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Some of Susquehanna County's top high school and junior high athletes will travel to the York area this week to take part in the Keystone State Games.
The multi-sport competition, modeled after the Olympic Games, features individual competition in sports such as track and field and competition between regional teams in sports such as baseball, basketball and volleyball.
Several local players made it through tryouts to be on the Pocono Region rosters for the team competitions.
Kirk Fallon of Susquehanna is on the Scholastic Male basketball team for players entering their junior and senior years. The Pocono team will play four games – two each on Saturday and Sunday with the first foul in pool play and the last to determine a final place finish.
Pocono is in the same pool as Capital, Nittany and Lehigh Valley for Scholastic Male basketball.
Two Montrose girls made the Pocono team in Youth Female basketball for players going into seventh and eighth grade. Sara Krupinski and Dallas Ely will both be part of the team, which will play Thursday and Friday and is in a pool with Lehigh Valley, Capital and Blue Mountain.
Holden Lunger from Montrose made the Pocono team in Junior baseball for players going into their freshman and sophomore years. Pocono is in a five-team pool with Metro, Allegheny, Blue Mountain and Delaware Valley for the tournament, which will feature five games from Tuesday through Thursday.
Christa Conigliaro and Nick Smith of Blue Ridge tried out for volleyball teams, but the Keystone Games office did not have final rosters for that sport as of Friday.
Susquehanna's Amber Gaffey, who won four high school state medals including a gold, is entered in the track and field competition as a pole vaulter.
WEEK IN REVIEW
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees swept a four-game series from Indianapolis to open a 2 1/2-game lead in the International League North Division. The Yankees took over the lead during a stretch of eight wins in nine games through the end of the Indianapolis series.
During the sweep of Indianapolis, Shelley Duncan set a Scranton/Wilkes-Barre franchise record for home runs in a season.
Duncan hit his 25th home run Thursday, breaking the record of 24 hit by Wendell Magee Jr. for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons in 1998.
Consistency brought Duncan to the record. He hit seven home runs in April, six each in May and June and has six in July.
Duncan was the leader of the eight wins in nine games, batting .371 in that stretch with four homers, 13 runs batted in and five multiple-hit games.
In professional hockey, the Binghamton Senators announced Thursday that Cory Clouston has been named as the American Hockey League team's next coach.
Clouston was Western Hockey League Coach of the Year in two of the last three seasons while guiding the Kootenay Ice.
Clouston replaces Dave Cameron, who returned to coaching on the Canadian Junior level.
The AHL has announced the dates for the 2008 AHL All-Star Classic, which will be held at the Broome County Arena in Binghamton.
The All-Star Skills Competition will be held Sunday, January 27. The All-Star Game will take place Monday, January 28.
This is the first time that Binghamton will be serving as host of the AHL All-Star Classic.
Of the 427 players who have participated in the AHL All-Star Classic since 1995, more than 92 percent have played in the National Hockey League. That list includes current Ottawa Senators Jason Spezza, Ray Emery and Anton Volchenkov, who represented Binghamton in the game.
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
Brickyard 400 Coming Up – The first half of the Nextel Cup season has come to a close. Next to the Daytona 500, this weekend’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard is the biggest race of the season. For some teams, like Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon of Hendrick Motorsports, it has been a good half-season. For many others, their hopes have dimmed a bit.
Jimmie Johnson and teammate Jeff Gordon.
Johnson, the 2006 Brickyard 400 winner and his wife, Chandra spent last week in Europe.
“I hope we can go back and get the Brickyard trophy again,” said Johnson. “It was a great experience and it really got our team fired up.
“Without our crew chief (Chad Knaus, who was suspended by NASCAR for six races following the June 24 race at Infineon) it's going to be tough. It's a tough race track in general. I'll be more concerned about the qualifying session and the race session and the things coming up that weekend more than anything. I'm sure at some point I'll kind of look around and take in the fact that we've won there and how amazing that is, but I'm pretty sure my mind will be focused on what we need to do.”
Even though he is third in Nextel Cup points, Matt Kenseth is less than pleased with his performance on the track.
Asked to grade to his No. 17 DEWALT Ford Fusion team's performance in the first half of the 2007 season, Matt Kenseth said, "B to B minus."
“It's been OK, but I gauge our season on winning championships,” said Kenseth. “Right now, we aren't at that level. Sure, we've performed well and we've had a chance to win two races and we did win California, but we aren't at that level yet to where we can compete for a championship. The pit crew gets an 'A,' but myself and the rest of the team have to figure out how to make our cars better.
“Last year we were way ahead compared to where we are now. We were in contention to win a lot of races in the first half. We won two races, and came close to winning at Bristol, Vegas, Texas, and Chicago. It seemed like we were capable of running top five nearly every week last year, and we haven't been near that this year. Last year I felt good about our championship hopes, but so far this year we aren't at a championship level.”
If Kenseth and the No. 17 team hope to win their second Cup Championship, they'll need to continue to refine their Car of Tomorrow program, considering five of the 10 races during the Chase will be with the new design. In the seven COT races that took place in the first half of 2007, Kenseth managed to score six top-10 finishes, including two top fives.
Terry Labonte To Replace Waltrip – Two-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Terry Labonte will once again step into the No. 55 Toyota Camry for this weekend’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“While we’ve planned to bring Terry back for the Watkins Glen road course event, I felt having him in the car next weekend at Indianapolis would be a great opportunity for me to continue to evaluate my entire organization from an owner’s perspective,” said Michael Waltrip. “The feedback related to road course racing that Terry was able to provide my team after Infineon Raceway was very valuable. We look forward to more of the same input after Indy.”
Labonte drove last month at Infineon Raceway, where he started 25th and finished 35th.
Labonte has eleven starts at the hallowed grounds of the Brickyard. His best finish came in 1996 when he drove the No. 5 Kellogg’s car to a third-place finish.
Meanwhile two veteran drivers will not be in the starting lineup this weekend. Ginn Racing replaced Sterling Marlin and Joe Nemechek with Regan Smith and Aric Almirola.
Sorenson Wins St. Louis Busch Race – Reed Sorenson won Saturday night’s Busch Series race at Madison, IL. It was the only major NASCAR race of this weekend. Both the Nextel Cup and Craftsman Trucks had the weekend off.
Top-10 Busch Series leaders: 1. Carl Edwards-3229, 2. Reutimann-2377, 3. Harvick-2358, 4. Ragan-2271, 5. Leffler-2257, 6. Blaney-2252, 7. Hamilton Jr.-2183, 8. Leicht-2094, 9. M. Wallace-2055, 10. Ambrose-2048.
For the Cup teams it was their last off weekend. They will have 17 consecutive races until the season finale, November 18 at Homestead, FL.
Top-10 Chase For the Nextel Cup Contenders: 1. J. Gordon-2911, 2. Hamlin-2608, 3. Kenseth-2565, 4. J. Burton-2491, 5. Edwards-2473, 6. Stewart-2429, 7. Johnson-2423, 8. Harvick-2337, 9. Kyle Busch-2314, 10. Bowyer-2281.
Top-10 Craftsman Truck Series leaders: 1. Skinner-2238, 2. Hornaday-2074, 3. T. Bodine-1950, 4. Kvapil-1950, 5. Crawford-1731, 6. Benson-1721, 7. Sprague-1629, 8. Musgrave-1601, 9. Crafton-1571, 10. Fike-1487.
Impressive Music Lineup For Brickyard Fans – Better get rested up for this weekend’s Nextel Cup Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in Indianapolis. With over 200,000 fans, fans won’t have to worry about conversation.
But for those who might find themselves a little lonely, there will be entertainment.
Lots of entertainment!
Entertaining acts are getting bigger and bigger at NASCAR events. They all come as part of the ticket price, and usually feature at least one big-name star.
An impressive lineup of free musical acts, including country superstars Gretchen Wilson, Tracy Lawrence and Jo Dee Messina, will entertain fans during all three days of the Allstate 400 on July 27-29.
Wilson has become one of the biggest stars in country music since her 2004 debut album, “Here for the Party,” went quadruple-platinum. The album stayed at No. 1 on the Billboard country album chart for nine consecutive weeks and rocketed to No. 2 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums charts.
Jo Dee Messina has been a popular figure on the country music scene since gaining acclaim for her self-titled debut album in 1996. Her 1998 breakthrough album, “I’m Alright,” put Messina in the record books by becoming the first female country artist to score three multiple-week number-one hits from the same album, thanks to the hit singles “Bye Bye,” “I’m Alright” and “Stand Beside Me.”
Other acts performing during the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard weekend include rising country stars The Jolie Holliday Band and Jeff Taylor, and DJ Orion.
While the Nextel Cup teams will be at the Brickyard, the Busch and Craftsman Trucks will be racing on the nearby 0.686-Indianapolis Raceway Park.
The original Brickyard was constructed in 1909, with a 2.5-mile oval circuit. The Indianapolis 500-Mile Race has taken place annually on the oval track since 1911, except during America’s participation in world wars in 1917-18 and 1942-45. The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard has taken place annually since 1994.
Friday, July 27, Craftsman Trucks Power Stroke Diesel 200, race 14 of 25, 200 laps, 7:30 p.m. TV: Speed Channel.
Saturday, July 28, Busch Series Kroger 200, race 22 of 35, 200 laps, 7:30 p.m. TV: ESPN2.
Sunday, July 29, Nextel Cup Allstate 400, race 20 of 36, 160 laps, 1 p.m. TV: ESPN.
Racing Trivia Question: Joe Gibbs Racing has three Cup teams, which include Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin. Who is the third driver?
Last Week’s Question: Which Cup team does Tony Raines driver for? Answer. The No. 96 Hall of Fame Racing Chevrolet.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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