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Scranton - As a 103-pounder, Shane Bayak would have never had the opportunity to decide a high school wrestling match in the sport's old days.
When the morning of the biggest match of the season arrived for Elk Lake, coach Bob Hegedty never thought Jason Miller would have a chance to be a factor in determining who captured the Lackawanna League Group B title.
Miller shook off the effects of an injury and Bayak handled the pressure when a random draw placed him in the final bout with a division championship at stake. Both wrestlers produced impressive efforts to help the Warriors take the division title, 36-30, win a win over Scranton Prep at the Larkin Center.
Hegedty took risks and juggled his lineup, knowing Elk Lake was already in a 12-point hole from the minimum of two forfeits it would have to give up. The coach asked four of his wrestlers to compete against larger opponents at higher weights and three came through with wins.
Miller came up with the most impressive of those wins. He was wrestling with bandages supporting his left shoulder, which he had recently separated, and was giving up more than 16 pounds after bumping from 189 to 215 to face Chris DeMatteo.
"Coming into today, he wasn't wrestling," Hegedty said after the match. "His parents told me this morning that he could wrestle."
Miller was in serious trouble when DeMatteo took him down to his back in the first minute and when DeMatteo used a headlock to put him close to a pin early in the second. Those two moves helped DeMatteo take a 9-5 lead, but Miller avoided giving up the pin to his bigger opponent.
When the bout went to the third period, Miller was clearly the stronger wrestler. He scored all five points of the period, using a four-point move with 49 seconds left to rally for a 12-10 win.
Miller's victory put Elk Lake ahead, 32-24, and in position where one more win in the final two bouts could clinch the school's first wrestling championship since 1986.
After Cory Rudalege got a pin at heavyweight to bring Prep within two points, Bayak provided the clinching victory.
Bayak put Josh Jarita on his back in the first and third periods of a convincing, 10-0 win.
"Our plan coming in was that we were going to move guys around," Hegedty said.
Mason Palmatier slid up to 140 to get a first-period pin, moving Rich Harvey up to 145 where he posted a 16-5 decision. The two victories broke a 12-12 tie and put Elk Lake ahead to stay, 22-12.
Hegedty got the matchups he wanted, but he was still surprised with the way Elk Lake won.
"I thought we could beat them, but I thought we would need more pins than what we got," he said.
Hegedty's master plan called for six or seven pins, which would have allowed the Warriors to offset the forfeits and win with one less bout victory.
Instead, the Warriors won eight of the 12 bouts decided on the mat.
Cory Benscoter (112) got things started with a first-period pin. Brent Salsman and Palmatier had the only other pins.
Dylan Griffiths joined Bayak and Harvey in producing major decisions.
Derek Noldy and Miller had the other wins.
The win allowed Elk Lake to finish 7-0 in the division and hand Prep its first division loss of the season. The Warriors went 6-1 each of the previous two seasons and lost in a three-way wrestleoff with Scranton Prep and Susquehanna for last season's championship.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Chelsey Parvin followed her sister to the 1,000-point milestone with a big second half January 30 in Montrose's 56-25 victory over Mountain View.
Less than a month after Courtney Parvin hit the milestone at Springfield College and four years after she did it at Montrose, Chelsey reached the mark with 17 points, all in the second half.
Parvin made a steady climb to 1,000 points since her freshman season. She is averaging 12.8 points while leading the Lady Meteors in scoring and rebounding.
Montrose, the first-half champion, remained unbeaten in Lackawanna League Division III play with two more wins later in the week.
Ashley Jones and Caitlin Ely scored 12 points each and Brittany Ely added 11 in a 61-28 victory over Susquehanna.
Brittany Ely then led the way with 14 points and five steals in a 61-36 win over Blue Ridge.
Ashley Jones added 13 points while Parvin and Amanda Lass controlled the inside. Parvin had 11 points and 10 rebounds while Lass had seven points, 13 rebounds and seven blocked shots.
In boys' basketball, Mountain View escaped with a 47-46 overtime victory over Forest City to remain unbeaten in Division III play.
Susquehanna beat Carbondale for the second time this season by outscoring the Chargers, 80-74.
In wrestling, Elk Lake fell in the first round of the District 2 Class AA Dual Meet Tournament, 48-25, to Lake-Lehman.
John Brooks had a first-period pin and Harvey also had a pin for the Warriors, who were the only county team to reach the tournament.
Abington Heights (Class AAA) and West Scranton (Class AA) gave the Lackawanna League a sweep of the championships.
In professional hockey, Denis Hamel of the Binghamton Senators had a goal and an assist and Dany Sabourin of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins stopped nine of 11 shots to lead Team Canada to a 9-4 victory over PlanetUSA in the American Hockey League All-Star Classic.
Hamel was involved in the last two of five straight second-period goals to open a 7-1 lead. Sabourin helped protect that lead with his play in net in the third period.
Defenseman Filip Novak of Binghamton and Noah Welch of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton played for PlanetUSA.
Lawrence Tompkins, a 6-foot-3 senior forward from Blue Ridge who serves as team captain, is leading Marywood University in rebounding and 3-point shooting.
Tompkins is the third-leading scorer for the Pacers (4-15) with 12.8 points per game. He averages a team-high 7.9 rebounds.
Tompkins leads Marywood in 3-pointers made (27) and in 3-point percentage (31.4).
THE WEEK AHEAD
The top teams in Lackawanna League Division III basketball will meet in the upcoming week.
Mountain View is at Lackawanna Trail Friday in boys' basketball.
Montrose is at Forest City Tuesday in girls' basketball.
The Lady Meteors are home Thursday against Carbondale when they will honor Parvin for her 1,000th point at halftime of the junior varsity game.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
BUDWEISER SHOOTOUT This Saturday – Speedweeks 2006 at Daytona International Speedway will celebrate the 28th running of the special event known as the Budweiser Shootout, Saturday, Feb. 11.
The Shootout has been held annually at Daytona since 1979, originating as the "Busch Clash" before it was renamed the "Bud Shootout."
The non-points event has been the NASCAR Cup Series season-opening race – scheduled one week before the Daytona 500 – since its inception.
The event began as a 25-lap sprint among pole-winning drivers from the most recent Cup season and more recently has been run in several different formats, with the most recent being 70 laps, which requires a pit stop.
The race now includes active past champions from prior Busch Clash and Bud Shootout events that did not win a pole in the previous season.
Last year’s Bud Shootout winner, Jimmy Johnson will use this Saturday’s race as a prelude to what he hopes is a championship season.
After running near the front of the points for much of 2005, Johnson’s No. 48 team faltered in the stretch run for the Nextel Chase for the Championship and wound up fifth in the final points.
“We’re positive and pumped up,” said Johnson. “We can race with the best, but its other stuff that takes place that we hope we can avoid this year.
“We’re ready emotionally. I know it’s tough to avoid wrecks and problems on the track, but we feel like if we just get our team to where its 100 per cent, then we can take care of a lot of the small situations that are bound to occur.”
Can EDWARDS Top His 2005 Season? Carl Edwards, driver of Roush Racing’s No. 99 Ford came out of nowhere and burst onto the 2005 NASCAR scene with four wins and some spontaneous back flips.
Carl Edwards celebrates his 2005 win at Texas Motor Speedway.
"There's only one way to approach this kind of competition, I think, and that is to just go into it 100 percent and give everything you can and see what comes up," Edwards said. "We've had a blast.
“The only pressure I’ve had on me, has been the pressure I’ve put on myself.”
Edwards finished third in last year’s Nextel Cup Chase for the Championship, but he turned out to be one of the year’s biggest surprises.
"Magic," is the way veteran Roush Racing teammate Mark Martin assessed the youthful Missouri native's appearance in NASCAR's premier series.
With no great expectations but infinite possibilities, Edwards delivered in times that almost no one could have imagined.
In only the fourth weekend of a season in which he planned to run full programs in the Nextel Cup and the Busch Series, Edwards swept both events at Atlanta Motor Speedway to score his first-career triumphs in both.
But even more spectacularly, he came into the Cup season finale Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a legitimate shot at winning the Chase for the Nextel Cup. It was a remarkable finish for a team that began 2005 without knowing if it had enough sponsorship to complete the season.
In fact, Edwards somewhat dominated the statistics in the 10-race Chase, logging the best average finish, 8.4 per race, on the strength of a league-leading eight top-10 finishes, including a pair of victories.
When the final race was over, Edwards was tied with another Roush teammate, Greg Biffle, only 35 points behind two-time champ Tony Stewart. Biffle's two-race edge in the victory column gave him the runner-up spot.
Edwards, who sacrificed his Nextel Cup Rookie of the Year eligibility by running 13 races at the end of 2004, did exactly what team owner Jack Roush had hoped for by totaling four wins, two Bud Poles, 13 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes against only one DNF.
Throughout the season, Edwards' teammates, all of whom have won championships in the highest levels of the sport, praised him deeply.
"Carl is just massively talented," 2003 Cup champion Matt Kenseth said. "Some people are really gifted and naturals at it, and then there are other people probably like me that have to work really hard at it.
"You see him walk down pit road. He's the only driver I've ever seen in my life walk down pit road during qualifying with a headset on listening to the scanner to see what everybody is saying about the racetrack.
"I mean, he's really involved in it, but he's just so naturally talented. I think he probably surprised us all with how good he did, but he's definitely one of those gifted people."
In what amounted to his rookie season in Nextel Cup, Edwards' average finish was 13.97, and his average start was 18.91 – a pair of numbers a lot of veterans would crave.
For Edwards to finish the season with the same amount of exuberance that he started with, after running 70 races in two intense championship battles, doesn't necessarily bode well for the competition.
"We just have an unbelievable team," Edwards said. "My guys are unbelievable. I'm having a good time and that's what it's all about."
Less Impound Races In 2006 – The NASCAR impound rule is not dead yet, but the number of races where it will be used will be drastically reduced for 2006.
NASCAR will impound the Nextel Cup cars at five races in 2006: Both Talladega events, both Richmond events, and the Pepsi 400 at Daytona.
The impound rule was used at 21 of the 36 races in 2005. Neither of the Talladega events was an impound race last year. The rule was consistently criticized throughout the year as vastly different weekend schedules led to confusion and large amounts of downtime.
An impound race usually featured two Friday practices and Saturday Bud Pole Qualifying instead of the traditional Friday Bud Pole Qualifying and Saturday practices.
WEEKEND RACING SCHEDULE
Saturday, February 11, Nextel Cup Budweiser Shootout; Starting time: 8 p.m. TV: TNT; Defending winner: Jimmy Johnson, Chevrolet.
Daytona International Speedway track information: Distance: 2.5-mile oval; Length of frontstretch: 3,800 feet; Length of backstretch: 3,400 feet; Banking in turns 1-4: 31-degrees; Banking on backstretch: 3-degrees. Grandstand capacity: 175,000.
Racing Trivia Question: What year did Daytona International Speedway open?
You may read additional stories at The Racing Reporter’s website, www.race500.com.
Dylan Griffiths and the rest of the Elk Lake wrestling team had so much success in the past two years that it was easy to determine goals for the 2005-06 season.
In both cases, it was simply a matter of finishing what was already started.
Griffiths wanted to be part of Elk Lake's first championship team in 20 years after the Warriors lost to Scranton Prep in the matches that decided each of the last two titles. As far as an individual goal, he wanted to reach a record that he was in range of, the most wins in a career by an Elk Lake wrestler.
On the last night of January, Griffiths picked up a win as the Warriors achieved their team goal. That left him on the verge of two individual goals and completed an effort that makes him the latest Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month.
"The last two years, we've lost to (Scranton Prep)," Griffiths said after posting a major decision in the 36-30 victory over the Cavaliers to win the Lackawanna League Group B title. "They've been our rival. Coach said it was all about January 31.
"It's been posted on a wall. That was our goal."
Wrestling mixes team goals with individual pursuits. The team portion essentially ended for the Elk Lake wrestling team Friday night in a 48-25 loss to Lake-Lehman in the District 2 Class AA Dual Meet Tournament.
During the Lake-Lehman match, Griffiths picked up another win, the 100th of his career. Griffiths, who is 32-6 this season, is in position to surpass the school record of 101 set by Mike Noldy last year.
Griffiths knew he needed 32 wins for 100 and 33 to catch Noldy when the season started. He had a plan on how to get there, working on his moves from the bottom that become so essential in tight, low-scoring matches.
"I wanted to work on my explosiveness on bottom," he said. "That extra point, then a takedown after that is what I try to get."
Griffiths now has other challenges ahead. He is a contender for a District 2 championship after finishing third each of the past two seasons and he wants to improve on his Northeast Regional effort where he picked up one win before being eliminated last season.
Dylan is the son of Dave and Terri Curley of Lawton.
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