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Scranton – Montrose javelin thrower Jared Olah and Susquehanna pole vaulter Amber Gaffey each won titles Thursday night during the Lackawanna Track Conference meet at Scranton Memorial Stadium.
Olah finished first with a javelin throw of 175-9.
Gaffey, the defending state Class AA champion, cleared 10 feet in windy conditions.
Montrose finished as the top county team in both boys' and girls' team scoring.
The Lady Meteors took sixth out of 21 teams overall with 49 1/2 points. The Meteors were 12th with 24 points.
Jessica Sekely of Elk Lake led the way as four county girls finished in the top eight in the javelin.
Sekely was second with a throw of 100-8, just ahead of Montrose's Sarah Golis in third with a throw of 100-2. Montrose's Amanda Lass was sixth at 93-10 while Blue Ridge's Becky Stone was eighth at 90-9.
Gaffey also led a strong county showing. Elya Spolar of Montrose and Mary Tarbox of Susquehanna finished tied for sixth in the pole vault at 7-6.
Montrose teammates Carrie Fischer and Chelsey Parvin finished tied for third after clearing 4-10 in the high jump.
Tara Chiarella, also of Montrose, was fourth in the 1600 with a time of 5:39.81. Blue Ridge's Maegan Lewis was sixth in 5:51.93, followed by teammate Janelle Collins in seventh in 5:53.34.
Montrose's Steffany Jahnke was fourth in the long jump at 15-6 1/4. Mountain View's Michelle Wedin was fifth at 15-4 and Blue Ridge's Lauren Findley was sixth at 15-1 1/2.
Jahnke was also fifth in the triple jump at 30-11.
The Montrose combination of Samantha Cudo and Emma Steed finished fifth and seventh in the 800.
Montrose added a seventh-place finishes in the 400 relay.
Elk Lake finished 10th with 30 1/2 points with the help of a second-place finish by the 3200 relay and a third-place finish by the 1600 relay. Sekely added a fifth-place finish in the discus and Lisa Rupert was fourth in the 300 hurdles.
Blue Ridge was 13th with 22 points. The Lady Raiders were fourth in the 3200 relay. Lewis finished fifth and Collins was eighth in the 3200, while Findley was sixth in the 200.
Susquehanna got all of its points in the pole vault while taking 16th with 12 1/2. Mountain View was 17th with four points.
Montrose's Robert O'Malley was third in the shot put with a heave of 47-11 1/2. The Meteors also got points from Cory Poepperling, who tied for fifth in the high jump and took eighth in the 100 high hurdles, and Tom Blachek, who was fifth in the javelin.
Blue Ridge was 16th with 13 points. The Raiders were led by Tim Decker, who took fifth in the 1600 in 4:47.93 and sixth in the 800 in 2:06.76. Aaron Onyon was fourth in the discus with 138-10 and the 3200 relay team came in eighth.
Susquehanna was 18th with 1 1/2 points from Sam Ross finishing tied for seventh in the pole vault.
Brent Salsman scored Elk Lake's only point by finishing eighth in the 1600.
Mountain View did not score.
Abington Heights, which is coached by Susquehanna native Frank Passetti, took second place in both team races.
Lakeland edged the Comets, 95-91 1/2, for the boys' title. Abington Heights took the Class AAA championship.
Delaware Valley outscored the Abington Heights girls, 109-75 1/2. Lakeland was third with 72 points, but claimed the Class AA championship.
The Lakeland boys were Class AA champs, in addition to their overall title, while the Delaware Valley girls were Class AAA champs.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Wilkes-Barre - Montrose's Pat Bayer went to extremes while winning his first two matches in the District 2 Class AA singles tennis tournament Thursday at Kirby Park.
Bayer won his first match in the quickest way possible, taking out J.D. Warner of North Pocono, 6-0, 6-0.
Things were significantly different in Bayer's next match.
Bayer upset sixth-seeded Steve Russo of Bishop Hannan in a three-set match that lasted almost 2 1/2 hours. He had to rally to do so.
Russo won the first set, 7-6, on an 11-9 tiebreaker.
Bayer came back to take the last two sets, 6-2, 6-4.
Third-seeded P.J. Marranca of Wyoming Seminary eliminated Bayer in the quarterfinals with a 6-0, 6-0 victory.
The other three county players were eliminated in their first match.
Montrose's Joe Quanne and Elk Lake's Matt Walters each lost, 8-0, in the first round.
Elk Lake's Blair Smith had a first-round bye then lost, 6-1, 6-0 to Honesdale's James Kelly.
In professional hockey, Frederic Cassivi made 27 saves as the Hershey Bears completed a four-game sweep of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins with a 1-0 victory.
In professional baseball, the brief stay of Cole Hamels with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons came to an end when Hamels was called up by the parent Philadelphia Phillies.
Hamels struck out 36 and allowed just one run in 23 innings in three dominating performances.
On the day Hamels was called to Philadelphia, Eude Brito threw eight innings of two-hit ball to lead the Red Barons to a 2-1 International League win over the Ottawa Lynx.
John Pierson, a senior pitcher from Elk Lake, was an honorable mention selection on the North Eastern Athletic Conference all-star team for his performance with Keystone College.
Pierson is 3-1 with one save and a 1.32 earned run average in 15 games. He has given up 20 hits while striking out 22 in 34 innings.
Early in the season, Pierson pitched a perfect game in a 13-0 victory over Baptist Bible College.
Pierson had nine strikeouts in the perfect game which he completed by striking out two of three batters in the seventh inning.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Lackawanna League baseball and softball regular season is scheduled to come to an end Wednesday.
In professional baseball, Montrose graduate Rich Thompson and the Indianapolis Indians arrive May 23 for the first of four straight games in Moosic against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons.
Thompson entered the weekend with a .298 batting average in 16 games with Indianapolis since being promoted from Class AA Altoona.
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
BIFFLE Is Battling Back, Darlington, SC – Greg Biffle may have shaken the “monkey” off his back Saturday night at NASCAR's toughest race track, as the Roush Racing driver held off a hard-charging Jeff Gordon to win the Nextel Cup Dodge Charger 500 in a Ford.
Greg Biffle celebrates his Darlington win.
After suffering an unbelievable string of bad luck in a majority of the races this season, prior to Darlington, Biffle stayed up on the wheel throughout the grueling, 367-lap event to move his No. 16 National Guard team back in contention for the championship.
Biffle and his team decided to take a chance and made their final pit stop three laps ahead of all the other lead lap cars. The strategy gave him fresh tires and a jump on the competition for the last long run.
“I felt like we needed to take a chance,” said Biffle. “I felt like we had so much bad luck, that it’s not possible for us to pit three laps before everyone and the caution is going to come out.”
The move paid off, but as the laps wound down, Biffle had to keep an eye on Jeff Gordon, who filled his rear view mirror, as the leaders navigated through the late race traffic.
“I was praying for help, I was begging, let them give me a lane,” he continued. “A lot of guys did show me respect out there.”
Gordon, a six-time Darlington champion was also looking for his first win of the season. During the final 25 laps, he cut into Biffle’s lead, but was never able to pull right up on his rear bumper, in order to make a pass.
With two laps left, Gordon was within 0.225-seconds and got one good run at Biffle. But the front two ran up on Ken Schrader, who was battling to stay on the lead lap.
“You've got the two leaders battling and we've got a run on him,” Gordon said. “You would expect him to give us plenty of room. He did give the 16 (Biffle) plenty of room... but he ran along beside me and the air was pushing me toward the outside wall. That ruined any chance I might have had. But if I hadn't hit the wall earlier that might not have been a factor.”
The win moved Biffle up to 14th in points, and just 97 out of qualifying for the Chase.
Biffle’s teammate, Matt Kenseth was third, while points leader Jimmie Johnson came home fourth, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was fifth.
Despite fighting the flu bug, Dale Jr. ran among the top-five for much of the night, climbing as high as third. It is his second career top-five at Darlington and first since the 2002 season. It moves him up one spot to fifth in the Nextel Cup point standings.
Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch, Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-10.
Tony Stewart remained in second place despite his 12th place finish, a bad night for the two-time champion who never got a handle on his Joe Gibbs Chevy. Stewart spun once but kept his car out of Darlington's famous walls.
Pole sitter Kasey Kahne ran hard but had problems and wound up 21st.
Top-10 Nextel Cup Chase Contenders: 1. Johnson-1686, 2. Stewart-1593, 3. Kenseth-1592, 4. Martin-1487, 5. Earnhardt-1460, 6. J. Gordon-1391, 7. Kyle Busch-1388, 8. Kahne-1379, 9. Harvick-1365, 10. Burton-1295.
Sweet Deal For Toyota And JARRETT – Dale Jarrett, one of NASCAR’s fading Nextel Cup drivers has reached an agreement to drive for Toyota in a move that should resurrect his career for the next two years.
Jarrett, a former series champion, will drive a car owned by Michael Waltrip.
“When Michael called me, I thought about it quite a while and I saw this as a new challenge,” said Jarrett. “To help build something new like this is pretty exciting.”
Jarrett's deal means that Toyota will have a former Nextel Cup champion in its ranks as it enters the Cup series in 2007. Jarrett, the 1999 champion who has won 32 races in NASCAR's top series, has said he wants to race for two more seasons after this year.
It also means Toyota won’t have to race their way into the first race of the season, the Daytona 500, as Jarrett can use his championship provisional to insure Toyota a starting spot.
Big Bucks At Charlotte – Lowe’s will pay out some big-time purses during May.
Six races will be run at Lowe's Motor Speedway and The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway between Friday night, May 19, and Sunday evening, May 28, and each carries a record purse with a total of $14,227,498 up for grabs.
Already one of the richest races on the NASCAR circuit, the $6,432,681 in total awards for the Coca-Cola 600, which will be run Sunday, May 28, is $153,032 more than was posted for last year's event and $2,095,632 more than competitors raced for in the 600-mile event just five years ago.
“These are some impressive numbers as the prize money for our races continues to escalate, but money is only part of what these guys race for,” said H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe's Motor Speedway. “I think we could pay nothing for the Nextel All-Star Challenge and the racing would be just as furious.”
Drivers participating in the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge and the NASCAR Nextel Open on Saturday night, May 20, will be competing for a record $4,200,450 with the Challenge winner guaranteed a minimum of $1,005,000.
In addition to the posted prize money, $1,780,853 in television awards for the All-Star Challenge will be distributed through the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Car/Champion Owner Program.
Busch Series drivers will compete for a record $1,227,316 during the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 on Saturday night, May 27, and the Quaker Steak & Lube 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event on Friday night, May 19, adds $524,098 to the total prize money.
Top-10 Busch Series drivers: 1. Harvick-1945, 2. Bowyer-1598, 3. Hamlin-1566, 4. Edwards-1559, 5. Kyle Busch-1490, 6. Menard-1483, 7. Biffle-1469, 8. Yeley-1432, 9. Leffler-1322, 10. J. Sauter-1302.
The Busch and Cup teams are off in preparation for the long weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, May 27-28. The Craftsman Trucks will be racing this Friday at Lowe’s.
Friday, May 19, Craftsman Trucks Quaker Steak & Lube 200, race 6 of 25, 134 laps, 8:30 p.m. TV: Speed Channel.
Racing Trivia Question: When will NASCAR begin phasing in the Car of Tomorrow?
Last Week’s Question: Who are Tony Stewart’s teammates at Joe Gibbs’ Racing this year? Answer. Denny Hamlin and J. J. Yeley.
You may read additional stories at the Racing Reporter’s website, www.race500.com.
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