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High school cross country runners from Susquehanna County have been among the best in the state in recent years.
Many of the runners from that group have made the transition to running on the college level. Together, they provided the highlight of the fall college sports season for Susquehanna County high school graduates.
Ryne Carney, who led Elk Lake to the 2008 state Class AA boys’ championship, made the lineup at Division I Bucknell as a freshman.
Carney ran in five of seven meets for Bucknell. His best finish was fifth overall and part of a one-through-five sweep by Bucknell out of 39 runners at the Bloomsburg Open. He also finished 122nd out of 407 runners at the Paul Short Invitational at Bethlehem.
Bucknell finished the season by placing 11th out of 28 teams in the NCAA Mid Atlantic Regional.
Three Blue Ridge graduates were on the roster at Division II California University of Pennsylvania and were part of giving the school its first invitational title in more than 20 years.
Juniors Bethany Stone and Laurie Hall and freshman Megan Kleiner were among the team’s top seven runners when the Vulcans won the championship at the PSU-Behrend Invitational.
Stone finished as high as second on the team during the season. She was fifth on the team and 92nd out of 152 runners when California finished the year by placing 13th out of 22 teams at the NCAA Atlantic Regional.
Hall was fourth on the team and 89th overall at the regional.
Tara Chiarella, a junior from Montrose, was Moravian University’s second-best runner in one meet and third in the rest. She finished 19th in the Landmark Conference meet.
Chiarella finished her season at the NCAA Division III East Regional where she was 122nd out of 311 runners.
Keystone’s Jenna Fancher, a senior from Mountain View, also finished her season at the regional meet where she was 140th while Baptist Bible’s Kimberly Caines, a freshman from Elk Lake, was 218th.
Fancher was a second-team Colonial States Athletic Conference all-star after finishing 14th in the conference meet.
Ellen Squier, a sophomore from Elk Lake, was Philadelphia Biblical University’s recipient of the CSAC Sportsmanship Award for women’s cross country.
Brent Salsman, another freshman who was part of Elk Lake’s state championship team, was 146th out of 314 at the NCAA Division III men’s cross country East Regional for Misericordia University.
Tad Koneski, a junior from Elk Lake, was 179th at the same meet while running for Keystone College.
Zachary Knott, a sophomore from Blue Ridge, and Mike Kubus, a freshman from Forest City, were also part of the Keystone lineup throughout the regular season.
Steve Esposito, a sophomore from Blue Ridge, was the top runner on the Broome Community College team that was nationally ranked among junior colleges.
In men’s soccer, Joey Scanlon led Misericordia University back to the NCAA Division III national tournament.
A junior midfielder and captain from Mountain View, Scanlon led the Freedom Conference in scoring during league play and was a first-team, all-star.
Scanlon, a two-time, second-team, all-star in Misericordia’s previous affiliation with the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference, had a knack for scoring his team’s biggest goals.
Scanlon had the only goal in a win over nationally ranked John Carroll; scored the game-winner against Eastern to clinch a Freedom playoff berth; had the game-winner against King’s to clinch a second seed; scored both goals to bring the team back from a 2-0 deficit against Wilkes in the semifinal; and then scored the Freedom Conference championship winning goal against Manhattanville to put Misericordia in the national tournament.
Scanlon led the team in every major offensive category with 12 goals, four assists and five game-winners while going 3-for-3 on penalty kicks.
In field hockey, Brackney Brotzman was second in goals scored for Keystone during a regular season in which the Lady Giants went unbeaten in the CSAC and won 11 straight games at one point.
Brotzman, a sophomore forward from Montrose, started in 16 of 17 games. She had seven goals and an assist and tied for the team lead in game-winning goals with four.
In football, Anthony Dorunda was the third-leading receiver on a 6-5 Wilkes University team.
Dorunda, a Blue Ridge graduate who played quarterback at Susquehanna, caught 13 passes for 166 yards. He also made two tackles.
In golf, Brad Sparks, a junior from Forest City, was a starter at the University of Scranton.
In women’s volleyball, Alissa Richardson and Leann Terpstra were reserves on a winning Misericordia University team. Richardson is a freshman from Blue Ridge and Terpstra is a freshman from Susquehanna.
Ashley Stein, a freshman from Susquehanna, was a freshman on the Broome Community College team.
Included among the college athletes from nearby Lackawanna County are three Abington Heights graduates with family in Susquehanna.
Anthony Pagnotti started at forward for Millersville University in the NCAA Division II national men’s soccer tournament.
Millersville (17-3) reached the number-one ranking in the country for the first time in school history with a 12-game winning streak that put the Marauders in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championship game.
Pagnotti played in 18 games, starting 10. He was tied for fourth on the team with four goals, including a game-winner, and added an assist.
Alex Hargrove was a senior midfielder on the Salisbury (Md.) University team that reached the second round of the NCAA Division III men’s soccer tournament before losing in a penalty kick shootout against Johns Hopkins.
The teams played 110 scoreless minutes the day after winning their first-round games.
“It’s definitely tough to expend that energy on Saturday, and then turn around on Sunday for another 90 minutes, let alone 110 minutes total,” Hargrove said in a story on the school’s Web site. “It definitely takes a toll on your body in the overtime.
“The level of energy maybe dropped a little bit, but the commitment of the players didn’t.”
Hargrove was a first-team Capital Athletic Conference all-star for the second straight year. He started all 20 games and was the fourth-leading scorer for the Sea Gulls (15-3-2) with six goals and six assists.
Hargrove had two second-half goals in a 4-1 win over Virginia Wesleyan in the first round of the national tournament.
Bridgette Robinson came back from reconstructive surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee early in 2009 to make her college debut as a member of the Oneonta State field hockey team.
Robinson, a freshman, was named as the team’s Player of the Game in the second game of the season. After coming off the bench as a midfielder in 10 games, she made her first start on defense only to suffer a less serious injury to her knee and miss the remaining five games.
WEEK IN REVIEW
The fall sports season came to an end for the last of the District 2 teams when three district champions were defeated in the first round of the state football playoffs.
Lackawanna Football Conference Division 1 co-champion Abington Heights lost in Class AAA, LFC Division 2 champion Dunmore lost in Class AA and Northwest lost in Class A Friday night.
Sophomore quarterback Brendan Nosovitch threw for 194 yards and three touchdowns to lead District 11 champion Allentown Central Catholic to a 28-14 victory over Abington Heights.
Nosovitch, who also ran for a team-high 51 yards, threw touchdown passes to different receivers in each of the first three quarters to give the Vikings a 21-0 lead before Abington Heights mounted a late comeback.
A big defensive gamble paid off for the Vikings, who controlled the powerful Abington Heights ground game for much of the night.
Allentown Central Catholic switched from its usual 3-5 defense to six- and seven-man fronts and blitzes, forcing the Comets to the air.
“We went with six-man fronts. We doubled it up,” Vikings coach Harold Fairclough said. “They’re huge up front.
“They’ve mashed people all year. We weren’t going to let them mash us.”
West Catholic eliminated Dunmore for the second straight year, this time with a hard-fought, 13-0 victory.
Brandon Holloman carried 34 times for 208 yards to lead the Burrs, the champions of the Philadelphia Catholic League.
Dunmore entered the game unbeaten and ranked first in the state by the Harrisburg Patriot-News while West Catholic, a state finalist a year ago, was ranked second.
Jack Henzes, the state’s winningest active coach, was back on the Dunmore sideline after leaving the district championship game in an ambulance.
Southern Columbia crushed Northwest, 60-7.
The Tigers, who have won six state titles, opened a 48-0 lead at halftime.
The elimination of Abington Heights and Dunmore brings an end to our football predictions for the season.
We went 1-1 last week, making our playoff record 9-5 (64.3 percent) and our season record 107-26 (80.5 percent).
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
Fix Junior, And You Help Fix Nascar
By Gerald Hodges; The Racing Reporter
As Jimmie Johnson was appearing in New York and on several TV talk shows, many fans were already looking forward to next year.
While Johnson celebrated his fourth consecutive championship, his teammate, Dale Earnhardt struggled through a winless season.
Many of his races were sheer torture.
Dale Earnhardt Jr in 2009 at Talladega.
Rick Hendrick changed Earnhardt's crew chief midway through the season, and increased engineering support to the No. 88 team. Although his performance began to improve toward the end of the season, on track problems left Earnhardt with very little to show for his efforts.
“I've seen this happen with Jeff Gordon ... you just go through these (slumps),” Hendrick said in a telephone interview last week. “We know we can make the team better and it's frustrating. The driver begins to think that no matter what he does, something bad is going to happen.”
NASCAR Chairman, Brian France said one reason NASCAR has suffered this past year was because Dale Earnhardt Jr. didn’t win a race.
Earnhardt finished 25th in the points this season with only five top-10 finishes in 36 races. He also failed to finish five races and led only seven races for 146 laps (out of 10,625 run this season).
With interest in the sport clearly waning, TV ratings and attendance on a decline, it is drivers like Tony Stewart, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., two of the sport's most popular drivers, and Kyle Busch, its most controversial and entertaining star, whom NASCAR needs most.
“My priority right now is the 88 team,” continued Hendrick. “We've just got to be better all the way around. I think when we do that, when Dale sees that we've stepped up in a lot of areas, it will give him the confidence he needs.'”
Earnhardt Jr. has a zillion fans who influence TV ratings, attendance and souvenir sales. Their interest in the sport ebbs and flows with Junior's fortunes, and he has taken them on a dizzying roller-coaster ride the past two seasons.
His struggles this season have shocked the entire NASCAR world because of the enormous name recognition and expectations he carries.
EVERNHAM MIGHT RETURN TO OLD JOB
Is it possible Ray Evernham, Jeff Gordon’s crew chief might return to his former team? It’s not written in stone, but Evernham is looking at returning to Cup racing in some form.
NASCAR.com reports that he hopes to get a series of legal issues resolved in the coming weeks that may pave the way for a return in some capacity with a race team.
“Unfortunately for me, there are a lot of legal things going on right now. And there will be more legal things to come,” said Evernham, who remains a minority stockholder in what is now known as Richard Petty Motorsports. “I'm not 100 percent sure what I'll be doing next year. Right now I have a contract on the table from ESPN - and I love working for ESPN. I have a blast with what I do there. We'll have to see. I'm not going to say that I'll never be back over here. I just don't know in what capacity.”
Evernham has made no secret of his desire to rid himself of his minority stake in RPM, which previously was known as Gillett Evernham Motorsports - and before that was simply Evernham Motorsports, in which he was founder and majority owner.
“I've got some meetings next week. There is a lot going on where we've got to get some clear communication on - things that are going on and where I fit in all that,” Evernham continued. “I own a percentage of everything as a stockholder. I am a stockholder in that business today.”
Evernham has a non-compete deal with Gillett-Evernham that he would like clarified - if not severed altogether. That could clear the way for him to return to the garage in some capacity with another race team beginning as early as next season.
LOGANO NAMED ROOKIE OF YEAR
Joey Logano, driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Chevrolet claimed Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors 26 times in 36 races this season. Logano scored his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He finished the season with one win, three top-fives and seven top-10 finishes. At 19 years of age, Logano is the youngest driver to win Raybestos Rookie of the Year in the Cup Series. Logano is the third driver from Joe Gibbs Racing to win the title, joining Tony Stewart (1999) and Denny Hamlin (2006).
BAD YEAR FOR ROUSH RACING
Jack Roush is another team owner that needs to do some fixing during the off season.
Out of his five Cup teams, Greg Biffle’s seventh-place finish was the best. Carl Edwards, winner of nine races in 2008 went winless and finished 11th in the standings. Matt Kenseth started off by winning the first two races at Daytona and California, and then he fizzled. Jamie McMurray did get one win, but he won’t be with Roush next year. David Ragan, who replaced Mark Martin in the No. 6, has not lived up to his expectations.
Roush has moved veteran crew chief Donnie Wingo to the head of Ragan's Cup team, and Jimmy Fennig is moving to the R&D department, which will likely be a very busy place during the off-season, giving rival Rick Hendrick's dominance on the Sprint Cup tour this past season.
Ragan, after a promising rookie year, struggled during his sophomore season and never quite caught fire.
The easy-going Wingo has been the boss of Jamie McMurray's team, first with car owner Chip Ganassi, then Roush. Wingo is perhaps best known for his years with team owner Bud Moore and racer Jimmy Spencer.
Wingo and McMurray broke a long drought with a win at Talladega three weeks ago, and they will be under the gun right from the start in 2010. In fact, it'd be nice if they had something to take into the Daytona 500, to back up what the sponsor will be doing. Remember this is the sponsor that had Dale Jarrett for so many season....and this is the sponsor that has watched arch-rival FedEx ride the wind this season with hotshot Denny Hamlin, who made the championship chase and had a shot at the title this season, while Ragan, still looking for his first tour win, wound up 24th in the final standings.
Racing Trivia Question: Where is the NASCAR Hall of Fame going to be located?
Last Week’s Question: Who is the former Cup driver known as “The Skoal Bandit?” Answer. Harry Gant.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at: email@example.com.
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