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MOUNT COBB – Allison Hall spent the first lap around Scranton Municipal Golf Course pursuing early leader Marina Orrson of Lake-Lehman.
Hall used the second lap to make herself into a District 2 champion.
“You run the first lap with your head and the second lap with your heart,” Blue Ridge coach Tom Lewis said after Hall finished the 3.1-mile course in 20:29 to win the Class AA girls’ championship.
Hall led the way as Blue Ridge finished second to earn one of the district’s two berths at the state championship meet.
The Elk Lake boys also earned a trip to the state meet with a second-place finish in Class AA.
The top two teams, as well as the top 10 individuals not on those teams, advanced from each Class AA race.
Elk Lake’s Maria Trowbridge and Montrose’s Samantha Cudo also qualified for the state meet.
The Blue Ridge girls earned their fifth straight trip to the state meet and their sixth in the last eight years, but they were unable to produce their first district title.
Scranton Prep beat Blue Ridge, 59-71, to take the team title.
“It’s frustrating not to win, but ultimately the goal is to go to states,” Lewis said.
Hall, who was second last year as a freshman, finished eight seconds ahead of Scranton Prep’s Kathleen Druther.
Maegan Lewis finished sixth, Megan Kliner was 12th, Vikki Hartt was 19th and Kelcey Kliner was 33rd to give Blue Ridge the team score it needed to advance.
Trowbridge, a freshman who ran second with Hall in pursuit of Orsson for much of the first half of the race, took fourth.
Cudo was 10th.
Elk Lake finished fifth with 139 points, Montrose was sixth with 194, Forest City was 14th with 388, Susquehanna was 16th with 438 and Mountain View was 17th out of 19 with 457.
Holy Redeemer, the unbeaten Wyoming Valley Conference overall champion, edged Elk Lake, 43-53, in the Class AA boys’ race that was the closest of our district finals held Wednesday.
Anthony Rizzo and Dave Levandoski finished 1-2 for Holy Redeemer.
Elk Lake’s Ryne Carney was third in 17:04, nine seconds off the lead. Mike Bedell was sixth, Tyler Williams 10th, Brent Salsman 11th and Will Bennett 23rd.
Montrose finished 14th with 292 points, Forest City was 15th with 413 and Mountain View was 18th out of 20 with 495. Blue Ridge and Susquehanna did not have complete teams.
The Wyoming Valley Conference swept the Class AAA titles. Dallas won both team championships while Crestwood’s Bobby Micikas and Kirsten Schafer won individual titles.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Susquehanna rallied for three straight touchdowns and threatened a fourth before falling short Friday night in Carbondale.
The Sabers moved within range of a third straight victory, one which would have left them shockingly in title contention heading into the Lackawanna Football Conference Division III finale, before falling, 36-33, to the Chargers.
Quarterback Dan Kempa and fullback Stephen Andujar continued to lead a resurgent Susquehanna offense, but the Sabers were in too big a hole after Carbondale took a 28-14 halftime lead and added to it with a score to start the third quarter.
Montrose gave up a touchdown on the game’s first play and never threatened in a 52-7 LFC Division 2 loss to unbeaten Riverside.
The Vikings opened a 36-0 lead after one quarter.
In girls’ soccer, Mountain View and Montrose advanced to the District 2 Class AA championship game that was scheduled for Tuesday at Scranton Memorial Stadium.
Alix Taylor scored twice as Mountain View defeated Lakeland, 4-1.
Meghan Walker, Taylor and Erika Lewis all scored to give the Lady Eagles a 3-0 lead before the midway point in the first half.
Montrose dominated Dunmore but came away with just a 1-0 victory.
Mimi DiPhillips scored off a Rebecca Maxey assist with 10:37 left in the first half.
The Lady Meteors built up leads of 16-2 in shots and 15-1 in corner kicks.
Montrose had opened tournament play with a 7-1 rout of Holy Cross in the quarterfinals.
Julia Koloski had three goals and an assist while Dallas Ely added two goals and an assist for the Lady Meteors.
In boys’ soccer, Mountain View defeated Lackawanna League Division 3 champion Forest City, 5-0, in the District 2 Class A quarterfinals.
Ricky Buckley scored one goal and assisted on the other as Montrose shut out Wyoming Seminary, 2-0, in another quarterfinal. Danny Simonds had eight saves in the shutout.
Defending champion St. Gregory’s eliminated Elk Lake, 2-0.
Elk Lake had defeated Holy Cross, 2-0, in a play-in game to make the Class A tournament field.
Laura Carden was a 2007 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Scholar Athlete award winner, but when the Montrose graduate entered her senior season at Mansfield she was still scoreless in 25 career college games.
Carden, a senior forward, has changed that while leading Mansfield in scoring. Carden has four of the team’s game-winning goals in a 7-10 season while compiling a total of 11 goals and two assists.
Carden has started all 17 games for the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II school.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Montrose and Susquehanna finish up the high school football season with home games.
The Meteors (1-4 in the division and 3-6 overall) play Lakeland (3-2, 6-3) in a Division 2 game Friday night.
The Sabers (2-2, 3-6) could be trying to prevent Old Forge (4-0, 7-2) from winning the Division 3 title outright on Saturday, if Carbondale is able to remain in contention with a Friday night win.
Last week’s football predictions were 10-1, improving our season record to 91-15 (85.8 percent).
This week’s predictions, with home teams in CAPS: Lakeland 45, MONTROSE 21; Old Forge 36, SUSQUEHANNA 22; Delaware Valley 32, WALLENPAUPACK 26; Abington Heights 42, HONESDALE 13; Scranton Prep 39, WESTERN WAYNE 12; MID VALLEY 43, Lackawanna Trail 7; CARBONDALE 50, Holy Cross 10; VALLEY VIEW 27, Scranton 14; WEST SCRANTON 31, North Pocono 18; RIVERSIDE 40, Dunmore 29.
In volleyball, the District 2 Class A finals will be played Wednesday at 7 at Tunkhannock.
Susquehanna was scheduled to face Elk Lake and Blue Ridge was paired against top-seeded Lackawanna Trail Monday in semifinals.
In cross country, the state championship meet is scheduled for Saturday at Hersheypark.
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
Edwards Gets Double Weekend Wins, Hampton, GA – Carl Edwards won Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Memphis, then he took Sunday’s Cup race at Atlanta.
But despite his weekend success, he is still 183 points behind Jimmie Johnson in this year’s Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship, as Johnson rallied to finish second Sunday, behind Edwards.
“I guess I’m going to have to win all three of the remaining races,” said Edwards. “It’s like Jimmie and his team are magic.”
Carl Edwards, winner of Sunday's Atlanta Cup race.
Johnson, who earlier had been sent to the rear of the field because of a speeding penalty on pit road, was running midway of the field when a caution came out with 13-laps to go in the 325-lap race. His crew chief Chad Knaus called him in for four fresh tires.
“It was a risky call,” said Johnson. “It just goes to show that we’re out there racing, not just trying to ride around.”
The final restart came with nine laps left. With new tires, Johnson quickly moved his way around the other contenders. With three laps remaining, he was fourth. On the next lap he moved into third, and on the final time around the 1.5-mile track, he passed Denny Hamlin for second.
But by that time Edwards was at the finish line for his seventh win of the season.
Hamlin, who finished third, lost the lead to Edwards during a restart on lap 310.
“We had a good running car, but it didn’t like those cycles when a caution came out,” said Hamlin. “We had the best car we’ve ever had at Atlanta, but it didn’t like the cycles.”
Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Jamie McMurray, David Ragan, Jeff Gordon, and Greg Biffle were the remaining top-10 finishers.
Top 10 Chase contenders with three races to go: 1. Johnson-6248, 2. Edwards-6065, 3. Biffle-6063, 4. Burton-6030, 5. Harvick-5941, 6. J. Gordon-5936, 7. Bowyer-5934, 8. Stewart-5847, 9. Kenseth-5835, 10. Earnhardt-5829.
Top 10 Nationwide Series leaders after 22 of 25: 1. Bowyer-4667, 2. Edwards-4551, 3. B. Keselowski-4378, 4. Bliss-4168, 5. Ragan-4155, 6. Reutimann-4052, 7. Kyle Busch-3931, 8. M. Wallace-3754, 9. Leffler-3726, 10. Ambrose-3692.
Top 10 Craftsman Truck Series leaders after 32 of 35: 1. Benson-3324, 2. Hornaday-3293, 3. Bodine-3106, 4. Darnell-3027, 5. Crafton-3027, 6. Crawford-2983, 7. Skinner-2981, 8. Setzer-2800, 9. Sprague-2792, 10. McCumbee-2654.
Is Cup Series Headed To Kentucky? – Speedway Motorsports Inc. Chairman Bruton Smith said he is still hoping to have a Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway in 2010.
“We will have a Cup race there in 2010,” Smith said.
NASCAR has told him that it won’t even consider putting Kentucky on the Cup schedule until the antitrust lawsuit by the original track ownership group against NASCAR and sister company International Speedway Corp. is finished.
The lawsuit currently is in U.S. Appeals Court in Cincinnati. In January, a U.S. District Court judge ruled in favor of ISC and NASCAR without the case going to trial, because he ruled Kentucky Speedway's expert's theories were inadmissible. If Carroll's group wins its appeal, the case would then go to trial.
NASCAR Nervous Over Economy – NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said there are no plans to reduce the number of cars in series races, and that the new race car is the best example of the sanctioning body’s attempt to hold down costs in a tough economy.
“We are nervous like everybody else,” France said Thursday during a teleconference to announce Camping World as the title sponsor for the Truck Series for the next seven years. “We're taking every precaution we can in terms of getting costs out of our system on behalf of the team owners, on behalf of the track operators.
“But this is also a time when you can't freeze, either. You've got to still be aggressive and still push hard your product.”
France reiterated what he has been saying all year – that the economy is cyclical and the slowdown is impacting NASCAR.
However, France did not say whether the NASCAR organization would reduce any of their fees, or share any of the nearly half-billion dollars they earn each year to help struggling teams.
Who’s Hot And Who’s Not – Jimmie Johnson, the reigning and two-time Cup Series champion, sits in a good place as the series heads to Texas Motor Speedway. He is chasing history as well as another title.
Right now he has a 183-point lead and with only three races left, he is almost a sure bet to collect championship number three and equal Cale Yarborough’s record, as the only driver to get three consecutive Cup titles.
Comparing his Junior Johnson-owned team to Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports team, Yarborough said, “There's no doubt about what kind of team Junior put together during those years. It was an excellent team. Of course, Rick Hendrick has put together an excellent team for Jimmie Johnson. That's what you've got to have to be able to win a championship, much less three championships in a row: an excellent race team.
“Bobby Allison was driving for Junior. He and Junior were going to separate, and Junior was looking for a driver, I was looking for a ride. We got together. We made a good combination. The championships that I won with Junior were his first championships and, of course, mine. We just hit it off at the right time, the right place, and did the right thing.
“It's hard to explain, really, what it takes to win consecutive titles like Junior and I did back in the earlier days when we won three in a row. Jimmie and his team all are on a roll now, it's just hard to break that momentum when they get going.”
Unless Johnson and his team fall harder than the New York Stock Market, they will take this year’s championship by a large points margin.
Greg Biffle scored his second best ever finish at Martinsville. Unfortunately, he left positions on the table after he fell off the lead lap, when he was forced to stop for fuel because of a pickup issue. He worked his way back among the leaders late, but fell short of a win and lost valuable title points in the process.
Jeff Burton has had some solid runs, but his team has not been able to give him the car he needs to keep up with Johnson for the championship.
Carl Edwards was one of the hottest drivers going into the Chase, but a series of problems, including personal ones, both on and off the track has left him second.
Middle of the road drivers that are having a so-so season are Clint Bowyer, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, and Kevin Harvick.
The biggest loser so far has been Kyle Busch. His early season display of cockiness after winning eight races has practically disappeared. Last week at Martinsville, he said, “We can’t catch a break. I don’t know what we need to do?”
Busch started the Race for the Chase as the number one driver, but he has fallen almost every week, and is now the last Chase driver.
Other Chase drivers that have fizzled include Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Matt Kenseth, and Denny Hamlin.
Next Week: Do you find the Chase format exciting? Should it be changed? Send us your comments. If we use them, we will send you an 8X10 photo of your favorite driver.
All three of NASCAR’s major series are at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway.
Friday, Oct. 31: Craftsman Truck Series Chevy Silverado 350k, 8:30 p.m. TV: Speed Channel.
Saturday, Nov. 1: Nationwide Series O’Reilly Challenge, 3 p.m. TV: ESPN2.
Sunday, Nov. 2: Sprint Cup Dickies 500, 3 p.m. TV: ABC.
Racing Trivia Question: Will Greg Zipadelli, the current crew chief for Tony Stewart, leave Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of the season along with Stewart?
Last Week’s Question: How many Cup championships did Darrell Waltrip win? Answer: Waltrip is a three-time champion: 1981-’82, ’85.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at email@example.com.
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