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Matt Panasevich's status as a Division I college recruit and a holder of multiple national medals in wrestling made the primary goal of his senior season at Mountain View an obvious one - pursuing a state title.
Panasevich dealt with the relative disappointment of settling for fifth in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class AA state tournament.
What is sometimes overlooked is that he was chasing a title in the nation's toughest high school tournament.
That point was driven home during the National High School Coaches Association Senior Nationals in Pittsburgh.
Panasevich faced four unbeaten state champions and split with them, winning twice and losing twice. The Cornell recruit beat a third state champion on the way to a fifth-place finish out of 55 entries in the 189-pound weight class.
The tournament drew 828 high school seniors who had placed in their state tournaments.
After receiving a first-round bye, Panasevich got his tournament started with a 6-1 decision over Markley Morrison, who finished fourth in North Carolina.
Panasevich reached the quarterfinals with an 8-5 victory over Nick Henning, the undefeated Minnesota state champion. That was the first of two straight victories of that magnitude. Panasevich then edged Logan Brown, who went 52-0 on the way to the Ohio state title.
Trevor Branvold kept Panasevich from making it three in a row on the way to capturing the national title. The unbeaten Wisconsin state champion pinned Panasevich.
Two-time Florida Class AAA champion Jerome Cook, who also went 52-0 this season, defeated Panasevich, 5-1, in the consolation semifinals on the way to a third-place finish.
Panasevich bounced back with a 3-2 win over David Green, the two-time Florida Class AA champion.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Mountain View's Whitney Williams scored 14 points to lead the North in scoring with a 74-66 loss to the South in the Lackawanna League Girls' Basketball All-Star Game at Forest City.
Montrose's John Cherundolo coached the North in the senior all-star game. There were five Susquehanna County players on the North team.
Amanda Lass scored eight points while Montrose teammates Chelsey Parvin and Ashley Jones added four and two points. Forest City's Laura Heck had one point.
In boys' basketball, Forest City's Ryan Ogozaly scored 10 points for the Blue in a 108-87 loss to the Red in the Lackawanna League All-Star Game at Valley View.
Ogozaly and Mountain View's Tim Bennett were voted into the starting lineup for the team, which was coached by Mountain View's Pat Heaton.
Elk Lake's Kirk Lunger and Mountain View's Chris White also played in the game.
In professional hockey, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins inched closer to their first American Hockey League regular-season division title while the Binghamton Senators held on to slim playoff hopes.
Both teams won two out of three weekend games.
The Penguins suffered their loss Friday night in Binghamton, 2-0.
Kelly Guard made 27 saves for his fourth shutout of the season.
Penguins defenseman Chris Kelleher was taken off the ice on a stretcher after being knocked unconscious when he slid headfirst into the boards early in the second period. Kelleher was released from a Binghamton hospital in the middle of the night and the Penguins hope he will be able to return this season.
Nine seconds after play resumed, Jan Platil scored to give the Senators a 1-0 lead.
Denis Hamel scored into an empty net with 32 seconds left.
Hamel got his 50th goal of the season Saturday night in a 3-1 loss to Norfolk that ended the surging Senators' six-game home winning streak. He scored again 1:07 into overtime Sunday to give Binghamton a 4-3 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the team the Senators are trying to catch in the playoff race.
Brittany Pavelski, who led Blue Ridge to a state championship and another championship game appearance in her brilliant four-year career, is a prominent member of the Marywood University softball team as a freshman.
Pavelski is the team's top starting pitcher and plays shortstop when she is not on the mound. She has also been occupying the first or second spots in the batting order for the team that is off to a 10-10 start.
On the mound, Pavelski is 4-5 with team-highs of nine starts, 54 innings pitched and 54 strikeouts. Her 4.00 earned run average is also the best on the team.
Offensively, Pavelski is batting .205. She is second on the team with nine stolen bases without being caught. Pavelski also has two doubles, a triple, 13 runs scored, eight runs batted in and six walks.
The Binghamton Senators and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are scheduled for their final regular-season meeting of the season Wednesday at the Wachovia Arena in Wilkes-Barre.
In the unlikely event that the Senators can squeeze their way into the Calder Cup playoffs, the two teams would likely meet again in the first round. Last season, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton upset division champion Binghamton in that round.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
The Racing Reporter
STEWART Holds Off GORDON, JOHNSON, Martinsville, VA – Tony Stewart dominated Sunday’s DirecTV 500, but after losing and then regaining the lead from Jimmie Johnson late in the race, he had to fight off a hard charge by Jeff Gordon in a final three-lap dash to the checkered flag.
“Being able to hold off that 24-car was what made me feel so good," Stewart said. “The last three times here, we led the most laps, so obviously we’ve had an awesome car. Jeff is so good here.”
Gordon, who came back from a flat tire on lap 89 of the 500-lap race, said he thought he might be able to catch Stewart had it not been for the final caution.
“We didn't need that last caution,” Gordon said. “But I am real proud of this team. We weren't the best today, but we never gave up. I wish I could have gotten to his rear bumper, it might have been a little more exciting.”
Johnson’s third-place finish allowed him to retake the Nextel Cup points lead.
“I was sliding all over the place there at the end,” said Johnson. “Tony is always good here on the short runs. I kind of lost a little ground to him, then the 24-car got around me.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. battled back from a flat tire and several accidents to finish fourth.
“The way the car is beat up kind of reminds me of what Harry Gant’s car looked like when he won out here with a couple fenders missing,” said Earnhardt. “We were beatin’ and bangin’, and I was worried my car was tore up too bad to be competitive, but thanks to the team for getting’ me back out on the race track.”
Previous points leader, Matt Kenseth brought out a red flag with seven laps remaining, when his No. 17 slipped sideways entering Turn 1 and slammed the outside wall. His 24th place finish dropped him to third in the points.
Kyle Busch, Elliott Sadler, Kevin Harvick, Brian Vickers, Jamie McMurray, and Scott Riggs rounded out the top-10 finishers.
Top-25 points leaders after 6 of 36: 1. Johnson-933, 2. Martin-874, 3. Kenseth-873, 4. Kahne-832, 5. Kyle Busch-832, 6. Earnhardt-824, 7. J. Gordon-814, 8. Stewart-791, 9. Sadler-735, 10. Mears-724, 11. Jarrett-716, 12. Harvick-699, 13. Newman-668, 14. Kurt Busch-661, 15. Vickers-650, 16. Bowyer-644, 17. McMurray-623, 18. Biffle-615, 19. Edwards-602, 20. Truex-597, 21. Burton-591, 22. Yeley-589, 23. Hamlin-582, 24. Sorenson-577, 25. Nemechek-555.
DALE JR Defends Talk On Radio – Last week, Dale Jr. defended unsavory comments his teammate Martin Truex made on his radio during the race, and how NASCAR might deduct points for future offensive language.
“When you’re on the radio and racing, you’re not thinking about your language,” he said. “If that’s not the case, then I may as well not even take any points. Just keep my points and I will race for the paycheck.
“That is ridiculous. Besides, with all the money television is spending, they should be able to control what is transmitted. Somebody is a moron.”
Fan Comment – Last week we asked fans to comment on the large number of Cup drivers that are racing in the Busch Series. Below are three replies:
“In my opinion Cup Drivers shouldn't be allowed to compete in the Busch races, unless they are going to run every race and compete for the championship. It just isn't fair to the up and coming Busch drivers. I can see letting the rookie Cup drivers in the races for experience on the track, but that's it.” J. P. Susquehanna, PA.
“They should put a restriction on how many times a Cup driver can compete in a year’s time. I know I may be beating a dead horse, but NASCAR does have its pets; Kurt, Kyle, Jeff, and Jimmy. They do not get penalized as bad as other members. I know where one driver said s**t and he loses points and money. I think that in the case of Jimmy whose crew chief was outright cheating only got a suspension, as if the driver was innocent he should have had to lose points from the first race he won. I know everybody would cheat if they thought they could get away with it. I would just like to know how one cussword is worse than cheating?” H.D. Baltimore, MD.
“I now realize how wrong and unfair this is to the "up and coming" drivers that hope to someday make it in the Cup Series. It is now ridiculous!!! The new guys don't have much of a chance showing what they can do when you have the more experienced drivers in their race. Especially, when some Cup drivers are driving for points. Last week there were 19 Cup drivers in the Busch Race and a Cup driver won the race as they have done for several weeks now. This really is not fair! Look at all the Busch drivers that didn't even get to drive in their own series because a Cup driver took their spot.
“A lot of Busch drivers don't even get a chance to prove themselves or even get track experience because a Cup driver is taking up a spot that they need to get a chance to race in the Cup series.
“I find it appalling that a Cup driver should be allowed to drive for "points" for a Championship in the Busch series!!! They had their chance for a Championship when they were in their own previous series. Why should they (with more track experience and driving time) take that coveted title from someone who hasn't had a chance yet to make it in the Cup series? Also, is it fair that a driver has proved himself driving in another series that someone has picked him to drive in the Cup series that he be able to take a championship from someone who would also like (and work hard to achieve) to be picked up to drive in the Cup series?” K.P. Dundalk, MD.
Top-10 Craftsman Truck Series leaders: 1. Martin-720, 2. Musgrave-665, 3. Bodine-662, 4. Reutimann-576, 5. Starr-556, 6. Darnell-552, 7. Sprague-544, 8. Bliss-544, 9. Setzer-531, 10. Crawford-508.
The Nextel Cup and Busch teams are at Ft. Worth, TX, while the Craftsman Trucks do not race again until April 29.
Saturday, April 8, Busch Series O’Reilly 300, race 7 of 35, 200 laps/300 miles, 3 p.m. TV: Fox.
Sunday, April 9, SAMSUNG/RADIOSHACK 500, race 7 of 36, 334 laps/500 miles, 1:30 p.m. TV: Fox.
Racing Trivia Question: How many Winston Cup championships did Bobby Allison win?
Last Week’s Question: Where is Nextel Cup rookie, Reed Sorenson’s hometown? Answer. It is Peachtree City, GA, a suburb of Atlanta.
You may read additional stories at the Racing Reporter’s website, www.race500.com.
HARRISBURG – To help organizations and local agencies continue to offer sport fishing and aquatic resource educational programs, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has announced it will offer some financial assistance through a state grant program, Rep. Sandra Major (R-Susquehanna/Wayne/Wyoming) said.
The grants are part of the commission's new Sportfishing and Aquatic Resource Education Grant program designed to encourage Pennsylvania's youth to take up fishing. According to a national study, only 35 percent of Pennsylvania youths aged 6-15 have fished.
Grantees can receive up to $5,000 to be used toward the purchase of equipment or materials and costs associated with field trips.
Eligible organizations include public and private schools; colleges and universities; townships, boroughs, municipal and county governments; as well as sportsmen's clubs and organizations; conservation organizations; and professional education and recreation organizations.
Activities and expenditures eligible for grant funds include the creation or support of youth-oriented fishing and boating clubs; development of in-school clubs or integration into physical education or other curriculum; costs associated with instructor and/or volunteer training; purchase of equipment or class materials; transportation to program location/ meeting or classroom space rental; and reimbursement to school districts for substitute teachers.
The deadline for applications is May 1. Successful applicants will be notified by June 1, and funding will be awarded after July 1. For more information or a grant application, visit the commission's Web site at www.fish.state.pa.us or call (717) 705-7835.
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