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Issue Home December 8, 2010 Site Home

Local Sports Scene

Maria Trowbridge Is November’s Athlete Of The Month

Red Wallace Game Highlights Winter Sports Season Openers
By Tom Robinson

The Elk Lake boys’ basketball team will compete in the annual Red Wallace Memorial Scholarship Game and both Montrose teams will also challenge themselves with openers against Lackawanna League Division 2 teams when the winter sports season opens Friday night.

Elk Lake is at Carbondale on the first night that Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association teams are allowed to begin winter competition.

The game honors the memory of Michael “Red” Wallace, who coached Elk Lake to a pair of state championships, the second of which came just months before his death. Wallace, who played for the National Basketball Association’s Boston Celtics, played at Fell Township High School, which became part of the Carbondale Area School District.

Elk Lake was 13-11 last season when it tied for first place in Lackawanna Division 3 before losing a playoff. Carbondale went 14-10.

The game is one of two boys’ basketball openers involving a Susquehanna County school and matching two teams that had winning records a year ago.

Montrose is at home against Riverside.

Colby Major leads the returnees at Montrose, which went 22-4 and won the Lackawanna Division 3 title last season.

Riverside, which was 15-11, will be shorthanded because its football team is playing in the state semifinals and includes some key basketball players.

Susquehanna opens at home against Athens while the county’s other three teams are in tournaments.

Blue Ridge is at the Sayre Tournament and Mountain View is at Wallenpaupack’s Hawley Rotary Tournament, which are both scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

Forest City does not open until Sunday when it plays at the Finan Tournament in Carbondale, which concludes Monday.

The Forest City girls’ basketball team does not open until Tuesday when it plays at Old Forge in a rematch of last year’s District 2 Class A championship game.

Old Forge won the district title and went 18-7. Forest City went 15-10 while finishing second in District 2 Class A and Lackawanna Division 3.

The top opener features defending Lackawanna Division 3 champion Montrose (19-6) playing at Valley View (12-12).

Susquehanna and Elk Lake are both part of the Tunkhannock Tournament Friday and Saturday.

Blue Ridge is at Sayre and Mountain View is home with Holy Cross Friday.

In wrestling, both Montrose and Elk Lake will compete in the Wyalusing Tournament Saturday.

Elk Lake shared the District 2 Class AA tournament championship with Western Wayne last season.

In girls’ swimming, Elk Lake opens the season Tuesday at Wyoming Seminary.


The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins continue to dominate the American Hockey League but they have received their strongest competition in games matching the two closest professional teams to the area.

The Penguins have suffered half of their losses in a 20-4 start in games against the Binghamton Senators.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton won the latest meeting between the two teams, 4-2, Friday night when Chris Collins broke a third-period tie then added a late empty-net goal.

Dustin Jeffrey scored his league-high fourth short-handed goal for the Penguins.

The Senators managed just 14 shots on goal.

In high school football, Riverside continued to serve notice of its status as a serious title contender when it crushed District 11 champion Schuylkill Haven, 41-0, in a PIAA Class A football quarterfinal at John Henzes/Veterans Memorial Stadium in Peckville.

The Vikings, unscored upon in the last 128:24 since Dunmore's touchdown in the second quarter of the district final, have kept two well-established state powers from even coming close to the end zone. After keeping Southern Columbia from getting any closer than the 22 in a 36-0 romp in the opening round, Riverside prevented Schuylkill Haven from ever getting inside the 39.

“I’m more proud of the defense,” Riverside coach Harry Armstrong said. “We’ve put up 40 before. People know we’re able to do that.

“But, we’ve shut out three of the last four. Obviously, it’s not a fluke. We’ve done it two weeks in a row."

While the offense was piling up 453 yards, an average of 12.2 per play, the defense was forcing the Hurricanes to punt seven times and keeping them from gaining more than 10 yards on any of 53 plays.

“We just don’t give up big plays right now,” Armstrong said.

The Vikings produce them. The Lackawanna Football Conference and District 2's last active fall sports team scored its touchdowns in pairs and covered 198 yards on their last three touchdowns.

Riverside scored on consecutive offensive plays in the first, second and third quarters, needing a span of 1:49 to get its 14 points in the first quarter, 3:54 to get the same in the second quarter and 4:26 to get 13 in the third quarter.

“In 2008, we had a shot, but this team got in our way,” said Corey Talerico, who had 342 yards total offense and started the game’s biggest defensive play by forcing a fumble. “We’re not going to let anything get in our way this time.”

Talerico carried eight times for 182 yards and three touchdowns while hitting six of 12 passes for 160 yards and another score. Talerico has thrown for five touchdowns and run for four in two state tournament games.


Brent Keyes spent two seasons waiting, seeing minimal time on the court for the Marywood University men’s basketball team.

Given a chance with more playing time this season, Keyes made an immediate impact.

The 6-foot-6 junior forward from Susquehanna led the Pacers in points (19) and rebounds (nine) on Opening Night in a 63-62 win over Hilbert College.

Keyes hit the go-ahead basket on a 3-pointer with 2:24 left last week in a 65-59 win over Keystone College in the Colonial States Athletic Conference opener.

“I got smarter and now I’m playing him,” Marywood coach Eric Grundman said. “I think Brent Keyes is doing a really good job of proving me wrong.

“I never thought that he didn’t have the ability, but he never had the opportunity. He gives us another guy who brings ability and passion to the game.”

Keyes has helped the Pacers to a 4-1 start. He is tied for the team lead in field goals and ranks second in 3-pointers made. Keyes is third on the team in scoring (10.0 per game) and fourth in rebounds (4.4).

Keyes is second on the team in minutes played with 25.8 per game.

In his first two seasons, Keyes appeared sparingly in 24 games and had a total of 28 points and 14 rebounds.

Keyes is one of two Susquehanna graduates playing for the Pacers.

Kirk Fallon, a 5-foot-11 junior guard, has three points and one rebound while playing six minutes in one appearance.


District 2 champion Riverside (13-1) will play District 6 champion Bishop Carroll (11-2) Friday at 7 p.m. at Central Mountain High School in Mill Hall in a state Class A semifinal.

Last week’s prediction record was 1-0, making us 12-5 (70.6 percent) in the playoffs and 102-33 (75.6 percent) on the season.

This week’s prediction: Riverside 24, Bishop Carroll 15.

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

RPM Has New Investors

Richard Petty will remain as Chairman of Richard Petty Motorsports as he and new partners Medallion Financial Group and DGB Investments have purchased the assets of the race team from George Gillett.

Just how well the team will do remains to be seen. Petty will serve as chairman and will be actively involved in overseeing the day-to-day operations of the organization, which will field Fords for drivers AJ Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose next year.

Petty has won 200 races, but being able to handle a large current day NASCAR operation might be more than the 73-year-old Hall of Famer can handle.

Richard Petty in 1970.

“Going forward, we have put together an all-star ownership team consisting of myself, Medallion, and VeriFone CEO Doug Bergeron., Andy Murstein,” Petty said. They will help take us to a whole new level and I could not be more excited about our future.”

Bergeron and Murstein said their investment companies together own more than 50 percent of Richard Petty Motorsports, and Medallion owns the most of any of the investors.

“Richard is the chairman of the business - he certainly is the front man,” Bergeron said. “We’re going to instill some proper business discipline here as well, both in terms of managing costs, growing the business and securing the best and most lucrative sponsorships.

“It is my hope that within a year or two, we can get back to four cars.”

RPM finished the season with all four teams and had a strong performance in the season finale with Aric Almirola finishing fourth and Allmendinger fifth at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Allmendinger will return to the team’s No. 43 car next season and team with Ambrose, who will drive the No. 9.


Big Al and Large Marge was a couple that lived in Racine, Wisconsin during the summer months, and traveled to Florida in the winter. “Snowbirds,” is the title given to such people by southerners.

They stayed in a motorhome during the race weekend at Homestead Speedway. During the rest of the winter they lived at a campground in Islamorada, Florida, in the upper Florida Keys.

This year it was different.

The pair did not make the race.

Not having Big Al and Large Marge around was like trying to put a jigsaw puzzle together, and not being able to find the right matching pieces.

During the last race, I got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach every time I went near turn-4, which was their designated camping spot.

Like me, they were at the track-opening in 1999 when Tony Stewart won the first race, the Pennzoil 400. I saw them at every race since then. And I got to know them well.

Real NASCAR fans, is the best way to describe them. Al had a black Labrador, named Stewart. He had pictures showing No. 20 painted on Stewart’s doghouse, and a sign that read, “Joe Gibbs Blvd.”

Marge was a Jeff Gordon fan. Several No. 24 flags flew from the motorhome, and the inside was covered with Gordon memorabilia, all except for the drivers seat, which had a big No. 20 seat cover on it.

An Elliott Sadler fan from Lynchburg, Virginia described a generous gift from Marge in 2005.

“During the previous year, I had shared with Marge that Elliott Sadler was my favorite driver,” said the fan. “The next year she handed me a hand-made afghan with Elliott’s number embroidered on it. It must have taken her many hours to make it, and she refused any payment.”

Hospitality among friends is common throughout the pits at NASCAR races. But the way this couple provided eats and drinks was rare.

But it wasn’t just the merriment provided under their motorhome awning. Genuine heartfelt appreciation was shown to everyone that hung out with them. They gave much more than traditional southern hospitality.

They made you feel special.

They were able to carry on conversations that brought everyone into it. I never heard either utter a harsh word; about a driver, team, or even Brian France, the sometimes controversial CEO of NASCAR.

I remember seeing Al work on another person’s Coleman stove. “Bring it over,” Al told the camper. He spent nearly the entire Nationwide race repairing it, just so the family would be able to cook a hot breakfast the next morning.

Over the years, I learned a little about the pair.

Al had played football at the University of Pennsylvania. He stood six-feet, six-inches. Even at his advanced age he was still broad at the shoulders and narrow at the hips. I have an idea, that not many people gave him much lip. He was drafted by the Detroit Lions. They expected him to be a starter his rookie season, but a knee injury forced him to sit out the entire first year.

The following spring he was traded to the Chicago Bears. But the knee never healed properly, and his promising football career came to an end after a second knee operation.

With a college degree, he was able to go to work as an investment broker. He did quite well. After four years of working in Chicago, he met Marge. The couple married, moved to Racine, and raised one boy, they named Eric. Al became a district manager, with an income of over one-million, annually.

Marge was no small person. She stood about five-feet, eleven, but at age 70, she still had the shape of an attractive woman. She was born in the little Wisconsin town of Rice Lake. She attended the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire. After graduation, she obtained a job with the Milwaukee (Wisconsin) County School Board.

She met Al during one of the many seminars he hosted in Milwaukee.

“The first moment I laid eyes on him, I knew I had to have him,” said Marge.

Being around them wasn’t about being around monied people. It was about socializing with honest, down-to-earth, true-blue NASCAR fans.

In addition to their generous nature, and caring ways, Eric said he was blessed to have them as parents.

“They loved each other in so many ways,” said Eric. “Dad worked long hours to make us a good living. Mom often complained. When it got too much for him, he’d slow down. But his work never interfered with our relationship. He would find time to get me to soccer practice, and pick me up,

“He tried to save Sunday for Mom and I. Over the years they came to respect and depend on each other. When Dad fell short, mom took up the slack. They really looked forward to his retiring.

“After the first heart attack, the doctors told him, he had to change his line of work. The stress of the high-pressure investment business he was in, had gotten to him.

“He didn’t hesitate to trade the business life for retirement and a motorhome. He and mom really enjoyed traveling, especially being able to spend the winter in Florida.

“You know dad and mom never knew about racing until after he retired, but from the time they became interested, it was the second love of their lives.

“The doctors told him that he might have a ‘big one,’ in the future, but we were totally unprepared. It happened suddenly, and then it was all over.

“We really had no idea that mom also had a bad heart. The doctors had given her no indication anything like that was wrong with her. Less than two-months after dad died, she was gone, too.”

Eric had told me all that would come out. He wiped something from the corner of his eye, turned and walked away.

I understood Eric’s feelings. It was hard for me to handle, also.

Racing Trivia Question. Which Cup team does Martin Truex drive for?

Last Week’s Question: Which former driver was known as “The Intimidator”? Answer. Dale Earnhardt Sr.

You may contact the Racing Reporter at

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Maria Trowbridge Is November’s Athlete Of The Month
By Tom Robinson

Maria Trowbridge already knew the thrill of having an individual state medal hung around her neck.

Now, Trowbridge knows what it is like to raise a team state championship plaque with teammates.

Trowbridge led the way for the Elk Lake girls when they joined the boys from their school in sweeping Class AA titles at the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Cross Country Championships on the Parkview Course in Hershey.

“Just being able to go down there as a team is special,” said Trowbridge, the Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month for November. “To be able to win it, it is hard to explain how incredible it feels to be part of a state championship.

“And, for the boys and girls to do it at the same time is unbelievable.”

Elk Lake became just the second school to ever win both boys’ and girls’ Pennsylvania cross country titles in the same season.

The Warriors won their second team championship in three years. The Lady Warriors joined in by giving the school its first girls’ state title in any sport.

“We were never ranked in the state as one of the top teams,” Trowbridge said. “We had the element of surprise.”

Trowbridge, a junior, was the top state finisher among Lackawanna League girls for the second straight year. She claimed her second state cross country individual medal by finishing sixth overall in 19:35. She was second among the runners from the 24 schools competing for the team title.

Adding to the reasons for celebration in the November 6 meet was the fact that Elizabeth Trowbridge, Maria’s freshman sister, also claimed an individual medal when she finished second on the team and 11th overall.

Maria Trowbridge also has two career state medals in track and field while running her specialty, the 3200 meters. She was sixth in Class AA as a freshman and fourth last spring as a sophomore.

Maria is also preparing for the start of her second season on the Elk Lake swimming team where she competes in a variety of events.

Maria is the daughter of Gene and Valerie Trowbridge of Meshoppen.

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