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Local Sports Scene

Elk Lake Matmen Host Youth Wrestling Tourney

Brown, Noldy Play Role In All-Star Wrestling Win
By Tom Robinson

Montrose's D.J. Brown and Elk Lake's Derek Noldy helped the Lackawanna League to a 36-15 victory over the Wyoming Valley Conference Friday night in the first District 2 All-Star Wrestling Duals at Wyoming Area High School.

Brown won the only major decision of the night while Noldy also had a win in the event for the top seniors in the two leagues.

The WVC opened a 12-0 lead by winning the first three bouts.

The Lackawanna League began a comeback and moved in front, 17-15, when Noldy defeated Wilkes-Barre Coughlin's Craig Kittrick, 10-7.

Brown followed with a 10-2 victory over Lake-Lehman's Chad Brudnicki and the Lackawanna League went on to win the remaining bouts.


Brian Elliott had a perfect night in goal for the surging Binghamton Senators Friday night.

Elliott stopped 36 shots in an American Hockey League game that was scoreless through a five-minute overtime, then stopped all four shootout attempts he faced in a 1-0 win over the Albany River Rats.

Niko Dimitrakos and Alexander Nikulin scored in the shootout for the Senators against Michael Leighton, the league's top goalie.

The win made the Senators 3-0-1-0 in their last four games and pulled them within four points of fourth-place Hershey for the East Division's fourth and final playoff spot.

On the same night, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins extended the league's longest active winning streak to six games to move within four points of the first-place Philadelphia Phantoms and one point of the second-place River Rats.

Five of the wins in the streak came on the road, beginning with a trip to Binghamton.


Justin Herbert took sixth place in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Championship Tournament in Lancaster.

The junior from Blue Ridge became the first Franklin & Marshall wrestler to place in the tournament in the past three years.

Herbert went into what turned out to be the final day of his season with a shot at advancing to nationals. He finished the year 27-5 with 17 pins, including 14 in the first period.


Lackawanna League boys' tennis was scheduled to open Monday.

The remaining spring sports teams are progressing toward their league openers.

Boys' and girls' track openers are scheduled for March 25.

Boys' volleyball openers are April 1.

Baseball and softball openers are set for April 3.

Elk Lake and Montrose are part of the 15-member league in boys' tennis where there are no divisions. Each team places each league opponent once.

The volleyball teams - Blue Ridge, Elk Lake, Forest City, Mountain View and Susquehanna - are in one seven-team league with Lackawanna Trail and Western Wayne.

All six county schools have teams that are in the same division in baseball and softball. They will compete in Division 3 with Carbondale and Lackawanna Trail.

Montrose is in Division 2 in track, along with Dunmore, Riverside, Scranton, Valley View, Western Wayne and West Scranton.

Blue Ridge, Elk Lake, Montrose, Mountain View and Susquehanna are in Division 3 with Carbondale, Lackawanna Trail and Mid Valley.

TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at

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By Gerald Hodges

The Racing Reporter

Childress Teams Are One-Two-Three At Bristol, Bristol, TN – Jeff Burton led a Richard Childress sweep in Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol’s Thunder Valley. Following Burton across the stripe were Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer.

Jeff Burton, winner of Sunday's Food City 500 at Bristol.

“Obviously Harvick and Stewart got together there at the end, and that opened the door for me,” said Burton. “Then Denny Hamlin on the last restart, just quit, and we kept going.

“Without a caution we were not going to win. We didn’t have the best car out here today. Sometimes things work out and sometimes they don’t. Today they worked out for us.”

With 14 laps remaining in the 500-lap race, Tony Stewart was leading Kevin Harvick when Brian Vickers hit the wall, bringing out a caution.

Stewart, his teammate Denny Hamlin, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. were the only lead lap cars that remained on the track. All the others, including Harvick, Burton, and Bowyer pitted for fresh tires.

On the restart, with five laps to go, Stewart, Hamlin, and Earnhardt were the leaders. Hamlin shot by Stewart on the outside for first. Within another lap, Harvick was able to move by Earnhardt and attempted an inside pass on Stewart, but his No. 29 car slid up the track and into Stewart.

“I just lost it,” said Harvick. “I mean I got up on the inside and lost it. I was trying to win the race. I hate it, but I know Tony and I can work it out.”

Harvick was able to continue, but Stewart spun and brushed the outside wall.

Burton took advantage of Harvick and Stewart’s bump and slide to move into second, behind Hamlin.

The restart on lap 504 brought out a green/white/checkered finish.

Hamlin got a good start, but his Toyota slowed going down the backstretch, and Burton zipped by and went on to his first Bristol victory in 29 tries.

It was also the first win of 2008 for Chevrolet.

Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Aric Almirola, David Gilliland, and Matt Kenseth finished out the top-10.

Bristol brought an end to Dale Jarrett’s 24-year career in the NASCAR Cup Series.

“The sport has obviously done a lot for me and my family,” said Jarrett. “This week has been a lot more different than what I’ve thought all season. I’ve always been able to say, ‘I’ve got a few more weeks,’ or ‘I’ve got a couple of months before that comes.’ It was easy to say at that time, but we’re here. This is it this week.”

Jarrett will run one more race, the non-points “All Star” race at Charlotte. But he isn’t leaving racing altogether. He will soon be in the broadcast booth as a commentator for ESPN.

Top 10 Chase contenders after 5 of 36: 1. Kyle Busch-776, 2. Biffle-752, 3. Harvick-749, 4. Burton-745, 5. Earnhardt-686, 6. Kahne-674, 7. Stewart-656, 8. Newman-635, 9. Bowyer-606, 10. Kurt Busch-605.

Bowyer Wins Bristol Nationwide Race – Top-10 Nationwide Series drivers after 5 of 35: 1. Harvick-751, 2. Bowyer-702, 3. Edwards-701, 4. Ragan-671, 5. Reutimann-668, 6. Bliss-627, 7. M. Wallace-603, 8. Keselowski-591, 9. Leffler-579, 10. Kyle Busch-568.

Should Cup Drivers Be Allowed In Nationwide Series? Ask any track owner whether Cup drivers should be allowed to compete in the Nationwide Series, and their reply will be a loud, “Yes.”

Almost half the field for many of this season's Nationwide Series races, including the Nicorette 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday March 8, was filled by Cup drivers.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Carl Edwards, Martin Truex, Jr., Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, and other well known Cup drivers help bring fans into stadiums that are usually less than half full.

Fans and track owners love seeing these well known drivers in a Nationwide race. Fans can get into a Nationwide race for less than half it costs to watch a Cup race on Sunday. The more fans, the more money for the track.

For years the debate has raged as to whether the Nationwide Series was a feeder program for the Cup Series, or merely a Saturday playground for the drivers that have already made it to the top.

Clint Bowyer was a contender to win last year’s Cup championship. He credits his days in the Nationwide Series as the springboard he needed to become a Cup superstar.

“I love the series,” said Bowyer, who finished third in the Cup standings last season. “Look at me, look at my career. Without the Nationwide Series, I wouldn't be here. It gave me a chance to learn a lot from my teammates and race against good drivers that win Cup races.”

NASCAR has said they are considering a new policy where full-time Cup drivers will no longer be eligible to collect Nationwide Series championship points.

Should that rule be implemented, Cup regulars would have little incentive to run the entire Nationwide Series schedule.

Bobby Labonte, the 1991 Nationwide Series champion, is concerned over how the sport's future stars are forced to battle Cup drivers in Cup equipment on a weekly basis.

“It's obviously a strange time for that series,” said Labonte, who drives a Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet on a limited basis in the Nationwide Series. “Cup drivers would own their own [Nationwide] car that they raced years ago. Kevin Harvick does now, but that's only one.”

Earnhardt, Jr. has run in three of the first four races of the season, and I’m sure the promoters and track owners are happy.

The teams with Cup drivers are usually better funded.

Jason Keller, one of the veterans of the Nationwide Series is doing good, but with much less money behind him. He doesn’t even have a full sponsorship, but battles it out each week with some of NASCAR’s best. Last week he finished 14th.

There aren't as many Nationwide regulars as there were a few years ago. Will this eventually hurt the younger drivers that are trying to work their way up through the ranks?

On the surface, I would say, “Yes,” because the number of small independent teams has dwindled in the past few years. As Cup teams sign more major sponsors for their Nationwide cars, the lesser known teams are coming up short-handed.

I don’t think there can be a level field as long as the Cup drivers dominate. And since the Nationwide Series is seen as a development series, more needs to be done to help the small teams with their up and coming drivers.

Next Week: Are Tony Stewart’s Comments Helpful or Harmful to Racing?


Next weekend is Easter weekend. The only NASCAR race will be the Busch Series Pepsi 300 at Lebanon, TN, on Saturday, March 22. It will be broadcast on ESPN2, starting at 2 p.m.

Racing Trivia Question: Robby Gordon switched car manufacturers at the beginning of the 2008 season. What make car did he switch to?

Last Week’s 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. Answer: The “All Star” race was held at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1986. The winner was Bill Elliott.

You may contact the Racing Reporter at:

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Elk Lake Matmen Host Youth Wrestling Tourney

The Elk Lake Matmen held their annual club wrestling tournament on Saturday, March 8.  This tournament attracted approximately 186 wrestlers from around the area, and even some further away traveling as far away as Richmond, Virginia.

Pictured (l-r) are members of the Elk Lake team: bottom row – Brian Traver, Trenton Finch, Keaton Smith, Brendon Kelley; middle row – Griffin Arnold, Garrett Fiorentino, Logan Cleveland, Jared Brooks, Blake Chew, Sean Whitaker; back row – Jacob Hand, Richie Ploof, Tyler Capwell, Brandon Traver, Tyler Arnold, Gavin Kelley, Blaise Cleveland.

The Elk Lake team ended their season by claiming first place. The following wrestlers helped their team earn first by placing in the top four for their respective weight classes.

First Place - Brendon Kelly (Bantam 50); Sean Whitaker (Midget 60); Derrik Smith (Jr. High 115).

Second Place   - Brian Traver (Bantam 50); Logan Cleveland (Bantam 65); Griffin Arnold (Bantam 75); Garrett Fiorentino (Bantam Unl); Jacob Hand (Midget 75); Blaise Cleveland (Junior 75); Tyler Arnold (Junior 95); Brandon Kelly (Jr. High 80); Dan Daly (Jr. High 95).

Fourth Place - Blake Chew (Midget 65); Brandon Traver (Midget 80); Tyler Capwell (Jr. High 122).

Team standings: Elk Lake (79); Wyalusing (66); Lake Lehman (55); Owego (50); Tunkhannock (48); Lackawanna Trail (40); Blue Ridge (24); Blossburg (14); Northeast Bradford (9).

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