08-10-2017 Tri-City Area Sports

Truex wins on true fuel-saving strategy

Martin Truex Jr. notched his fourth victory of the season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series by conserving gas, even though it meant a white-knuckle race to the finish as drivers passed him by.

The final 13 laps of Sunday’s I Love New York 355 at Watkins Glen International were by far the most exciting, as Truex Jr. held the lead and let it go in an effort to avoid hitting Pit Row one final time to top off his tank.

The strategy worked, and Truex Jr. matched his career-high number of wins in a single season. In addition to claiming his fourth trophy this season, he earned his 11th career victory. He led 24 of the road course race’s 90 laps.

Truex Jr. has certainly come in to his own over the last two years.  The Furniture Row driver joined the NASCAR circuit in 2004 but only participated in two races. In 2005, he ran seven before becoming a full-time driver in 2006.

Over the course of his 14 years in the Cup Series, Truex Jr. did not earn victories in nine of those years. His first victory came in 2007.

Following his first win, Truex Jr. endured a winless streak that lasted until 2013 when he tallied another trophy.

One win in 2015 led to four in 2016 and four – so far – in 2017. Like fine wine, Truex Jr. gets better with age.

Although he closed in on Truex Jr. on the final lap of the race, Matt Kenseth couldn’t overtake his competitor and finished second.

Daniel Suarez took third, which marked his highest finish of the season. He led 14 laps on Sunday and 26 total this year. Suarez has eight top 10 finishes this season.

Crossing the finish line in fourth place was Denny Hamlin.

Clint Bowyer rounded out the top five.

For those of you watching Dale Earnhardt’s final season on the circuit, he made an early day of it Sunday.  He suffered engine trouble almost out of the gate and ended the day in 37th place after leaving the track on the 22nd lap.

Drivers who led laps but did not finish in the top five included: Kyle Busch (21), Ryan Blaney (2), Chase Elliott (9), and Brad Keselowski (20).

It’s the Mitten State’s turn in the NASCAR spotlight. Teams are safely ensconced at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn for Sunday’s running of the Pure Michigan 400.

Kyle Larson has won the last two races at MIS, in June of this year and August of last year.  He finished 23rd at Watkins Glen, so expect him to be hard-charging this week.

Of the past eight races, the pole sitter has claimed victory five times. It’ll be interesting to see who qualifies first!

Glad-Peach Run/Bike/Walk

Results are in from the Coloma Glad-Peach run, bike, and walk event held Saturday, August 5.

A PEACH OF A RACE… The Coloma Glad-Peach 5k run and walk kicked off at 8:30 a.m. Saturday with a bevy of racers at the line. Starting with his best foot forward was Kevin Carollo of Fargo, North Dakota (far right, wearing bib 165). Carollo won the 5k this year with a time of 16:30 and the 10k in 2015 in the only times he has run at the Glad-Peach Festival. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

With perfect conditions at the time of the starting firecrackers, racers left the line in a bid to win first place.

The 5k run was won by Kevin Carollo, 48, of Fargo, North Dakota; he finished with a time of 16:30. Carollo previously won the 10k run in 2015 and returns to the area to visit his mother who lives in Benton Harbor. “I loved (this race) so much two years ago, I came back!” he exclaimed.

Luke LaPrad, 15, of Monroe, Michigan finished second with a time of 17:36. Third place went to Carter Finch, 16, of Grand Junction, MI. Finch completed the 5k run in a time of 17:49.

Bailey Wilson, 19, of New Richmond, Wisconsin won the 10k run. His time of 36:37 gave him the gold.

Jack Meeuwenberg, 52, or Hudsonville, MI took second place overall in the 10k with a time of 40:26.

Mike Haverdink of Hudsonville, MI finished third in the 10k. The 51-year-old ended the event with a time of 40:52.

Christine Washington, 50, of Stevensville crossed the finish line in first place in the 5k walk. She was followed by Kenneth Willer, 69, of Hartford (40:11) and Cheryl Bakker, 66, of Plainwell (also 40:11).

Nada Kramp continued her domination in the Glad-Peach 10k Walk. She finished first with a time of 1:04:18. Kramp, 60, of Stevensville has won the Glad-Peach 10k Walk every year since 2013. She also competes in the 5k walk events at Hartford and Watervliet.

Pamela Behm, 57, of Niles finished second (1:15:21) and Jane Glass, 52, of Benton Harbor took third (1:17:54).

First place in the 5k bike event went to Michael Gantt, 57, of Dowagiac. Using a 3:41 pace, Gantt completed the race in 11:24.

Doug Kraemer, 46, of Coloma finished second (13:56), while Matt Rosenbam, 42, of Benton Harbor took third (14:30).

An “Anonymous Participant” finished first in the 10k bike ride. The cyclist finished with a time of 17:07.

Martin Falsey, 68, of Coloma took second place (17:10) and was followed by Stephen Miller, 23, also of Coloma (17:25).

Two-hundred thirty-seven people ran the 5k, while 57 took part in the 10k run.

Seventy-two walkers completed the 5k, while eight went the distance in the 10k.

Eleven cyclists participated in the 5k bike event, and nine took part in the 10k.

With the sun shining, humidity low thanks to rain the previous day, and temperatures in the mid- and high sixties, contestants celebrated the perfect race conditions.

A PEACH-TACULAR FINISH… Marron Brookes of Buchanan was the first female finisher in the 5k run. She fi-nished 19th overall with a time of 21:15.97. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

Hartford Athletics begins new sports season in SW10

The Hartford Athletic sports season is now underway, with football practices beginning Monday and cross-country, soccer, and volleyball opening on Wednesday. Having departed the Southwestern Athletic Conference, Hartford will open their first playing contests later this month under the Southwest 10 Conference flag.

The SW10 Conference is made up of Bangor, Bloomingdale, Cassopolis, Centreville, Decatur, Eau Claire, Hartford, Marcellus, Mendon, and White Pigeon.

Marcellus and Mendon approved joining the new conference on November 21 of last year. Cassopolis and Centreville followed suite on November 28, Decatur’s approval came on December 5, with Bangor and Bloomingdale authorizing the measure on December 12.

White Pigeon approved joining the SW10 Conference on December 14, and a day later, Hartford gave the thumbs up. Eau Claire’s date of approval is was not readily available as the school’s board meeting minutes are not listed online.

Bangor and Hartford departed from the Southwestern Athletic Conference – Lakeshore Division, while Bloomingdale, Decatur, Eau Claire, and Marcellus left the SAC – Central Division.

Cassopolis, Centreville, Mendon, and White Pigeon were all part of the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph (BCS) Conference – Blue Division.

The new SW10 Conference president is Don Price of Marcellus. Cassopolis’ Matt Brawley was selected as vice president. The treasurer of the new conference is Alan Farnquist of Bloomingdale. Although Hartford does not currently hold a position, Athletic Director Nick Blackmer said, “A very nice attribute of only having 10 teams in a conference means everyone has an influence on decisions. We don’t operate on committees.”

The SAC falls from 20 schools to 14 and is realigned from three divisions (Lakeshore, Central, and Valley) into two (Lakeshore and Valley).

The SAC continues to morph. Coloma moved from the Wolverine Conference into the SAC just two years ago, giving area fans a treat to have all three schools in the same conference.  Now, however, it’s Hartford moving on.

“I’m excited for our community to see the positive changes that are going to be taking place.  We enjoyed being in the SAC but are embracing the new changes and look forward to the new challenges while building relationships with the new schools.”

All 10 schools in the SW10 are Class C and enrollment numbers range from 207 in Mendon to Bangor’s 350 students.

Hartford has the third-highest enrollment with 319 students.