The Freehold Area Running Club kicked off its Summer Race Series Wednesday night at Battlefield State Park, Manalapan. Celebrating its 20th year, the FARC Summer Race Series is one of the oldest in the state. Freehold’s Eric Johnson won the first race of 2002, covering the 5K course within the park in 18:38. Megan Peterson of Hightstown captured the women’s race in 19:35. Dick Van Benthuyson of Monmouth Beach (32:11) edged Howell’s Ben Ottmer (32:39) to win the racewalk competition. Joan Venslavskly of Monmouth Beach was first among the women racewalkers (35:16). The age group winners in the first race of the year for the men were: 12-and-under, Richie Roman, Morganville (22:29); 13-19, 1. Jose Lucio Melendez, Freehold (19:28), 2. Mirza Salihogic, Freehold (20:18), 3. Jeffrey Smith, East Brunswick (20:28); 20-29, 1. Trevor Bryan, Ocean Grove (19:12), 2. Eric Fernstrom, Monmouth Junction section of South Brunswick (19:22), 3. Tom Brieva, Manalapan (19:32); 30-39, Glenn Noe, Tinton Falls (19:18), 2. Tom Erdeck, Flemington (19:35), 3. Jim French, Manalapan (20:31); 40-49, 1. Bill Winterbottom, Jackson (18:51), 2. Mark Leary, Roselle Park (19:52), 3. Rich O’Brien, Princeton (20:30); 50-59, 1. Tony Bleach, Cranbury, (23:00), 2. Bob Roman, Morganville (23:10), 3. Jim Lau, Freehold (24:25); 60-69, David Gross, Marlboro (23:04); 70-plus, Jim Robbins, Eatontown (30:34). Women age group winners were: 19-and-under, 1. Laura Saffer, Manalapan (21:13), 2. Erin Coyne, Freehold (22:17), 3. Cheryl Lynch, Howell (23:06); 20-29, 1. Allison Halsey, Middletown (21:01), 2. Maureen McCartney, Neptune City (24:24), 3. Liz Spector, Manalapan (27:06); 30-39, 1. Danielle Soldo, East Windsor (20:49), 2. Dorothy Peterson, Manalapan (26:13), 3. Laura Baldichino, Allentown (32:09); 40-49, 1. Sue Patla, Matawan (22:52), 2. Robin Domanski, Manalapan (23:05), 3. Lisa Herrick, Howell (24:18). The series continues tonight with the 5K going off at 6:50 p.m. Children’s races start things off at 6:10. On July 17 the club will celebrate 20 years of the summer series with an anniversary run. For more information on the series or other FARC events, visit the club’s Web site at farcnj.com, or call (732) 431-2627.
The NJ Colts are looking for host families. The Colts play in the prestigious Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League, and they’re looking for a few families to provide housing from June 1 to Aug. 1 for players who live out of our area. The players are hard-working, respectful student-athletes, according to team representatives. Several former NJ Colts players have gone on to play professional baseball. Home games are played at Brookdale Community College. Families that are interested in housing and would like additional information are asked to call Bob Hoffman at (732) 671-0616. The Aberdeen Matawan Huskies, a boys’ U16 team, are looking for a few dedicated players for the upcoming spring season. The team will be playing in Mid-New Jersey league with home field and practices at Matawan High School. If interested, e-mail Soccersug@aol.com. The Jersey Dreamers 18U baseball team is looking for two players, including a high quality pitcher, to complete their 2003 roster. Plan to attend Pony Nationals and college showcase tournaments. Call either Ralph at (732) 495-2447 or Warren at (732) 972-8848 for tryout. Practices start in December. The Coast to Coast Amateur Stars are now seeking baseball players ages 11-18 and softball players ages 14-19 from New Jersey who would like the opportunity to represent the United States at a two-week summer tournament in Australia. Team age groups are 11-12, 13-15 and 16-18 for the boys, and 14-15 and 16-19 for the girls. The squads are led by top college coaches and pro scouts who provide a unique perspective on what it’s like to play at the game’s highest level. For additional information, call toll free (888) 356-4455 or visit the Web site www.coasttocoastathletics.com.
The Shore Regional High School girls lacrosse team runs through a practice routine before the start of a game against St. John Vianney held at Shore Regional in West Long Branch on April 29. ERIC SUCAR staff Above: Shore Regional’s Kerry Sullivan (l) and St. John Vianney’s Victoria Freeman chase after a loose ball during the first half of their lacrosse game in West Long Branch. Right: St. John Vianney’s Shannon Mc- Dermott (l) tries to follow Shore Regional’s Alissa Watts. The host Shore Blue Devils were victorious, 16-7. PHOTOS BY ERIC SUCAR staff
Long Branch High School will be the place to be on Jan. 12 to see some of the best boys high school basketball in New Jersey.Long Branch is hosting a quartet of games in the Boardwalk Hoop Group Showcase that will feature legendary head coach Bob Hurley and his St. Anthony High School team, Karl Towns (who has committed to the University of Kentucky) and the St. Joseph of Metuchen High School squad, as well as some of the Shore Conference’s best.The day will tip off at 12 p.m. with a Shore Conference battle between Point Pleasant Beach High School and Manasquan High School.Manasquan, picked to be one of the best teams in the Shore this year, is 6-1 and led by Jimmy Walsh and J.R. Hobbie. The Warriors also have Tom Toole and Jack Fay back from last year’s 21-win season. Hobbie scored 49 points in a win over Middletown High School North on Dec. 28.Point Pleasant Beach, also considered one of the Shore’s top squads, enters the game 6-0. Balanced scoring has been a key for the Garnet Gulls with Matt Farrell, P.J. Kineavy and Dominique Uhl averaging double figures,At 1:45 p.m. Geoff Billett’s Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) team has the unenviable task of playing St. Anthony of Jersey City (8-0), which is the top-ranked team in the state. The Friars have won the last two NJSIAA Tournament of Champions titles and are riding a 73-game winning streak. Hurley, as usual, has a very deep and talented team with Hallice Cooke, who is headed for Oregon State University, Josh Brown, who will attend Temple University, and Kentrell Brooks (Marist College) leading the way.After a 0-2 start, CBA has righted the ship and improved to 5-3. Billett has a very deep bench and uses it nightly. During this 5-1 streak, the Colts have had a different leading scorer each night. Anyone is capable of having a big night. The lineup features just two seniors, Dan Andree and Tom Aldridge. Evan Gordinier and Trevon Gross are the other returnees from last year’s 14-10 season. Louie Pillari, Rob Kennedy, Shaun Belby, Jack Laffey and Kevin Neller are all part of the rotation and come up with big games for the Colts. Towns and St. Joseph from the Greater Middlesex Conference will tackle last year’s Shore Conference Tournament champions, Neptune High School, at 3:30 p.m. The Falcons (4-2) also have a top point guard in Marques Townes and are considered one of the top 10 teams in the Garden State.Neptune is led by Keith Kirkwood. The Scarlet Fliers are just 2-3, but they have played the best with losses to St. Anthony and Elizabeth High School.Host Long Branch will close out the day at 5:15 p.m. against a very solid Colts Neck High School team.The Green Wave, like Neptune, have stepped out of conference to play some of the state’s top teams like Seton Hall Preparatory School and Eastside High School (Paterson), which explains their 3-4 record. They own an early-season victory over Neptune.Terrell Cox and Dwight Clark are both averaging double figures for coach Don Covin’s team. Long Branch has a senior and junior laden team that figures to contend with Neptune and Ocean Township High School for the B North title. D’Andre Wilford, Myson Pennington and Raphael Williams are returnees from last year’s 12-11 squad.The Green Wave will be taking on a 5-1 Colts Neck squad that some thought might be down this year after the loss of two career 1,000-point scorers, Hunter Wysocki and Sean O’Reilly.But, Brandon Federici has stepped up to become one of the conference’s leading scorers (23 points per game). James Sobieski provides an inside presence. Seniors Tim Vangelas and Lucas Lima are experienced, while sophomore guard Chris O’Reilly has been an important addition. CBA playing St. Anthony
Once derided as the tinkerman while in charge of Chelsea, Claudio Ranieri’s secret for Leicester City’s Premier League title charge this season is astonishingly straightforward – a settled team that virtually picks itself.The statistics tell the tale – after 31 games Leicester have used only 18 players in their starting line-ups.To put that into perspective, title rivals Tottenham Hotspur, five points adrift of Ranieri’s men, have used 20 players, Arsenal 23, Manchester City 22 and United 26, according to www.stats.com.While other managers rotate their squads, sometimes, but not always, to cope with demands in Europe, stability has been at the core of Leicester’s relentless consistency.The spine of the team, goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, defensive rocks Wes Morgan and Robert Huth, midfield workhorses Marc Albrighton and Danny Drinkwater and 35-goal striking duo Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, have started 29 or more league games while French midfielder N’Golo Kante has started 26.It has been a different story for the chasing pack – Tottenham have just four players who have started at least 29 games, while there are none who have reached that mark from Arsenal and the two Manchester clubs.A year ago football followers would have struggled to name half of Leicester’s team. They can now reel it off, just as they could the great Liverpool, Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa sides who claimed titles using 20 or less players.Manchester United were the last side to win the Premier League using 20 or fewer starters, in 2002-03.Former West Ham United striker Paolo Di Canio said Ranieri’s clarity of thought has been key.“He understands how to put the right players in the right position and they give everything for the team,” he says of his fellow Italian. “That is the magic combination.“Then some players are giving 200 per cent of their potential every game. That is fantastic.”UNSUNG HEROESLeicester’s playing style is as simple as Ranieri’s team selections. They rely on the old fashioned virtues of work rate, no-nonsense defending and speedy attacks.While Vardy and Mahrez have grabbed the headlines, Leicester’s defenders are the unsung heroes – protecting the lead on 17 of the 21 occasions Leicester scored first.Four of Leicester’s last five games have resulted in 1-0 wins with 13 of their victories so far by the odd goal, proof of their ability to shackle opposing forward lines and protect Schmeichel who on average makes just 2.63 saves per game.Leicester defend from the top back and in Kante, a £5.6 million bargain from French club Caen, have a defensive shield in the mould of Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets.He has made a league-leading 132 tackles this season and is second in interceptions and has struck up a telepathic understanding with new England cap Drinkwater.Ranieri has not tinkered but acted when it was needed in September after conceding five goals at home to Arsenal.He replaced Ritchie De Laet and Jeff Schlupp with Danny Simpson and Christian Fuchs, a move that worked wonders.Having leaked 19 goals in their first 11 matches, they have conceded just 12 since.At the other end of the pitch Leicester have struck 54 goals, second only to Tottenham’s 56, but unlike their north London title rivals they have shunned possession.They average 44.8 per cent this season with 334 completed passes per match (the third lowest in the top flight).Purists might scoff but once the Foxes do have the ball their transition from defence to attack is lethal thanks to the guile of Mahrez and the pace of Vardy.Tellingly 35 per cent of their goal attempts are on target and their 13 per cent conversion rate is the best in the league.“They play simple football but in a fantastic way,” Di Canio said. “I am proud of Ranieri. He’s done an incredible job.“Whatever happens they will have to make a monument at the front of the stadium for him.”
MANCHESTER City look to take an important step in their transformation into one of the world’s leading clubs on Tuesday (9.45pm) by reaching the Champions League semi-finals for the first time.To do so England’s last survivors need a win or a 0-0 or 1-1 draw at home to Paris St Germain after holding the Ligue 1 champions 2-2 at the Stade de France last week.For three successive seasons since first qualifying for Europe’s premier club competition, City were frustrated in their attempts to make significant progress.They failed to come out of the group stage in 2012-13 and then lost in the last 16 in the following two years.This time City won Group D ahead of Juventus before knocking out Dinamo Kiev 3-1 on aggregate.Goals by Kevin de Bruyne and Fernandinho in Paris mean that Manuel Pellegrini’s men have an excellent chance of qualifying for the last four.Their hopes were boosted when coach Pellegrini said leading scorer Sergio Aguero would be fit despite limping off in the 2-1 Premier League win over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.“He had just a kick, it’s not a problem,” the Chilean told reporters.City captain Vincent Kompany though will not make his return from injury Pellegrini added. Central defender Kompany, who took part in the open section of a training session, has endured an injury-disrupted campaign and a recurrence of a calf problem has kept the Belgium international on the sidelines for nearly a month.“He is not 100 per cent. It is not possible,” Pellegrini said.Midfielder David Silva, who missed Saturday’s win over West Brom due to a persistent ankle injury, has also returned to training. Winger Raheem Sterling and defender Nicolas Otamendi are still sidelined.France midfielder Samir Nasri returned for the West Brom game but is not in the Champions League squad because of the lengthy thigh injury he suffered in October.“The most important aspect of this team is to score. Do we think we need to draw 0-0? That’s not the way we normally play,” Pellegrini said.“I don’t think one of the team is favourites. We went there to try and win the game and tomorrow we’ll do exactly the same.“The important thing is to focus on getting to semi. After that you look at your opponent. We must play with the same trust.”Defender Bacary Sagna believes the Citizens will be able to cope with the continued absence of Kompany. “Mangala has been strong in recent games so with or without Kompany we have a good team,” said Sagna.“The first leg is in the past. You can only look forward. We’re at home in front of our fans. I’m sure we can deal with the pressure.“To qualify would be amazing, I know Paris are going to come here to give us problems. I’m sure we can do it again.”PSG coach Laurent Blanc was dismayed at conceding a scrappy second goal in the first leg and at losing defender David Luiz and midfielder Blaise Matuidi through suspension.One bonus could be the return of Marco Verratti who is recovering faster than expected from a groin injury.Blanc made nine changes, resting a number of players including striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, for their 2-0 victory over Guingamp in Ligue 1 on Saturday.Defender Marquinhos was included and then said he was fit to act as a possible replacement for Luiz on Tuesday.The French club won 2-1 in England in the last round to knock out Chelsea and reach their fourth successive quarter-final.PSG need a similar result to go one step further this time.
Andy Murray is ready for “one more big push” this week as he tries to steer defending champions Britain into the Davis Cup final.Britain take on Argentina indoors in Glasgow and world number two Murray, who spearheaded the team’s charge last year, will again be key to their hopes.An exhausting European summer that began with him reaching the French Open final, and then saw him win a second Wimbledon title and retain his Olympic crown, caught up with the Scot when he lost to Kei Nishikori in the US Open quarter-finals.But Murray is planning to be back at full throttle this weekend, starting with Friday’s opener against former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro in a repeat of their gruelling final at last month’s Rio Games.“I took a few days off after New York, then came here and I’ve been practising since Sunday. I get a little break after I’m finished here so one more big push this weekend,” he said.“We want to try to do it again this year if possible. It’s going to be hard but I want to win all the events I can. I want to try and finish the year as strong as possible.“It’s been the best year of my career so far and I hope I can keep it going,” added Murray who won 11 out of 11 rubbers for his country last year.His clash with Del Potro will be pivotal with the Argentine, working his way back after multiple wrist surgery, a healthy 12-4 in Davis Cup singles.Del Potro is 64th in the world, having been number four in 2010, but is still ranked below Guido Pella and Federico Delbonis who are Argentina’s other singles options.Kyle Edmund, who achieved his best grand slam result when reaching the US Open fourth round this year, faces Pella, ranked 49, in the second singles.Murray is likely to team up with brother Jamie in Saturday’s doubles against Delbonis and Leonardo Mayer.Croatia host France in the other semi-final in Zadar.
The game was in the balance right from the starting whistle.Motu Koita ‘s centre Boio Lohia knew exactly who to give the ball to to score quick points.While goal shooter Boio Gari kept the defenders busy, Lohia fired the ball to a free goal attack in Beverly English to score.But Kairuku Hiri used a similar plan to get back on the offensive and score.Goal attack, Dianne Lahari kept the defence second guessing and found gaps to feed the ball go goal shooter Pauline Thomas to score.By the end of the first half, Kairuku Hiri were just in front 19-15.Into the second half is where Kairuku Hiri took the game right to Motu Koita putting pressure on the defence.This plan gave Kairuku Hiri the edge with more possession to allow Lahari and Thomas to guidw their team home to a win to a narrow win.In the other A Grade game, Alotau managed a one point win over Central winning 32-31.
In a landmark decision in a case which has been dragging-on for over 10-years, the Court overturned an initial verdict that the evidence from the criminal trial of Eufemiano Fuentes should be destroyed and handed over to authorities.Over 200 frozen bags of blood and plasma were seized from Fuentes’ clinic in the Spanish capital after a police raid in 2006, with the doctor found to have provided blood doping to several of the world’s leading cyclists.Doping was not considered an offence in Spain at the time, with Fuentes having initially been given a one-year suspended sentence on public health grounds.The Royal Spanish Cycling Federation, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the Italian National Olympic Committee appealed the initial verdict of Judge Julia Patricia Santamaria.The verdict will come as a surprise to many due to the lack of progress in the case, with the Court, unlike the initial outcome, putting doping at the centre of their decision.A key part of the decision focuses on the notion that the right to privacy and not having the blood analysed had been compromised by the athletes concerned due to the blood not having been “within the body of the person”, while the case was also due to a “chance finding”.”Attention to the aim pursued is to fight against doping, which undermines the essential ethical value of sport, which is fair play to prevent competition on equal terms,” a statement from the Court read.t was also stated that if the judgement had not been reached, it would have created “the danger that other athletes may be tempted to take drugs and a negative social message is issued to the effect that the end justifies any means.”The Court’s ruling cannot be appealed.Due to the 10th anniversary of the start of the case passing three weeks ago, the statute of limitations are now likely to be the biggest problem facing anti-doping authorities.Although the statute of limitations ran out at the beginning of this month, insidethegames understands that lawyers believe that there could be a prededent under the principle of force majeure, which may allow cases to go ahead.In February, Enrique Gómez Bastida, director of the Spanish Anti-Doping Agency (AEPSAD), claimed it would be difficult to obtain DNA from those involved, in addition to the issues of the time elapsed since the beginning of the case.During the initial trial, Fuentes had indicated that he would be prepared to name the athletes in the case.“WADA acknowledges the Madrid Court of Appeal for having reached the decision to provide anti-doping authorities with this crucial evidence,” said David Howman, WADA director general, following the verdict.“We are dismayed that it took so long to receive the decision but we will now partner with the other parties that have been granted access [to the blood bags], to determine our legal options vis-à-vis analysing the blood and plasma bags.”UCI President Brian Cookson echoed WADA by stating: The UCI applauds this decision, although it is regrettable that we had to wait this long, in the end the message sent is clear.”Only a small number of cyclists involved have been outed, including Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich of Germany, Spanish Alejandro Valverde and Italy’s Ivan Basso.Top players from tennis, football and other high profile sports also been alleged to have been a part of the doping ring.The Court also ruled that Eufemiano Fuentes and Jose Ignacio Labarta, who had been a sport director at the Comunidad Valenciana team at the time of the initial case, have both been acquitted of public health charges.They ruled that “the conduct of Eufemiano Fuentes and Jose Ignacio Labarta Barrera does not fit the crime for which they were charged and convicted in the first instance.”Last week, Spanish athletics star Jesús España had launched a petition to request the transfer of the blood bags, stating that it was “necessary that the Spanish society and the Spanish athletes know the truth and to preserve the integrity of Spanish sport.”The petition received nearly 48,000 signatures of support.
The tournament, which will be played between 8-18 December, features the six continental club champions and a representative of the host nation.The tournament will take place at the Suita City Football Stadium in Osaka and the International Stadium Yokohama, with the latter to host the final having also previously been the venue for the deciding match of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan between Brazil and Germany.2014 FIFA Club World Cup champions Real Madrid were the most recent club to book their ticket to Japan when they won the UEFA Champions League in May, with South America’s representative to be determined when the Copa Libertadores final is played later this month. The two other confirmed participants are Club America (CONCACAF) and Auckland City FC (OFC) who both won their respective continental championships in April.Auckland City will open the competition in the First Round against the yet-to-be-determined host side in Yokohama on 8 December.They will eventually be joined by the winners of the AFC Champions League winners and the CAF Champions League, as well as the J.League champions representing the host nation.