Local Sports Scene
Kilmer Found Place With Nittany Lions
Joe Paterno remembers looking out on the practice field more than two years ago and saying, "Who is that kid?"
A name was not enough.
The Penn State football coach wanted to learn more about Ethan Kilmer, the walk-on athlete who immediately impressed Paterno with his athletic ability.
By the time Kilmer's second season in the program ended, the coach was seeking him out.
Kilmer, who had not played football since his freshman year at Wyalusing, had been happy to find a significant place on the Penn State special teams for a season. He was ready to strictly concentrate on his studies and put his football career in the past.
Paterno had other ideas. He convinced Kilmer, now on a football scholarship, to spend another season with the team as a fifth-year senior.
Kilmer, the grandson of Sandy and Joan Battisti of Oakland, has added to his role while helping the Nittany Lions win the Big Ten Conference title and a spot in the Bowl Championship Series.
When sprints are timed and vertical leaps are measured, Kilmer ranks right near the top among Penn State's football players.
The 6-foot, 205-pounder imagined using that speed and jumping ability to play basketball when he was a four-year starter and three-time Northern Tier League all-star at Wyalusing. He also was a state medalist in the high jump after setting a school record in the event.
Kilmer headed off to Division II Shippensburg University, but his "hoop dreams", as he called them, never materialized.
When Kilmer transferred to Penn State prior to 2003 to continue his studies in kinesiology, he decided he wanted to give football another shot.
Kilmer was Wyalusing's Scholar-Athlete and Athlete of the Year winner in high school, but he had not been on the football field in six years.
The way he ran caught the attention of Penn State's coaches, but he soon showed toughness as well.
After working with the scout team in 2003, Kilmer found his way onto the field on Saturdays in 2004. He played in every game on defense as a safety or linebacker and on special teams. He finished the season with six tackles, including two against Ohio State.
Kilmer had been on the field for 137 snaps.
Paterno convinced him there was more to be experienced.
The new experiences included Kilmer's first two touchdowns this season.
In addition to becoming the leader of the special teams, Kilmer moved to offense and worked his way into the rotation at wide receiver. When injuries thinned the Nittany Lions at the position, he became an even bigger factor.
"I am definitely very grateful for the opportunity to be here," Kilmer told the Associated Press. "I still have to pinch myself every once in a while."
Kilmer had three solo tackles and an assist while catching a pass for 12 yards in the regular-season finale against Michigan State.
For the season, Kilmer is tied for sixth on the team with nine catches for 157 yards and two touchdowns. His work on the special teams has him 12th on the team in total tackles with 23 (17 solo). Kilmer has also forced a fumble.
WEEK IN REVIEW
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins continue to set records with their amazing start.
After losing Michel Ouellet, the American Hockey League's second-leading scorer, and Matt Hussey on call-ups to the parent Pittsburgh Penguins, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton went 2-0-1 for the week.
The 2-1 overtime loss Wednesday against the Providence Bruins was just the second of the season, but the Penguins used it to become the first team in the 70-year history of the AHL to score points in the standings in their first 18 games. Teams get one point for an overtime or shootout loss and two points for any win.
After winning again in Rochester, the Penguins improved the best start in league history to 18-0-2 with a 4-1 win in Binghamton Saturday.
The win at the Broome County Arena also extended the Penguins' road winning streak to 13 games, including two from last season. That tied two other teams for the longest ever in the league.
Tomas Surovy set a team record for the fastest two goals by one player when he scored 21 seconds apart early in the third period for a 3-0 lead. A goal by former Senator Dennis Bonvie goal in the second period had broken the scoreless tie.
Dany Sabourin improved to 8-0 by making 42 saves in goal for the Penguins, but he lost his shutout on a power-play goal by Filip Novak with 1:17 left.
Kenny Corupe added an empty-net goal for the Penguins with 14 seconds left.
Binghamton is last in the six-team East Division with a 6-11-1-1 record, 22 points behind first-place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
In high school football, the last District 2 team was eliminated from state play.
Wilson Area scored the final 21 points of its state Class AA quarterfinal to run away from Hanover Area, 42-14.
The only defending champion still alive is Southern Columbia, which is aiming for its fourth straight Class A championship after beating Schuylkill Haven, 31-6. Southern Columbia is looking to qualify for the final for the 11th time in 12 years.
The Tigers started the streak in 1994 with a 40-20 semifinal victory over Susquehanna. Starting with the 1994 playoffs, they are 10-1 in state semifinals, 4-6 in state finals and 27-7 in all state playoff games.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The winter high school sports season gets underway Thursday with the first round of the Tony Aliano Memorial Girls' Basketball Tournament at Susquehanna.
The tournament, which concludes Saturday, also includes Blue Ridge.
Mountain View is at the Lake-Lehman Tournament Friday and Saturday.
Most area teams open their season in tournament settings this weekend.
In boys' basketball, Elk Lake hosts Carbondale Friday for the annual Red Wallace Memorial Scholarship Game.
Mountain View hosts the Bill McLaughlin Tournament Friday and Saturday.
Susquehanna and Blue Ridge are also in tournaments Friday and Saturday. Susquehanna is at Deposit, N.Y. while Blue Ridge is at Sayre.
Forest City opens in the Finan Tournament at Carbondale Sunday and Monday.
In wrestling, Blue Ridge is at the Bloomsburg Tournament Friday and Saturday.
Montrose is at Wyalusing and Mountain View is at Wilson Area for tournaments Saturday.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
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New Faces And A New MARK MARTIN
Expect new faces and new paint schemes in 2006.
Now that the Chase is over and Tony Stewart has collected his second Nextel Cup championship, teams are gearing up for next season.
Stewart, along with many of the top-10 finishers will be back in familiar cars, but there will be lots of new faces in old places.
One driver that will be happy to return is Mark Martin, who had originally planned his exit from Nextel Cup racing after this season. Circumstances led his car owner Jack Roush to ask him to reconsider those plans and race one more season.
At first Martin was less than thrilled about the prospect of postponing his departure from full-time Cup competition, but after a couple close finishes, the 46 year-old veteran is all pumped up.
"I've turned over a new leaf," Martin said after his second-place finish in Sunday's Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "On TV, Kenny Wallace said I was a pessimist after Charlotte, so I got mad. Now I am so excited about coming back that I just can't stand it. I wish we were starting tomorrow and I'm going to win! That's the new me.
“I hope the team stays with me. I hope we don’t lose any of these guys. They’re killers. I’ve had the time of my life in 2005. I want to thank the fans and all the people that support us. Like I say, I hope we can keep these guys together for another year.”
Gone will be two seasoned veterans Ricky Rudd and Rusty Wallace. Both of these old-timers retired after last Sunday’s Ford 400 at Homestead, FL.
Rudd left the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford without any fan fare, but hinted that he might return to racing in some capacity in the future.
Wallace announced his decision to retire before the 2005 season started. He finished 13th in Sunday's Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and ended his career with a 49-race streak of running at the finish that began at Bristol, Tenn., in August 2004.
"When I got in the car today there was a lot of emotion going into it, but once I hit the switch, it was all about performance, get a good run, make the right calls, stay out of trouble, finish good," he said.
"I'm emotioned out. I cried a thousand tears. I tried not to. I'm a pretty tough old boy, I think, but when this is your main deal – I hope that world I'm about to embark on is not a cruel one."
Wallace ended his Cup career with 706 starts, 55 wins, 36 poles and 202 top-five and 309 top-10 finishes.
His ride in the No. 2 Penske Dodge will be filled by the 2004 champion Kurt Busch.
Busch, who was suspended for the last two races of the season by previous team owner, Jack Roush brings with him a certain amount of stigma caused by his belligerent attitude over the past several years.
New car owner Roger Penske says he is ready to welcome Busch to the team, but fans might not be ready to forget, especially after Busch’s tirade with a Maricopa County sheriff’s deputy two weeks ago, which led to his suspension.
Jamie McMurray, who has driven the No. 42 Havoline Dodge for the past several years for Ganassi Racing is slated to move into Busch’s old seat in the No. 97 Roush Ford.
Former open wheel star and rookie, J. J. Yeley has replaced Bobby Labonte in the No. 18 of Joe Gibbs Racing. Yeley moved to the ride after Labonte jumped ship to go over to Petty Enterprises.
Labonte will replace Jeff Green in Petty’s No. 43, who is off to drive the No. 0 car at Haas-CNC. Green replaces Mike Bliss, who is still without a ride.
Ken Schrader has departed the No. 49 BAM team owned by Beth Ann Morgenthau for the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford. ARCA driver and rookie Brent Sherman has been tagged to replace Schrader.
Dave Blaney, who was released for Richard Childress Racing is expected to take over the No. 22 Bill Davis Dodge after Scott Wimmer was released.
Sterling Marlin has signed to drive the No. 14 Waste Management Chevrolet for MB2.
Rookies that are scheduled to move into Nextel Cup rides include, Martin Truex Jr., the 2005 Busch Series champion, Reed Sorenson, Clint bowyer, Denny Hamlin, and David Stremme.
Roush Racing has formed a partnership with Ameriquest, whereby four Roush drivers will run in selected Busch Series events in 2006.
Dubbed the “Ameriquest Dream Team,” it will consist of drivers Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards. The partnership includes sponsorship of all four teams throughout the NBS race season – unprecedented in the series’ 24-year history.
Mark Martin, the senior member of the team, is the all-time leading NBS race winner with 47, including a pair of checkered flags in 2005 (California, Feb. 26; Las Vegas, Mar. 12). Martin’s first full-time NBS season came in 1987 and he has captured five or more races in a season five times, including a season-best seven victories in 1993. Martin is a four-time NASCAR Nextel Cup Series championship runner-up, who also qualified for this year’s “Chase for the Nextel Cup.”
Matt Kenseth has amassed 18-career NBS wins, including three in 2004 and one earlier this spring at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway (May 6). His first full-time NBS season came in 1997, yet he posted his best stretch of racing during the 1998 and 1999 campaigns, finishing second and third, respectively in the year-end NBS points standings. Kenseth, who qualified for this year’s “Chase for the Nextel Cup,” was the 2003 NASCAR Cup champion.
Greg Biffle is the only driver in history to win both NBS (2002) and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS, 2000) titles. The 2001 NBS Rookie of the Year has claimed 17-career NBS victories, including April 22 at Phoenix. Biffle has twice won five NBS races in a season (2004, ’01), and is currently competing in the “Chase for the Nextel Cup.”
Carl Edwards has made the most of his rookie NBS season by winning five times, including: the Ameriquest 300 (Sept. 3), at Kentucky (June 18), Richmond (May 13), Atlanta (Mar. 19) and at Phoenix (Nov. 12). In 2003, Edwards exploded on the national scene, capturing three NCTS races en route to an eighth-place finish in the series standings and rookie of the year honors. Edwards also qualified for this season’s “Chase for the Nextel Cup.”
Racing Trivia Question: Where is Tony Stewart’s hometown?
Last Week’s Question: Which Nextel Cup team does Cal Wells own? Answer. He owns the No. 32 Tide team driven by Bobby Hamilton Jr.
You may read additional stories by the Racing Reporter at www.race500.com. His e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Oldest or Largest Does?
Modern day hunters are embracing the opportunity to harvest antlerless deer more than ever before. The average hunter in 2005 will likely harvest more antlerless deer than the average hunter in 2004, 2003 and most other years. This change in hunter attitude has resulted in healthier deer populations throughout the United States. Progress also brings additional questions and one that I’m often asked is, “Which doe should I shoot”? Many hunters feel you should not shoot the oldest does because they are the “teachers” in the deer world. Is this true?
It is true that does teach the younger animals, and they often maintain matrilineal groups of daughters and granddaughters and can therefore teach multiple generations. However, in free ranging populations it is nearly impossible to identify and remove the oldest does.
The QDMA promotes harvesting an adequate number of female deer to keep populations in balance with the existing habitat. We generally recommend shooting the largest doe or does in a group because they are most likely adults. Adult does are the most reproductive segment of a deer population and their removal helps balance a herd with its habitat in the shortest time frame. The only exception to this general guideline would be in areas with low deer populations. In these areas, the harvest of does under 2 ½ years of age would be recommended because of their lower reproductive rates compared to adult does. Selecting for the largest doe or does also minimizes the chance of harvesting a button buck and it provides the most meat for the table.
The largest does however aren’t necessarily the oldest. Like humans, female deer come in many shapes and sizes. I have seen 3½ year old does win “heavy” doe contests where entrants ranged from 1½-6½+ years old. These deer were harvested on properties in close proximity to each other with comparable habitats, so the weight differences weren’t a function of nutritional differences. Conversely, I have recorded 75 lb. (dressed wt.) 5½ year old does from northern ranges. These deer were healthy and they had abundant kidney and body fat (2 measures of nutritional fitness), they were just small in stature.
With a little training hunters can separate live antlerless deer by sex (female vs. buck fawn) and they can separate females into fawn, yearling, and 2½+ age classes. However, it is extremely difficult to accurately age live adult females to a specific year. For example, we can estimate a doe to be 2½+ years old based on body characteristics but it is difficult to identify whether she is actually 2½, 3½, 4½ or older. Fortunately, the oldest females aren’t necessarily the largest so when hunters select for the largest doe(s) they are automatically selecting across a range of ages. Harvesting deer from all age classes is good for the deer herd and it provides important data to use for establishing future antlerless harvest quotas.
Even if hunters could accurately identify the oldest does in a population it would be impossible to remove all of them. Research projects have shown mature does can be extremely difficult to harvest. In captive studies, a mature doe is often the last deer remaining when all deer within an enclosure are harvested.
Finally, removing some of the oldest does benefits hunters. Mature does that have lived under intense hunting pressure are master evaders and they teach their “tricks” to other deer in the group. This is one reason hunters see fewer does 1-2 years after initiating aggressive antlerless harvest programs. These populations probably contain fewer deer and the remaining does are much better at avoiding hunters. Thus it is good to remove some of these “masters” on a yearly basis.
The take home message is it is extremely difficult if not impossible to correctly identify the oldest does in a deer population. Then, even if hunters could identify them it would be extremely difficult if not impossible to harvest all of them. So, continue harvesting an adequate number of does and be confident you’re doing the right thing by selecting for the largest doe(s) in the group.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Kip’s Korner is written by Kip P. Adams, a certified wildlife biologist and the Northeast regional director for the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA).
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