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Sports Columns

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Districts and Regionals are completed, and Hershey looms ahead for 10 TIMES NEWS area wrestlers this week.

Those elite 10 will now get to navigate the rough waters of the PIAA State Championships, beginning Thursday at the Giant Center.

Four wins are what it takes to sail to the top of the 16-man brackets, but each match is a treacherous turn, with another top grappler battling to advance and to send another opponent tumbling into the consolation rounds.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Before you read on, take a moment or two and answer the following question: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

That question is the fifth of 19 that constitute what's know as Proust's Questionnaire, a feature found in each issue of Vanity Fair for more than 15 years. It's named after French novelist Marcel Proust for he felt that answering the questions ones that originally started as a parlor game in France revealed your true nature.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Over the next 24 hours, three TIMES NEWS area teams will play for District 11 basketball championships.

It's been almost a quarter of a century since the area has had at least three District champs. The last time that occurred was in 1986 when the Panther Valley boys and Marian girls won Class AA titles and the Weatherly boys and girls both won Class A crowns.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010
BOB FORD/times news Panther Valley's 103 pounder Nick O'Donnell (top) won a silver medal at districts this past weekend and is one of 24 TIMES NEWS area grapplers to qualify for regionals.

District 11 wrestlers are at the midway point on the Road to Hershey this weekend as Regional competition looms.

The District tournaments are now history, and the survivors are headed for their respective Regionals, which is a chance for them to test their skills in interdistrict competition.

For Class AA matmen, this week's attention is turned toward Wilson (West Lawn) High School near Reading and the PIAA Southeast Regional with Districts 1 and 3.

For AAA grapplers, it's a trip to Bethlehem Freedom for the Northeast AAA Regional with Districts 2 and 4.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Although I rarely go to movies in theaters (last time was 1989 to see "Rainman") or even rent them, I find myself reading every best-of-the-year movie list I find. The same is true for best-of-the-year lists of music CDs (which I rarely buy) and theater productions (which I rarely attend).

Call it vicarious living if you will, but for some reason I'm drawn to best-of lists.

The same is true for articles that predict the trends for the upcoming year, especially the ones about health and fitness. I've probably read a dozen or so for 2010, and I feel the need to respond.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010
BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS JIm Thorpe's Dillon Smith wrestles Mike Priest of Wyomissing during last year's AA Regionals..

Earlier this season, Dillon Smith reached a milestone that will keep any wrestler wearing Jim Thorpe's red, white and blue chasing him for awhile.

The senior 145 pounder is now the Olympians' all-time winningest wrestler with 133 victories.

That puts him in select company in the Thorpe grappling annals, as he has surpassed Mike Wernett, a 2000 graduate who had 115 career wins; Ryan Bennick, a 2003 alumnus, who had 106; Shawn Bradley, a 2007 grad, who had 105; and his brother Ethan, who graduated with exactly 100 in 2007.

Friday, February 19, 2010

By ED HEDES

Playoff time on the high school basketball level ... District 11's version of March Madness, only it's still February ...

If the way some of the league semifinals have turned out is any kind of preview what we're in for when the District 11 tournament gets under way next week, you better get to some of the venues early to get a good seat.

The other night I was fortunate to be at Martz Hall in Pottsville for the Schuylkill League girls semis and to no surprise, there was quite a crowd on hand.

Thursday, February 18, 2010
NANCY SCHOLZ/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Northern Lehigh coach Dave Oertner yells out instructions to his players during a recent game. The perfect regular season that the Bulldogs put together is a very rare accomplishment.

When he first looked at this year's schedule, Northern Lehigh girls' basketball coach Dave Oertner expected the unexpected.

The fourth-year Bulldogs' mentor truly believed that his team had a fair shot of accomplishing something rarely done in high school basketball an undefeated regular season.

That's a bit unusual to hear from any coach even before his team has taken the court.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010
MIKE FEIFEL/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS The Hedash brothers (from left), Craemer, Connor and Colin, have been racking up victories for Northern Lehigh this season.

The competition is usually fierce in the Northern Lehigh wrestling room.

With the Hedash brothers, those battles can be taken to a higher level.

When senior 152 pounder Craemer Hedash and junior 171 pound sibling Colin square off, there are times when the Bulldogs' grappling confines can barely contain it.

"We wrestle a lot in the room, and it usually ends up with me being thrown in the air," said Craemer with a laugh. "Overall, it's great wrestling against him."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

According to the writing great F. Scott Fitzgerald, last week's column required you to possess "first-rate intelligence," a characteristic he feels you need to honestly assess two extremely different ideas simultaneously.