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Lehman Twp. – Keaton Bennett, Anthony Juser, Brent Salsman and Seth Canfield won individual titles Saturday night, helping Elk Lake become the first Susquehanna County team to win a District 2 Class AA Wrestling Tournament championship.
Bennett, Juser, Salsman and Canfield each had their own special part as the Warriors completed a championship sweep. Elk Lake had earlier won the District 2 Dual Meet title. Both victories came over Lake-Lehman in its home gym.
The Warriors and Black Knights were among 16 teams competing in the tournament, which advances individual wrestlers toward the state championship. By early in the second day of the two-day tournament, it was clear that they were again battling each other for the team title.
Bennett’s victory over Lake-Lehman’s Adam Harry in the 112-pound final eliminated the Black Knights and clinched the team title for Elk Lake. Juser was named Outstanding Wrestler. Salsman had the quickest finish of the four champs. Canfield, the last Warrior to take the mat, won the most dramatic bout of the final in the fourth overtime.
“We had 12 kids who medaled,” Elk Lake coach Wes Warner said. “You can’t ask for more than that. We’re a team.
“These kids are great.”
Harry took a 4-1 lead into the third period and let up Bennett.
Bennett tied the match with a takedown with 1:27 remaining. He turned Harry twice quickly, then held him down the rest of the way for an 8-4 win.
“Once I got on top, I figured I could turn him a couple times,” Bennett said. “I got a little worried when I was down, 4-1. I knew I’d have to go pretty hard.”
Juser rolled into the finals for his third straight year with two first-period pins and a technical fall that took just 2:12. After finishing second two years in a row, he won the title by stopping Wyoming Area’s Mike Schutz in the middle of a roll and pinning him in 2:51.
“I kind of caught him, sat down on him and got a quick pin,” said Juser, who improved to 31-6 on the season and 112-42 for his career.
Salsman pinned Scranton Prep’s Matt Generotti in 2:37 at 160.
Canfield and Nanticoke’s Jeremy Mitkowski were tied, 2-2, at the end of regulation and, 3-3, after three overtime periods. Canfield took down for the sudden-death period and escaped in 3.9 seconds for the win.
“Seth has wrestled a bunch of tough kids lately,” Warner said. “At Hershey (in the state duals), he went 2-0. He’s wrestling real tough.
“He’s quick and knows what he’s doing.”
Devin Fiorentino reached the 125-pound final, but had to forfeit because of an injury.
The title was the first by Elk Lake in a traditional district tournament (the weight class-based tournaments were around for decades before the dual meet tournaments were initiated) since 1985. No Susquehanna County school had won a district tournament title since 1990, when Montrose won the last of its nine District 12 titles in 10 years.
District 12 was merged into District 2 in 1997. Wyoming Valley Conference schools have won 21 of the 24 titles in the event since Class AA was created in 1976. The only exceptions are West Scranton in 2005, Lackawanna Trail in 2006 and Elk Lake this year.
County wrestlers won more than half the individual titles Saturday. The five county teams produced eight champions while the other 11 schools had just six champions total.
Blue Ridge’s Mike Pipitone and Alex Stanton repeated titles in back-to-back bouts at 135 and 140.
“The advantage we’ve had is that we’ve had five or six guys from 119 up to 140 that we can rotate and go round-robins against each other,” Blue Ridge coach John Ciotoli said.
Pipitone decisioned Jon Lynn of Lackawanna Trail, 7-4, to improve to 32-5.
Stanton needed just 55 seconds – his third pin of the tournament – to beat Montrose’s Mike Rihl. After missing most of December with an illness, Stanton is 23-1 on the season and 70-9 for his career.
After winning just one match as a team, Mountain View also had two district champions.
Craig Smith, a freshman who arrived at the tournament with an 11-10 record, won the title at 119. After beating top-seeded Tim Esposito of Blue Ridge, 7-1, in the semifinals, Smith received a forfeit from Lake-Lehman’s Andrew Chorba who was injured.
Smith was seeded fourth. Teammate Josh Manzer won a title at 130 where he was seeded fifth.
Manzer pinned three straight opponents, including Lackawanna Trail’s Craig Dixon at 5:06 of the final.
“It’s a big surprise,” Manzer said of the two titles.
Elk Lake will send seven wrestlers to the Northeast Regional at Williamsport after having half the team finish in the top three. Blue Ridge advanced four, Mountain View two and Susquehanna and Montrose one each.
Elk Lake’s Derek Green and Jacob Eastman and Blue Ridge’s Esposito and Nik Decker all overcame semifinal upsets to win two straight and take third. Susquehanna’s Carlos Cuevas also finished third.
Green and Eastman were seeded second in their weight classes.
Green had a first-period pin and a major decision in his two consolation bouts at 145.
Eastman used a takedown with one second left to beat Blue Ridge’s Damian Botts, 3-1, at 215.
Esposito and Decker were each top seeds.
Esposito got past Scranton Prep’s Josh Javitz, 6-4, in the 119-pound consolation final.
Nik Decker scored a clinching takedown with two seconds left at 130 to beat Hanover Area’s Matt Mullery, 7-3, at 130.
After getting through the consolation semifinals with a two-point decision, Cuevas used his third pin of the tournament, in 2:53, to beat Joe Osick of Dallas at 189.
Prior to the finals, Warner received two awards, the Sportsmanship Award from the Northeast Chapter of District 2 Wrestling Officials and Class AA Coach of the Year from the District 2 Coaches Association.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Elk Lake’s only hope of defending its Lackawanna Division 3 boys’ basketball title was winning three straight games against the two teams that were in position to replace the Warriors as champions.
After coming from behind the in the standings, Elk Lake came from behind in the all-season division championship game February 16.
The Warriors erased a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat Mountain View, 46-41, in the playoff game at Valley View High School.
Mountain View won the first half of the league and Elk Lake was a game behind going into the last night of the second half when it beat Montrose in overtime to force a playoff.
Two playoff wins later and Elk Lake is again division champion.
The Warriors had to overcome a three-point first quarter to win the title.
Mountain View led, 13-3, after Jon McBride scored nine of his game-high 17 points in the first eight minutes.
Jeff Madrak, who led Elk Lake with 11 points, had all eight that the team scored in the second quarter to stay within, 19-11, at the half.
The backcourt of Steven Rezykowski, Sean Morahan and Joey Woolcock took over from there.
Rezykowski had all 10 of his points in the second half while Morahan had nine of his 10. Woolcock scored all six of his points in the fourth quarter.
Mountain View’s McBride, Luke Jenkins and Peter Hartman each hit 3-pointers in the third quarter but Rezykowski scored eight points to keep the Warriors within striking distance at 33-24.
Elk Lake shot 9-for-11 from the line during a 22-8 fourth quarter.
Morahan made all four of his while scoring six points.
With league titles decided, basketball teams moved into district play.
The win gave Elk Lake the third seed in the 17-team District 2 Class AA tournament and dropped Mountain View to the sixth seed.
Elk Lake and Mountain View won first-round Class AA games to set up a rematch in a district quarterfinal game that was scheduled for Tuesday night. Elk Lake topped Blue Ridge, 62-41, while Mountain View defeated Lackawanna Trail, 63-51.
Montrose joined Blue Ridge in suffering first-round losses to bring an end to the season.
Riverside stopped Montrose, 46-31, behind 11 points by Tommy Armillay.
Rob Volk led Montrose with 10 points.
Susquehanna and Forest City were not scheduled to open until Monday.
In girls’ basketball, Montrose advanced in the Class AA tournament while Blue Ridge, Elk Lake and Mountain View were eliminated.
Susquehanna did not open until Tuesday. Forest City has a bye into Saturday’s District 2 final.
Montrose held Northwest to five points in the middle quarters of a 38-21 victory, turning an 8-7 advantage into a 25-12 lead in the process.
Dallas Ely went 5-for-6 from the line while leading Montrose with nine points. Only three Northwest players scored.
Julie Kosin had 14 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots to lead Holy Cross past Elk Lake, 48-36.
Karley Caines led Elk Lake with 11 points.
Carbondale defeated Mountain View, 65-58, while top-seeded Dunmore handled Blue Ridge, 74-31.
Amanda Lass had her highest-scoring game while leading Marywood University into the Colonial States Athletic Conference playoffs with its highest-scoring output of the season, a 104-89 victory over Centenary College February 16.
Lass scored 31 points by shooting 8-for-13 from the floor and 14-for-17 from the line. She had 13 of 15 Marywood points late in the half to give the Pacers a 46-34 lead at the break.
The 6-foot-1 junior center from Montrose leads the team in rebounds (7.6 per game) and blocked shots (1.0), while ranking second in scoring (10.7) and field goal percentage (49.5 percent) and third in free throw percentage (76.4). Lass has given Marywood all that production despite coming off the bench in all but two games.
Caitlyn Ely, a 5-foot-5 sophomore guard, averages 3.3 points for Marywood. One of the team’s top man-to-man defenders, Ely has started in four games.
The win over Centenary improved Marywood to 11-4 in the CSAC. The Pacers finished the regular season at 16-9 overall.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Class AA Northeast Regional Tournament is scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Williamsport.
The top three in each weight class advance to the state tournament.
In swimming, the District 2 Class AA Championships are Friday and Saturday at the Wilkes-Barre CYC, beginning at 10 a.m. each day.
In high school basketball, the District 2 boys’ tournament continues Wednesday and Friday. The girls’ tournament continues Thursday and Saturday.
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
Kenseth Gets Second Win In A Row, Fontana, CA – Matt Kenseth showed Sunday he still knows how to drive a race car.
Car owner Jack Roush and Matt Kenseth celebrate Sunday's California win.
Photo courtesy of NASCAR
Winless in 2008, Kenseth backed up his victory in the season-opening Daytona 500 by holding off Jeff Gordon in Sunday’s Auto Club 500 Cup race at Auto Club Speedway.
“I’ve got to thank these guys in the pit,” said Kenseth. “They gave me a good pit stop and I was able to get out first in the clean air. That was a huge difference.”
With a lightning-fast pit stop, Kenseth’s crew made sure his No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford was first off pit road for a restart on Lap 216, after Kevin Harvick slammed the Turn 1 wall to cause the fifth and final caution on lap 208 of the 250-lap race.
Kenseth, who won for the 18th time in the Cup Series, stayed in front the rest of the way and beat Gordon to the finish line by 1.463 seconds to become the fifth driver in Cup history to win the first two races of a season. Gordon was the last to do it in 1997, at Daytona and Rockingham.
“This is a new team and they showed it tonight,” said Gordon. “I’m really pumped up this season. We’ve got a little bit of work to do, but I’m so excited.”
Kyle Busch's bid for an unprecedented weekend sweep of three major NASCAR touring series events on one weekend at any track came up short as he finished third.
“It was less than a stellar race,” said Busch. “It was a good run, we had a shot but Matt was so strong. It was tough, but we’re going to Las Vegas really excited.”
Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, and Brian Vickers rounded out the top-10 finishers.
The engine and right front tire blew on Harvick’s Chevrolet on Lap 208, and he retired from the race, ending a modern-era record streak of 81 races without a DNF.
Hendrick Motorsports teammates Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Mark Martin suffered rare engine failures; they finished 39th and 40th, respectively.
Top 10 Sprint Cup leaders after 2 of 36: 1. Kenseth-385, 2. J. Gordon-304, 3. Kurt Busch-294, 4. Stewart-294, 5. Biffle-268, 6. Bowyer-266, 7. Waltrip-264, 8. Ragan-262, 9. Edwards-260, 10. Montoya-256.
Kyle Busch Gets Double Win – Kyle Busch picked up right where he left off in 2008, as he scored wins in the Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series, Saturday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
“This is awesome, and to win here twice in one day is even more special,” said Busch, who now has five wins across NASCAR’s top-three series at Fontana – two in the Nationwide Series, two in the Camping World Truck Series and one in the Sprint Cup Series. “I wouldn’t be able to do it without all these guys at Joe Gibbs Racing. This Toyota Camry was just flawless, and I can’t thank them enough.”
Top 10 Nationwide Series leaders after 2 of 35: 1. Ky. Busch-360, 2. Edwards-340, 3. Harvick-305, 4. Ragan-297, 5. Vickers-297, 6. Reutimann-273, 7. Logano-268, 8. Gaughan-256, 9. Keller-255, 10. Biffle-221.
Top 10 Truck leaders after 2 of 25 races: 1. Busch-370, 2. T. Bodine-365, 3. Crafton-293, 4. Peters-288, 5. Hornaday-285, 6. Bell-285, 7. Skinner-281, 8. McCumbee-276, 9. Starr-272, 10. Cook-253.
Walking Around Daytona – Each year I come away from the races at Daytona tired. It’s because I walk so much. The Daytona infield is a pretty big place, and NASCAR doesn’t furnish buses or trolleys to ferry around the news media.
No sir, if you are with the press, and you want to get from one end of the garage area to the other, you hoof it.
The drivers and television crews have electric golf carts they zip around on, but the ones who write for the print media are at the bottom of the pile, and god forbid, if one of us should try to sneak a ride on the back of a cart reserved for Jimmie Johnson, or Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
NASCAR would take away your press credentials.
But that’s missing the point.
We need to walk a lot more in this country.
If we walked more and drove less, then maybe we could become less dependent on Ahab the Arab and his bunch.
I walk all the time at tracks, and ride all the time when I’m home. Believe me, the next couple days after getting back from a three-day weekend at a track I feel better. Maybe it’s because I’ve walked more than I would if I was seated at my desk at home.
Have you seen these little two-wheel riding machines that the police are using to patrol downtown areas and shopping malls? I tried to get my wife to buy me one for Christmas so I could drive between rooms in our house, but she was afraid I would hurt myself going up the stairs on it.
Let’s face it. We are slaves to our automobiles and the gas they run on. We are snared by the big oil companies, and no matter what they charge, we are going to pay their prices to get around.
I could walk the half-mile to our nearest Circle-K for a loaf of bread.
The Waffle House where I like to eat isn’t much farther.
And I could walk to a friend’s house, which is just three doors down at the foot of the hill, but I don’t.
I hate to admit it, but the most walking I do is at the race tracks on the weekend. Maybe that’s why I gained 18 pounds over the winter.
Let’s wake up, America. If we did more walking and less riding, we would be cutting down on the amount of oil our country imports, and it would help our health.
Next Week: Pulse of the Camping World Truck Series
The Cup and Nationwide teams will be at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Speedway. The Trucks have an off week.
Saturday, Feb. 28: Nationwide Series Sam’s Town 300, 4:30 p.m. TV: ESPN2.
Sunday, March 1: Sprint Cup Shelby 427, 4:30 p.m. TV: Fox.
Racing Trivia Question: What was the total driver purse of the 2009 Daytona 500?
Last Week’s Question: Who is the driver of the No. 14 Cup car? Answer: Tony Stewart.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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