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Blue Ridge’s Alex Stanton closed out his high school wrestling career with a fourth-place finish in the Class AA 140-pound weight class during the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Wrestling Championships at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Stanton advanced to the semifinals before losing for the first time at Hershey and finished his season with a 39-3 record.
Stanton opened his tournament with a 6-5 victory over Wyomissing’s Elisha Gaylor. He then reached the semifinals by pinning Michael Innes of Chartiers-Houston in 3:18 to guarantee a finish in the top six in the weight class.
Schuylkill Valley’s Colin Shober, who dominated the field on the way to winning the championship and finishing 53-0, ended Stanton’s state title hopes in the semifinals. Shober won their match by technical fall, 17-2, in 5:26.
Stanton bounced back in the consolation semifinals to clinch a top-four finish with a 3-2 decision over Northwestern’s Ian Chiesa.
In the consolation final, Greenville’s Cody Copeland beat Stanton, 7-0. Copeland (42-2) recovered from a first-round loss to win five straight with pins in 17 and 39 seconds then three decisions in which he gave up just one point total.
Stanton was part of a strong performance by the Lackawanna League, which had two champions for the first time ever and four wrestlers on the medal stand.
Abington Heights 285-pounder Evan Craig won his second state title in Class AAA, a first for a Lackawanna League wrestler. He completed his second straight unbeaten season to end his career with a 169-10 record and the most wins ever by a wrestler from District 2.
Lackawanna Trail 215-pounder Eric Laytos also won a state title.
Delaware Valley’s C.J. Palmer dropped a two-point bout in the Class AAA 112-pound quarterfinals then came back to win four straight and place third.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Kahleah Cooper scored 22 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked five shots Tuesday night as Girard College High School of Philadelphia eliminated Forest City in the state Class A girls' basketball play-in round for the second straight year, 50-42.
Girard College also topped Forest City by eight last year, 41-33.
"She dominated us on the boards," Forest City coach Carl Urbas said of the 6-foot sophomore. "She's going to be a real good player."
Forest City outscored Girard College, 27-17, in the middle quarters to take a 36-33 lead into the fourth quarter, but scored just six points the rest of the way.
Katie Yale led the Lady Foresters with 16 points. Amanda Collins added 11 and Cassie Erdmann had 10.
Forest City, the only Susquehanna County team to participate in the state tournament for the second straight season, finished with a 15-10 record.
In spring high school sports, March 8 was the first day of the official practice.
Lackawanna League play opens in boys’ tennis March 25, track and field March 26, boys’ volleyball March 30 and baseball and softball April 6.
Jenna Fancher was named Keystone College’s Female Athlete of the Month for February for her performance on the indoor track and field team.
The junior from Mountain View ran a personal best in the 3000 meters and anchored two relay teams.
Fancher ran a time of 12:12.70 in the 3000 at the East Stroudsburg Invitational. She then had the team’s season best in the mile with a finish of 6:06 at the Susquehanna Invitational.
In the 1600 relay, Fancher anchored the team to a season-best 4:39.75 at the Susquehanna Invitational. She helped the medley relay team to a season-best time of 14:52.36 in an invitational at Dickinson College.
Adam Phillips of Elk Lake will compete in the state Class AA swimming championships Wednesday through Saturday at Bucknell University in Lewisburg.
Phillips is seeded 26th out of 32 swimmers in the 200 individual medley.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
Let’s Go Racing Boys
By Gerald Hodges; The Racing Reporter
While Kurt Busch’s victory last Sunday at Atlanta was impressive, it took a back seat to the on-track combat between Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski.
The Edwards-Keselowski conflict features a few chapters written over the past season, including the incident at Talladega last April, the Nationwide Series race at Memphis last October, the Nationwide Series race at Daytona just a few weeks ago, and now the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta.
Carl Edwards offered swift retribution to Brad Keselowski for what Edwards perceived to be either an intentional or foolish move by Keselowski early in the race that damaged his car.
After a love tap from Edwards, Keselowski’s car went flying, upside down and into the outside retaining wall. Keselowski was unhurt, and Edwards admitted it was done intentionally.
How was NASCAR to respond after telling everyone they will allow drivers to display their personalities without dropping the hammer every time a driver loses his cool?
“Have at it boys,” is what Robin Pemberton said.
So, how could NASCAR suspend or levy any serious penalty?
Elliott Sadler said he didn’t think Edwards deserved the probation.
“I guess they're trying to intervene a little bit, but trying to stay out of it,” he said. “I didn't think any suspension or anything like that was definitely going to happen, or was worthy of happening. They're going to leave it [in the drivers'] hands, and we'll see where it goes from there.
“You have to say this, NASCAR has stuck to their guns to let the drivers talk it out and work it out. The message I kind of got out of NASCAR’s decision was, if you get yourself in this kind of a bind, yes, we're going to intervene a little bit, but we're going to let you and the other driver and owner talk about it, because it's their race cars, and it's you driving the race car. That's the message [Helton] sent, and kind of what he said at the beginning of the year, too, that they were kind of going to put it back in our hands. He's staying true to that point.”
NASCAR is close, side by side racing. Wrecks will happen and tempers will flair but that is the sport of NASCAR. If fans didn’t come to see that sort of thing, then what happened between Edwards and Keselowski wouldn’t have overshadowed Kurt Busch’s win.
Most fans loved it, because with Jimmie Johnson’s domination, there hasn’t been much to keep the emotions going.
This is the kind of stuff that makes racing fun. Just to watch a bunch of cars fall in line and go in circles for three to four hours is boring.
Edwards and Keselowski created excitement.
What happened between these two drivers last week wasn’t the first time something like this happened in NASCAR.
Dale Earnhardt Sr. hooked Darrell Waltrip as the two raced for the win at Richmond, sending both viciously into the fence.
The Allison brothers - Bobby and Donnie - squared off with Cale Yarborough after Cale and Donnie crashed each other on the final lap of the 1976 Daytona 500.
Earnhardt claimed he only meant to "rattle his cage" after spinning Terry Labonte out in turn two late in a Bristol race to win ... and heard the Bristol crowd's boos for the first time in his career.
I believe that NASCAR is intent on allowing drivers to police themselves on the track. “Boogity, boogity, boogity, let’s go racing, boys,” said Darrell Waltrip.
Keselowski said this week that his in-your-face driving style has separated him from other young drivers and put him on a road to success that the vast majority of “developmental” drivers won’t visit.
With that in mind, Keselowski said he’ll continue to race hard, hold his line and keep pushing forward, and that includes this week’s Cup race at Bristol.
Five or six years ago, NASCAR was experiencing a youth movement. Young drivers were being groomed in the Truck and Natiowide Series, and then brought up into NASCAR’s big league series, Sprint Cup. But since the economy went sour, that strategy has changed.
Sponsors no longer want a fresh face; they want somebody who knows how to win. The big budgets have been slashed, so the large corporate sponsors don’t have the money, to go through the learning process with a young driver.
Teams that base their futures on developing young talent now have to rely on older, more experienced drivers.
Most of the top teams created driver development programs, but only a select few make it to the top. Joey Logano came through the ranks at Joe Gibbs Racing, and Home Depot took a chance with him at the Sprint Cup Series level. But for every Logano, there are 15 drivers who are still waiting on sponsorships to get their shots.
Joe Gibbs Racing has only been able to sell Nationwide sponsorships for Joey Logano and Kyle Busch this season. Development drivers Brad Coleman and Matt DiBenedetto will have to wait on the sidelines until a different sponsor steps up.
Busch said he is running more Nationwide Series races than he would like to, just to keep everyone at JGR on the payroll.
“It's a pain to sell sponsorship; I know firsthand,” Busch said. “The only reason I did my truck deal was because I had Miccosukee and then I didn't have Miccosukee. Now I've got to go and try to sell myself and try to get some sponsorship for our truck deal so all of the money doesn't have to come out of my pocket.
“I feel like I can probably sell my races, but I'm going to have a struggle in trying to sell Brian Ickler's races. It's no different than (Kevin) Harvick going back and running his Nationwide car. He wanted to help Cale Gale come along, and nobody wanted to sponsor Cale so he (Harvick) had to step in the car and run for people that wanted the Cup affiliation and the big name that got the coverage.”
Weekend Racing; The Cup and Nationwide teams gear up for their first short track event of the season at Bristol.
Sat., Mar. 20, Nationwide Series Scott’s Turf Builder 300, race 4 of 35; Starting time: 2 p.m. (ET); TV: ABC.
Sun., Mar. 21, Sprint Cup Food City 500, race 5 of 36; Starting time: 1 p.m. (ET); TV: Fox.
Racing Trivia Question: How many race tracks does Bruton Smith’s Speedway Motorsports Corp. own?
Last Week’s Question: How many members of the Flock family raced in NASCAR? Answer. There were four; Fonty, Tim, Bob, and Ethel Flock Mobley.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at: email@example.com.
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