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After jumping out to big early leads in the first two rounds, Elk Lake used a different approach in the District 2 Class AA Dual Meet Wrestling championship Saturday night.
The Warriors rallied from 15 points down, winning the last four bouts to win their first district wrestling championship since 1985.
Anthony Juser finished off the comeback with a technical fall victory at 152 pounds to give Elk Lake a 35-33 victory over Lake-Lehman.
Juser’s 15-0 victory over Justin Hossage in 2:26 ended the match.
Alan Blaisure started the comeback with a pin at 135 pounds.
Ryan Bolyard then pulled out the closest bout with a takedown in the closing seconds for a 2-0 victory at 140.
Derek Green’s pin in 1:09 at 145 set Juser up for the shot at the win.
Seth Canfield had a pin at 189 and Keaton Bennett a decision at 112 while Lake-Lehman was opening a 33-18 lead.
The Warriors held on for a 49-26 victory over Wilkes-Barre Meyers in the quarterfinals and a 38-33 win over Blue Ridge in the semifinals.
Elk Lake had a 39-0 lead after seven bouts against Meyers.
Green needed just nine seconds for the first pin at 145 and Juser and Brent Salsman each followed with first-period pins. Tyler McCauley’s forfeit and a 23-second pin by Canfield at 189 made the lead 30-0 after just 3:47 of wrestling.
Brandon Cleveland pulled out a 7-5 decision at 215 and Jacob Eastman added a 51-second pin at 285 to complete the early flurry.
Devon Florentino added a 32-second pin at 125 and Blaisure (135) had a major decision.
The Warriors jumped back out in front early against Blue Ridge, building a 33-0 lead after six bouts.
Juser and Salsman needed just 27 and 36 seconds for the first two pins.
Canfield also had a pin at 189 to key the strong start and, after Blue Ridge scored its first points, Bennett added a technical fall at 112.
Blue Ridge reached the semifinals with a 41-33 victory over Dallas.
Dallas had a 27-5 lead after six bouts with Alex Stanton’s technical fall at 152 providing the only early points for Blue Ridge.
Three forfeits helped cut the Dallas lead to 33-23, then the Raiders won the last four bouts to pull out the victory.
Tim Esposito and Mike Pipitone started and ended the decisive streak by pulling out close decisions. Esposito edged Brian Delucca, 8-5, at 125 and Pipitone defeated John Eisenhower, 8-6, in overtime at 140.
In between, Stephano Griffin had a 14-second pin at 130 and Nik Decker had another pin at 135.
Lake-Lehman defeated Scranton Prep, 53-18, in the other semifinal.
In other quarterfinals: Scranton Prep downed Wyoming Area, 54-29, and Lake-Lehman handled Western Wayne, 60-12.
Earlier in the week, Elk Lake completed successful defense of its Lackawanna League Division 2 title.
Elk Lake won Division 2 with an 8-0 record, followed by: Scranton Prep 7-1; Blue Ridge 6-2; Lackawanna Trail 5-3; Western Wayne 4-4; Valley View 3-5; Susquehanna, Montrose and Mountain View 1-7.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins forward and Binghamton Senators defenseman Mattias Karlson played key roles when PlanetUSA set an American Hockey League All-Star Classic scoring record by using nine third-period goals to rally for a 14-11 victory over Team Canada.
Taffe finished with a hat trick and two assists.
Karlson had three assists and was plus-4.
Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy was also a member of the winning team.
Penguins forward Chris Minard played for Team Canada and did not score.
Players are split, according to their nation of berth, for the AHL All-Star Classic. The Canadians take on a team made up of players from the rest of the world.
AHL teams returned to action Thursday and after a grueling three-day stretch, the Senators had moved into playoff position by taking over sole possession of fourth place in the East Division.
The Senators played two games in Texas, Thursday and Friday, then traveled home for Saturday night’s home game, a 4-2 victory over the Springfield Falcons.
“This was as crazy as I’ve ever seen,” Senators goalie Jeff Glass said after making 26 saves in the win. “Up this morning for the bus at 5:15. Bus to plane to another bus and, in between, trying to get some food in you.
“Having a travel day and a home game in the same day is a little strange.”
Stranger still was that the Senators could be sharp under the circumstances, jumping out to a two-goal lead in the first nine minutes and staying in front the rest of the way.
“We went straight to the rink,” Glass said of the final leg of the journey, an hour on the bus from Syracuse. “We got here about 3:30. Guys had time to run home quick if they needed something, but most guys just stayed right here until it was time to get ready.”
Glass learned of his start at 5:15 when he boarded the bus.
“I knew first thing in the morning and knew it was going to be a tough game,” said Glass, who credited his teammates for making the task a bit easier.
Drew Fata and Derek Couture scored the early goals.
Couture finished with two goals, his first two in four games since joining the team after starting the season in Austria.
In high school basketball, neither first-half Division 3 champion was able to get through the second-half opener.
The Mountain View boys, who were unbeaten in the first half, were knocked off by Montrose, 39-35.
Alan Charles hit three 3-pointers while scoring 16 points to lead Montrose. Rob Volk added eight points and eight rebounds.
Luke Jenkins led Mountain View with 12 points.
The Forest City girls, who won the first half, opened the second half with a 42-39 loss at Elk Lake.
Mountain View edged Montrose, 55-53, in a second-half opener between two of the three teams that were in a playoff after finishing the first half at 5-2.
Sara Evans led the Lady Eagles with 18 points, with the help of four 3-pointers. Alex Lynn went 8-for-11 from the line while adding 12 points and Kayla Kazmierski had 11.
Katelyn Spellman had 11 points for Montrose, which cut an eight-point deficit to two in the fourth quarter.
The Montrose boys followed up the win over Mountain View with another hard-fought victory, 58-53, over Lackawanna Trail in overtime.
Jeff Liddick scored 15 points, Charles had 14 and Volk 10 to offset a 24-point performance by Trail’s Bobby Pacholec.
The Meteors closed out the week at 3-0 with Saturday’s 63-47 win over Blue Ridge.
Kyle Bonnice scored 13 points and Bill Stranburg added 12 for the Meteors, who outscored the Raiders in every quarter.
Kurt Post had 14 points and Marvin Green 11 for Blue Ridge.
The busy first week of the second half ended with Elk Lake keeping pace with Montrose at 3-0 in the boys’ race. Mountain View is 2-1 and Forest City is 1-1.
Mountain View is alone on top of the girls’ race at 3-0, followed by Western Wayne at 2-0, Montrose and Elk Lake at 2-1 and Forest City at 1-1.
Susquehanna and Blue Ridge again share last place with 0-3 records, but each enjoyed impressive individual performances Friday night.
Christy Glidden scored the 1,000th point of her career with 13 in a 62-47 loss to Mountain View.
Lauren Findley hit nine 3-pointers while scoring 37 points for Blue Ridge in a 63-61 overtime loss to Montrose.
The week ended with Mountain View leading the division at 3-0. Western Wayne is 2-0, followed by Montrose and Elk Lake at 2-1 and Forest City at 1-1.
In junior high wrestling, Elk Lake finished fifth out of 15 teams in the Lackawanna League Tournament with 114 1/2 points.
The finish by the Warriors was the best by a Class AA school.
Honesdale won the tournament with 191 points.
Montrose was ninth with 74 points, Susquehanna was 13th with 39 1/2, Blue Ridge was 14th with 21 1/2 and Mountain View did not score.
Five former Susquehanna County players were in action January 26 when Keystone College swept Marywood University in a basketball doubleheader.
Leah Simko, a 5-foot-6 junior guard/forward from Mountain View, led Keystone to a 64-55 victory in the women’s opener.
Simko shared team scoring honors with 17 points and led the team with eight rebounds.
On the season, Simko is the team’s third-leading scorer at 10.8 points per game. She leads the Lady Giants in free throw shooting at 81.1 percent and is second in 3-pointers made with 22.
In 16 games, including nine starts, she averages 5.3 rebounds for Keystone, which is 4-4 in the Colonial States Athletic Conference and 9-7 overall.
There are two former county players on each Marywood team.
Amanda Lass and Caitlyn Ely, both Montrose graduates, play for the women’s team.
Lass, a 6-foot-1 junior forward/center who averages 9.6 points and a team-high 7.6 rebounds, was held scoreless. She did grab five rebounds.
Ely, a 5-foot-5 sophomore guard, had two points. She averages 1.9 for the season.
Freshman forwards Patrick Lambert and Brent Keyes played for the Marywood men in an 80-59 loss to Keystone.
Lambert had a rebound. The Mountain View graduate is averaging 2.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in 14 appearances.
Keyes, a Susquehanna graduate, made his seventh appearance. He had a point and a rebound, giving him 10 points and six rebounds on the season.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Montrose graduate Chris Snee will be a starting guard for the National Football Conference when the Pro Bowl is played Sunday in Hawaii.
Snee is an all-Pro guard with the NFC East champion New York Giants.
In high school wrestling, Elk Lake will compete in the state dual meet tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey Friday and Saturday.
In boys’ basketball, first-half champion Mountain View is at defending champion Elk Lake Friday night in a Lackawanna League Division 3 game.
In girls’ basketball, Forest City is home with one of the teams it beat in a playoff to take the first-half title when it plays a Division 3 game against Montrose Monday.
Western Wayne is at Mountain View Monday.
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
The 2009 Racing Season Is Here – Just because the economy is bad, doesn’t mean NASCAR racing will be sub par. Hopefully, the lack of advance testing by all teams prior to the start of the 2009 season will tighten the field and make for better competition, especially during the early going.
Reed Sorenson, driver of Richard Petty Racing's No. 43.
Everyone knows that Jimmie Johnson, the defending champion, is going to be strong, along with his teammates, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and possibly Mark Martin.
What I’d like to see is some unknown, or less funded driver have a breakout season.
Boy, it would be refreshing if Michael Waltrip, Robby Gordon, Martin Truex, Elliott Sadler, or Casey Mears could come up with some winning combination that would put them on top of the points.
I’m not against the big boys, but it’s sad sometimes to watch the also-rans work just as hard as the leaders and still finish way back in the field.
New faces in victory lane might convince some of the older fans that have left NASCAR into coming back.
Fans always love it when an underdog wins, and that’s what I’m hoping to see this season.
Reed Sorenson, who will be driving the No. 43 for Richard Petty Racing is one of the drivers that might get his first Cup win. Sorenson gained the opportunity to drive the No. 43 car after Gillett Evernham Motorsports, with whom he signed following the 2008 season, merged with Petty Enterprises to form Richard Petty Motorsports.
“I guess the pressure is to get [the No. 43 car] back in victory lane,” said Sorenson. “I think that's going to be the biggest pressure point on that. Once everybody on our team found out that we were going to be the 43, you could kind of tell in their eyes that it was something different than most of the other numbers that we could have had.
“There's a lot of history behind the number and Richard is a great guy to have around and I think he is going to be around with us at all the races. He likes to be around the races and kind of sits back to see what is going on. He puts in his input and anytime anybody needs to talk about something, we can lean on him to talk to because he has a lot of knowledge to pass. He's pretty smart about this business, so he is a good person to lean on.”
But despite all the excitement surrounding working with a living legend, Sorenson understands the difficulties facing a young driver working with a new team. He also understands the difficulties caused by NASCAR's new restrictions on testing.
“This season is going to be good, but there are a lot of unknowns with the testing ban and not being able to test at a lot of these tracks,” continued Sorenson. “We are kind of going in blind with me being a new driver with a new team. It hurts us not being able to go test at these tracks, so we are just hoping California and Vegas go well and that way, once we get to Atlanta, we will know what we have. But it's definitely going to be a challenge the first few races.”
Other Changes – After a 10-year run with Joe Gibbs Racing that included two series championships, Tony Stewart starts his own team in 2009 – Stewart-Haas Racing. He’ll drive the No. 14 Old Spice/Office Depot Chevrolet.
Joining Stewart at his two-car operation will be Ryan Newman, the 2008 Daytona 500 winner. Newman spent the last seven seasons driving a Dodge for Penske Racing. This season he’ll be in the No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet.
Mark Martin returns for one more shot at an elusive championship. He joins a powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports team that has captured the last three series titles with Jimmie Johnson – and eight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships in all. Martin will drive the No. 5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevrolet.
Though not a driver move, Target will shift to the No. 42 Chevrolet driven by Juan Montoya. Target previously sponsored Montoya during his open wheel days in 1999 and 2000 when he won the Indianapolis 500.
Regan Smith, the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Raybestos Rookie of the Year, will drive for Furniture Row Racing this season.
Scott Riggs was named driver for Tommy Baldwin Racing.
Meanwhile Bobby Labonte, the previous driver of the No. 43 will be driving the No. 96 for Hall of Fame Motorsports. Labonte has 21 wins and 113 top-five finishes in 547 Cup starts. The 2009 season will mark Labonte's 17th full year in Cup competition.
Larry Gunselman, a Washington State native, has formed a team for himself and a pair of veteran brothers, Geoff and Todd Bodine. He said last week that he's backed by a group of investors who are new to the sport and is still seeking primary sponsorship.
Gunselman said Todd Bodine would definitely drive at Fontana and Las Vegas, the second and third races on the schedule.
Bodine is the 2006 Truck Series champion, who also has 15 wins in the Busch Series and 228 Cup starts, with five poles, seven top-fives, and 21 top-10 finishes.
Geoff Bodine, who won the 1986 Daytona 500, but who hasn't made a NASCAR start since 2005, may drive at Daytona.
In order to make the field for the Daytona 500, he must qualify.
Saturday, Feb. 7, ARCA REMAX Lucas Oil 200, 3 p.m. TV: Speed.
Saturday, Feb. 7, NASCAR Bud Shootout, 7 p.m. TV: Fox.
Sunday, Feb. 8 will be Daytona 500 Qualifying day, the first step in making the Daytona 500 field. The two fastest drivers will start on the front row for Feb. 15's Daytona 500.
On Thursday, Feb. 12, the remaining positions will be determined in the Gatorade Duel at Daytona, two 150-lap qualifying races. The top 35 positions from the final 2008 car owner points standings from each Duel race and the two highest-finishing cars in each Duel race not among the highest-ranked 35 group are locked into the Daytona 500 field.
The balance of the 43-car Daytona 500 field is filled by the fastest remaining qualifiers who have not already earned a starting position, with the exception of the 43rd position which is assigned to an eligible former or current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. If there is no eligible champion, the position is assigned to the next fastest qualifier not in the field.
Next Week: History of the Daytona 500.
Racing Trivia Question: Which driver has the most Daytona 500 wins?
Last Week’s Question: Do you think Michael Waltrip should retire? Answer: Most of the fans said they didn’t think Waltrip should call it quits as a driver unless he has a really bad year.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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