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SCRANTON - The runners broke from the starting blocks in the final boys’ race of the 55th annual Jordan Relays Thursday night at Scranton Memorial Stadium.
The sound of the starter’s pistol firing for the second time changed everything.
Mike Bedell realized that Elk Lake’s chances of winning another relay improved when the top-seeded Valley View team was disqualified from the closing 1600-meter relay.
What Bedell did not immediately have time to assess was that the Warriors had been presented another opportunity.
When Bedell and Sean Carney took part in their third winning race out of six events, they lifted the Warriors to the Class AA boys’ team championship as well.
Soon after, Caitie Good took part in her fourth win of the night as the Elk Lake girls also pulled out a team championship in the final race.
The Elk Lake boys had been five points behind Valley View and did not have a chance at the team title if the Cougars finished among the top three Class AA teams in the final race.
“I knew it helped us,” Bedell said. “It was pretty obvious they false-started. They were our biggest AA competition.
“I didn’t really know it gave us a chance in the team scoring. They were doing fairly well in the sprints. I thought we were still going for second place.”
Valley View, the five-time Lackawanna League Division 2 champion, scored 34 out of the possible 40 points in four events, but was disqualified from the other two.
Elk Lake wound up beating out Mid Valley, 39-35, for the team title. Holy Cross tied Valley View for third. Blue Ridge had 23 points for sixth place and Montrose 17 for seventh place out of nine teams in the field.
It was the second big win of the week for the Warriors over the Spartans.
Elk Lake forced a tie with Mid Valley for the LTC Division 3 title for the second straight year by beating the Spartans, 82-68, in the final meet of the regular season.
Tyler Williams, Derek Stang, Carney and Bedell opened the Jordan Relays with an 8:21.11 to win the distance medley by more than 11 seconds over Valley View. The distance medley featured Williams running 800 meters, followed by 400-meter legs from Stang and Carney then 1600 meters by Bedell in the anchor spot.
Cody Butler, Bryan Grosvenor, Bedell and Carney ran the 3200 relay in 8:27.40 to beat all the teams, including the Class AAA entries.
Stang and Grosvenor each ran their second winning event, joining Bedell and Carney to produce a 3:33.05 in the 1600 relay.
Blue Ridge was second in the 400 and 1600 relays.
Elk Lake won all but two events in the girls’ meet and compiled the highest team score in any of the divisions, but the Lady Warriors were still tied with LTC Division 2 champion Western Wayne entering the final race.
When the Lady Wildcats finished second, the Lady Warriors had a 48-46 victory.
Blue Ridge tied for fourth with 23 and Montrose was seventh with 14. There were 10 Class AA girls’ teams.
Elk Lake opened the event by setting the only girls’ record of the night when Maria Trowbridge ran the final 1600 in 5:12 to finish the distance medley in 9:47.90.
Trowbridge chased down Abington Heights anchor runner Brittney Martin on the way to beating the AAA champions as well.
“It definitely helped to have someone to push me,” Trowbridge said. “I don’t think I could have run that time without it.”
Because of the different combination of events, unique to the Jordan Relays, Trowbridge joined Kirsten Hollister, Good and Cassie VanEtten on a relay for the first time ever when they produced their record effort.
“We just came here, threw it together and did our best,” Trowbridge said.
Elk Lake also won the two other medleys, the 1200 (400-200-200-400) and the 1600 (200-200-400-800), before finishing with a win in the conventional 1600 relay.
Good was part of each winning team.
Hollister led off and VanEtten anchored the 1200 medley and 1600 relay in addition to their part in the record-setting effort.
Kelsey Hermick was on each of the remaining three winners.
Trowbridge anchored another winner in the 1600 relay, taking the baton from Kellie Grosvenor in the decisive race.
WEEK IN REVIEW
EDWARDSVILLE - Montrose’s Zach Warriner and David Harris each won one match at the District 2 Class AA boys’ tennis singles tournament before falling to seeded players.
Warriner defeated Matt Kasper of Wilkes-Barre GAR, 6-0, 6-0, then lost to sixth-seeded Andy Mattise of Valley View, 6-2, 7-5.
Harris beat Leo Moroz of Freeland MMI, 6-3, 7-5, before falling to fifth-seed and eventual finalist Al Marchese of Scranton Prep, 6-0, 6-1.
Earlier in the week, Montrose fell to eventual champion Wyoming Seminary, 3-0, in the semifinals of the team tournament.
Wyoming Seminary was ahead in the two matches that were halted once the victory was clinched.
Brothers George and Harry Parkhurst lost just one game each against Warriner and Harris and first and second singles.
Henry Cornell-Philipp Seeburger topped Chris Jordan-Isaac Mitchell, 6-1, 6-1, at second doubles.
Montrose’s Aaron Roman was trailing Bijoy Ghosh, 6-2, 4-1, when the match ended.
Maxi-Scarola-Ryan Ochse were behind Nick Strzeletz-Ibon Iparraby, 6-0, 4-3.
Montrose reached the semifinals by beating Valley View in a playoff after they tied for the fourth spot in the four-team field.
The final Lackawanna League Division 2 standings: Scranton Prep 8-0, Montrose 6-2, Valley View 6-2, Western Wayne 5-3, Holy Cross 4-4, Mid Valley 3-5, Honesdale 3-5, Dunmore 1-7, Riverside 0-8.
In track and field, the final LTC standings in divisions involving Susquehanna County teams were:
Division 2 boys: Valley View 6-0, Dunmore 5-1, Scranton 4-2, West Scranton 3-3, Western Wayne 2-4, Montrose 1-5, Riverside 0-6.
Division 3 boys: Elk Lake 6-1, Mid Valley 6-1, Blue Ridge 5-2, Holy Cross 5-2, Carbondale 3-4, Lackawanna Trail 2-5, Mountain View 1-6, Susquehanna 0-7.
Division 2 girls: Western Wayne 6-0, Montrose 5-1, Valley View 4-2, Scranton 3-3, Dunmore 2-4, West Scranton 1-5, Riverside 0-6.
Division 3 girls: Holy Cross 7-0, Lackawanna Trail 6-1, Elk Lake 5-2, Blue Ridge 4-3, Mid Valley 3-4, Carbondale 2-5, Mountain View 1-6, Susquehanna 0-7.
Blue Ridge graduates Erin and Dayna Keene are headed to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I softball tournament with Ivy League champion Cornell, which edged Harvard in a best-of-three weekend series.
Sophomore second baseman Erin Keene is headed there for the second straight time after playing well in the championship series.
Dayna Keene, Erin’s younger sister, is a back-up infielder as a freshman.
Cornell (37-13) and Harvard each finished 17-3 in the Ivy League regular season.
Cornell then won the first game Friday, 3-1, when Erin Keene went 1-for-2 with a double and a bases-loaded walk that forced in the winning run in the sixth inning.
Harvard won Game Two, 4-2, in eight innings Friday to set up the deciding game Saturday.
Cornell fell behind in the top of the first but came back to win, 3-2.
Erin Keene started the comeback with a leadoff single to center field to start the bottom of the third inning. She scored the tying run as part of a 2-for-2 effort.
The championship series effort pushed Erin Keene’s season average above .300 to .308 in 40 games, including 34 starts. She has six doubles, four home runs, 17 RBIs and 16 runs scored.
Erin Keene made a big step up after hitting just .059 in 21 games, including eight starts, as a freshman.
Dayna Keene has played in 14 games, including three starts. She is 2-for-13 (.154) with a run scored and a run batted in.
The Keene sisters are two of the three Blue Ridge players on the Division I level.
The third, Fordham University junior third baseman Jocelyn Dearborn, also has a shot at the tournament.
Fordham entered the final weekend of the regular season in preparation for this week’s Atlantic 10 Tournament with a 43-8 record, including 14-2 in the conference for second place behind the University of Massachusetts.
Dearborn has started all 51 games, hitting .330. She is 13-for-13 stealing bases.
Dearborn has 10 doubles, three triples, 10 home runs, 34 RBIs and 42 runs scored.
The Keene sisters and Dearborn were teammates on Blue Ridge’s 2006 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class A state championship team. Dearborn was also part of the 2004 state championship team.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The District 2 boys’ tennis doubles tournament, which was scheduled to begin Tuesday, has the semifinals and finals scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday at Kirby Park.
The District 2 Track and Field Championships are set for Scranton Memorial Stadium. The junior meet is Saturday with the Class AA boys’ and girls’ event scheduled Monday, May 17.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at RobbyTR@aol.com.
Hamlin Sweeps Darlington
DARLINGTON, S.C. - Denny Hamlin followed his Nationwide Series win Friday night with his third Cup Series victory of the season in Saturday's Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
“To pull off the sweep on Mother's Day Weekend - I gotta say Happy Mother's Day to my mom, Mary Lou,” Hamlin said. “Just a great weekend for us. We had a top-two car all day. The pit crew got me out first and that was key.
Denny Hamlin, double winner at Darlington.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am about us winning right now because I know what our team is capable of when we get to Chase time. We are running last year’s cars for the most part, and we’re just kind of easing our way into it. We didn’t expect this success, but we felt like we could contend for race wins and maybe get one here or there in the first 12.”
The weekend sweep was the first at Darlington since Mark Martin accomplished the feat in 1993.
Pole-sitter Jamie McMurray, who finished third in the Nationwide race, led 71 laps and finished second for his fourth top-10 with Ganassi at Darlington.
“We had a good car, but Bono (crew chief Kevin Manion) called a good race,” said McMurray. “Qualifying first, getting to have that pit stall, it made a huge difference.
“Darlington has just always been a really good track for me. I always liked this place.”
Kurt Busch recorded his first top-10 in five Darlington races with Penske Racing with a third-place finish.
“We really fought hard,” Busch said. “It was a good run for us here at Darlington. I haven’t had a solid run like tonight since Ricky Craven and I battled it out for that win (2003). It feels good to get our Miller Lite Dodge back up front. It came down to a strategy where I thought two tires would be the way to go at the end.”
Jeff Gordon led the most laps, with 110, but lost track position when he missed pit road on his last stop. He came down pit road on the following lap, but the caution flew and he was forced to wave around to the 13th position for the restart. He rallied back to finish fourth.
“That is what happens when you make a mistake,” Gordon said. “You have to make it up to your guys who worked so hard all weekend long to give you a race car like that.”
Defending series champion Jimmie Johnson endured a tough night that ended in a violent crash with AJ Allmendinger on lap 181.
Allmendinger lost his brakes as he raced through turn three and slid down on the track apron before spinning back on the track, directly in the path of Johnson. They made hard contact with severe damage to both cars, although neither driver was injured.
“The brake rotor exploded,” Allmendinger said. “I was just trying to aim for the bottom and try to miss everybody. I’m sorry to Jimmie. It wasn’t his fault, but I had no brakes and couldn’t do anything about it.”
Johnson was handed a 36th place finish and now trails leader Kevin Harvick in the standings by 110 points.
“All I know is at the last minute I saw a green bumper and it was a hard hit,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately, we had all kinds of issues tonight. Got caught up in all kinds of little small things.”
The remaining top-10 finishers were Juan Montoya, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Jeff Burton, Ryan Newman, and Brian Vickers.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 18th.
Top-12 Chase contenders after 11 of 36: 1. Harvick-1622, 2. Johnson-1512, 3. Kyle Busch-1509, 4. J. Gordon-1475, 5. Kenseth-1472, 6. Hamlin-1458, 7. Biffle-1431, 8. Kurt Busch-1420, 9. Burton-1394, 10. Martin-1357, 11. Edwards-1345, 12. Earnhardt-1318
HAMLIN GETS DARLINGTON NATIONWIDE WIN
DARLINGTON, S.C. - Denny Hamlin captured his first win of the weekend in Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Royal Purple 200 to remain undefeated in the three races he’s started from the pole in at Darlington Raceway.
After skipping the 2009 event and failing to qualify in 2008, Hamlin backed up his wins from the pole in 2006 and 2007 with another commanding victory.
Hamlin led 111 of the 147 laps and held off his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch for his 10th career win. The victory was also the first for crew chief Kevin Kidd since taking over for Dave Rodgers, who is now Busch's crew chief.
Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne, Jason Leffler, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Brian Vickers, and Paul Menard were the remaining top-10 finishers.
HARVICK AND CHILDRESS CLOSE TO NEW DEAL
Richard Childress said ongoing negotiations between he and driver Kevin Harvick have resulted in what could be a deal to keep Harvick in the RCR fold, at least for the foreseeable future.
We've been talking,” Childress said. “Hopefully we'll have something together here in a week or so. ... It's good for RCR and Kevin and all of us that we can put this back together.”
Childress said he expects something to be finalized before the end of the month.
A contract extension would heal the apparent rift that grew between Harvick and Childress in recent months. Last fall, Harvick said “I'm ready to turn the page” when asked about his relationship with the team.
According to Childress, the team's improving competitiveness was a major factor in Harvick's decision to stay where he's been since he was named to replace Dale Earnhardt in 2001. During that time, Harvick has won 12 races in NASCAR's premiere series - including two weeks ago at Talladega - and leads the point standings.
“Probably, because we've been performing better,” continued Childress.
Shell recently announced plans to end its association with RCR at the end of the season, moving on to Penske Racing as Kurt Busch's sponsor. Childress said a replacement sponsorship deal is reportedly part of the negotiation.
Weekend Racing: It’s on to Dover’s Monster Mile for all three of NASCAR’s major series.
Fri., May 14, Camping World Trucks, race 6 of 25, Starting time: 8 p.m. ET; TV: Speed.
Sat., May 15, Nationwide Series, race 11 of 36, Starting time: 2 p.m. ET; TV: ABC.
Sun., May 16, Cup Series Autism 400, race 12 of 36; Starting time: 1 p.m. ET; TV: Fox.
Racing Trivia Question: Which Cup team does Jeff Burton drive for?
Last Week’s Question: Where is Brad Keselowski’s hometown? Answer. Rochester Hills, Michigan.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brooke Darling finished her sophomore season at Elk Lake with a 29-strikeout effort in a state playoff loss and a second-team Class AA selection on the coaches’ all-state team.
Then, she immediately set out to make herself a better pitcher.
Darling showed the results of that work, including weekly trips to Reading for specialized training, by dominating from the start of her junior season.
After producing more no-hitters than walks or earned runs allowed, Darling has been selected as the latest Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month.
“That was definitely because of working so hard over the summer,” said Darling, who plays during the summer with the TC Tremors Gold out of Binghamton, N.Y.
Darling, who began pitching in the summer between fourth and fifth grade, was not progressing quite as fast as she wanted before beginning to work with Dan DeMarco prior to her sophomore season.
“I work a lot on velocity,” said Darling, who will begin sorting between interest from Division I and II college programs this summer. “We work on being consistent to make all the pitches look the same so it’s deceiving for the batter.”
The batters in Division 3 of the Lackawanna League have had trouble figuring out Darling.
She added a fourth no-hitter and second perfect game earlier this month to improve to 10-0 with an 0.13 earned run average in league play. Darling has struck out 128 in 55 innings while giving up 11 hits, a walk and a hit batter.
When not throwing no-hitters, Darling has added four one-hitters, a two-hitter and a five-hitter.
The two-hitter came in a 1-0 victory over defending champion Blue Ridge.
“It’s definitely a challenge playing them,” Darling said. “They’re always very good.”
Nobody was better than Darling in the first month of the season.
“You usually don’t see all the pitches this kid has until you get to the collegiate level,” Elk Lake coach Tony Blaisure said.
Brooke is the daughter of Terry and Lori Darling of Springville.
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