to go in the 325 lap race. Martin was leading, but on the restart, he got caught between two of his teammates, Greg Biffle, who was a lap down, and Carl Edwards.
While Martin was racing those two drivers, Jimmie Johnson took advantage of the situation and passed Martin on the inside for the lead, and eventual victory.
Martin has reason to be suspicious, because NASCAR is doing everything in its power to make the racing as close as possible. By putting out a late race caution for debris on the track, which they have done several times this season, it groups the leaders, and makes for a more exciting finish.
NASCAR has already said they instituted the 10-race, Chase For the Nextel Cup Championship as a means to generate more interest in the series late in the season.
And they’ve added the green/white/checker rule whereby cars must finish the race under green. No more finishes under the yellow flag.
Whenever the caution does come out late in a race for debris, the television cameras usually zoom in on the piece of metal, but many times it is out of the racing groove and would not affect the cars unless they spun or wrecked.
We personally feel that Martin has the right to be suspicious of NASCAR’s motives, as controversial calls went against him in 1990 and 2002. Both of those years Martin was also near the front in championship points.
There was no better way to end the Atlanta race from an emotional standpoint than for a Hendrick Motorsports team to win. Just one week prior, ten members of the Hendrick organization perished in a plane crash near Martinsville, VA.
Johnson’s victory added an emotional high to Hendrick employees and fans, and for the sport.
“That late caution made me a sitting duck,” continued Martin. “It was just a sprint to the finish.”
I do not mean to detract from Johnson’s win. It’s just that NASCAR has 57 years experience as a sanctioning body and quite often their actions look suspect.
TRUEX Continues As Busch Leader – The top-10 Busch Series leaders with two races to go: 1. Truex-4865, 2. Busch-4704, 3. Biffle-4382, 4. Hornaday-4025, 5. D. Green-3969, 6. Bliss-3863, 7. Keller-3849, 8. Leffler-3661, 9. K. Wallace-3599, 10. A. Lewis-3596.
HAMILTON Regains Truck Lead – The top-10 Craftsman Truck Series leaders with two races to go: 1.
Hamilton Sr.-3334, 2. Setzer-3327, 3. Musgrave-3214, 4. Edwards-3201, 5. Crafton-3077 (Note: these five drivers are the only ones that have a chance at this year’s championship) 6. Starr-2987, 7. Kvapil-2940, 8. Sprague-2891, 9. Chaffin-2886, 10. Park-2884.
All three of NASCAR’s major series will be at Darlington, South Carolina for the next to last racing weekend of the season.
Friday, November 12, Craftsman Trucks Darlington 200, race 24 of 25, 147 laps/200 miles, 3:30 p.m. TV: Speed Channel.
Saturday, November 13, Busch Series BI-LO 200, race 33 of 34, 147 laps/200 miles, 1 p.m. TV: TNT.
Sunday, November 14, Nextel Cup Mountain Dew Southern 500, race 35 of 36, 367 laps/500.1 miles, 1 p.m. TV: NBC.
Racing Trivia Question: Who will be the new Nextel Cup driver for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2005?
Last Week’s Question: Rusty Wallace announced that 2005 will be his last full season in racing. What is Wallace’s home state? Answer. St. Louis, Missouri.
Gerald Hodges/the Racing Reporter is a syndicated NASCAR columnist. You can read additional racing stories by Hodges at www.race500.com.
Athlete Of The Month
Tara Chiarella had her share of success in Lackawanna League competition, but it was in the largest meets that the Montrose sophomore was at her best.
Chiarella posted a win in the prestigious McQuaid Invitational in Rochester, NY and led all county runners with a second-place finish in the District 2 championships.
For her efforts, Chiarella has been selected as the latest Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month.
Chiarella ran every league race along with state runner-up Jessica Squier of Elk Lake in the Lackawanna's cluster format. She lost to Squier each time, but was beaten by only one other runner all season in league competition.
The sophomore showed she could win when she opened the month with the McQuaid Invitational October 2. The event is so large that it is broken into 24 races.
Montrose competed in a division that featured 26 full teams and Chiarella was first to the finish line in the 3-mile race in 18:53.
"I wasn't expecting to win," Chiarella said. "I thought I would be up there with the leaders somewhere."
The win was the biggest of Chiarella's career and put her in position for her most impressive performance, October 27 in the District 2 Class AA championship race.
"It definitely made me more confident," she said.
Running in a field that also included the defending state team champion, Dallas, Chiarella ran past Squier for the first time and finished just four seconds behind Dallas' Lisa Giacometti, who won.
The second-place finish easily qualified Chiarella for a spot in the state meet.
"When I saw Jess and Lisa up ahead, I thought they might be saving their strength for the last part of the race," Chiarella said of her big move up in position midway through the district race. "I thought I'd catch up to them, but then I might have to let them go later.
"Once I passed Jess, I thought I had a chance."
Chiarella kept gradually gaining, but was never able to get within a couple of strides of Giacometti.
The district race repeats Chiarella's second-place finish in the District 2 Junior High Cross Country Championships as an eighth grader. She was also fourth in the district in the 1600 meter run during track season last spring.
Tara is the daughter of Bob and Cathy Chiarella of Hallstead.