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Blue Ridge's Justin Herbert and Mountain View's Matt Panasevich each reached the Northeast Regional Class AA Wrestling Tournament finals to qualify for this week's state tournament in Hershey.
Herbert and Panasevich followed up their District 2 titles by winning two straight matches to reach the regional finals where they each dropped a low-scoring decision.
Herbert will be trying to improve on his sixth-place finish in the state last year.
Panasevich, a junior, will be trying to add state high school success to his accomplishments on the national level in USA Wrestling summer events.
Herbert (34-2) defeated Jeff Page of Mifflinburg, 15-6, Friday night in the quarterfinals. He got past Jason Crawford of Wyalusing, 4-2, in the semifinals before losing to District 4 champion Jeremiah Serfas of Athens, 5-1, in the 160-pound final.
Panasevich (35-5) followed a similar path at 189 pounds. He defeated Justin Harsch of Wellsboro, 14-7, and Tyler Coombe of Bloomsburg, 3-2, before losing to Blaine Cohick of Loyalsock, 3-1.
A one-point decision kept Elk Lake's Mike Noldy from finishing in the top three in the region and qualifying for the state tournament at 171 pounds.
Noldy lost his first and last matches of the tournament to Loyalsock's Justin Hepburn. In between, he posted a major decision over Brian Goeringer of Dallas and a decision over Dave Paveletz of Hanover Area.
Hepburn ended Noldy's season with a 4-3 decision in the consolation finals.
Four other county wrestlers reached the consolation finals before losing two wins shy of qualifying for a trip to Hershey.
Susquehanna's Travis Cordner (112) defeated Joe Hayes of Danville, 11-4, between a pair of losses by pin.
Montrose's Jeff Snyder lost in the quarterfinals in overtime before beating Travis McArthur of Blue Ridge, 9-3, in the first round of consolations at 119 pounds. Snyder was eliminated when Central Columbia's Mike Powlus pinned him in 4:11.
Dylan Griffiths of Elk Lake split a pair of one-point decisions in the consolations after getting pinned by Mifflinburg's Frank Peachy in the 145-pound quarterfinals. Griffiths beat Justin Gowan of Athens, 6-5, but was eliminated by Tom Coombe of Bloomsburg, 3-2.
Montrose heavyweight Larry Lundy pinned Ken Edwards of Hanover Area in 4:57 between a 6-3 loss to Towanda's Brock Nichols and a loss by pin in 4:23 against Bloomsburg's Sam Krum.
Montrose's Jeff Olienacz (103), Blue Ridge's McArthur and Louis Villella (130) and Mountain View's Greg Nixon (145) each lost both of their matches.
Olienacz fell by major decision and a pin.
McArthur was eliminated by Snyder while Nixon preceded Griffiths by dropping a close decision to Bloomsburg's Coombe in an elimination bout.
Villella lost a technical fall, 15-0 in 3:55, to Line Mountain's Kellon Balum before being eliminated with a 2-0 loss to Bloomsburg's Casey Kauffman.
Blue Ridge finished tied for 17th in the team standings with 15 points. Mountain View was tied for 19th with 14, Elk Lake was tied for 23rd with 8, Montrose was tied for 25th with 4 and Susquehanna was tied for 29th with 1.
WEEK IN REVIEW
The Elk Lake girls finished 13th out of 15 teams in the District 2 Class AA Swimming Championships in Wilkes-Barre.
Lacey Wells finished eighth in the 100 backstroke and led off the 200 medley relay team that finished 10th to give the Lady Warriors their 11 points. Wells was followed by Maureen Manninger, Sarah Jayne and Katie McKeon on the relay team.
In girls' basketball, one Lackawanna League unbeaten moved within four wins of a state title while another had its season come to an end.
North Pocono, behind a triple-double from 6-foot-3 center Laura Franceski, romped past Athens, 48-22, in a Class AAA state tournament opener Saturday in Scranton.
Franceski, who has family in Forest City, had 10 points, 11 rebounds and 11 blocked shots.
Carbondale had its season end Friday night with a 58-51 Class AA loss to Schuylkill Valley, also at Scranton.
Scranton Prep (Class AAA) and Riverside (Class AA) also advanced to the second round of state play.
In boys' basketball, Riverside upset the state's top-ranked Class AA team with a 46-41 victory over Green Pond Notre Dame Saturday in Allentown.
Dunmore (Class AA) and Bishop Hannan (Class A) also won, giving the Lackawanna League three boys' teams in the second round.
In professional hockey, Binghamton Senators left wing was named American Hockey League Rookie of the Month for February.
Bochenski had six goals and five assists in nine games and also scored a goal in the AHL All-Star Classic.
Bochenski led the Senators in scoring for the month and his first four-point game when he scored two goals and assisted on two others in a 7-2 win over Manchester February 19.
The 22-year-old from Blaine, Minn. was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, which goes to the top American college player, in 2004 while at the University of North Dakota. He leads all AHL rookies in scoring with 25 goals and 49 assists.
The Senators moved into the East Division lead Saturday night with a 5-2 victory over the Albany River Rats.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins joined the Senators in a tie for first place by completing a sweep of the Philadelphia Phantoms in a home-and-home series Sunday, 4-3.
Binghamton outshot Albany, 28-5, in the first period Saturday night. Jason Spezza, the league scoring leader, finished the game with four assists.
Matt Hussey had two goals in each of the 4-3 wins over Philadelphia. Shane Endicott lifted the team into the tie for first place when he scored with three seconds left in Sunday's game in Philadelphia.
In professional baseball, Montrose graduate Rich Thompson is one of 27 nonroster invitees and 67 players total in Pittsburgh Pirates training camp.
Thompson missed a few days with a minor injury but was back in action last week. He went 0-for-1 and scored a run in two spring training games.
The speedy outfielder made his major-league debut last season with the Kansas City Royals.
Courtney Parvin, a junior forward from Montrose, had a big week.
Parvin was named first-team New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference women's basketball all-star then played a key role in leading Springfield College to the Sweet 16 of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III tournament.
Parvin scored 24 points in the second round game when Springfield defeated Mount St. Mary's, 66-60. She hit five of her seven 3-point attempts.
Springfield (24-5) will take on Wesleyan (Conn.) Friday at the University of Southern Maine.
Parvin's basket with a minute left broke a 55-55 tie and proved to be the game-winner. She completed the 11-0, game-ending run by hitting one of two free throws.
In the first round, Parvin had 15 points during a 64-60 victory over Richard Stockton (N.J.).
Consistency was the key for Parvin gaining NEWMAC honors. Although she did not lead Springfield in scoring in any of the team's last 10 regular-season games, she produced enough each night to share the Pride season lead at 14.0 points per game.
Springfield won its fourth NEWMAC title and earned the home court for the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Parvin's 13.8 points per league game leads the league's highest-scoring team (68.0). She ranked fifth in the league in scoring and fourth in free throw percentage (79.2) while leading the team in assists.
Parvin has scored in double figures in 17 of the last 18 games. In the team's current eight-game winning streak, she is averaging 16.9 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists while going 15-for-29 (51.7 percent) on 3-pointers.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The state wrestling championships open Thursday morning at 9 at the Giant Center in Hershey. They continue Friday and the Class AA portion of the event wraps up Saturday afternoon.
Herbert opens against Jeff Havleka of Burgettstown. Havleka (39-5) finished third in the Southwest Region.
Panasevich's first-round match will be against Kellen Harris of Sharon. Harris (33-6) was third in the Northwest Region.
In professional hockey, the Binghamton Senators are at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Sunday in another American Hockey League East Division battle between contenders.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
TRUEX JR Cruises To Mexico Busch Win
Mexico City, Mexico – Martin Truex Jr. cruised to victory in the first points-paying Busch Series race in Mexico City. The defending series champ won Sunday's Telcel Motorola 200 at Autodromo Hermanos Speedway by 6.3-seconds ahead of Kevin Harvick, the second place finisher.
Martin Truex, Jr.
Top ten finishing order: 1. Martin Truex Jr., 2. Kevin Harvick, 3. Carl Edwards, 4. Shane Hmiel, 5. Boris Said, 6. Rusty Wallace, 7. Clint Bowyer, 8. Kenny Wallace, 9. Ashton Lewis, 10. Adrian Fernandez.
Top-10 Busch Series Leaders – The top-10 Busch Series leaders after 3 of 35: 1. Harvick-515, 2. Edwards-454, 3. Bowyer-433, 4. Truex Jr.-423, 5. Sorenson-414, 6. Lewis-397, 7. Hmile-376, 8. K. Wallace-318, 9. J. Labonte-303, 10. Keller-294.
ROUSH RACING Is On A Roll – Roush Racing posted one of its most productive weeks ever, at Fontana, CA with two wins and nine of 10 entries finishing inside the top 10 in three series.
The series has been idle since then, but this weekend, the Nextel Cup travels to Las Vegas.
Both Mark Martin and Greg Biffle had wins at the California Speedway, with Martin taking the checkered flag in Saturday’s Stater Bros 300 Busch race and Biffle capping off the encore with a win in Sunday’s Auto Club 500.
“I really think it kind of speaks for itself today,” said Greg Biffle after Sunday’s race. “I think almost all of our cars led a lap. It just says how strong our organization is and how well we share our information and how good our wind tunnel people are. I think it says a lot for our engine program. We saw a lot of engine failures today from different teams and our engines ran really good. This place is hard on engines - a lot of throttle-on time here, and I think it speaks for what is to come this season with our cars.”
Biffle led four Roush drivers in the top 10 in Sunday’s Nextel Cup race, with teammates Kurt Busch (third), Carl Edwards (fifth) and Martin (seventh) all joining him in the top 10. If not for a cut tire late on Matt Kenseth’s No. 17 Ford, Roush would have more than likely put five drivers inside the race’s top- 10 finishing order. All five Roush Racing cars lead laps during the race as well.
Roush put three cars in the top 10 of the Busch Series race on Saturday as well, with Edwards (sixth) and Kenseth (ninth) joining Martin. In addition, Roush’s Ricky Craven finished third and rookie Todd Kluever ran to a fourth-place finish in the Craftsman Truck Series race on Friday.
The Nextel Cup point standings are currently dominated by Roush Racing, with four of the top five drivers calling Roush home. Busch leads the way in first place. Martin is in third (39 points behind Busch), joined by Edwards (fourth) and Biffle (fifth).
Craven is currently in second place, just 25 points out of first in the truck series standings and Carl Edwards moved up six places to third in the Busch Series, just 51 points out of first.
All in all Roush Racing posted two wins, six top-five and nine top-10 finishes in 10 entries at California Speedway over the weekend. Roush will look to expand on that success next weekend when they take to the 1.5 mile oval of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a track where Roush has traditionally been dominate.
In fact Roush has won five of the seven Nextel Cup races at Las Vegas. Kenseth has won twice there, including the last two and Martin, who won the inaugural race at Vegas in ’98, has six top-10 finishes in seven events.
Top-10 Nextel Cup Leaders – No.1 Kurt Busch-340. The reigning NASCAR Nextel Cup champion wasn’t out of the top spot long, advancing on the strength of a third-place finish at California, his second consecutive top-5 performance in as many weeks. Dating to last season, Busch has 11 top-10 finishes in the last 12 races.
No. 2 Jimmie Johnson-335. Finishing last season on a tear (he won four of the last six races) Johnson has picked up where he left off, logging a second-place effort at California.
No. 3 Mark Martin-301. Ranked 28th in the point standings at this time last season, a rejuvenated Martin has scored four top-10 finishes in his last six races, dating to Atlanta last November.
No. 4 Carl Edwards-287. The youngest (age 25) and most recent addition to the Roush operation, Edwards jumped into the top 10 in the standings off a fifth-place showing at California. The finish was his second career top-five result in just 15 starts, giving him his best-ever career ranking.
No. 5 Greg Biffle-273. Biffle’s fourth career victory gave him his best ranking in the standings to date and his first entry into the top 10 in 80 races. He is the only driver to win titles in the NASCAR Busch Series (2002) and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (2000).
No. 6. Elliott Sadler-272, No. 7. Tony Stewart-268, No. 8. Rusty Wallace-268, No. 9. Sterling Marlin-260, No. 10. Jeff Gordon-258.
The NASCAR Busch and Cup teams are at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, while the Craftsman Trucks have another weekend off.
Saturday, March 12, Busch Series Sam’s Town 300, race 4 of 35, 200 laps/300 miles, 3:30 p.m. TV: FX Channel.
Sunday, March 13, Nextel Cup UAW/DAIMLERCHRYSLER 400, race 3 of 36, 267 laps/400 miles, 2 p.m. TV: Fox.
Racing Trivia Question: What year did Tony Stewart win the Winston Cup championship?
Last Week’s Question: Which team did Steve Park drive for when he raced Winston Cup? Answer. He drove the No. 1 Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt Inc.
You may read additional stories by the Racing Reporter at www.race500.com.
Blue Ridge senior Justin Herbert added to his string of wrestling successes with efforts in February that make him the Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month.
The start of those accomplishments, however, came when Herbert was a freshman.
Herbert reached the District 2 Class AA final for the fourth straight year and captured his second title. Before getting to districts, he became Blue Ridge's all-time leader in career wins.
"That definitely started back when I was a freshman," Herbert said. "In order to get it, I had to be solid all four years.
"At the end of my sophomore year, I had 50 wins. That's when I knew I had a chance."
Herbert pushed his season record to 32-1 and career mark to 120-35 by winning the district title. He has not lost since the finals of the Times Leader Invitational in December.
"I feel like I've gotten better on my feet," said Herbert, who pointed to that as an area where he needed work after the loss. "I'm more aggressive. I don't let up any."
Herbert, who has committed to continue his wrestling career at Division I Franklin & Marshall, showed improvement even within the month of February.
After beating Hanover Area's Zack Martinez, 8-2, to break Chris Lewis' school record of 115 wins, Herbert faced Martinez again in the district final. In the rematch, Herbert posted an 18-3 technical fall in 5:45.
Herbert started districts with a 51-second pin, then outscored three opponents by a total of 49-3 while winning technical falls.
"I felt good all weekend," Herbert said. "My moves were working well."
The district title sent Herbert back to Northeast Regionals where he was second a year ago on the way to a sixth-place finish in the state.
Justin, the son of Rick and Dixie Herbert of New Milford, is also preparing for his fourth season as a starter in baseball. He started on the soccer team for three seasons.
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