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Wes Warner has taken over for Bob Hegedty as head coach at Elk Lake where the return of more than half the starting lineup has the Warriors in position to be regarded as a favorite to repeat their Lackawanna Wrestling League Division II championship.
Western Wayne, which moved down from Division I, and Susquehanna, which has finished in the top three in each of the past two seasons, figure to be the top threats to Elk Lake.
After two straight seasons with a 6-1 league record, including one in which the Warriors lost a wrestle-off for a title, Elk Lake broke through for its first division championship in 20 years.
John Brooks, Rich Harvey and Derek Noldy, who all went on to place third in the District 2 Class AA tournament, return for Elk Lake.
Montrose, Blue Ridge, Bishop O'Hara, Mountain View and Valley View make up the rest of the division.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Montrose used strong starts in each game to get off to a strong start in its pursuit of a third straight perfect Lackawanna League Division III girls' basketball season.
The Lady Meteors shut out Mountain View in the first quarter of the league opener, then outscored Blue Ridge by 16 points in the first eight minutes of the second game.
Jessica Franklin scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a 47-25 victory over Mountain View.
The Lady Meteors led, 14-0, after one quarter, 28-6, at the half and, 39-9, after three quarters.
Monica Turner added 10 points, while Christine Brown and Brittany Ely had five assists each.
Sara Evans led Mountain View with 10 points.
Caitlin Ely scored 18 points, while Monica Turner added 16 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots as Montrose defeated Blue Ridge, 58-47.
The Lady Meteors took a 22-6 lead after one quarter. The game was evenly played most of the rest of the way with Blue Ridge outscoring Montrose in two of the final three quarters.
Brittany Ely had nine points and five assists, Jessica Franklin had 13 rebounds and four blocked shots and Christine Brown dished out five assists for the Lady Meteors.
Jocelyn Dearborn hit three 3-pointers while scoring 17 points and Kate Donovan hit two 3-pointers while scoring 10 points for Blue Ridge.
In boys' basketball, Mountain View won three games, beating its first two Lackawanna League Division III opponents and Division I member Abington Heights in a non-league game.
Montrose defeated Blue Ridge, 53-50, in overtime Saturday night.
In high school wrestling, Elk Lake and Blue Ridge were unable to place any wrestlers in the top eight in their weight classes while competing in the 37-team Keystone Games Invitational at Penn State University.
Elk Lake finished 30th in the team standings with 42 points. Blue Ridge was last with 13 points.
Kingsway won the tournament, followed by three District 2 teams - Abington Heights, Hazleton Area and Crestwood.
In high school football, Southern Columbia continued a record run that began back in 1994.
The Tigers have played in 12 of the last 13 state Class A championship games.
They defeated West Middlesex, 56-14, Friday at Hersheypark Stadium to set a record with their fifth straight state championship and tie another record with their sixth title overall. The appearance also extended records for state championship game appearances (12) and consecutive appearances in the finals (nine).
Southern Columbia started its run as the state's dominant small school football program when it pulled away from Susquehanna for a 40-20 victory in the 1994 state semifinals. The Tigers used a defensive stand to protect a 20-14 lead going into halftime, then wore down the Sabers to clinch their first state championship appearance.
After losing in four straight finals from 1998 to 2001, Southern Columbia has won the last five finals by a total of 221-59. It rolled over four state playoff opponents this season by a total of 200-29.
Wilson Area made up for a loss in last year's final when it beat Jeannette, 29-28, for the Class AA championship.
All four eastern representatives were the same as last season.
Bethlehem Liberty and Pottsville lost in the final for the second straight year.
Upper St. Clair ripped Liberty, 47-13, in Class AAAA.
General McLane downed Pottsville, 28-23, in Class AAA.
Matt Panasevich has already broken into the lineup at Cornell University, which opened the season ranked ninth in the nation among National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I wrestling teams.
Panasevich, a freshman who won two state medals while at Mountain View, is 1-4 while wrestling at 184 pounds.
Cornell had a national place-winner at 184 pounds in each of the last two seasons, but lost both to graduation. Panasevich was one of three former two-time high school state place-winners to fight for the position in the preseason.
THE WEEK AHEAD
League wrestling competition opens Wednesday with four Susquehanna County teams at home.
Susquehanna hosts Mountain View, Elk Lake hosts Valley View, Montrose hosts Western Wayne and Blue Ridge hosts Bishop O'Hara in Lackawanna Division II openers.
In girls' basketball, Montrose is at Carbondale Thursday in what could be the most important game of the first half of the league season.
Carbondale finished second to Montrose last season and is unbeaten overall so far this season.
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
JOHNSON Near Perfect Champion – Jimmie Johnson matches NASCAR’s image as the near perfect 2006 Nextel Cup champion. Since the sanctioning body is going global and no longer wants fans to see the rough looking, good old southern boy in victory lane, Johnson fits their new stereotype perfectly.
Jimmie Johnson, 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup champion.
Despite his lack of southern charisma displayed by many of the earlier champions, including Dale Earnhardt, Bill Elliott, Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarbrough and others, Johnson has done the sport good.
NASCAR needs more drivers like Johnson as they continue to go after big media markets.
Throughout his career, he has maintained a natural smoothness and professionalism.
Unlike Tony Stewart, who might respond with some gruff remark, or off color statement, Johnson is low key and level.
Kurt Busch, the 2004 champion, often embarrassed NASCAR and his team owners with caustic and irrational behavior.
Johnson doesn’t go for the extreme, except when it comes to battling it out with other competitors on the track.
Even after winning the 2006 title, Johnson is not and will never be the best-liked driver in NASCAR. But he is genuine and always has praise for his crew and supporters.
The 31 year-old El Cajon, Calif. driver is trying hard to make fans believe he is a regular-type, down-to-earth person. While he will never fit into the southern hell-raiser image, he is an enjoyable person that is not likely to embarrass anyone.
He may never be the most popular driver, but he’s the type champion NASCAR wanted.
Incidentally, Johnson broke a bone in his wrist a week ago, while horsing around on a golf course, and will not be able to do any off season racing, but he is expected to test at Daytona in January.
KIMMEL Gets Eighth Record ARCA Championship – It’s a long way from Frank Kimmel’s small-town southern Indiana roots to the top of the ARCA RE/MAX Series record books, but the veteran driver has become a familiar fixture on stage at ARCA’s National Championship Awards Banquet. The Clarksville, Indiana native racked up his eighth national ARCA RE/MAX Series championship in 2006.
Jack Bowsher, who passed away this past April, was posthumously recognized at the yearly banquet in Covington, KY, on December 9, as the Guest of Honor. The audience, approaching 600, was treated to a big screen tribute to the life and career of the man who touched so many in the ARCA world over the course of a racing career that lasted nearly 60 years.
ARCA Matriarch and Co-Founder Mildred Marcum, who will celebrate her 93rd birthday on January 6, was among those in attendance.
Bobby Gerhart received accolades for his second-place points finish and was joined on stage by his brother Billy Gerhart, who serves as his car owner and crew chief. Billy Venturini and his car owner and mother, Cathy Venturini received honors for finishing a career-best third in points, while Ryan Howard and car owner Mark Gibson were formally honored for their fourth-place points finish. Fifth-place points finisher Blake Bjorklund earned the 2006 Rookie of the Year award and the Bill France Triple Crown.
Others honored on-stage included sixth place points finisher Todd Bowsher and his mother, Julie Bowsher, Ryan Foster and his car owner, Frank Kimmel (seventh), Jason Hedlesky and his car owners, Bill Wells and Nevie Richardson (eighth), Brett Rowe (ninth) and Justin Allgaier and his father and car owner, Mike Allgaier (tenth).
The ARCA Spirit Award was presented to Steve Motsinger for his long-time support and commitment to sponsoring ARCA RE/MAX Series race events at Salem Speedway via Eddie Gilstrap Motors.
The ARCA series will have 14 televised events in 2007 on Speed Channel. The 2007 broadcast coverage of the ARCA RE/MAX Series will begin on Saturday afternoon, February 10 at Daytona Int’l Speedway, with live, flag to flag coverage of the 44th annual Daytona ARCA 200 season opener.
In addition to Daytona, events scheduled for coverage in ’07 include both at Toledo Speedway on May 20 and October 14 and both at Pocono Raceway on June 9 and August 4. Kansas Speedway on April 27, Iowa Speedway on June 2, Michigan Int’l Speedway on June 15, Kentucky Speedway on July 13, Nashville Superspeedway on August 11, the Milwaukee Mile on August 26, Gateway Int’l Raceway on August 31, Chicagoland Speedway on September 8 and Talladega Superspeedway on October 5 will complete the coverage.
NASCAR Adds Name To Mexican Series – NASCAR has added its name to a new racing series in Mexico.
Under a licensing agreement with NASCAR, the Desafio Corona Series will become the NASCAR Mexico Corona Series in 2007.
The series was originally founded in 2004. In 2006, the series consisted of a 14-race schedule at oval tracks and road courses throughout Mexico, including seven of its largest cities: Mexico City, Monterrey, Puebla, Zacatecas, Guadalajara, San Luis Potosi and Queretaro.
The series competitors race stock cars similar to those used in Late Model classes at short tracks in the U.S., with fiberglass composite bodies and spec engines.
Several drivers have successfully made the transition from this series into NASCAR racing in the U.S., including Jorge Goeters, who claimed the Busch Pole award for the inaugural NASCAR Busch Series race in Mexico City and made his Nextel Cup Series debut at Watkins Glen International in 2005.
The 2007 NASCAR Mexico Corona Series is scheduled to debut at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City the weekend of March 2, along with the NASCAR Busch Series and the Rolex Sports Car Series. All NASCAR Mexico Corona Series events are broadcast live in Mexico, on Televisa, and throughout Latin America on SPEED Latin America.
Racing Trivia Question: What job will former Cup driver Rusty Wallace hold down in 2007?
Last Week’s Question: Who was the 2006 Nextel Cup Rookie of the Year? Answer. Denny Hamlin.
You may e-mail the Racing Reporter at: email@example.com.
Joe Scanlon's high school athletic career is far from over.
The Mountain View senior is a starter on a defending champion basketball team and is a returning co-Player of the Year of the league in volleyball.
Scanlon, however, made sure the soccer portion of his high school career ended on a high note.
The leading scorer in Division I of the Lackawanna League helped the Eagles add a District 2 championship and state Class A semifinal appearance to their division title. For his part in Mountain View's championships, Scanlon has been named as the November Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month for the second straight year.
Scanlon showed amazing consistency as a scorer. He moved back to the midfield this season after a year as a striker and still managed to increase his scoring.
While leading the division in scoring for the second straight season, Scanlon scored in all but one division game. He finished with 23 goals and 10 assists, helping to set up teammate Nick Stoud (16 goals, 10 assists) to finish second in the division in scoring.
"Last year, I was more depended on to score the goals," said Scanlon, who averaged more than a goal per game but had just three assists as a junior. "This year, being back at midfield, I had a lot more assists.
"I always liked midfield. I like being a playmaker."
With Scanlon leading the way, the Eagles had the most successful season in team history with a school-record 19 wins, their first Lackawanna Division I title and their first appearance among the state's final four teams.
Scanlon visited College Misericordia last week and said he would like to continue playing college in soccer. At this point, Misericordia and West Chester University are the most likely places for him to do that.
Scanlon is the son of Tim and Kim Kinney of Harford.
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