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Issue Home August 12, 2009 Site Home

Local Sports Scene

Kyle Bonnice Is July’s Athlete Of The Month
Cecilia Griffin Takes First

Lackawanna League Tennis Switches To Two Divisions
By Tom Robinson

Fall high school sports teams return to the practice field Monday for the official start of preparation for the upcoming season.

Girls’ tennis, which opens league play August 31, has a new format this season.

The 10 Class AA teams are in one division and will play each other in a nine-match schedule.

Elk Lake and Montrose are joined in the division by Western Wayne, Scranton Prep, Valley View, Holy Cross, Honesdale, Riverside, Mid Valley and Dunmore.

The six Class AAA teams will play each other twice each for a 10-match schedule.

All 16 league teams were grouped together previously for a 15-match schedule.

Elk Lake is coming off a 10-5 season in which it had the sixth-best record in the league. It had the fourth-best record, behind Scranton Prep, Valley View and Western Wayne, among the teams that will be in the Class AA Division this season.

Wallenpaupack went undefeated.

Golf is the first sport to begin Lackawanna League play, getting started August 24.

Blue Ridge, Elk Lake, Forest City, Mountain View, Susquehanna and Montrose are all Northern Division members along with Carbondale, Honesdale, Lakeland, Wallenpaupack, Western Wayne and Lackawanna Trail.

Montrose was second a year ago with a 10-1 record. Honesdale went 11-0 to win the division.

Girls’ volleyball opens September 1. Blue Ridge, Elk Lake, Forest City, Mountain View, Susquehanna and Montrose are part of the nine-team Lackawanna League that includes Lackawanna Trail, Dunmore and Western Wayne.

Susquehanna was third at 12-4, placing behind unbeaten Dunmore and second-place Lackawanna Trail.

Cross country will stick with its cluster format, allowing schools to face each of their 22 Lackawanna League opponents while running just seven times in league competition.

Montrose, Blue Ridge and Elk Lake are in one cluster for the season, which begins September 9. That means the three teams will run together at all meets, but their races against each other will only be scored on September 29, the day the league counts all the combinations rather than just results against schools from other clusters.

Susquehanna and Mountain View will run with Lakeland and Lackawanna Trail.

Forest City will run with Honesdale, Western Wayne and Carbondale.

The boys’ and girls’ cross country teams from each school will follow the same schedule.

The Blue Ridge girls went 20-2 last season to lead all Class AA teams in the league and finish tied for second overall with Honesdale behind Abington Heights (22-0).

Before ultimately winning a state championship, Elk Lake was 21-1 in the boys’ league, losing only to undefeated champion Scranton Prep (22-0).

Football and boys’ soccer begin the regular season September 4.

Montrose is in Division 2 of the Lackawanna Football Conference along with Riverside, Scranton Prep, Dunmore, Western Wayne, Lakeland and Valley View.

Susquehanna will compete in Division 3 with Carbondale, Mid Valley, Holy Cross, Old Forge and Lackawanna Trail.

Susquehanna was 2-3 to finish fourth out of six in a division won by Old Forge.

Montrose was 1-5 and sixth out of seven in Division 2, which was won by Riverside.

In boys’ soccer, Mountain View remains in Division 1 of the Lackawanna League where it will compete with Abington Heights, Delaware Valley, Honesdale, North Pocono, Scranton Prep, Scranton and Wallenpaupack.

Montrose and Elk Lake play in Division 2 along with Holy Cross, St. Gregory’s, Western Wayne, Valley View and West Scranton.

Forest City and Blue Ridge are in Division 3 with Carbondale, Dunmore, Lakeland, Mid Valley and Old Forge.

Forest City is the defending Division 3 champion after going 12-0.

Mountain View and Blue Ridge also had winning records.

Abington Heights and Valley View won Divisions 1 and 2.

Girls’ soccer league play begins September 8.

Blue Ridge, Elk Lake, Forest City, Montrose and Mountain View are all in the North Division with Lakeland and Carbondale.

Mountain View is the defending division champion after going 11-1.

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

Ambrose Bests Kyle Busch At The Glen

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - When Marcos Ambrose and Kyle Busch came to the chicane or "bus stop" on Lap 64 of Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International, Busch stopped - out of necessity - and Ambrose didn't.

Ambrose's bold move into the chicane proved to be the winning pass, as the driver of the No. 47 Toyota held the lead for the final 19 laps, winning the race for the second straight year.

Marcos Ambrose smiles after his Nationwide Series win Saturday at Watkins Glen.

Photo courtesy of NASCAR

Busch wasn't happy with the aggressive pass, which forced him to miss the chicane and stop on the track for a three-second penalty, but he rallied to finish second, the record 10th straight time he has posted a first- or second-place result in a NASCAR Nationwide Series race.

Carl Edwards ran third, after Busch passed him to the outside through Turn 1 in the closing laps. Polesitter Kevin Harvick came home fourth, followed by road-course specialist Ron Fellows. Jeff Burton, Greg Biffle, David Ragan, Brad Keselowski and Scott Speed completed the top-10.

“I just didn't quite have the top-end speed to make a classic pass on him,” said Ambrose, who won in his only start in the series this year. “I knew I was going to have to bomb him somewhere to get the win. He wasn't going to make a mistake on his own. I was going to have to force one on him.

“It's Kyle Busch we're talking about, and he's going to race you hard, and so I just tried to throw the element of surprise in. I came from a fair way back - about a length-and-a-half back on him - and just bombed up in there. I knew that it was a high-risk move, but it was one that was needed to be made to try to win the race.

“We're not here to come second. We're here to win, and I had that mindset all weekend."

Busch said he would not have tried the winning move Ambrose made.

“I wouldn't have made it, because I would have wrecked,” said Busch. “I think we would have wrecked if one of the cars didn't give, (and) I was the car that gave. I don't think it was a fair move. It won him the race. He had to do something.

“Yay for him. Good job - whatever. I wouldn't have been able to it. I would have wadded my stuff up.”

Ambrose countered by pointing out that he hadn't touched Busch's No. 18 Toyota.

“You're racing against one of the best in the business," Ambrose said. “The element of surprise was my attack. He clearly reacted late to me coming on the inside there. I don't know what he's got to complain about.”

Edwards saw nothing wrong with Ambrose's pass.

“Marcos knows more about road racing than all of us,” Edwards said. “I wasn't happy that he moved me out of the way into (Turn) 1 earlier (after a restart on Lap 48), but he apologized for it and I believe him.

“I saw replays of it (the pass into the bus stop) on the big screen when we were driving around, and it looked like just a pass. If I could have put my car in that position, I sure would have. I think anybody out there would have.”

Ambrose's pass wasn't the only controversy of the afternoon. Robby Gordon and Joey Logano repeatedly got together on the track. The last contact between the two sent Logano into a tire barrier, only to carom back onto the track. The car burst into flames, and Logano escaped unscathed but angry.

“You can't fix stupid,” Logano said of Gordon's aggression. “It's forever.”

Top-10 leaders after 22 of 35: 1. Kyle Busch-3646, 2. Edwards-3434, 3. Keselowski-3237, 4. Leffler-3073, 5. Allgaier-2605, 6. S. Wallace-2535, 7. Bliss-2513, 8. Keller-2509, 9. Gaughan-2462, 10. Logano-2459.


“Thank you Raymond Parks, you are my hero,” said Gordon Pirkle, proprietor of the Dawsonville, Georgia pool hall.

A special section in the Dawson News and Advertiser, referred to Parks as “The Man Behind NASCAR.”

Parks was honored Saturday, Aug. 9 at the Thunder Road USA in Dawsonville. Parks, who recently turned 95, was born in Dawsonville in 1914. He left his hometown while still a teenager to escape the hardscrabble life of a sharecropper’s son to work for his uncle in an Atlanta service station. It wasn’t long before he turned into a part-time moonshine runner. Within a few years, he was able to buy out his uncle, and start several other businesses, like jukeboxes, pool tables, and cigarette machines throughout the Atlanta area.

He was wealthy by the time he was 24 years-old.

“We decided to start racing in 1938 at Lakewood (Georgia) Speedway,” said Parks. “We were all standing around Red Vogt’s garage one day and decided to fix up a car for Lloyd Seay to drive. It was a ‘34 Ford Roadster, and he won the first race he ran at Lakewood.

“That was really something, seeing my car win. I knew after that first race I wanted to get into it. Right after that I went and bought two ‘39 Ford Coupes from the Ford dealer in Atlanta. I paid $565 a piece for them. I took them to Vogt and told him to get them ready for February. Roy Hall and Lloyd Seay were going to be the drivers. They were from up around Dawsonville, where I was born, too.

“We went all over North and South Carolina, Langhorne, Pennsylvania, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and Florida. We raced just about every Sunday, somewhere.”

Parks business and racing was interrupted by World War II. He served in the U. S. Army and fought in the Battle of the Bulge, with the 99th Infantry Division. At one point, he spent three months living in a snow-covered foxhole. After his discharge, he returned to Atlanta, and resumed his many businesses and racing.

His teams won several national championships because of his financial resources. But it was also his money that helped Bill France Sr. keep NASCAR going until the sport’s popularity took off in the 1950s.

“Raymond never took any acclaim for having helped start NASCAR,” said Grady Rogers of Dawsonville. “It was kind of an unspoken partnership. But Bill France could count on Raymond to help fund NASCAR and bring several cars with him.”

“Without Raymond Parks, the growth of stock car racing would have been delayed several years. Many people criticized Parks for the way he earned his wealth, but his money helped grow the sport,” said long-time Georgia announcer Jimmy Mosteller. “He’s the Godfather of Stock Car Racing.”

Parks left the sport in 1952, never dreaming it would turn into what it has today. “There are many things in my life, I can’t say I approve of now, but that’s the way my life developed back then,” said Parks in a 2000 interview. “I’ve enjoyed my life-style, and I hope people will remember me for the good that I’ve done. There are some things I won’t talk about, but stock car racing is the best sport in the world.”

Weekend Racing: The NASCAR Cup and Nationwide teams are at the 2.0-mile Michigan International Speedway at Brooklyn, MI. The Truck Series has the week off.

Sat., Aug. 15, Nationwide Series Michigan 250, race 23 of 35, Starting time: 3 pm (EDT); TV: ESPN2.

Sun., Aug. 16, Sprint Cup Michigan 400, race 23 of 36, Starting time: 1 pm (EDT); TV: ESPN.

Racing Trivia Question: Where is Cup driver Matt Kenseth’s hometown?

Last Week’s Question: BMW is leaving Formula 1. Which series are they considering moving to? Answer. BMW is studying a move to NASCAR

You may contact the Racing Reporter at:

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Kyle Bonnice Is July’s Athlete Of The Month
By Tom Robinson

Kyle Bonnice reported to the Dream Game unsure of whether he was going to be able to play after dropping a rock on his foot while working at a stone quarry earlier in the day.

City coach Dick Bagnall prepared an alternate plan while Bonnice, a starter in the defensive backfield, tested his injury in pregame warm-ups.

Bonnice found that he was able to play and the recent Montrose graduate wound up being one of his team’s top defensive players during a 29-7 loss to the County in the 75th annual football all-star game in Scranton.

“I was unsure,” Bonnice said. “I was going to try, of course, but I didn’t know.”

Bonnice made an interception and led the City secondary with four tackles, including one for a five-yard loss. His efforts earned Bonnice the latest Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month award.

The interception came at the 2 with 4:44 remaining in the half and the County trying to add to a 14-0 lead. Bonnice got the City out of a hole with a 30-yard return.

“That gave us a big momentum swing,” Bonnice said. “They were trying to make it 21-0. At the time, it felt like a big play.”

Bagnall, the Susquehanna coach, was pleased with Bonnice’s effort.

“I wasn’t sure he’d be able to go, but I thought he did well,” Bagnall said.

The challenge, however, was too much for the City team.

“They were quick,” Bonnice said. “The running backs were real quick and they had real good receivers.

“The hype for the Riverside kids was deserved. They played up to the hype.”

Bonnice was a four-year letterwinner in basketball and three-year letterwinner in football at Montrose, where he was a three-year starter in both sports. He will attend Lackawanna College.

Kyle is the son of Dave and Tammy Bonnice of South Montrose.

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Cecilia Griffin Takes First

Fencer, Cecilia Griffin, 15, of Little Meadows, PA earned two gold medals at the Keystone Games last weekend. A student of Stephen Janoski of Montrose, Miss Griffin won both the Open Women's and Junior Women's Foil events. Cecilia fences with Salle d'armes Lazar at 1 Lewis St. Binghamton, NY.

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