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Archive for April 8th, 2017

Defending event champion Courtney Force looking forward to 30th annual NHRA Springnationals in Houston

Courtney Force from 2016 win in Houston (photo by National Dragster courtesy NHRA)

 

 

BAYTOWN, Texas – Last season’s performance at Royal Purple Raceway provided a massive boost to Funny Car standout Courtney Force, winning her first race in more than a year and grabbing a share of the points lead in the process.

 

After a frustrating stretch – at least when it comes to eliminations – during the past three races of the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, Force is hopeful of again turning the corner at the facility, which plays host to the 30th annual NHRA SpringNationals, April 21-23. Force has been impressive at times in her 10,000-horsepower Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro, but has suffered three straight first-round losses, the most recent coming after qualifying No. 1.

 

“Obviously, we are at a point where we’re trying to turn things around,” said Force, currently fifth in points. “Knowing that we’ve done well at Houston makes us feel a little bit more comfortable going into a familiar place like that. And knowing that we can run numbers on that race track is comforting, too. Our main goal is looking for that consistency. Coming off of testing in Vegas, we’re starting to feel pretty good about it. We know our car can run some incredible numbers, but it’s trying to find that consistency on race day that we need.”

 

Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Force (Funny Car) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including finals coverage starting at 5:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, April 23. It is the fifth of 24 events during the 2017 season and Force is looking to get back on track after her recent slide.

 

Her season started well enough, qualifying third and advancing to the final round at the season-opener in Pomona. Qualifying has continued to go well, taking the second spot in Phoenix after a blistering career-best run of 3.838 at 332.67 mph and the top position in Vegas. But it hasn’t come together on raceday as of late, an issue that has the full attention of Force and her team, led by crew chief Dan Hood and co-crew chief Ronnie Thompson. As for finding a solution, Force believes her team has found the answer after testing after the race in Las Vegas.

 

“Getting the tuneup right and figuring it out during your qualifying sessions – and then not changing your setup for race day,” Force said. “I think we may have tried to push our car a little too hard and expect more out of it. That has kind of messed us up a little bit. I think we just need to stick to what we know and stick to the setup we used throughout qualifying.”

 

Force, the winningest female in Funny Car history with eight victories, knocked off Tim Wilkerson in a thrilling final round last year and will have her work cut out to repeat. The star-studded Funny Car lineup includes points leader Matt Hagan and defending world champ Ron Capps, but Force has her own good vibes at Royal Purple Raceway.

 

“Houston was a good race for our team, for my crew chiefs Dan and Ronnie last year,” Force said. “It’s always a little bit more comforting going back to a track that we were able to win at in the previous season. I’m really excited to get back there. I know we can get this thing figured out. I’d rather get the bad luck out of the way now than when we’re in the Countdown.”

 

Kalitta has back-to-back SpringNationals wins in Top Fuel, but will have to top the likes of back-to-back world champ Antron Brown, points leader Tony Schumacher, two-time 2017 winner Leah Pritchett, Brittany Force and Texas native Steve Torrence.

 

Anderson won for the third time in Pro Stock at Royal Purple Raceway a year ago, and has a victory in 2017. He’ll face off against defending world champ and teammate Jason Line, along with 2017 winners Shane Gray and his son, rookie Tanner Gray.

 

The NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series makes its second of 12 stops in 2017 at Royal Purple Raceway. The event also features thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, showcasing the future stars of the sport.

 

After Nitro qualifying on Friday, fans can watch the spectacular Larsen Motorsports jet dragsters sponsored by Florida Tech and Matrix System as well. Jet cars are thrust driven vehicles propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.

 

As always, fans can interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.

 

Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.

 

Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 4:30 and 7 p.m. on Friday, April 21 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, April 22, at 1:30 and 4 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 23.

 

To purchase event tickets, call (281)-383-7223 or visit www.RaceRPR.com. Kids 13 and under are free with a paid adult spectator side ticket. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on spectator side tickets at the gate. For more information about the NHRA visitwww.NHRA.com.

 

***

NHRA SPRINGNATIONALS

 

WHAT: 30th annual NHRA SpringNationals, the fifth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Drivers in three categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock – earn points leading to 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships.  Competition also will be featured in the NHRA Lucas Oil Series and the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Series.

 

WHERE: Royal Purple Raceway, Baytown, Texas. From Interstate 10 take the State Hwy. 99 (Grand Parkway) exit, which is exit 799. Take a right on State Hwy. 99 and go to the first exit (2 miles) which is FM 565. Take a right on FM 565 and Royal Purple Raceway will be on your right. For additional information about directions please visit www.racerpr.com.

 

WHEN: Friday through Sunday, April 21-23

 

SCHEDULE:

FRIDAY, April 21 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying

NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES qualifying at 4 and 6 p.m.

MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 4:30 and 7 p.m.

 

SATURDAY, April 22 – LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations

NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES qualifying at 3 p.m. Round 1 of eliminations at 5:30 p.m.

MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 1:30 and 4 p.m.

 

SUNDAY, April 23 – Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.

MELLO YELLO SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.

 

TELEVISION:

Friday, April 23, FOX Sports 1 (FS1) will televise three hours of finals coverage at 5:30 p.m. (ET).

2016 EVENT WINNERS:

Doug Kalitta, Top Fuel; Courtney Force, Funny Car; Greg Anderson, Pro Stock.

 

MOST WINS:

John Force, 7, FC; Warren Johnson, 6, PS; Jeg Coughlin, 4, PS; Tony Pedregon, 4, FC; Greg Anderson, 3, PS; Kenny Bernstein, 3, TF; Ron Capps, 3, FC; Larry Dixon, 3, TF; Mike Edwards, 3, PS; Bob Glidden, 3, PS; Cruz Pedregon, 3, FC.

 

TRACK RECORDS:

Top Fuel – 3.724 seconds by Steve Torrence, April ‘16; 330.07 mph by Spencer Massey, April ’15.

Funny Car – 3.899 seconds by Tim Wilkerson, April ‘16; 328.06 mph by Del Worsham, April ’16.

Pro Stock – 6.519 seconds by Jason Line, April ’15; 212.66 mph by Mike Edwards, April ’13.

NATIONAL RECORDS:

Top Fuel – 3.680 sec. by Antron Brown, Aug. ’15, Brainerd, Minn.; 332.75 mph by Spencer Massey, Aug. ’15, Brainerd, Minn.

Funny Car – 3.822 by Matt Hagan, Aug. ’16, Brainerd, Minn.; 335.57 mph by Hagan, May ’16, Topeka, Kan.

Pro Stock – 6.455 sec. by Jason Line, March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.;  215.55 mph by Erica Enders, May ‘14, Englishtown N.J.

 

TICKETS:

For tickets call (281) 383-RACE (7223). Tickets also available online at www.racerpr.com

 

***

GLENDORA, Calif.  – Point standings (top 10) following the 18th annual DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the fourth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series -

 

Top Fuel

1.  Tony Schumacher, 382; 2.  Leah Pritchett, 376; 3.  Antron Brown, 357; 4.  Doug Kalitta, 301; 5.  Brittany Force, 258; 6.  Steve Torrence, 251; 7.  Clay Millican, 187; 8.  Troy Coughlin Jr., 176; 9.  Terry McMillen, 164; 10.  Scott Palmer, 148.

 

Funny Car

1.  Matt Hagan, 368; 2.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 324; 3.  John Force, 314; 4.  Ron Capps, 275; 5.  Courtney Force, 218; 6.  Jack Beckman, 205; 7.  Robert Hight, 201; 8.  Jonnie Lindberg, 183; 9.  Jim Campbell, 180; 10.  J.R. Todd, 170.

 

Pro Stock

1.  Greg Anderson, 380; 2.  Jason Line, 367; 3.  Bo Butner, 299; 4.  Tanner Gray, 296; 5.  Shane Gray, 278; 6.  Jeg Coughlin, 266; 7.  Erica Enders, 219; 8.  Chris McGaha, 193; 9.  Drew Skillman, 190; 10.  Vincent Nobile, 183.

 

RACE PREVIEW WRITTEN BY Sara Slaughter; COURTESY NHRA COMMUNICATIONS

 

OHSAA issues sanctions to Dayton Public School District for 2016 Football incident

News Release – Ohio High School Athletic Association

Commissioner Daniel B. Ross, Ph.D.

 

www.OHSAA.org |  twitter.com/OHSAASports facebook.com/OHSAA

 

For Immediate Release – April 7, 2017

 

 

 

District receives $10,000 fine, public reprimand and required attendance at upcoming compliance meetings; all DPS schools placed on three years probation

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio High School Athletic Association has announced the conclusion of an investigation into the Dayton Public School District and subsequent penalties stemming from an incident that occurred during Week 10 of the 2016 football season in a game between Dunbar High School and Belmont High School.

 

The incident occurred when Dunbar football players received instructions at halftime to lose the game intentionally so that the school would not need to report using an ineligible player and so that an additional Dayton Public School would qualify for the playoffs. Game officials stopped the contest in the third quarter and brought both coaches to midfield, instructing them to tell their players to play the game correctly or risk stoppage of the game and further ramifications.

 

Sanctions include a $10,000 fine issued to the Dayton Public School District, three years probation for all Dayton Public Schools, public reprimand and the requirement that DPS athletic administrators attend required meetings with the OHSAA compliance staff. In addition, if further violations of the same nature occur while the district is on probation, the membership status of all member Dayton Public Schools is in jeopardy.

 

“This is among the most serious and disturbing incidents I have seen because it strikes at the very core of what high school sports are all about,” Dr. Dan Ross, OHSAA Commissioner, said. “Our mission is to teach our youngsters about responsibility, fair play and sportsmanship. The vast majority of our coaches and school administrators do that every day. Even more significant penalties were discussed, but we didn’t want to harm the kids because they were the ones caught in the middle of this.”

 

The incident occurred Oct. 28 at Dayton Welcome Stadium. At halftime, with Dunbar leading by 20 points, Dunbar’s athletic director and football coaches met with Dayton Public Schools Athletic Administrator Mark Baker. While the exact details of that conversation are in conflict, it was proven that when the third quarter began, Dunbar players began to deliberately give the football to Belmont in an effort to lose the game intentionally, as they had been told that a Dunbar loss coupled with a Belmont win would get both teams into the playoffs and Dunbar would not have to report using an ineligible player in that game.

 

After the officials met with both coaches at midfield, the game was played to its conclusion with no further incidents, but the OHSAA investigation began. It resulted in Dunbar forfeiting its Week 9 and 10 games for using an ineligible player both weeks, thus missing the playoffs, and causing the reshuffling of many playoff qualifiers in Southwest Ohio.

 

The violation is of OHSAA Bylaw 3 – Administrative Responsibility and Institutional Control, which is in place to uphold the values and integrity of education-based athletics.

 

If there are no further violations of this nature by the Dayton Public School District, one year of probation shall be rescinded and $2,500 of the fine shall be refunded.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Tim Stried; COURTESY OHSAA INFORMATION SERVICES

Wichita State leaves Missouri Valley for American Athletic Conference

 

Shockers will join Conference at start of 2017-18 academic year

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND – Commissioner Mike Aresco announced today the addition of Wichita State to the American Athletic Conference in men’s and women’s basketball and Olympic sports beginning on July 1, 2017. The American’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to accept Wichita State as its newest member.

 

“We are pleased and proud to welcome Wichita State to The American,” Aresco said. “This is a University with a strong athletic and academic heritage which shares our Conference’s commitment to excellence, and we look forward to having them as a member. The University has an exceptionally strong tradition of success in men’s basketball and baseball. The addition of Wichita State in basketball and Olympic sports extends our Conference’s national footprint, enhances our national profile, and strengthens our position as a leader in intercollegiate athletics.”

“This is an event of great importance in defining the future of Wichita State,” John Bardo, President of Wichita State University said. “Two years ago, we set out on a fact-finding process to determine the best way athletics could help position the University for enrollment growth and enhance WSU’s reputation as an academic and research institution. It became clear to us that The American offered the best combination of universities who share our academic and cultural values and research focus.”

 

“On behalf of all the presidents of the American Athletic Conference, I am very happy to welcome Wichita State to our league,” said Susan Herbst, President of the University of Connecticut and Chair of The American Board of Directors. “Wichita State brings a strong academic and athletic tradition to The American, and their fans and alumni are passionate about the school and their teams. The addition of Wichita State to The American will further enhance the league and its national reputation.”

 

Founded in 1895, Wichita State University is a public university and the third-largest research university governed by the Kansas Board of Regents. The University is a growing leader in innovation, creativity and collaborative learning and enrolls 14,500 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students. Wichita State offers 200 areas of study in seven academic undergraduate colleges, 42 master’s degrees, 12 doctoral degrees and 26 certificate programs.

 

Wichita State sponsors 15 sports – baseball, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s cross country, women’s cross country, men’s golf, women’s golf, softball, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, men’s indoor track & field, women’s indoor track & field, men’s outdoor track & field, women’s outdoor track & field and volleyball – all of which will compete in The American. The Shockers have been a member of the Missouri Valley Conference since 1945.

 

Wichita State’s men’s basketball program has a storied history, winning more than 1,500 contests in its 111-year history. The school has won 11 MVC regular-season championships, including four straight, and four tournament crowns, its most recent in 2017. Under current head coach Gregg Marshall, the Shockers have won more than 260 games for a nearly .750 winning percentage.

 

Marshall’s teams have captured five MVC regular-season titles and two tournament crowns. He led Wichita State to the school’s second-ever NCAA Final Four appearance in 2013 and was named National Coach of the Year in 2014. Marshall also guided the Shockers to the National Invitation Championship in 2011 and his teams have won 25-plus contests in eight consecutive seasons.

 

One of five schools to win an NCAA Tournament game in each of the last five years, Wichita State has registered 10 NCAA Tournament wins since 2013, tied for fifth-most in college basketball. Over the last four seasons, the Shockers are 59-1 in home games at Charles Koch Arena (10,506 capacity), the second most wins and second-best winning percentage behind Arizona’s 66-1 record at the McKale Center. Charles Koch Arena is home to the men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball programs.

 

Wichita State’s women’s basketball team won three consecutive MVC regular-season and tournament titles from 2013-15 and has appeared in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament on four occasions. The Shocker volleyball team won the MVC Tournament title for the fourth time in school history in 2016 and has earned a berth in the NCAA Championship nine of the last 10 seasons, including an appearance in the round of 16 in 2012.

 

On the baseball diamond, Wichita State has won more than 2,100 games and captured the 1989 College World Series crown. The team plays in 8,153-seat Eck Stadium and boasts 37 Major League Baseball players all-time.

 

The Wichita State men’s and women’s tennis programs also have experienced great success. The men’s team has captured 25 MVC tournament titles and advanced to the NCAA Championship on 11 occasions, while the women’s program has won 18 conference crowns and earned 10 NCAA Championship berths.

 

Beginning July 1, 2017, the Conference will consist of the University of Central Florida, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Connecticut, East Carolina University, the University of Houston, the University of Memphis, Southern Methodist University, the University of South Florida, Temple University, Tulane University, the U.S. Naval Academy and Wichita State University. Navy is a football-only member and Wichita State will be a basketball and Olympic sports-only member.

 

 

About the American Athletic Conference

The American Athletic Conference (The American), a member of the National Collegiate Association (NCAA) was formed in 2013. With the conference office in Providence, Rhode Island, The American is currently comprised of 12 member institutions. Under the leadership of Commissioner Mike Aresco, The American sponsors 21 championships – 10 for men and 11 for women; is a member of the College Football Playoff; began new television partnerships with ESPN and CBS Sports in 2014; and has a marketing partnership with IMG College. For more information, please visit www.TheAmerican.org.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Chuck Sullivan & Bernadette Cafarelli; COURTESY AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE COMMUNICATIONS

 

Denver Pioneers defenseman Will Butcher wins 2017 Hobey Baker Award

For Immediate Release
April 7, 2017
Chicago, Ill. 

The Hobey Baker Memorial Award announced today the 2017 recipient of college hockey’s top individual prize is Will Butcher from the University of Denver. The announcement came during the NCAA Frozen Four championship in a live ceremony held at the Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois and aired nationally on NHL Network.

As team captain in his senior season, Butcher has helped guide his Denver Pioneers to the Frozen Four national championship game as the number one ranked team in the nation. Butcher’s stellar performance as the premiere defenseman in the nation led to a host of post season awards including: the NCHC Player of the Year, Offensive Defenseman of the Year and for the second straight season, First Team all-conference. Earlier today, he was also honored by the American Hockey Coaches Association as a First Team All-American in the west.

Butcher becomes just the sixth defenseman in the 37 year history of the Hobey to be named a winner. He was the first blue-liner to be nominated as one of three Hobey hat trick finalists in eight years, last achieved when Matt Gilroy of Boston University won the award in 2009. Will joins fellow University of Denver defenseman Matt Carle (2006) to win the Hobey, becoming just the second Pioneer to be named college hockey’s top player.

Will Butcher (courtesy U of Denver)

Entering the national championship game, Butcher has scored seven goals, dished out 30 assists and his 37 points are second in the nation by a defenseman. The two-time All-American is equally efficient at both ends of the rink. His plus-minus of plus 27 is tied for sixth overall in the nation.

Hobey Baker was the legendary Princeton (1914) hockey player known as America’s greatest amateur athlete one hundred years ago. He redefined how the game was played with his coast-to-coast dashes in an era when hockey was contested with seven players and no forward passes. Baker, a member of the U.S. Army’s Air Corp, died testing a repaired aircraft at the end of World War I after he had completed his military service. The Hobey Baker Award criteria includes: displaying outstanding skills in all phases of the game, strength of character on and off the ice, sportsmanship and scholastic achievements. Butcher was selected from a group of ten finalists by a 27-member selection committee and online fan balloting.

Once his college career comes to a close, Will won’t have far to travel for his next stop – he is a draft pick of the Colorado Avalanche (5th round, 2013). Will has already completed his Bachelor’s degree in Business, and is an all-academic performer in the classroom. He was a finalist for the nationally recognized senior CLASS award. Butcher, a native of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin and an avid muskie fisherman, spends volunteer time with Hockey Saves, assisting military personal in learning and playing the game of hockey.

NOTE: Butcher will be honored at the Hobey Baker Award Banquet on May 25, 2017 at 317 On Rice Park in Saint Paul, Minn. Visit hobeybaker.com for more information on the Hobey Baker Memorial Award or to access images of the Hobey logo and trophy.

 

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PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Wally Shaver; COURTESY HOBEY BAKER AWARD

Reds rookie pitcher Amir Garrett stymies Cardinals’ bats in 2-0 MLB debut win

 

Amir Garrett controlled the Cardinals bats last night (photo courtesy MLBpressbox.com)

Most basketball fans remember Amir Garrett when he was a basketball star for St. John’s University in New York.

Heading into college, Garrett was a four-star basketball recruit, ranked 68th in the country, and the 21st best small forward. Garrett committed to play college basketball  for the St. John’s Red Storm men’s basketball team.

As a sophomore, Garrett started 11 games, averaging 5.4 ppg and 4.3 rpg in 20.1 minutes per game. After the 2012-13 season, Garrett announced that he was leaving St. John’s, with the intention of transferring to another college basketball team. He transferred to California State University, Northridge, and sat out the 2013–14 season due to transfer rules. He played two seasons of college basketball while pitching in the Reds minor league system.

The 6’5 left-hander made his debut Friday night against a team that the Reds always have problems with in the St. Louis Cardinals. And to make matters worse, in a place where they rarely ever win at, Busch Stadium.

But that did not seem to matter to the Cincinnati rookie pitcher, who has had a lot of hype heaped upon him since he signed with the Reds in 2011.

Garrett, the team’s number-1 pitching prospect, took the ball, went to the mound and pitched a two-hit masterpiece over the Cardinals in his major league debut, 2-0. The 24-year-old recorded 18 outs in six innings, throwing 78 pitches, striking out four and walking two.

His debut started off on the wrong foot by walking the first batter he faced. But settled down to retire 10 of the next 11 batters in the game.

The confident rookie told the media after the game that he wasn’t nervous at all during the day before the game. “I went shopping in the afternoon and that settled my mind down. That relaxed me”.

The much-improved Reds bullpen continues to impress.

Michael Lorenzen pitched a hitless seventh. And closer Raisel Iglesias pitched the final two innings for his second save of the young season.

Cincinnati beat their former teammate Mike Leake (0-1), who pitched well in eight innings, allowing six hits, striking out six and walking just one.

The Reds offense consisted of a Joey Votto RBI double in the sixth off of Leake which scored Billy Hamilton and a ninth inning opposite field homer by Scott Schebler in the ninth off of hard throwing lefty Kevin Siegrist.

The Cardinals never got a runner to second base until the ninth inning when Matt Carpenter took second base on defensive indifference with two outs.

 

**basketball information in this story courtesy of wikipedia commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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