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High school sports teams officially opened their fall season preparation with their first practices Monday.
When it comes time to open regular-season play, match-ups featuring Susquehanna County rivalries will be highlighted.
The county’s two strongest golf programs will get together in an important opener when Forest City plays at Montrose in a Lackawanna League North Division match August 21.
Golf is the first of the fall sports to enter league play.
When the most prominent of the fall sports kicks off, the only two county teams will get together with Susquehanna playing at Montrose August 29 in a non-league game between Lackawanna Football Conference teams.
A look at each of the fall sports with the league formats and starting dates:
Golf has two divisions in the Lackawanna, North and South, with 12 teams each. All six county schools play in the North Division along with Honesdale, Wallenpaupack, Western Wayne, Lackawanna Trail, Carbondale and Lakeland.
The August 21 openers include Elk Lake at Blue Ridge.
Girls’ tennis places all 16 teams in a one-division format in the Lackawanna League. Elk Lake and Montrose are the only county schools with teams. The schedule opens August 25.
Football has a three-division setup in which Montrose and Susquehanna are in different divisions.
Montrose is back up in Division 2 with Riverside, Dunmore, Lakeland, Scranton Prep, Western Wayne and Valley View.
Susquehanna remains in Division 3 with Lackawanna Trail, Old Forge, Carbondale, Mid Valley and Holy Cross.
Boys’ soccer also opens August 29.
The county teams are split across all three divisions of the Lackawanna League.
Mountain View is in Division 1 with Abington Heights, Scranton Prep, Delaware Valley, North Pocono, Scranton, Wallenpaupack and Honesdale.
Elk Lake and Montrose are members of Division 2 which also includes Valley View, Holy Cross, St. Gregory’s, Western Wayne and West Scranton.
Forest City and Blue Ridge play in Division 3 with Old Forge, Dunmore, Lakeland, Mid Valley and Carbondale.
Girls’ soccer has two divisions with the five county teams – Mountain View, Blue Ridge, Montrose, Elk Lake and Forest City – joining Lakeland and Carbondale in the North Division. The September 2 division openers include Mountain View at Elk Lake and Forest City at Blue Ridge.
Field hockey in the Wyoming Valley Conference has switched from a three-division format to two divisions with Elk Lake and Montrose, the only two county teams, remaining in the lowest division.
The two county teams will be in Division 3 with Wilkes-Barre Meyers, Tunkhannock, Berwick, Northwest, Hanover Area and Wilkes-Barre GAR.
Girls’ volleyball has added Montrose to what is now a nine-team Lackawanna League. The rest of the county schools are also in the league along with Dunmore, Lackawanna Trail and Western Wayne.
The September 2 openers include Susquehanna at Mountain View and Forest City at Blue Ridge.
Cross country opens September 3 with all 23 league schools grouped together.
The league gets 22 meets for each team by running multi-team meets with its cluster scheduling format.
Susquehanna and Mountain View travel together in one cluster with Lakeland and Lackawanna Trail.
Montrose, Blue Ridge and Elk Lake form another scheduling cluster.
Forest City is grouped with Carbondale, Honesdale and Western Wayne.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Former Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees will meet in the Legends Reunion Game Saturday at 1:30 at PNC Field in Moosic.
Fred Lynn, Jim Rice, Luis Tiant, Dwight Evans, Bill Lee, Mike Torrez and Rico Petrocelli are among the former Red Sox committed to the event.
Hall of Famer Rich “Goose” Gossage is among the Yankees players, along with Graig Nettles, Bucky Dent, Mickey Rivers, Roy White, Oscar Gamble and Jay Johnstone.
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
Busch Wins, But Aussie Steals Show, Watkins Glen, NY – Toyota drivers Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart finished 1-2 in Sunday’s NASCAR road course race at Watkins Glen.
It was Busch’s eighth Cup win of the season, but the real story of the race was about Marcos Ambrose, a modern day David, who finished third against the big racing giants.
Marcos "Kangaroo Meat" Ambrose came from last to third in Sunday's Cup race at Watkins Glen.
While the two Toyota drivers run for the well-funded Joe Gibbs Racing organization, Ambrose was behind the wheel of the No. 21 Little Debbie Ford, owned by the Wood Brothers. While the Wood Brothers used to be a powerhouse in NASCAR racing, their last Cup win came in 2002 with Elliott Sadler behind the wheel. They haven’t even been able to qualify for many of the races this season.
Even though he won Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at The Glen, Ambrose had to start from the 43rd and last position in Sunday’s Cup race.
Ambrose, the transplanted Australian driver from the island of Tasmania, whose nickname is “Kangaroo Meat,” never led a lap, but stayed near the front for the last half of the 90-lap race.
“No brakes, no clutch left,” said Ambrose after the race ended. “You know I was really worn out. Coming through the field like that is really hard work. We had a great car, but having to come from so far back used it up.”
Television analyst and former Cup champion Dale Jarrett said, “I wouldn’t have thought you could have come from dead last to third in a race like this.”
“It was a blast,” continued Ambrose. “They had a great car for me, and I gave it all I had. Maybe next time.”
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. led 31 laps, but waited too long to make his last pit stop. After pitting on lap 60, he returned to the track in the 32nd spot, which did not allow him enough time to make it back to the front. He finished 22nd.
A nine-car pileup on lap 82 brought out a red flag and delayed the end of the race for 45 minutes. It happened near the entrance to pit road after Mike McDowell got into the back of David Gilliland, causing Gilliland’s No 38 to swerve around.
The drivers involved were Dave Blaney, Michael Waltrip, Bobby Labonte, Sam Hornish, Reed Sorenson, Gilliland, McDowell, Max Papis, and Joe Nemechek.
Kyle Busch remains the points leader with four races to go before the Chase. Carl Edwards moved up one spot to second. Jimmie Johnson also moved up one spot from fourth to third, while his teammate Dale Earnhardt slipped to fourth. Tony Stewart moved up from ninth to seventh, and Matt Kenseth replaced Clint Bowyer in the No. 12 slot.
Top 10 finishers: 1. Kyle Busch, 2. Tony Stewart, 3. Marcos Ambrose, 4. Juan Montoya, 5. Martin Truex, 6. Kevin Harvick, 7. Denny Hamlin, 8. Jimmie Johnson, 9. A. J. Allmendinger, 10. Carl Edwards.
Top 10 Chase contenders after 22 of 36: 1. Kyle Busch-3254, 2. Edwards-3008, 3. Johnson-3006, 4. Earnhardt-2985, 5. Burton-2945, 6. J. Gordon-2766, 7. Stewart-2744, 8. Kahen-2713, 9. Hamlin-2693, 10. Biffle-2689.
Ambrose Gets First Nationwide Win – Marcos Ambrose won his first NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday at Watkins Glen. He had worked his way up to third with 11 laps to go as Jeff Burton and Jimmie Johnson ran out of fuel. Ambrose coasted to victory ahead of Kyle Busch.
Top 10 Nationwide Series leaders after 24 of 35: 1. Bowyer-3448, 2. Keselowski-3320, 3. Edwards-3274, 4. Reutimann-3158, 5. Ragan-3147, 6. Bliss-3068, 7. Kyle Busch-3003, 8. M. Wallace-2845, 9. Leffler-2784, 10. Ambrose-2776.
Craftsman Trucks Doing Well – After 14 seasons, the Craftsman Truck Series has created a comfortable niche in NASCAR racing.
The series, which was born through a series of demonstration events in 1994 before it staged its first season in '95, has always traded off its "tough trucks" persona. Its format, with shorter races and fewer pit stops, creates an atmosphere in which competitors are more apt to get after it than play a strategic game of chess.
The series that proudly displays what many call the best racing in NASCAR plays to smaller crowds – both live and on television – than the Nationwide Series, or the premier Nextel Cup Series.
Jack Roush has been a supporter of the series almost since its inception, having won the 2000 championship with Greg Biffle.
While Roush supports the series, he doesn't want to see the schedule expand much beyond 25 races, if at all.
“I believe with the schedule, if they included more races, we'd have to make more money for the teams, to be able to pay for all that,” said Roush. “The money, the viewership and spectatorship is not what it should be, but hopefully that will all get itself fixed over a period of time.
“The Nationwide Series wasn't 10 years ago what it is today, and the Truck Series has gained in stature and relevance and importance and I think, in appeal every year that it's been there. It's just fairly new.”
Rick Crawford is one of the veterans of the series. He made his first start in 1997 and, before an injury in 2005 interrupted the streak, had made 210 consecutive starts. He sees it the same way as many of the other veterans.
“I'm over 10 years involved in it,” Crawford said. “I used to think of going Cup racing, or running some Busch races, but you don't have to. I enjoy racing a truck. I'm having a great time; I'm competitive, I feel good and I'm looking forward to the rest of 2008 after just getting beaten out in the points by a couple of guys that had exceptional years.”
Wayne Auton is the series director.
“Other sports have their ladder system to Major League Baseball, the NFL or whatever,” Auton said. “NASCAR has the Craftsman Truck Series, the newly-named Nationwide Series and Nextel Cup, and everyone wants to get there.
“But we have people that's been there, we have people that don't want to go back because of all the days that you're gone from your family – but they still want to race – and this is a good fit for them. With 25 races, that leaves a lot of time to spend with their family, play some golf, ride their motorcycles or go on vacation.”
Points leader Johnny Benson won his third consecutive Truck race Saturday night at Nashville, as he took the win ahead of Erik Darnell, Brett Bodine, Jack Sprague, and Ron Hornaday.
Top 10 Craftsman Truck Series leaders after 15 of 25: 1. Benson-2261, 2. Hornaday-2216, 3. Crafton-2170, 4. Bodine-2042, 5. Skinner-2026, 6. Darnell-2021, 7. Crawford-2010, 8. Sprague-1952, 9. Cook-1952, 10. Starr-1887.
Next Week: The Owensboro (KY) Loud Mouth, Darrell Waltrip.
The Cup and Nationwide teams will be at the 2-mile Michigan International Speedway. The Craftsman Trucks do not race again until August 20.
Saturday, August 16: Nationwide Series Carfax 250, 3 p.m. TV: ESPN2.
Sunday, August 17: Nextel Cup 3M Performance 400, 1 p.m. TV: ESPN.
Racing Trivia Question: What year did NASCAR hold the first race at Bristol?
Last Week’s Question: Where is Johnny Benson’s home town? Answer: Grand Rapids, Michigan.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Josh Jenkins got his first look at the Scranton Lions Club Dream Game in 2006 when he watched Robert Reddon turn in a strong performance in the line as Susquehanna’s lone representative in the game.
When he got his own chance two years later, Jenkins turned in a similar performance.
Strong play by the Susquehanna graduate in the line, particularly on offense, helped the City to a 14-8 victory over the County in the all-star football game at Scranton Memorial Stadium.
“After I saw Bobby play, it’s been a goal of mine to play in the Dream Game since the start of my junior year,” Jenkins said.
For his performance as the lone Saber in the game, Jenkins is the latest Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month.
Jenkins started and played most of the game at left guard. He also filled in on the defensive line and played on the special teams where he had a tackle.
The City ran for 173 yards on 39 carries with the left side of the line controlling play during the only scoring drive of the first half by either team.
“It was a great experience,” Jenkins said. “I was so happy that we won. I really had fun playing.”
The Dream Game effort followed up a strong high school career in two sports for Jenkins.
Jenkins started three games on defense and one game at quarterback as a sophomore. He then was a two-way starter in the line for three years.
A two-way, first-team Lackawanna Football Conference Division III all-star as a senior, Jenkins was also a first-time choice on offense as a junior and a second-team choice as a sophomore.
Jenkins was a three-year starter in wrestling, earning first-team Lackawanna League Division II all-star honors as a senior after being a second-team choice as a junior. In his senior season, Jenkins finished third in the District 2 Class AA Tournament to advance to the Northeast Regionals.
Josh is the son of William and Bonnie Jenkins of Lanesboro.
Sarah Ficarro, daughter of Jay and Jerri Ficarro of Owego and granddaughter of Viola Ficarro, Susquehanna received the gold medal at the 2008 Empire State Games held at the Binghamton University West Gym on July 23 - 27, for the scholastic division of 1-meter diving.
Sarah Ficarro, gold medal winner at the 2008 Empire State Games.
Sarah was the first person from the Central region to receive the gold medal in diving at the 2008 Empire State Games. Her score was 345.10. The Empire State Games held tryouts in six regions of the state, allowing the top two divers from each region to compete.
Sarah will be a senior this year at Owego Free Academy and dives with her school swimming and diving team as well as her club diving team, the Greater Owego Diving Stars.
Season passes for Susquehanna Community High School are now being sold in the high school office, at the cost of $10.00 per student, and $20.00 per adult. Senior Citizen passes are also available at no cost.
Passes are for all regular season home sporting events.
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