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Rachel Owens, Lisa Ruppert and Ellen Squier brought an end to their stellar cross country careers at Elk Lake by leading the team to its biggest accomplishment yet, a second-place finish in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class AA state championship meet in Hershey.
Owens finished the 3.1-mile course in 20:09, taking 14th among the 167 runners from schools competing for the team championship and 29th out of 286 total runners in the field.
Ruppert and Squier came in a second apart in 20:24 and 20:25. They were 20th and 21st among team competitors and 43rd and 44th overall.
The Lady Warriors could not keep up with District 6 champion Central Cambria, which ran away with the team title, 53-175.
Junior Kim Caines, the first underclassman to finish for Elk Lake, provided the difference in securing fourth place. Caines finished in 20:45, 30th among team runners and 66th overall. She beat the fourth Lewisburg runner by 44 team places, helping the Lady Warriors to a 23-point advantage over the District 4 champions.
Sophomores Laura Nulton, Hannah Owens and Keek Morahan completed the Elk Lake team.
Blue Ridge finished 13th in the 24-team field with 321 points, two spots behind Scranton Prep, which had 306.
Freshman Allison Hall led Blue Ridge by taking 16th among team runners and 36th overall in 20:14.
Maegan Lewis, Vikki Hartt, Janelle Collins and Megan Kliner all finished between 56th and 87th among team runners to complete the Blue Ridge team score.
Montrose's Samantha Cudo, who qualified for the meet as an individual, finished 201st overall in 22:11.
Elk Lake was 12th out of 24 teams in the Class AA boys' race where Scranton Prep finished third.
Junior Brent Salsman led the Warriors, taking 17th out of 168 team competitors and 43rd out of 285 runners overalls, in 17:33. Ryne Carney finished 41st, Tyler Williams 45th, Bryan Grosvenor 75th and Cory Benscoter 122nd among the team runners.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Montrose led for only 16 seconds of the regular-season football finale with Susquehanna, but it was the most important 16 seconds.
Rob Volk's 17-yard pass to Jeff Liddick in the final minute lifted the Meteors to a 24-18 Lackawanna Football Conference victory.
The Meteors survived some tense - and controversial -- moments on the way to their comeback victory.
They fell behind by two touchdowns with 30 seconds left in the half after Susquehanna churned out 13 first downs on the way to three first-half touchdowns.
Andy Burgh changed the outlook of the game going into the locker room when he returned a kickoff 74 yards for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 18-12.
"Those 11 men on the field right there won the game," Montrose coach Jack Keihl said. "The kickoff return group changed the whole momentum of the game."
Montrose controlled the ball in the second half, running off 34 offensive plays to 19 by Susquehanna. The Meteors used an 11-play, 68-yard drive to tie the game on a 5-yard run by Jared Fowler with 11:04 remaining.
The Meteors still had to escape some tough situations.
Susquehanna followed up a 29-yard interception return by Brad Weaver by driving to the Montrose 9 with less than seven minutes left.
Kyle Chapel came up with a tackle for a three-yard loss on third down with help from Dan Staats. James Kane then broke up a fourth-down pass.
Montrose drove 88 yards in 15 plays to produce the winning score, with two controversial plays along the way.
The Meteors were awarded a first down on a series of downs where they seemed to gain slightly less than nine yards in three plays from near the Susquehanna 37 to the 28. Apparently, a misplacement of the chains combined with a quick decision by the referee to signal first down without measuring to help Montrose avoid a short-yardage situation on fourth down.
Susquehanna's Steven Andujar went into the air and battled a Montrose receiver for the ball with 27 seconds left. When Andujar landed on his back, all the officials hesitated before one signaled interception, only to be overruled by another who declared that the ball had hit the ground.
Montrose won the game two plays later.
On third-and-10, Volk dropped back to pass and Liddick looped out and down the left sideline from his slot position. Liddick went high to pull in the pass near the goal line for the touchdown.
"When they came out in man, we knew we had that play, we just needed the protection," Keihl said.
The play helped Montrose do what otherwise seemed virtually impossible, going from an 0-8 record with two weeks left to 3-7.
Montrose won its final two games and picked up a forfeit victory for an ineligible player that Mid Valley used early in the season. The Meteors went 2-3 in Division III of the LFC.
"Our passing game really came around the last three of four weeks," Keihl said.
Volk, a sophomore, went 7-for-17 for 103 yards. A week earlier he completed just three passes, but two went for long touchdowns and another set up a score in the win over Holy Cross.
Susquehanna also gained a forfeit win over Mid Valley earlier in the week. The Sabers finished 0-5 in the division and 2-8 overall.
The Sabers gained 190 of their 229 yards in the first half.
Chris Felter, Julian Andujar and Cody Scepaniak each ran for a first-half touchdown and finished with at least 44 yards rushing.
Felter scored on a 17-yard run less than two minutes into the game to complete a 57-yard drive that included a 31-yard pass from Scepaniak to Stephen Andujar and a 14-yard run by Scepaniak. Felter finished with 70 yards on 15 carries.
Fowler tied the game later in the quarter on a one-yard run. He finished the game with 28 carries for 145 yards, giving him 1,008 yards on the season.
Susquehanna came right back to score on a one-yard run by Julian Andujar, who finished with 59 yards on 14 carries.
Scepaniak led the Sabers on an 18-play, 80-yard scoring drive late in the half after Weaver broke up a fourth-down pass.
The junior quarterback hit two of three passes for 20 yards and ran five times for 18 yards, including the one-yard touchdown with 30 seconds left.
Marvin Green's 11-yard reverse on a fourth-and-four play from the Montrose 24 kept the drive alive. The touchdown was also the fourth third-down conversion of the drive.
Scepaniak was tackled for losses three times in the second half after rushing for 48 yards in the first. He finished with 44 yards on 13 carries.
In girls' volleyball, Blue Ridge followed up its unbeaten league season by reaching the District 2 Class A final before losing a tough five-game match to Lackawanna Trail.
Trail won the first game, 25-21.
Blue Ridge came back to take the lead in the match by winning the next two games, 25-13 and 25-22.
After Trail evened the match by winning Game Four, 25-19, the Lady Lions came away with the win by taking the deciding game, 15-13.
Blue Ridge reached the final with a 25-18, 25-14, 25-17 win over Susquehanna.
Trail defeated Mountain View, 25-17, 25-22, 25-21, in the other semifinal.
In boys' soccer, Wyoming Seminary eliminated Mountain View, 1-0, in the District 2 Class A semifinals.
The loss ended a three-year run as district champions for the Eagles, who held a 12-10 advantage in shots but could not convert.
Mountain View sent one shot off a crossbar and beat goalie Mason Astaneh two other times, only to have a Wyoming Seminary player get behind Astaneh to save the goal.
Jeff Kratz came back from midfield to clear a dangerous ball off the line in the first half. Casey Klaips was at the left post to send away Mountain View's best chance of the second half.
After Astaneh got his hands on a high Jordan Davis shot from the right corner for one of his four saves, Jon McBride's header on the rebound hit the crossbar with 7:50 left.
Kevin Nagle scored the game's only goal with a low, hard shot inside the near post from almost 30 yards out with 22:45 left in the first half.
In girls' soccer, Dunmore ended Montrose's season with a 2-0 victory in the District 2 Class AA semifinals.
Nicole Pelozi scored goals in each half for the Lady Bucks.
Meghan Butler had six saves in the loss.
The Lady Meteors finished 8-8.
Rob Squier, a senior from Elk Lake, earned All-Patriot League honors when he finished 11th in the league meet to help Army to a third-place finish.
By finishing between eighth and 14th, Squier was named as a second-team league all-star.
Squier appeared in seven of Army's eight races and was one of the team's top five runners each time.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins play at the Binghamton Senators Friday night in an American Hockey League game Friday night.
The high school football playoffs open Friday and Saturday.
Delaware Valley is in the District 2-11 Class AAAA Subregional; West Scranton is in the District 2 Class AAA playoffs; Dunmore, Riverside, Lakeland and Carbondale are in the District 2 Class AA playoffs; Lackawanna Trail, Old Forge and Holy Cross are in the District 2 Class A playoffs; and Abington Heights is in the Eastern Conference Class AAAA playoffs.
Our high school football predictions, which were 8-2 (80 percent) last week to bring our season record to 86-20 (81.1 percent), will continue until the last of the 10 Lackawanna Football Conference playoff teams are eliminated.
This week's predictions, with home team in CAPS: WYOMING VALLEY WEST 23, Delaware Valley 20; WEST SCRANTON 32, Crestwood 14; DUNMORE 35, Wilkes-Barre Meyers 6; WYOMING AREA 27, Carbondale 6; RIVERSIDE 42, Hanover Area 24; Lakeland 27, WILKES-BARRE GAR 21; NORTHWEST 34, Holy Cross 20; LACKAWANNA TRAIL 31, Old Forge 16; WHITEHALL 20, Abington Heights 10.
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
Carl Edwards Wraps Up Busch Title, Fort Worth, TX – Carl Edwards wrapped up his first Busch Series Championship Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway.
At one point during the season, Edwards had a lead of over 800 points. He saw that drop as his team faltered during the second half of the season, before gaining the title with an 11th-place finish in Saturday’s O’Reilly Challenge.
2007 NASCAR Busch Series Champion, Carl Edwards.
“I’m proud of my guys,” said Edwards. “We had an unbelievable first half of the season. We had so many points. These guys have been working very hard. I’m so grateful to be driving this car. To win it here at Texas, this track has a lot of memories here for me. It’s just a really good feeling.
“In 2005, we went out to run the Busch Series full time. At the beginning of the year, we didn’t have a full time sponsor for the Cup side and I was really excited about running for a championship in 2005. We got close, then in ’06 we got a little bit closer.”
With two races to go in the schedule, Edwards leads David Reutimann by an insurmountable 552 points.
Top-10 Busch leaders: 1. Edwards-4494, 2. Reutimann-3942, 3. Leffler-3733, 4. Harvick-3713, 5. Ragan-3576, 6. Hamilton Jr.-3434, 7. Leicht-3337, 8. Biffle-3256, 9. Ambrose-3225, 10. M. Wallace-3188.
Johnson Wins Texas Style Shootout – When it’s your year, it’s your year. And this just might be Jimmie Johnson’s year.
Johnson won a shootout over Matt Kenseth to win Sunday’s Nextel Cup Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, and regain the Chase points lead over teammate, Jeff Gordon.
“I knew it was going to be a battle there at the end,” said Johnson. “When it comes to winning one of these races everyone is going to fight hard. I expected a good fight out of Matt, but I didn’t think his two tires were going to last as long as they did.
“I’m glad I was able to get by. There wasn’t much time left to get it done. Our car wasn’t the best at the start of the race, but we just kept working on it.”
The final pit stop of the 334-lap race came during lap 298 after Greg Biffle’s No. 16 Roush Fenway Ford lost an engine.
All the lead cars pitted. Some took on four tires, while several only got two.
Matt Kenseth was one of the cars that only received two. When green flag racing resumed on lap 304, Kenseth was the leader.
Chad Knaus, Johnson’s crew chief, gave Johnson four fresh tires and Johnson was fifth, behind Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Jamie McMurray, and Martin Truex, Jr. when the green flag dropped.
Kenseth was able to build up a good lead, but by lap 315, Johnson had moved into second.
Johnson chased Kenseth’s No. 17, but despite the better tires, he was not able to pass him and had to drop back. Finally, with just three laps remaining Johnson started a move under Kenseth, and was able to get by for the lead on the white flag lap.
“I run him as hard and as close as I could,” said Kenseth. “I know he is running for the championship, and I did everything I could to hold him off. It was a good day for us. I’m just glad I didn’t wreck, or wreck Jimmie.”
Jeff Gordon’s seventh place finish dropped him from first to second, 30 points behind Johnson.
“We’ve just been having to fight too hard for these finishes,” said Gordon. “We just flat got beat today. We weren’t that good from the start. I thought we could adjust and get it right. There at the end was the best we were all day.”
The win was Johnson’s third consecutive victory. The other two came at Martinsville and Atlanta.
Top-12 Chase Contenders with two to go: 1. Johnson-6382, 2. J. Gordon-6352, 3. Bowyer-6201, 4. Kyle Busch-6043, 5. Edwards-6025, 6. Stewart-6009, 7. J. Burton-5951, 8. Harvick-5943, 9. Kurt Busch-5929, 10. Kenseth-5928, 11. Hamlin-5858, 12. Truex Jr.-5858.
Chase drivers in positions seven through twelve have been mathematically eliminated from the Chase. Realistically, the Chase is now between Johnson and Gordon.
Top ten finishing order: 1. Jimmie Johnson, 2. Matt Kenseth, 3. Martin Truex Jr., 4. Kyle Busch, 5. Ryan Newman, 6. Jeff Burton, 7. Jeff Gordon, 8. Kurt Busch, 9. Jamie McMurray, 10. Kevin Harvick.
Skinner Regains Truck Lead – Top-10 Craftsman Truck Series leaders after 23 of 25: 1. Skinner-3718, 2. Hornaday-3661, 3. Kvapil-3317, 4. T. Bodine-3254, 5. Crawford-3231, 6. Benson-3221, 7. Musgrave-2944, 8. Crafton-2812, 9. Sprague-2752, 10. Darnell-2726.
OTHER RACING NEWS
NASCAR officials are considering one future option that would stop Cup regulars from earning points in the Nationwide Series (now called the Busch Series).
“All we've done at this point is ask the teams how they would feel about various changes,” said NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston. “Nothing has been decided. It's all very preliminary.”
The new rule would keep any driver ranked in the top-35 in Cup points from earning points in a Nationwide race. The plan would go into effect in 2009.
Officials say they also have talked to the teams about making engine and body changes, including the possibility of going to pony cars (Mustangs, Camaros, etc.) in 2009.
“The Rock” To Host A 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Race – The doors are again swinging at Rockingham Speedway (formerly North Carolina Speedway) in Rockingham, North Carolina, and the ARCA RE/MAX Series is positioned to lead the charge through the gates.
Speedway President Andy Hillenburg has announced the ARCA RE/MAX Series will compete at the historic, high-banked, one-mile oval on Sunday, May 4, 2008. The event has been named the “Carolina 500” and will be the inaugural event at Rockingham since Hillenburg bought the track.
The event will be spread out over three days and will feature the largest purse on the tour, along with a 50-car starting line-up.
Through the years, NASCAR was the main attraction at Rockingham with 78 events up through 2004. Curtis Turner won the inaugural 1965 race. The final event was held in 2004, during which Matt Kenseth held off a last-lap charge from Kasey Kahne to win by .010 seconds.
Other winners at the “Rock” over the years include Fred Lorenzen, Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip, Rusty Wallace, Bill Elliott, Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin.
THIS WEEK IN RACING
With just two to go, all three of NASCAR’s major series will be at the 1.0 mile Phoenix, Arizona track.
Friday, November 9: Craftsman Trucks Casino Arizona 150, race 24 of 25, 150 laps, 8:30 p.m. TV: Speed Channel.
Saturday, November 10: Busch Series Phoenix 200, race 34 of 35, 200 laps, 4 p.m. TV: ESPN2.
Sunday, November 11: Nextel Cup Checker Auto Parts 500, race 35 of 36, 312 laps, 3 p.m. TV: ABC.
Racing Trivia Question: Which car number will Dale Earnhardt, Jr. use in the 2008 Nextel Cup Series?
Last Week’s Question: He was nicknamed, “The Taxi Cab Driver From Detroit,” because he listed it as his occupation on his NASCAR race entry forms. Who was this former series champion? Answer: Benny Parsons.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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