Kyle Cook will lead the Susquehanna Sabers football team through official workouts for the first time in August, but he is already trying to take the first steps in preparation for that process.
Cook is planning meetings with players at Blue Ridge and Susquehanna and weightlifting sessions have already begun at each school. The schools co-sponsor football.
“There’s been a really good turnout at both schools so far in the weightroom,” Cook said. “We’re getting the kids to understand you really can win and lose games in the weightroom in spring and summer.”
Cook has been supervising those sessions at Susquehanna. Assistant coach Carl Zukus has been doing the same at Blue Ridge.
During the February meeting of the Susquehanna Community School District school board, Cook was appointed head coach for the next two football seasons. Zukus and Jody Stanley were appointed as assistant coaches and Aaron Callender and Paul Rooney were named as junior high coaches. Cook, a 2000 Susquehanna graduate, played four years in the program, primarily as a wide receiver and defensive back.
The SUNY Oneonta graduate recently obtaining his teaching certification in elementary education and has been working as a substitute teacher in the Susquehanna and Blue Ridge districts. The 31-year-old Windsor, N.Y. resident will be the sixth coach in the program’s history.
Cook said he has been in contact with former coach Dick Bagnall, who accounted for more than half the wins in school history, for guidance in teaching the triple-option veer offense.
“I’m going to try to keep most of the stuff the same,” Cook said. “I will probably throw in a few wrinkles, but I’ve grown up with the veer all my life.” Cook served as an assistant coach for three seasons, including 2012 when John Salinkas spent his only season as head coach. Cook worked with defensive linemen, wide receivers and special teams on that staff.
The Sabers went 3-7 in 2012, including 2-3 for fourth place in Division 3 of the Lackawanna Football Conference.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Practice for spring high school sports seasons began March 4. Baseball, softball, track and field, boys’ tennis and boys’ volleyball teams are preparing for the start of their schedules.
All Susquehanna County teams and individual athletes have had their winter sports seasons come to an end. Several from the Lackawanna League and the remainder of District 2 were still in action last week.
In wrestling, Lackawanna League Division 1 champion Delaware Valley had two placewinners at the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Championships in Hershey. Five Wyoming Valley Conference wrestlers also placed.
Martin Strenk was sixth at 182 pounds and Jalen Palmer was eight at 132 for Delaware Valley in Class AAA. Wyoming Valley West’s Kyle Krasavage (126) and Coughlin’s Brad Emerick (285) were each fourth while Crestwood’s Matt Hammerstone (145) was eighth in AAA. Lake-Lehman’s Austin Harry was fourth at 132 and Wyoming Area’s Andy Schutz was seventh at 126 in Class AA.
In girls’ basketball, the four District 2 champions from the Lackawanna League all won their PIAA state openers. Lackawanna teams went 5-1 while District 2 teams were 6-2 overall. Wallenpaupack (AAAA), Honesdale and Scranton Prep (AAA), Dunmore (AA) and Old Forge (A) advanced.
In boys’ basketball, Lackawanna League teams went 3-2 while District 2 teams were 3-3 overall. Abington Heights and Scranton Prep (AAA) and Holy Cross (AA) each moved into the second round.
Codie Malloy scored points in two individual events and was part of two relay teams that scored for Elk Lake during the District 2 Class AA Boys’ Swimming Championships March 1-2 at the Wilkes-Barre CYC. Malloy finished ninth in the 500 freestyle and 11th in the 200 freestyle.
Points are awarded to the top 12 finishers in each event. Malloy was part of a fifth-place team in the 400 freestyle relay and a sixth-place team in the 200 freestyle relay.
Alex Manzek was on both relay teams and had Elk Lake’s best individual finish, taking eighth in the 50 freestyle. Brad Grosvenor was on both relays and placed 12th in the 100 butterfly.
Seth Carney completed the 200 freestyle relay team while Matt Sterner was on the 400 team.
Elk Lake was eighth out of 13 teams with 50 points. Dallas outscored Scranton Prep, 262-196, for the team title.
The Elk Lake girls scored their only two points when Kati VanEtten, Lainey Bedell, Sunny Griffiths and Leah Ofalt combined for 12th in the 400 freestyle relay.
The Lady Warriors were last of 17 teams.
Holy Redeemer beat out Scranton Prep, 243-201.5, for the team championship.
Brooke Darling picked up the first pitching win of the season for the Columbia University softball team. The sophomore from Elk Lake was the team’s top pitcher as the season started. Darling worked the most innings and had the best statistics among the three pitchers who started in the first five games.
In two starts, Darling was 1-1 with a 1.17 ERA. She allowed 13 hits and seven walks while striking out seven in 18 innings.
Columbia got off to a 1-4 start.
As a freshman, Darling was also Columbia’s busiest and most effective pitcher on a 12-33 team. She went 9-18 with a 4.03 ERA in 32 games, including 24 starts. Darling struck out 83 in 151 innings.
THE WEEK AHEAD
PIAA basketball playoffs continue with the second round, which was scheduled to start Tuesday and finish Wednesday, and the quarterfinals, which are set for Friday and Saturday.
The PIAA Swimming Championships are scheduled for Wednesday through Saturday at Bucknell University.
TOM ROBINSON writes a weekly local sports column for the Susquehanna County Transcript. He can be reached online at _RobbyTR@aol.com_ (mailto:RobbyTR@aol.com) .
KENSETH GETS VEGAS WIN
Matt Kenseth, winner of Sunday Vegas Cup race and crew chief Jason Ratcliff
LAS VEGAS, Nev.—Matt Kenseth celebrated his 41st birthday by winning Sunday’s Sprint Cup Kobalt 400. He gained the lead during a restart on lap 240 of the 267-lap race and held off a hard charging Kasey Kahne, who led the most laps.
It was Kenseth’s first win in a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing after spending 15 years behind the wheel of a Ford for Roush Racing.
“It’s always good to be a winner,” said Kenseth. “I was nervous during those last laps because Kasey had a great car. Not taking on tires there at the end allowed us to be at the right spot at the right time.”
Kahne dominated most of the race, but came up short at the end and finished 0.6-seconds behind Kenseth.
“I drove so hard every single lap. I didn’t leave anything behind,” said Kahne. “I thought we had the best car, but my tires began slipping there at the end.”
Brad Keselowski didn’t lead a lot of laps, but he passed Kyle Busch for third late in the race.
“We needed a little more speed,” said Keselowski. “When I lost spots on the track, the guys in the pits helped me out. We didn’t have the fastest car in practice, or during the race, but it turned out pretty good.”
Kyle Busch raced back from a pit road speeding penalty to finish fourth.
“All in all, it was a great race,” said Busch. “Our short speed was good, but we just needed to pick up more speed on the longer runs.”
Carl Edwards finished fifth, followed by Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex, Kevin Harvick, and Paul Menard.
Danica Patrick finished 33rd, six laps down.
Top-10 leaders after 3 of 36: 1. Johnson-129, 2. Keselowski-124, 3. Earnhardt-119, 4. Hamlin-102, 5. Edwards-98, 6. Martin-95, 7. Kenseth-93, 8. Biffle-93, 9. Bowyer-89, 10. Almirola-88.
HORNISH IS VEGAS NATIONWIDE WINNER
Sam Hornish Jr. drove an absolutely dominant car to victory Saturday afternoon, streaking away from Kyle Busch during a seven-lap dash to the finish in the Nationwide race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The win was Hornish’s second in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series and his first since Nov. 12, 2011 at Phoenix. It was the first Las Vegas victory for Penske Racing in any NASCAR series.
The Penske organization also collected its first victory after switching from Dodge to Ford between seasons.
Busch rolled across the finish line in second, 1.1 seconds behind Hornish. Brian Vickers ran third, followed by Trevor Bayne and Elliott Sadler. Bayne recovered from an early brush with the wall to post the fourth-place result.
Austin Dillon, Regan Smith, Alex Bowman, Brian Scott, and Travis Pastrana were the remaining top-10.
Top-10 points leaders after 3 of 33; 1. Hornish-127, 2. Allgaier-108, 3. Sadler-108, 4. Scott-108, 5. Smith-103, 6. A. Dillon-100, 7. Vickers-96, 8. Bayne-95, 9. Piquet-93, 10. Bowman-90.
NASCAR IS WRONG
NASCAR has gone too far in attempting to manage its image.
The organization assessed Denny Hamlin $25,000 for bashing the new Gen 6 car. But he only stated what fans saw in the first two races, that it's difficult to pass and teams need time to work on the new car, just like they did when the old model was rolled out.
Others drivers have said the same thing.
“The short of the long of it is I believe I was severely disrespected by NASCAR by getting fined,” Hamlin said. “I believe that the simple fact of us not even having a conversation about this issue before I was hit with a fine has something to say about our relationship. What I said was one sentence taken completely out of context.”
Hamlin said he will not pay the fine.
“Most drivers will tell you that we constantly have sponsors and NASCAR’s best interest in mind when speaking,” he continued. “On the other hand I am a person that worked very hard from the bottom to get where I am today and someone telling me that I cannot give my one hundred percent honest opinion really bothers me.
“I feel as if today NASCAR lost one of its biggest supporters. So in the end there are no winners. I said today I would not pay the fine. I stand by that and will go through the process of appealing. Trust me; this is not about the money. It's much deeper. I will now shift my focus on giving FedEx and my team what they deserve this weekend, a win.”
The irony of this is that what Hamlin said about the new car and the racing last week at Phoenix wasn't all that harsh. But because Hamlin didn't choose his words correctly, or dared to compare the new car to the old one, he was called out and made the poster boy for free speech.
A few drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr., a ten-time fan favorite are wishy-washy, when it comes to voicing their true opinions about what is happening in NASCAR. Prior to Daytona practice, Earnhardt sang praises about the new car. After a crash during a practice session, he said, “I guess I still have a lot to learn about it. It’s just not handling the way I thought.”
Earnhardt believes he can voice his opinion but sometimes it needs to happen behind closed doors.
“I don't think they mind you coming up in the hauler and talking about what you think about the racing and how you think things could improve or what might improve things,” he said.
“I think that they're open to listening to that kind of stuff.”
Earnhardt then switched the conversation to how much he liked the new car, a move that likely made NASCAR officials smile.
Tony Stewart pretty much summed up the NASCAR organization back in 2002, when he said, “It’s NASCAR’s way or the highway.”
Hamlin is determined to fight back, and fans and competitors are rallying behind him.
Fining Hamlin, or anyone for stating their opinion in a reasonable manner is going to come back and bite NASCAR.
This is a battle that NASCAR cannot win.
Its image is going to be tarnished even more.
Weekend Racing: It will be short track racing at Bristol’s .54 mile bullring for the Nationwide and Sprint teams. The Trucks do not race again until April 6.
Sat., Mar. 16, Nationwide Series, race 4 of 33; Starting time: 2 pm ET; TV: ESPN2.
Sun., Mar. 17, Sprint Cup Series, race 4 of 36; Starting time: 1 pm ET; TV: FOX.
Racing Trivia Question: Camping World Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. heads five 2013 inductees into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame next weekend. How many truck titles did he win?
Last Week’s Question: Who owns the Las Vegas track? Bruton Smith and his Speedway Motorsports Inc.
You may contact the Racing Reporter at email@example.com.
The Susquehanna Sabers played some of their best basketball as the boys’ season approached its conclusion.
Cole Mallery was one of the big reasons why.
Mallery scored his 1,000th career point in his second outing of February, then finished the month by scoring 29 points in the final game of the regular season and opening the playoffs with a career-high, 33-point effort.
For his efforts, Mallery is the latest Susquehanna County Transcript Athlete of the Month.
Mallery averaged more than 20 points per game during February, helping the Sabers finish tied for second place in the second half of Lackawanna League Division 4 play.
After scoring 18 points in a loss to Montrose, he had 16 points and 11 rebounds February 4 in a 54-41 victory over Mountain View.
“I had a layup that I missed on a fastbreak, but Dan Biegert got the rebound and dished it back to me,” said Mallery, who connected on his second attempt for the 1,000-point milestone.
The Mountain View game was one of three times in the month that Mallery had a double-double in points and rebounds. He added 11 rebounds to his 29 points in the Senior Night win over Blue Ridge that assured a winning season.
“I was pleased about that,” Mallery said. “I’ve been playing since I was a freshman and we hadn’t had a winning season.”
Mallery and the Sabers were not done yet. He finished February in style, scoring 20 of his 33 points in the second half of 48-43 semifinal victory over MMI Prep to return the Sabers to the District 2 Class A championship game. Mallery made all seven of his shots from the floor in the half to finish the game 11-for-13 from both the floor and the line.
“We knew we’d have a big advantage inside,” said Mallery, who dominated in the low post. “They only had a couple of players over six feet. They had a small lineup and they were a young team.”
Mallery broke into both the football and basketball lineups as a freshman. With a loss to Old Forge in the district championship game March 1, he concluded an athletic career that saw him play prominent roles in several big accomplishments for the Sabers.
As a sophomore, Mallery was a two-way, all-star when the football team won its first Lackawanna Football Conference division title. He started for the Sabers for three years and spent his junior season at Seton Catholic in Binghamton, N.Y.
After returning to Susquehanna for the second semester of his junior year, Mallery helped the basketball team win its first district title in 51 years.
Cole is the son of Carl and Dana Mallery of Susquehanna. After graduation he plans to attend the police academy at Lackawanna College.