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Elk Lake's Derek Noldy was eliminated Thursday when he suffered two-point losses in his first two bouts of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Wrestling Championships at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Noldy was one of 16 wrestlers in the state to qualify for the Class AA tournament at 171 pounds. The two tough losses meant he was one of the first four eliminated at Hershey.
Octorara's Josh Smith, who entered the tournament with a 34-2 record, ended Noldy's title hopes with a 6-4 victory.
Derek Straley of James Buchanan, who came in with a 30-5 record, then knocked Noldy out of the consolation bracket with a 4-2 decision.
Noldy finished the season with a 33-9 record.
WEEK IN REVIEW
High school athletes around the state began official preparation for the spring sports season March 3.
By that time, all the Susquehanna County athletes but Noldy had completed their winter sports seasons.
Baseball, softball, boys' and girls' track and field, boys' tennis and boys' volleyball all began practice. Girls' soccer teams in some parts of the state, but not Susquehanna County, also began their spring seasons.
Boys' tennis is the first sport allowed to have regular-season competition, which begins March 17. The regular season is allowed to open in all other sports March 20.
Jocelyn Dearborn's college career at Fordham University is off to an outstanding start.
Dearborn started in 13 of the first 14 games and was leading the team with a .410 batting average as Fordham went 5-9 playing an early-season schedule loaded with nationally ranked opponents.
The freshman from Blue Ridge was tied for the team lead with two homers and 11 RBIs. She was second in hits with 16 and tied for second with two stolen bases.
Dearborn was the first Rookie of the Week in the Atlantic 10 Conference for her performance in the Bulldog Round Robin at Mississippi State University. She had hits in all five games, going 10-for-21 (.476) with a triple, a homer, three runs scored and nine RBIs.
The highlight was a 3-for-4 performance against the 21st-ranked host team, in which she forced extra innings with a two-run homer in the seventh and finished with four RBIs.
Dearborn is the reigning Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Year after leading Division IV of the Lackawanna League in homers, RBIs and average last season while helping Blue Ridge reach the state tournament as unbeaten District 2 champion.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The PIAA winter sports season will come to an end with two state championship events.
The Swimming and Diving Championships are scheduled for Wednesday through Saturday at Bucknell University in Lewisburg.
The Basketball Championships for boys and girls are scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State University in State College.
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
Toyota Gets First Cup Win, Hampton, GA – Kyle Busch drove a Toyota to victory in Sunday’s Sprint Cup Kobalt Tools 500 to give the Japanese automaker their first Cup win after only 40 starts.
Busch, who also won Friday’s night’s Craftsman Truck Series race, led 172 of the 325-lap race and finished nearly three seconds ahead of his teammate, Tony Stewart, who also drove a Toyota.
Sunday's Cup winner, Kyle Busch and car owner, Joe Gibbs.
“It was an awesome car, being able to run like that,” said Busch. “Carl (Edwards) had a great car also, but he had some issues. But to run 500 miles and win, you can’t have any issues.”
In addition to leading the Cup points, Busch also leads the Craftsman Trucks and is second in the Nationwide Series.
Many drivers complained about how hard their car handled, but runner-up Stewart blamed his car’s handling problems on the tires, and blasted Goodyear.
“Really, it’s very simple,” said Stewart. “It’s because we were on such bad tires. That’s the worst tire I’ve ever been on in my life. If you look at when they (Goodyear) exited Formula One, IRL, the World of Outlaws and all the other series, it’s because they couldn’t keep up, because they didn’t have the technology. They just couldn’t compete.
“This was pathetic, what we raced on today. I’m going home and check all the tires on my personal cars, and if I have any Goodyears I’m going to dismount them and put on Firestones, or some other brand.”
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was strong during the early stages of the race, but lacked the necessary speed to overtake Busch late in the race, and finished third.
“Yeh, it was a great run for us today,” said Earnhardt. “We had a good race car, but we went backwards from the start and could never get it quite where we wanted it. Tony (Eury, crew chief) did a good job today trying to get the car better. It was a hard day, but I’m proud of my team.”
Greg Biffle’s fourth-place finish allowed him to move into second in the points.
“Tony did a great job of protecting Kyle Busch, his teammate, but he was racing for position, and he raced me pretty well,” said Biffle. “If I could have gotten by Tony earlier, then I might have been able to catch Kyle. But as it was, I just ran out of laps.”
Polesitter, Jeff Gordon finished fifth, and like most of the drivers, he complained about how hard it was to drive the new car.
“This was the hardest day I’ve had at Atlanta,” said Gordon. “Our team did a good job, but I don’t think there wasn’t any teams that had a really amazing setup. Nobody was perfect. It was just a challenging day.”
Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Brian Vickers, and Jeff Burton rounded out the top-10 finishers.
Top-10 Sprint Cup Chase contenders after 4 of 35: 1. Kyle Busch-665, 2. Biffle-592, 3. Harvick-574, 4. Newman-571, 5. Burton-555, 6. Kahne-534, 7. Earnhardt-531, 8. Stewart-525, 9. Vickers-491, 10. Kurt Busch-478.
Top-10 Nationwide Series leaders after 4 of 35: 1. Harvick-605, 2. Edwards-580, 3. Kyle Busch-531, 4. Ragan-524, 5. Bowyer-507, 6. Reutimann-503, 7. Stewart-472, 8. Bliss-472, 9. M. Wallace-469, 10. Bires-445.
Top-10 Craftsman Truck Series leaders after 3 of 25: 1. Kyle Busch-555, 2. Bodine-483, 3. Hornaday-433, 4. McCumbee-415, 5. Benson-413, 6. Crawford-411, 7. Skinner-393, 8. Starr-384, 9. Setzer-383, 10. McGilton-376.
Joe Weatherly, Fun-Loving NASCAR Champion – Known simply as “Little Joe,” he was one of NASCAR’s most fun-loving but serious drivers. He was killed in an accident at Riverside (California) Raceway in 1964. His death left a void among those who knew him.
“He would race you as hard, if not harder on the track than any other driver, but he was a joy to be around away from the track,” said Rex White, the 1960 NASCAR champion. “I mean he just liked to have fun, and was always doing something to create a laugh.”
Joe Weatherly served in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II in North Africa and Europe. While in North Africa, a German sniper’s bullet struck Weatherly in the face, knocking out two of his teeth and leaving behind a mean looking scar that would forever belie Little Joe’s sense of mischievous good humor.
When the war ended, Weatherly resumed a pre-war love affair with motorcycles, racing in the AMA where he attained a degree of fame and no small amount of success, earning three AMA championships between 1946 and 1950. “Little Joe,” as he came to be called, might easily have made a career as a motorcycle racer were it not for his entry into NASCAR racing in 1950. Such was his skill on four wheels that he won the very first modified race he entered.
A volume could be written about Joe Weatherly and his pranks on and off the track. He enjoyed behaving outrageously; wearing wild clothes and once he took practice laps wearing a Peter Pan suit. Moreover, he frequently stayed out partying until the early hours, usually with fellow driver and good-time buddy, Curtis Turner.
But behind the happy, fun-loving exterior, “Little Joe” held the heart of a champion. In a NASCAR Grand National career that spanned between 1952 and 1964, Weatherly notched 25 victories. The win column statistic is more astounding when we consider that he never ran anything approaching a full race season until 1962. Not surprisingly, in 1962 (his first full season) Weatherly won the NASCAR championship, claiming seven victories over a grueling span of 52 races.
The following year he backed up his dominating performance with six victories and another NASCAR championship. The 1963 championship is all the more amazing when we consider that his car owner, Bud Moore didn’t have the resources to campaign a car throughout the entire season. Rather than sit out those races that the Bud Moore team couldn’t afford to run, he “bummed” rides in other teams’ cars, thus salvaging the championship in grand fashion.
The 1961 Firecracker 250 at Daytona offers a wonderful example of his tenacity on the racetrack. During the race, his Pontiac started popping out of gear unexpectedly. Refusing to pull into the garage, he twisted around in his seat in order to hold the shifter in gear with his right leg while using his left foot to operate the accelerator and brake pedals. As a testament to his perseverance, Weatherly managed to finish sixth that day.
Joe Weatherly is remembered as a prankster, a fun-loving clown who just happened to be tough to beat on the track come race day.
NEXT WEEK: Should Cup Drivers be Allowed to Race in the Nationwide Series?
The Nationwide and Sprint Cup teams are at Bristol, TN. The Craftsman Trucks do not race again until March 29.
Saturday, March 15: Nationwide Series Sharpie Mini 300, 2 p.m. TV: ABC.
Sunday, March 16: Sprint Cup Food City 500, 500 laps, 1:30 p.m. TV: Fox.
Racing Trivia Question: Only once has NASCAR’s “All Star” race not been held at Charlotte. Which track hosted the 1986 NASCAR “All Star” race? Note: E-mail, or send us the correct answer and we will send you a photo of the winning driver in victory lane.
Last Week’s Question: Travis Kvapil is a former Truck champion. Who is he driving for in 2008? Answer: He drives the No. 28 Yates Racing Ford in the Cup series.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at: email@example.com.
The Susquehanna Sabers reached the low point in a promising season with three straight losses to start the second half of the Lackawanna League Division 3 boys' basketball season.
Brent Keyes made sure the Sabers did not stay down.
The Sabers recovered to qualify for the state tournament by winning four of their next five games. Keyes was the leading scorer in three of the four wins and had 21 points in the other.
For his effort in the strong finish to the regular season and in the District 2 Class A playoffs, Keyes has been selected as the latest Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month.
"We were up and down all through the league season," Keyes said. "We came in with some high hopes and beat some of the better teams, but also lost to some of the lower teams."
When the losing streak ended Susquehanna's division title hopes, a strong group of seniors still found a way to end their careers in style by making the team's first state playoff appearance in eight years. The Sabers were the only Susquehanna County boys' basketball team to make the state playoffs this season.
"Toward the end of the season, we beat (Lackawanna) Trail and then beat Elk Lake on Senior Night," Keyes said. "That helped keep the team up."
The Sabers entered the playoffs with three wins in four games, including the victories over Trail and Elk Lake, which wound up in a playoff for the division title.
Susquehanna then avenged two of its four overtime losses on the season when it beat Forest City, 48-43, in the district semifinals with a state playoff berth at stake.
Keyes, who had seven of his 15 points in a fourth-quarter comeback to beat Elk Lake, had six of his 14 in the fourth quarter against the Foresters. He also finished with nine rebounds and three blocked shots.
"We had four seniors who had a little success from the grade-school level up through junior high," Keyes said. "We didn't want to end up the wrong way.
"Unfortunately we couldn't advance another round or two or win the district championship, but it was nice to finish up in the state playoffs."
Keyes averaged more than 15 points and 10 rebounds. In his fourth season as a starter, he also surpassed the 1,000-point mark in career scoring.
In addition to basketball, Keyes has already been a two-year starter in volleyball and is practicing now for the start of another season. He also played golf as a senior.
Brent is the son of Bob and Gay Keyes of Susquehanna. Brent hopes to play basketball while attending either Keystone College, where his father played, or Marywood University.
LaVonne Mikloiche is going south – to Australia, that is! LaVonne will be heading to Sydney, Australia to compete at the 2008 Sydney Royal Easter Show, to be held March 20 through April 2 in the Sydney Olympic Park. She is part of a national team, consisting of four American and three Canadian women, who will be competing in two team relays. LaVonne will also be competing in seven single-person events as well.
LaVonne Mikloiche of South Gibson will be competing in lumberjack events at the 2008 Sydney Royal Easter Show in Sydney, Australia.
This competition is considered the Olympics of the lumberjack sport, and consists of several events including axe throw, Jack and Jill cross cut, Jack and Jill handy cap cross cut, Jack and Jill chop, underhand chop, single buck saw, and Jill and Jill cross cut. LaVonne will be competing with teams and people from the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Sweden. They will all be competing for two weeks.
LaVonne has grown up in the lumberjacking sport. Her father, Chip Arthur, South Gibson, began competing thirty years ago. His love of the sport became part of LaVonne’s life at an early age, with LaVonne entering an axe throw competition at age nine. That got her hooked. For many years, women were not considered to be competitive in the sport. They usually only got to enter the axe throw and the Jack and Jill crosscut saw events. LaVonne broke the barrier. She was the youngest girl to throw axe at a show, and was very good at it. She was one of the first women to start chopping, chain sawing, and her most favorite event, modified chain saw.
In the past ten years or so, women’s events have become the norm at a show. Women compete in all the same events as men do now, and most shows now have women’s events separate from the men’s, so they can compete with each other on a more equal playing field.
For the past several years, LaVonne’s husband, Steve and son, Ricky have also been competing as well. That makes three generations of “choppers,” who will hopefully be chopping for many years to come. They travel almost every weekend in the summer as a family, going to many states and seeing new things. The whole family is active in the New York State Lumberjack Association and the Pennsylvania Professional Lumberjack Organization. LaVonne says, “Lumberjacking gets in your blood, and you just can’t get enough. All of the competitors are like a big, extended family. We all watch each other’s children when competing, have cookouts when camping together. It’s just a fun thing to do.”
Date/Time Water Area Meeting Place Species Trout
3/19 2:00 Canawacta Creek Lanesboro Post Office Brown Rainbow
Starrucca Creek Brown Rainbow TG
3/25 1:30 Snake Creek Basil Leaf Rest. Montrose Brook Brown TG
4/4 2:00 Quaker Lake PFBC Quaker Lake access Rainbow
4/7 1:30 East Branch Wyalusing Creek Basil Leaf Rest. Montrose Brook Brown TG
North Branch Wyalusing Creek Brook Brown TG
4/10 1:30 Fall Brook Basil Leaf Rest. Montrose Brook Brown Rainbow
Silver Creek Brook Brown
Opening Day 4 12 at 8:00 a.m. creel limit of 5 trout.
4/14 2:00 Starrucca Creek Lanesboro Post Office Brook Brown
4/16 1:30 Wyalusing Creek East Branch Basil Leaf Rest. Montrose Brown Rainbow
Wyalusing Creek North Branch Brown Rainbow
4/22 2:00 Quaker Lake Quaker Lake PFBC Access Rainbow
Fall Brook Brown Rainbow
Silver Creek Brown Rainbow
4/24 1:30 Snake Creek Basil Leaf Rest. Montrose Brook Brown
Gaylord Creek Brook Brown
5/12 1:30 Salt Lick Creek Trail Diner New Milford Brown Rainbow
Silver Creek Rainbow
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