Birthday Classic at Monmouth Park

first_imgClockwise from right: Horses and jockeys make their way to the finish line during the “JoAnn Snyder Birthday Classic” race at Monmouth Park in Oceanport on July 11. Jockeys and their horses sprint toward the finish line. Channing Hill sits atop Actin Good as they make their way to the finish line during the “27th Annual Cook Family & Friends Picnic” race.last_img

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Keyport’s veterans lead improved boys basketball team into playoffs

first_img Keyport A s a work in progress over the past few years, the Keyport High School boys basketball team is showing some healthy signs of improvement in the 2012-13 season. Failing to post double-digit win totals the past three years or advance beyond the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group I quarterfinals, there is now a different outlook for the Red Raiders team, which is 12-5 overall and currently seeded third in the Shore Conference B Central Division at 8-5.“This is a group of juniors and seniors that has been playing together and working for this year,” head coach Phil Recco said. “We lost one senior last year — a point guard. But for the most part, the majority of our team has come back and [has] really been looking forward to this year.”The veteran team is showing the kind of positive results that it was not able to muster a year ago. Keyport went 6-17 last season with a 3-9 mark against division opponents. Recco, who is in his eighth season at the helm of the Red Raiders, believes there was something gained during those losses.“Last year, we were close,” the coach said. “Every game came right down to the end and we lost several in overtime. We had to learn how to win.” That knowledge was put into practice in a Jan. 24 contest against Mater Dei High School. Down by three points with little time remaining on the clock, junior guard Kevin Walsh heaved up a half-court shot that connected to send the game in overtime. The Red Raiders went on to outscore the Seraphs 20-13 in the extra session to seal the victory, 61-54.“This year, everything is coming together,” said Recco. “The same kids have been on varsity for three years and have the experience of playing together and being close in late-game situations.”Keyport has not relied on half-court shots to win most of their games this season. In fact, they have distanced themselves quite a bit offensively in many of their victories, as witnessed by point totals of 70 or more in seven games, over 85 points in two contests, and a 94- point effort against South River High School on Jan. 14.Scoring has been spread well across the team, but the most prominent player on the court for the Red Raiders has been junior guard Alex Thomson. In his third season, Thomson leads the team with 17 points per game. He has also averaged 7.4 rebounds per game and five assists, and contributed a total of 30 3-pointers over the course of the season.Recco attributes Thomson’s size and the flexibility in his game as key reasons why he’s found such great success.“It helps when you’re a 6-foot-4 guard,” he said. “He’s a tough matchup because he’s so tall. He can play outside, he can be put down on the block against smaller guards and he can move out to shoot threes. He’s versatile because of his size.“He can handle the ball and is quick in terms of dribbling, so he creates matchup problems for whoever [the other team] puts on him” continued Recco, who also pointed out Thomson’s ability to create open space for his teammates, including his brother, Connor, down low, and Walsh, for 3-pointers.Connor Thomson, a senior center, has made his mark on the defensive end by leading the team with 9.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game. He has also scored 14.2 points per game and notched over 600 points during his high-school career, which Recco considers “a great accomplishment for a post player because he doesn’t have the ball in his hands every possession.The elder Thomson’s greatest contribution to the Red Raiders, however, is in his actions as the team’s captain.“He’s been our leader,” Recco said. “He’s [also] the captain of the football team and everybody respects him. He keeps everybody in check and has really come a long way.”The Thomson brothers are joined by Walsh in the starting rotation, which also includes senior forwards Connor Hubler (6.3 rebounds per game) and Tyler Alvarez. The Red Raiders boast some depth off their bench with seniors Greg Armstrong and Ljube Boskic, junior Ezra Hill and sophomore Anthony Fernandez.Even with its vast improvement over previous seasons, Keyport’s season has not been without its struggles. The five losses on its record are all against division opponents, including two defeats at the hands of Keansburg High School. The second of those losses was a close 54-51 final on Jan. 28. Keyport squandered a 5-point lead in the final minute of the game.“It was one of those tough losses,” Recco said, noting that the team would like to face Keansburg again in the state tournament.The Red Raiders also fell twice against B Central’s second-place team, St. Rose High School (17-4 overall, 12-2 division), including the most recent loss on Feb. 4 by a 65-44 score. The other Keyport loss was a 74-52 final on Jan. 16 against Point Pleasant Beach High School (17-1 overall), which suffered its first loss of the season on Feb. 2 against Lakewood High School but still leads B Central with an undefeated 12-0 division record.The Red Raiders will play the Garnet Gulls one more time at home before the end of the regular season, and Recco believes it will be a good test for his team heading into the tournaments. Following that game on Feb. 7, Keyport closes out the season with another home contest on Feb. 8 against South Amboy High School.The Shore Conference Tournament, which Keyport last made in 2010, is scheduled to begin on Feb. 10 and the Red Raiders’ first game will be on Feb. 12. The state tournament begins on Feb. 26. Keyport’s last Central Jersey Group I championship came in 2004.“We’ve been through so much,” Recco said. “We’re ready to make a run.” Thomson brothers, Walsh pace Red Raiders to 12-5 record BY NEIL BORENSTEIN Staff Writer last_img read more

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Baghdatis advances into Kuala Lumpur second round

first_imgBy Nemanja BjedovMarcos Baghdatis defeated Argentinean Carlos Berlocq 7-6(3), 6-3 in the opening round of the ATP World Tour 250 Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur yesterday morning.There were no breaks of serve in the first set, but the 28-year-old Cypriot did survive a scare when he was serving to stay in the set at 5-4 and 0-30 down; however, he managed to level the score and eventually claim the set in the tie-break.Solitary break of serve in the second set proved to be more than enough for Baghdatis to clinch his 14th win of the season and progress into the second round after an hour and 32 minutes.World number 48 Baghdatis will now take on the second-seed Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland in the second round.The two players clashed last month in a four-set third-round contest at the US Open, and Wawrinka prevailed before going on to reach his first major semifinal.That was the third consecutive victory for Wawrinka over Baghdatis, including a second-round victory at last year’s Australian Open and a third-round win at the Indian Wells Masters in 2008Baghdatis has yet to record a victory over the Swiss.The Cypriot  is bidding to reach the final in Kuala Lumpur for the second time, having finished runner-up in 2011 when he lost to Serbian Janko Tipsarevic.last_img read more

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Balotelli completes move to Liverpool

first_imgBy Mark MeadowsItaly striker Mario Balotelli has joined Liverpool from AC Milan on a “long-term” deal, the Premier League club said on Monday.The 24-year-old is the big signing Liverpool fans have craved since selling last season’s top scorer Luis Suarez to Barcelona in July but Balotelli’s famous on and off field antics may not sit well with some at Anfield.The former Manchester City player returns to England after only a season and a half at boyhood club Milan, who are continuing to cut costs to the dismay of supporters.“I’m very happy. We’ve been talking about coming here and now I’m happy to be here,” Balotelli told the club’s official website (www.liverpoolfc.com).“Liverpool are one of the best teams here in England and the football is very good here. It’s a great team with young players, and that’s why I came here.”The transfer fee was not disclosed but media reports have speculated the amount is around 16 million pounds.Liverpool surprised pundits by finishing runners-up to City in the Premier League last season after years of woe and have recruited a host of players with the cash received for Suarez but Balotelli is the biggest name so far.England World Cup players Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert arrived from Southampton along with Dejan Lovren while Emre Can and Lazar Markovic are among others to have signed.Balotelli’s return to England is something of a surprise given his profound wish to quit City for Milan in January 2013 but economic realities dictate policy at Silvio Berlusconi’s once mighty club these days.Other top players such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic have been sold to balance the books at the seven-times European champions, who could only finish eighth in Serie A last term and start the season under novice coach Filippo Inzaghi in near disarray.Their first Serie A encounter is at home to Lazio on Aug. 31 when the San Siro is likely to let Berlusconi know in no uncertain terms about their unhappiness over Balotelli’s sale.Liverpool, back in the Champions League this term unlike Milan, visit Manchester City in domestic action later on Monday.last_img read more

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Apollon beat APOEL to throw title race wide open

first_imgBy Iacovos ConstantinouA goal midway through the second half was enough to give Apollon the three points against leaders APOEL and throw the championship race wide open with two more games to play. At the other end of the table, Othellos Athienou said goodbye to the first division after they lost to Nea Salamina in Larnaca.Ton Caanen, Apollon’s coach, had to wait four games before he could savour victory with his new team, but it could not have come at a better time. With the crucial win, the Limassol team is two points off the top and if they manage to draw level on points with APOEL, they hold the goal advantage.The Dutchman outwitted APOEL’s Thorsten Fink as his team controlled play throughout the 90 minutes. Merkis was dominant at the back while Apollon’s two wingbacks snuffed out any chance of the visitors gaining an advantage on the flanks.Up front Papoullis and Thuram were a constant menace and should have scored more than the solitary goal.After the game Caanen congratulated his players for their flawless performance but admitted: “We are not favourites yet for the title.”In yet another game APOEL were a shambles. According to Fink, his team’s game-plan was to sit deep, absorb the pressure and hit Apollon on the break.“All my players were in poor form. We shall analyse the game and work hard for our next match,” he added.In fact Fink got it wrong as not all his players played badly as APOEL’s 37-year-old keeper Chiotis was probably the man of the match as it was his heroics that kept the scoreline at a ‘respectable’ level. For the record the only goal of the game came in the 66th minute when Greek striker Papoulis lobbed the ball past Chiotis after the keeper had twice thwarted Apollon’s strikers from close range and with APOEL’s defence unable to clear the ball, Papoulis made no mistake at the third attempt.In a poor game in Nicosia, Omonia defeated Anorthosis 2-1 with all the goals being scored in the first half.Fofana blasted Omonia into the lead with a thunderous strike from the edge of the area only for the visitors’ top striker Makris to equalise midway into the half. The winner was scored by Kirm nine minutes before the break.Omonia seem to have tied up fourth place but are still two points off third that guarantees European qualification.In the last Group A game, AEK made hard work of their tie against a youthful Ermis and needed a 68th minute Colautti header to give them the three points.Mitides had given AEK a 12th minute lead but Ermis’ captain Papathanasiou equalised just before the break. Othellos Athienou will be the team relegated to the second division this season as they lost 1-0 to Nea Salamina.The only goal of the game was scored by Enrique in the 56th minute. Ayia Napa and Doxa were both celebrating at the end of their goalless draw in Paralimni while AEL continued their miserable play-off run with yet another defeat to Ethnikos Achnas this time.last_img read more

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We need head-to-head rivalries to switch on fans, says Coe

first_imgAthletics needs more head-to-head rivalries to reach younger fans who have switched off from a sport that has become boring, according to IAAF president Sebastian Coe.The sport had been “irreparably damaged” by the corruption and doping scandals that have overshadowed the early months of his tenure, Coe added in a BBC programme entitled ‘Can Seb Coe Save Athletics?’ broadcast on Saturday.Just as important as regaining trust was revamping a schedule that for most of the year meant there was no top-quality track-and-field action to watch, he added.“There isn’t enough athletics, we kid ourselves but there is not enough,” former Olympic champion Coe said. “We go from September through to May where frankly there is not much to be talking about or writing about; we have to remedy that.“We have to extend the season into climates where you can compete and we have to develop those markets and make sure the athletes go head to head much more often.”While tennis enjoys rivalries such as those between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal, and football has Barcelona and Bayern Munich vying for superiority, athletics struggles for the same appeal.Coe himself enjoyed a fierce rivalry on the track with fellow Briton Steve Ovett in the early 1980s and their races over 800 and 1,500 metres generated huge crowds and television audiences.Finding more Usain Bolts would help but athletics was not a conveyor belt, Coe said, adding that the top names in the sport’s various disciplines needed to be more visible on the track and also in social media, an area he said athletics was bad at.“We have agents and managers who at the start of the season are saying: ‘Our guy is going to have a quiet year this year.’“It’s like Barcelona selling season tickets and saying Lionel Messi will only play one in every three or four games,” Coe said.“Usain Bolt is a genius but what we have to do at the IAAF is to make sure people know as much and are excited about the athletes like (New Zealand shot-putter) Valerie Adams who are extraordinary athletes too.”The format of the world championships, which will be in London next year, needed to change, he said.“Has what we are watching changed dramatically since we were competing? Yes, in little ways,” he said.“But people were prepared back in 1983 to sit through nine or 10 days of a world championships. They are not going to do that now.“We have to be realistic. Will we have a world championships format that is shorter? No, not straight away. Will we have that in five years? We have to. It’s about survival and doing some really radical things.”last_img read more

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Wimbledon order of play on Sunday

first_imgWimbledon order of play on SundayOrder of play for third round matches at Wimbledon on Sunday, prefix number denotes seeding (play startsat 1030 GMT on all courts). CENTRE COURT 27-Coco Vandeweghe (U.S) v 6-Roberta Vinci (Italy) 1-Serena Williams (U.S.) v Annika Beck (Germany) 24-Alexander Zverev (Germany) v 10-Tomas Berdych (CzechRepublic) COURT ONE 18-Sloane Stephens (U.S.) v 13-Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia) 15-Nick Kyrgios (Australia) v 22-Feliciano Lopez (Spain) tofinish 6-3 6-7(2) Jiri Vesely (Czech Republic) v 31-JoaoSousa (Portugal) COURT TWO 11-Timea Bacsinszky (Switzerland) v 21-AnastasiaPavlyuchenkova (Russia) 18-John Isner (U.S.) v 12-Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France) tofinish 7-6(3) 6-3 6-7(5)last_img

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Pogba joins United from Juventus for world record fee

first_imgFrance midfielder Paul Pogba has rejoined Manchester United from Italian champions Juventus on a five-year contract, with the option to extend for a further year, the Premier League club said in a statement.British media said United splashed out a world record fee of 89 million pounds on the 23-year-old, eclipsing the 86 million pounds Real Madrid paid for Welshman Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013.“I am delighted to rejoin United. It has always been a club with a special place in my heart and I am really looking forward to working with (manager) Jose Mourinho,” Pogba said in a statement on United’s official wesbite (www.manutd.com).“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Juventus and have some fantastic memories of a great club with players that I count as friends. But I feel the time is right to go back to Old Trafford.“I always enjoyed playing in front of the fans and can’t wait to make my contribution to the team. This is the right club for me to achieve everything I hope to in the game.”Pogba is the latest of Mourinho’s new signings following defender Eric Bailly, striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan as the Portuguese coach revamps the under-performing squad he inherited from Louis van Gaal.“Paul is one of the best players in the world and will be a key part of the United team I want to build here for the future,” added Mourinho. “He is quick, strong, scores goals and reads the game better than many players much older than he is.“At 23, he has the chance to make that position his own here over many years. He is young and will continue to improve; he has the chance to be at the heart of this club for the next decade and beyond.”GREAT FOOTBALLERThe France midfielder, whose strength and range of passing should allow United to play a more expansive game than the limited style adopted by Dutchman Van Gaal, has been a hot property all summer with Real Madrid also hovering.“Everyone is interested in Pogba. He is a great footballer and when you are Madrid you always want the best,” Real coach Zinedine Zidane had said before United wrapped up the deal for a player who scored 34 goals in 178 games for Juventus.Pogba joined Juve in 2012, having come through Le Havre’s youth system before moving to United’s academy in 2009.He won four Serie A titles and two Coppa Italia trophies in a successful spell with the Turin club but was criticised after failing to shine in the 2015 Champions League final defeat by Barcelona and France’s Euro 2016 loss to Portugal on home soil.Pogba had signed for United on a three-year deal with a one-year renewal option which then United manager Alex Ferguson was keen to activate but the 18-year-old was frustrated by a lack of first-team opportunities at the club and decided to leave.The Frenchman made just seven first-team appearances for United, all off the bench. “Ferguson came to my place. We talked. It did make me think. He wanted to keep me, but I’d made my decision to leave,” Pogba has said.He will now be reacquainted with Ferguson, who is a global ambassador at the club, but will take his orders from the uncompromising Mourinho who will demand a significant return on the club’s world record investment in the Frenchman.United have not challenged strongly for the Premier League title since Ferguson led them to the trophy in 2013 before ending his glittering 26-year reign as manager at Old Trafford.last_img read more

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Goroka league fans enjoy NRL in the Park

first_imgDigicel Play proved that right last Sunday when hosting the famous community event NRL in the Park which ran parallel with Valentine’s Day occasion held at the National Sporting Institute (NSI) in Goroka.Organized and hosted by Digicel Play and TV WAN, the event is the fourth of seven being rolled out across PNG to celebrate the upcoming 2016 NRL season.The Goroka Rugby league fans showed a remarkable love for football in participating in the organized activities and entertainment after the Eastern Highlands Governor, Julie Soso, officiate the event with a splendid speech to her people.Moreover, the fans were treated to a series of NRL highlights from past seasons on Digicel big-screens showcasing memorable tries, the biggest tackles and major hit-ups, making it a truly memorable Valentine’s Day for Goroka rugby league fans.Digicel are proud to host community lead initiatives that provide great opportunities for people to come together to enjoy a day of entertainment says CEO of Digicel PNG, Maurice McCarthy.Adding that it was a successful day for everyone involved and really amplified the excitement for the upcoming football season within the community.Other NRL in the Park events will be held during February in Madang (Saturday February 20), Buka (Saturday February 27) and Kokopo (Saturday February 27).last_img read more

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Giant Cameron fit for finals after fighting flu

first_imgCameron jokingly warned the Sydney media pack to keep their distance on Tuesday, and there’s no guarantee he would have taken the field had the Giants’ first ever final been played last week.The Giants’ 22 that beat North Melbourne in round 23 trained solidly late last week and had a light run on Saturday morning, but the club’s four-time leading goalkicker was nowhere to be seen.Versatile Giant making it count down back”I actually got quite sick and haven’t trained for the last week,” Cameron said.”Having the week off was a bit strange for us. This time of year we’re usually done and dusted, but it’s good to have a break.”The boys are ready to go now and it’s definitely building up to be an awesome game.”We’re excited more than anything, it’s an awesome experience for our young group.”We’ve got a lot of belief in our ability and the way we go about things, so we’re just looking forward to doing what we’ve done all year.”The Giants will take confidence into Saturday’s Qualifying final with the Sydney Swans, after beating the minor premiers by 42 points the last time they met in round 12.On that night at Spotless Stadium, GWS small forwards Toby Greene and Steve Johnson kicked six goals between them, while Cameron, along with fellow talls Jonathon Patton and Rory Lobb, contributed just four goals.The trio did manage to take 18 marks between them, but Cameron was well held by Swans defender Dane Rampe, and expects another tough day against the league’s best defence this week.”He’s obviously in All Australian form and going really well, so it’s going to be another awesome match-up,” Cameron said.”He likes to run and carry and use his left foot to kickstart their play, so as an opposition player you really look at that during the week.”I think it’s about just playing your role, and we know that.”At times you can’t kick all the goals and that sort of thing, but there’s other things like defensive pressure, keeping the ball inside 50, and creating opportunities for other guys.”Cameron, who missed the first four games of the year through suspension, leads the GWS goalkicking with 49 goals from 18 games, with Johnson (43), Greene (39), Patton (34), and Lobb (26), adding the valuable support he’s been missing in recent years.It’s what gives him confidence against the Swans, who gave up just under 67 points per game in 2016.”I think the way ‘Jonny’ (Patton) has been playing is huge for our side, especially coming into finals.”last_img read more

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