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Devlin Conrad put up the best back-nine score as players jockeyed for position to qualify for an extra nine holes.
Dusty Barton posted the second-best score over the extra nine holes when berths in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association East Regional were determined.
Susquehanna's Barton and Montrose's Conrad wound up advancing by shooting 7-over-par, 115s for 27 holes in the District 2 Golf Tournament October 2 at Elmhurst Country Club. Barton took the second of the 10 qualifying positions by a match of cards.
A field of 82 players who had already made it through league qualifying tournaments went into the day fighting for a chance to play the final nine holes. When the field was cut to 16 players following 18 holes, Forest City's Wade Malicky was also in contention.
Malicky fell a stroke short of a playoff for the last berth, finishing with a 120 for 12th place.
Conrad's 35 on the back nine and 76 for the first 18 holes left him in a tie for second place, a stroke behind Joe Bevevino of Dallas.
Barton made the cut with a 78, then shot 37 on the last nine when only five of 16 players were able to break 40.
Scranton Prep freshman Nick Reach shot a 35 on the way to a 111 and four-shot win.
Barton started the extra nine with a birdie and shot 1-over-par, 37 to climb into second place.
Lackawanna League golfers took six of the top seven places and seven of the 10 regional berths.
Jonathan Lodge of Montrose was among the players who tied for 17th, shooting 80 to miss the first cut by a stroke.
Susquehanna's Craig Soden was tied for 27th with an 82.
Montrose's Peter Maxey (87), Chris Maxey (89) and Cole Wheaton (90) as well as Elk Lake's Ben Phillips (100) were unable to advance.
WEEK IN REVIEW
TUNNEL HILL - Lackawanna Trail scored touchdowns on three of four offensive plays at one point in the first half of Friday night's Lackawanna Football Conference Division III game with visiting Susquehanna.
Later in the half, the Lions did not even need an offensive play to score. Casey Nealon's 48-yard punt return produced a 42-point halftime lead for Trail on the way to a 55-0 romp.
Susquehanna went into the game decimated by a series of injuries and faced more during the game, forcing increased juggling of the lineup.
The Sabers crossed midfield twice in the first half, but were stopped before reaching the 40 both times.
Jake Weidow ran 40 yards, Richard Fricke ran 15 and Ricky Lochen ran 65 for first-quarter touchdowns. Fricke scored from 15 again in the second quarter before hitting Ethan Johnson with a 24-yard touchdown pass.
The Lions averaged more than 10 yards per carry in the game.
Montrose remained winless despite having a halftime lead on Homecoming Night in its 26-14 loss to Old Forge.
The Meteors took leads of 7-6 after one quarter and 14-12 at halftime.
Jared Fowler, who carried 23 times for 68 yards, ran four yards for the touchdown and added the first of his two extra-point kicks for the lead in the first quarter.
Andy Burgh turned a short pass into a 60-yard touchdown reception from Rob Volk for the halftime lead.
Mark Alexander threw touchdown passes in each of the first three quarters for Old Forge.
The Meteors remained within, 20-14, until the Blue Devils added their last touchdown with 2:09 to play.
In high school golf, Montrose and Susquehanna each won Lackawanna League playoff matches.
Susquehanna defeated West Scranton, 5 1/2-3 1/2, in a first-round match before falling to Abington Heights, 8 1/2-1/2.
Montrose defeated North Pocono, 8 1/2-1/2, to reach the semifinals against Abington Heights.
North Pocono had eliminated Forest City, 7-2, in the first round.
Montrose had a bye as the undefeated division champion.
In girls' cross country, Montrose's Sam Cudo finished ninth in a field of more than 250 runners at the McQuaid Invitational in Rochester, NY.
In running, Jesse Graytock, a former Forest City cross country runner, came in 11th out of more than 1,500 finishers in Sunday's Steamtown Marathon.
Graytock, who now lives in Washington, D.C., made the 26-mile-plus run from Forest City to Scranton in 2:33:01.
Steven Crane of Silver Springs, Md. was first in 2:23:07.
In professional hockey, the American Hockey League did not have to wait long for the first hat trick of the season.
Chris Minard scored three goals Wednesday, in the only game on the opening night league schedule, to lift the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to a 5-4 win over the Hershey Bears.
The Penguins played their traditional league opener before a sellout crowd of 8,157.
Minard, who came to the Penguins from Lowell after scoring 32 goals last season, scored three straight goals. He turned a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead by doing all of his scoring in a span of 8:37 from the end of the first period to the start of the second.
Tyler Kennedy, who assisted on the second Minard goal, scored the game-winner after Hershey rallied to force a third-period tie.
The Penguins split two other games to finish the first weekend with a 2-1 record.
The Albany River Rats ruined the debut of new Binghamton coach Cory Clouston by beating the Senators, 3-1, Saturday night at the Broome County Arena.
Sarah Golis, a sophomore from Montrose, is playing first and second singles on the Misericordia University women's tennis team.
Golis is 2-2 in singles play and 0-2 with her partner at first doubles. She had a comfortable lead in another singles match that was not completed.
Misericordia has recovered from an 0-5 start to win four straight matches. The team is 3-0 since Golis returned to the lineup.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Montrose and Susquehanna each will face teams that won their LFC Division III openers.
Montrose (0-1 in Division III, 0-6 overall) is at Carbondale (1-0, 3-3) Friday night. Susquehanna (0-1, 1-5) is home Saturday against Old Forge (1-0, 4-2).
Our high school football predictions for last week were just 6-4 (60 percent), dropping our season record to 51-15 (77.3 percent). This week's predictions, with home teams in CAPS: CARBONDALE 14, Montrose 12; Old Forge 30, SUSQUEHANNA 14; Lackawanna Trail 42, HOLY CROSS 16; Abington Heights 30, HONESDALE 7; SCRANTON 21, Valley View 14; DUNMORE 20, Lakeland 19; Riverside 52, WESTERN WAYNE 0; MID VALLEY 14, Scranton Prep 13; West Scranton 33, NORTH POCONO 12; Delaware Valley 34, WALLENPAUPACK 14.
In high school golf, the PIAA eastern regionals are scheduled for Monday at Golden Oaks Golf Club in Fleetwood. Susquehanna's Barton and Montrose's Conrad are in the field.
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
Talladega Victory Goes To Jeff Gordon, Talladega, AL – Never count Jeff Gordon out.
Gordon made a last-lap pass on his teammate Jimmy Johnson in Sunday’s UAW Ford 500, to score his fifth win of the season.
Jeff Gordon and crew chief, Steve Letarte.
Jimmie Johnson, followed by Gordon and Casey Mears, had gained the lead from Ryan Newman during lap 182 of the 188-lap race. Mears lost the third spot, but Johnson and Gordon continued to lead a line of cars on the low side of the track for the next four laps.
As the cars were heading down the backstretch, Gordon shot up, right in front of Tony Stewart’s No. 20, who was running the high groove. Stewart gave Gordon’s No. 24 a boost, and that was all the momentum he needed to get by Johnson for the lead. Ironically, the last and final lap was the only lap Gordon led all day.
“I thought I was stuck there, but when it got three wide, I knew that was my opportunity,” said Gordon. “When I got high, Jimmie tried to block me, but luckily, the 20 (Tony Stewart) was there, and he drilled me. He was the one that pushed me to the front.”
Johnson lost the points lead and trails Gordon by nine points with six races remaining.
“I was doing all I could on the bottom to defend that line,” said Johnson. “There was more going on behind me than I could see. The 20 car was coming. He had a big run, and Jeff moved up in front of him.”
The “big one” that most fans have come to expect at Talladega came on lap 145. Bobby Labonte’s No. 43 broke loose and shot across the track in front of Kyle Busch. Before everyone was able to get stopped, 11 cars had varying degrees of damage to them.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was running well until the engine in his No. 8 let go with 51 laps to go. “We had a good car and I’m proud of my team,” he said. “Obviously we’ve got some gremlins that we need to get rid of, but I’m glad I could get the fans excited. I just wish I could have been here at the end. I really feel sorry for Martin.”
Earnhardt was referring to his teammate Martin Truex, Jr., one of the Chase drivers that also lost an engine.
Other Chase drivers that had a poor performance included, Jeff Burton, who lost a motor; Matt Kenseth was caught up in a wreck; and Kevin Harvick had engine problems.
Polesitter, Michael Waltrip ran well in the early stages of the race, but was involved in a crash on lap 176 and finished 25th.
This was the first restrictor plate race for the new car. Despite earlier predictions that the car would not handle well, most drivers were able to handle it as good as the old car. It was just a long, boring race, because no one driver could pull away from the rest of the field.
Top ten finishing order: 1. Jeff Gordon, 2. Jimmie Johnson, 3. Dave Blaney, 4. Denny Hamlin, 5. Ryan Newman, 6. Casey Mears, 7. Kurt Busch, 8. Tony Stewart, 9. Tony Raines, 10. Reed Sorenson.
Top 10 Chase leaders after four of 10: 1. J. Gordon-5690, 2. Johnson-5681, 3. Bowyer-5627, 4. Stewart-5536, 5. Edwards-5490, 6. Harvick-5488, 7. Kurt Busch-5480, 8. Kyle Busch-5430, 9. Hamlin-5423, 10. Truex-5390.
Hornaday Is New Truck Leader – Top-10 Craftsman Truck Series leaders: 1. Hornaday-3207, 2. Skinner-3193, 3. Kvapil-2973, 4. T. Bodine-2945, 5. Benson-2831, 6. Crawford-2794, 7. Musgrave-2474, 8. Darnell-2427, 9. Crafton-2411, 10. Sprague-2339.
Will Lowe’s Speedway Go Or Stay? – Bruton Smith, owner of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., said last week that if the city of Concord, NC, does not work with him on a controversial drag strip, he’ll take Lowe’s Motor Speedway somewhere else.
Smith said he is already looking for plots of land in the Charlotte area. He said he’ll close Lowe’s and build a new speedway and his own airport so that race car drivers will easily be able to fly in and out of town. Concord doesn’t look like it’s going to be a place for him to grow, he said, so if city leaders don’t change their minds, he will take his business and go.
Smith said he’s dumbfounded that the Concord City Council voted against a proposed drag strip near the speedway, effectively changing the area’s zoning rules. Workers had already started grading the land to make way for the strip. Dozens of residents showed up at a city council meeting to protest the strip so close to their homes. Others argued the economic benefits of such a motorsports attraction.
Smith will have to take the city to court in order for the decision to be reversed. He wants Concord to undo an annexation, which made the speedway, and the land around it that had been zoned for motorsports, part of the city limits. “Either they go, or we go,” he said.
NASCAR TV Ratings Continue To Drop – ABC earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 2.8 for the 2 to 6 p.m. portion of the Cup race at Kansas Speedway. The rating is 17.6 per cent lower than the 3.4 NBC earned when it aired the Kansas race in 2006. Because of the rain delays in Sunday's race, ABC shifted coverage to its ESPN2 channel, where it only earned a 2.1.
New Busch Series Sponsor – NASCAR announced that Nationwide Insurance will become the new title sponsor of the NASCAR Busch Series in 2008. Nationwide will pay an estimated $12 million per season for a multiyear deal, slightly more than Anheuser Busch was paying. NASCAR officials considered going a year without a title sponsor before Nationwide joined the negotiations last month.
Now that NASCAR has signed a deal with Nationwide, what will happen to Allstate, the official insurance company of NASCAR? This deal will likely require Nationwide to take over that role, and Allstate will be out. It's also not clear what Nationwide will call the series, which has been the Busch Series since Anheiser-Busch took over as title sponsor for what was first known as Late Model Sportsman and later the Grand National Series.
The Busch and Cup teams will be at the 1.5-mile Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, NC, while the Craftsman Trucks have an off weekend.
Friday, October 12: Busch Series Dollar General 300, race 31 of 35, 200 laps, 7:30 p.m. TV: ESPN2.
Saturday, October 13: Nextel Cup Bank of America 500, race 31 of 36, 334 laps, 7 p.m. TV: ABC.
Racing Trivia Question: Which team will Kyle Busch driver for in 2008?
Last Week’s Question: How many years has Denny Hamlin driven in the Nextel Cup? Answer: This is his second year.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rachel Owens has put in running work in the summer before, trying to prepare herself for the transition from track and field season in the spring to cross country in the fall.
But, the Elk Lake senior has never had a summer quite like this one.
"I ran through the whole summer," Owens said. "I basically did everything that my coach told me to do. In the past, I was sort of half and half in the summer.
"This time, I ran every day."
The extra work paid off.
Owens went unbeaten in Lackawanna League cluster meets in the first month of the season and added a win at the Gettysburg Invitational where she led the Lady Warriors to the team title. For her efforts, Owens has been selected as the Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month for September.
"Rachel's a very diligent young lady," Elk Lake coach Will Squier said. "It's been hard because she has kind of had a big target on her in the league. She's the one to beat."
Owens finished fourth in the District 2 Class AA meet a year ago and finished 26th in the state meet, one spot out of a medal. She leads a strong group of returning Lady Warriors. The team is unbeaten in the league and getting ready to try to repeat its district title then improve on its fifth-place finish in the state.
Squier said track may come more naturally to Owens because of her outstanding speed.
"Rachel could probably break records in almost any event I put her in from the 400 to the two mile," said Squier, who also serves as track coach. "She's fast, but she has good endurance. She's a strong, very classic runner."
The work in what would otherwise be considered the off-season has helped provide the endurance necessary to be a top cross country runner.
"I felt like I built up more of the speed in track," Owens said. "In the summer, I built up the endurance."
Rachel is the daughter of Bob and Karen Owens of East Rush.
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