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YORK – Nick Smith was still getting to know some of his Pocono Region teammates when the Keystone State Games started.
A day later, Smith and his teammates were walking away with silver medals hanging around their necks after taking second place in the 16-and-under boys’ volleyball tournament.
“The first day was a long day and it was the first time the whole team really all got a chance to play together,” Smith said, “but we still played well and we never lost our competitive drive.”
The Pocono team made it through six, two-game matches with the second-best record to earn the second seed for the seven-team elimination tournament.
After beating Capital in two straight games, Pocono reached the final with a 2-1 victory over Blue Mountain.
Allegheny needed three games to put Pocono away in the final.
“It’s the best tournament I’ve ever been at,” said Smith, a middle hitter who is already a two-year starter at Blue Ridge as he prepares to enter his junior year. “It was good competition the whole time.
“There were no teams that seemed out of place.”
While Smith found team success in volleyball, Kirk Fallon found individual success with a struggling Pocono basketball team in the Scholastic Male Division.
An injury, a car accident and surprise no-shows meant the Pocono team never had more than seven players for a game. That left an extra burden on Fallon, a senior at Susquehanna.
Fallon averaged nearly 20 points, including a high of 27 as Pocono went 1-3 and settled for sixth place out of eight teams.
Fallon’s lay-ups helped extend what turned into an 87-86, triple-overtime victory over Nittany.
“The competition was real good,” Fallon said. “(Lehigh Valley) had 107 points on us. They had so many big guys inside that we couldn’t stop them.”
Dallas Ely and Sara Krupinski, a pair of eighth-graders at Montrose, played on another Pocono team that went 1-3 and finished sixth out of eight. They played in the Youth Female Division.
Holden Lunger of Montrose was a member of the Pocono team in Junior baseball.
Pocono finished fourth out of 10 teams, when it dropped the bronze medal game to Capital, 8-1. Pocono went 3-1 in its pool.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Phil Hughes continued his strong recovery from a pair of injuries by pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings in his longest outing of the season Sunday, leading the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees to a 3-0 shutout of the Rochester Red Wings.
The win left the Yankees 2 1/2 games in front of Buffalo and three games ahead of Rochester in the International League North Division.
Hughes, who is unscored upon in his last 16 1/3 innings, threw 91 pitches. He gave up three hits and three walks while striking out four and improving to 4-1.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The 73rd annual Scranton Lions Club Dream Game football all-star game is scheduled for Wednesday night at 8 at Scranton Memorial Stadium.
Susquehanna and Montrose players are included on the roster of the City, which has beaten the County in four straight games to tie the all-time series at 34-34-4.
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 Gets Second Indy Win, Indianapolis, IN – Tony Stewart reclaimed the lead from Kevin Harvick on lap 151 and pulled away to win Sunday’s Allstate 400 for his second Brickyard victory in the last three years.
Tony Stewart, winner of Sunday's Allstate 400.
Stewart, who led 65 laps of the 160-lap race lost the lead to Harvick on a restart during lap 150, but one lap later, was able to retake it after some bumping between the two leaders.
“We were about the only guys that could stay with anybody that was leading,” said Stewart. “The thing was pretty good in traffic all day and I just went down into Turn 1 on the restart and it got real tight, and Kevin was able to get by me.
“Once we got going again we could stay right with him, and I knew that if I could be patient I would get around him.”
It was Stewart's 31st career Cup win and his second consecutive victory – he also won at Chicago July 15. And he moved from sixth to fifth in the point standings.
Juan Pablo Montoya started second and finished second.
“I don’t think anybody had anything for Tony today,” said Montoya. “We had a good car and we had a good race there at the end.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. had the car to beat early in the race, but on lap 135, his No. 8 DEI Chevrolet blew a motor, and he wound up 34th, but he remains 12th in the standings, the cutoff position for the Chase for The Nextel Cup.
Jimmie Johnson was involved in a wreck and some damaged sheet metal on his No 48 cut a tire, sending him into the outside wall. It was his fourth DNF of the season.
Gordon now leads Denny Hamlin by 371 in the points battle while Matt Kenseth and Jeff Burton remain third and fourth.
Unofficial top ten finish: 1. Tony Stewart, 2. Juan Montoya, 3. Jeff Gordon, 4. Kyle Busch, 5. Reed Sorenson, 6. Mark Martin, 7. Kevin Harvick, 8. Jeff Burton, 9. Dave Blaney, 10. Matt Kenseth.
Top-10 Nextel Cup leaders: 1. J. Gordon-3076, 2. Hamlin-2705, 3. Kenseth-2699, 4. J. Burton-2633, 5. Stewart-2624, 6. Edwards-2582, 7. Harvick-2488, 8. Kyle Busch-2479, 9. Johnson-2469, 10. Bowyer-2405.
Ginn Racing Sells Out To DEI – Ginn Racing is only a memory.
Less than three months ago, Ginn Racing was courting Dale Jr. and Kyle Busch as drivers for the 2008 season.
While it’s called a merger, Ginn Racing was bought and absorbed into Dale Earnhardt Inc. last week.
Will this new, four-car garage become one mega team, on a par with Hendrick and Roush-Fenway, or will it be a bust?
“The combined resources of the company are tremendous,” said John Story of DEI. “With our recently formed R&D team, as well as the combined efforts of two strong engineering programs, we will be able to accelerate our learning curve. Both companies have many smart and talented people. All of our teams will undoubtedly become stronger.”
With a total of one race win between them in 2007, it’s hard to visualize these as strong teams.
Reason number one is drivers.
With Dale Jr. leaving only two of the four drivers, Martin Truex Jr. and part-timer Mark Martin have won a Cup race.
Rookie Ragan Smith will assume the driving duties when Martin is not around.
Paul Menard and Aric Almirola are up and coming drivers, but don’t expect too much from them in the next few years. They don’t have the experience and aren’t yet on the same racing level as Johnson, Kenseth, Gordon, Stewart, and a host of others.
Reason number two is the lack of top level personnel.
There has been a lot of turmoil at both teams during 2007. NASCAR racing is a total team sport. It takes time for team chemistry to develop and find its way to the track.
They have the cars and equipment, but putting together the right program is going to take time. I believe it will take several years.
Meanwhile Robert Yates took the unusual step of setting up a partnership with an open-wheel team that will provide engineering assistance. On Friday, with Paul Newman, Carl Haas, and Michael Lanigan in attendance Yates announced the formation of Yates-Newman-Haas-Lanigan Racing.
The announcement ends speculation that Yates was selling or merging his team – or even interested in taking on a business partner to keep the team financially viable.
“We were looking for people who could help us race better,” said Yates. “There are a lot of people out there who think NASCAR’s very attractive, but we wanted someone who could help us race better and it’s not just cubic dollars that helps us race better.”
Kyle Petty Joins The 800 Club – Kyle Petty joined the 800 club this past weekend after starting the Allstate 400. Only six drivers have reached that milestone. Petty’s father, “The King” Richard Petty, sits atop the list with 1,185 starts.
Petty is also one of 12 drivers that participated in the very first Brickyard 400 in 1994.
Top-10 Busch Series leaders: 1. Edwards-3394, 2. Reutimann-2542, 3. Leffler-2447, 4. Bliss-2390, 5. Ragan-2380, 6. Harvick-2358, 7. Hamilton Jr.-2307, 8. Leicht-2185, 9. M. Wallace-2158, 10. Ambrose-2115.
Top-10 Craftsman Truck Series leaders: 1. Skinner-2346, 2. Hornaday-2269, 3. Bodine-2100, 4. Kvapil-2095, 5. Benson-1896, 6. Crawford-1891, 7. Sprague-1767, 8. Musgrave-1728, 9. Crafton-1692, 10. Darnell-1613.
The Busch teams compete for the first time at the 2.71-mile Circuit Gilles Villenueve Road Course in Montreal, Canada, while the Cup teams are at the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA. The Craftsman Trucks have the weekend off.
Saturday, August 4, Busch Series NAPA Auto Parts 200, race 23 of 35, 74 laps, 3 p.m. TV: ESPN2.
Sunday, August 5, Nextel Cup Pennsylvania 500, race 21 of 36, 200 laps, 1 p.m. TV: ESPN.
Racing Trivia Question: Who drives the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet in the Cup Series?
Last Week’s Question: Joe Gibbs Racing has three Cup teams, which include Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin. Who is the third driver? Answer. J. J. Yeley.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at email@example.com.
Carlos Cuevas attended two great outdoor courses, the first one being the Pennsylvania Institute for Conservation Educations (PICE) course on Pennsylvania Wildlife Leadership Adventure. This five-day educational camping program at the Raystown Field Station of Juniata College trains high school youth (ages 14 -17) in a curriculum emphasizing wildlife biology, habitat, and ecosystem management in Pennsylvania.
Students learn through hands-on field studies, tracking wildlife, aging deer, using GPS in the field, target practice, identifying native plants, combined with classroom activities and labs, including how to give radio and television interviews on conservation topics, and one on firearm safety. The students are encouraged to do their own critical thinking, engage their peers and their instructors with questions, work with other students on team building, and to make new friends. These courses are taught by leading wildlife biologists, such as Gary Alt and Tim Smail, and teaching professionals, such as Gail Farmer, the PICE program coordinator. Other instructors are brought in from wildlife management agencies such as the Pennsylvania Game Commission, volunteer instructors from the Quality Deer Management Association, the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Ruffed Grouse Society, and wildlife habitat professionals with expertise in planting, growing and managing wildlife food plots and native vegetations.
The mission of this camp is to empower high school youth with the necessary skills and knowledge to become ambassadors for conservation in order to ensure a sustained wildlife legacy for future generations. The goal of the program is to equip future leaders from all walks of life with a better understanding of wildlife. The Susquehanna Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association sponsored Carlos' attendance at the course.
The following week Carlos attended the Youth Bass Anglers Conservation School where the goal is to provide angling youth with a solid foundation in warm water aquatic ecosystems and their management as it applies to bass and bass angling. Participants are exposed to fisheries biology, fisheries management, and habitat improvements.
Carlos is the son of Michele and Al Cuevas of Susquehanna Boro.
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