By Warren RappleyeaStaff Writer By Warren Rappleyea Staff Writer Defending champion Simon Wangui of Kenya will head up a field of about 3,000 runners in the five-mile George Sheehan Classic on Aug. 9 in Red Bank. The annual event, which traditionally kicks off to the sounds of strains of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run,” takes participants through downtown Red Bank and through the neighboring towns of Little Silver and Fair Haven. Race Director Phil Hinck stopped short of promising good weather, though he did note that the race weekend should provide plenty of fun for entrants and their families. The Sheehan Classic is the second largest race in New Jersey, second only to the Spring Lake 5, also helmed by Hinck, a fixture on the Shore running scene. Besides Wangui, other top runners include Nephat Kinyanjui, a member of the Kenyan Junior National Team; Moses Mwangi; and Catherine N’Dereba, a two-time Boston Marathon champion. In addition to the main event, another 500-600 people will participate in a variety of other events that begin on Friday evening with the Kids Classic, a variety of short races for children ages 4-13, said Race Director Bob Rosa. In addition to the five-miler, the weekend includes a wheelchair race and a two-mile health and fitness walk. The course for the five-miler remains the same for the seventh straight year. It will start and end on Broad Street after twisting through Fair Haven and Little Silver. It also includes an out-and-back aspect along Harding Road. Just past the four-mile mark, runners face the challenge of Tower Hill, after which it’s downhill and relatively flat to the finish. Runners will again be timed by computer chip, Hinck noted. All runners will be issued a chip that they must wear on their ankle. This will enable each runner to get an accurate time based on the time they actually cross the start and finish lines. Runners must pick up their chips at the race registration tent in Marine Park beginning on Friday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. or on race morning beginning at 6:30 a.m. Chips will be collected at the finish line. Race organizers will again host a Friday night pasta dinner, which begins at 5:30 p.m. in Marine Park. Tickets are $8 for adults, and children participating in the Kids Classic are admitted free of charge. The Kids Classic will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday. A five-mile wheelchair race will get under way at 8:25 a.m. on Saturday, and the five-mile Classic will begin at 8:30 a.m., with a Health and Fitness Walk following at 8:40 a.m. Other activities include a Runner’s Expo in Marine Park from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. A panel of area athletes will speak and answer questions beginning Friday night at 7:15 p.m. Participants include New York Power soccer player Christie Pearce of Point Pleasant; Harry Nolan, a nationally ranked masters runner from Middletown; and Amanda and Katy Trotter, who both starred at Red Bank Regional High School in soccer, cross country and track. Entries for the five-miler are $25 ($23 before July 31); race day entries are $30. The entry fees include a T-shirt, and all finishers will receive medals. Entries for the fitness walk and Kids Classic are $16. Proceeds from the race will be used to support the Parker Family Health Clinic, which provides walk-in health care coverage for area residents who do not have health insurance. For more information, call (732) 988-7725 or register online at www.sheehanclassic.org. Race results will be posted on the site after 6 p.m. on Saturday. The site also includes a schedule and description of the events, race information, detailed course maps, and hotel information and directions. Registrations are also being accepted at The Running Store in Shrewsbury and Miles Ahead Sports in Manasquan through Aug. 7.
The Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey (SBOANJ) reached an agreement with Freehold Raceway to conduct a 110-date meet in 2013.The calendar, which will be finalized and released soon, includes racing in the months of January and February.Initially, Freehold had requested only 90 dates and the track’s proposed calendar did not include winter racing. The SBOANJ contested both the total number of dates and the lack of racing in January and February.The amended Freehold dates are subject to approval by the New Jersey Racing Commission.
Monmouth University goalie Ashley Lewis was tabbed as the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Defensive Player of the Week for the week ending on Sept. 9.The Freehold High School graduate posted consecutive shutouts, as the Hawks defeated the New Jersey Institute of Technology, 3-0, and Columbia University, 2-0. She now has four clean sheets on the year and a 0.40 goals-against average.The Monmouth women are off to their best start since 1995, 5-0.Lewis had a phenomenal career at Freehold, collecting 57 career shutouts. She was the backstop of the Colonials’ teams that won three straight NJSIAA Group III championships from 2005 to 2007 and back-toback Group III state titles in 2005 and 2006.The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced the Best XI selections for the 2013 NWSL season, with Sky Blue FC and U.S. Women’s National Team defender Christie Rampone making the First Team.Teammate and Australian international Caitlin Foord was voted to the Second XI team.The NWSL awards are voted on by a selection of journalists who cover the league on a consistent basis, club officials and NWSL players.Rampone starred at Monmouth University (two-time Northeast Conference Player of the Year) before going on to a legendary career with the women’s national team.As the national team captain, she has won three Olympic gold medals with the U.S. team. The most recent was at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Since 1997, she has appeared in 284 games for the national team.
U.S. Women’s National Team captain Christie Rampone earned her historic 300th cap when she played against Mexico in the all-important semifinals of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship at PPL Park on Oct. 24, won by the U.S., 3-0. With the win, the United States qualified for next year’s World Cup.Rampone, who debuted for the USA in 1997 and has appeared in three different decades, is just the second player in soccer history to play 300 times for their country, following former teammate Kristine Lilly, who finished her illustrious career with a world-record 352 games from 1987-2010. Rampone, 39, is currently the most-capped active player in the world.A two-sport star at Monmouth University, Rampone was also the starting point guard on the basketball team and a standout on the soccer pitch. As a striker, she scored 79 career goals in college. She switched to defender for the U.S. team under then-head coach Tony Di- Cicco, and aside from a brief stint at flank midfielder, she has played in the back ever since.Rampone was named captain by former head coach Pia Sundhage in 2008, and since then, the USA has compiled an 88-8-13 record with the New Jersey native wearing the armband. She has started 265 of her caps and played 23,261 minutes in a U.S. uniform during her career. Rampone plays professionally for Sky Blue FC.The New Jersey Section of the PGA of America (NJPGA) announced its 2014 annual award recipients, led by Andy Brock, PGA Professional at Metuchen Golf and Country Club in Edison, who was recognized as the 2014 NJPGA Golf Professional of the Year.Brock leads an esteemed list of PGA Professionals who were honored as 2014 New Jersey Section Special Award winners.
Following are the results from the Cyprus Cup quarter-final, first-leg matches, played on Wednesday February 11:Omonia 2-0 KarmiotissaOthellos Athienou 1-1 AEK
By Tony JimenezNo one should be surprised if Zach Johnson goes on to win several more majors because, even though he is approaching 40, the new British Open champion is working harder than ever and is performing at his peak.The American waited a long time to add to his one previous major win at the U.S. Masters but believes he is now a more rounded performer than the golfer who had the Green Jacket draped around his shoulders in 2007.“I feel like I’m a better player than I was then,” Johnson told reporters after beating South African Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman of Australia in a four-hole playoff at St Andrews on Monday.“I never really thought I’d win one major. Then you get one and certainly you feel like you can win more and you want to win more.“It drives you, motivates you to practice and get better,” said Johnson, 39, after climbing from 25th to 12th in the world rankings. “I really love golf and certainly as I’ve gotten older I’ve enjoyed practising more.“I’ve enjoyed working out more, fortunately. I enjoy the gym and getting the opportunity to go out and work.”SHARED VICTORYJohnson saluted the strong influence his backroom team, his wife and three children, his family and friends had on his capture of the prized Claret Jug.“I’m very appreciative of that because this isn’t by happenstance or luck,” he said. “I think quality hard work creates luck.“I’m not saying I’m lucky but, yeah, the support I have back home, the support I have had this week from friends and family was tremendous whether it was a text or a video from my kids or whatever.“This is certainly a sharing moment and fortunately we get to have it for at least a year. I’m ecstatic to share it with them.”Johnson now has 12 tour victories to his name but said none could compare to the moment he lifted the Claret Jug for the first time.“I’m humbled right now because of what’s in my lap and the names that are etched on this piece of metal,” he added. “That is very special.“It’s the ‘who’s who’ in the game. It’s the guys that paved the way. It’s the individuals that are historic in sports.“I’m honoured and it’s still beyond surreal. I guess when you have a great team, great things can happen.”
Manchester City returned to the top of the Premier League by drawing 0-0 away to Manchester United in a disappointing local derby on Sunday.They have 22 points, the same as Arsenal, but a better goal difference.United stay fourth, two points behind, with West Ham United also above them. They came closest to a goal when substitute Jesse Lingard hit the bar six minutes from the end.City had won six of the previous eight league derbies, but like the home side found chances hard to come by this time. Harry Kane scored a hat-trick for Tottenham Hotspur, who moved into the top six of the Premier League with a resounding 5-1 victory away to Bournemouth in the first league meeting between the clubs on Sunday.The home side, playing their first season in the top-flight, took the lead in the first minute through Matt Ritchie, but England striker Kane equalised from a penalty eight minutes later.Mousa Dembele and Erik Lamela had Spurs 3-1 ahead by half-time and Kane completed his hat-trick with two more goals in seven minutes.Bournemouth’s third defeat in four games left them fourth from bottom, two points above the relegation places.
Franz Beckenbauer, who headed Germany’s 2006 World Cup organising committee, said on Monday a transfer of 6.7 million euros to world soccer’s governing body FIFA in 2005 was a mistake but rejected claims it was a return of a loan to buy votes in favour of the country’s World Cup bid.In a brief statement sent to media, the former World Cup-winning player and coach, who is a key figure in an affair involving an alleged slush fund used to bribe FIFA voting members back in 2000 to award the tournament to Germany, again said the Germans never bought votes.“In order to get a subsidy from FIFA (for the organisation of the 2006 World Cup) those involved went ahead with a proposal from the FIFA finance commission that in today’s eyes should have been rejected. I, as President of the then organising committee bear the responsibility of this mistake.”But he said any claims of a votes-for-cash deal were not true.“There were no votes bought in order to get the nod for the 2006 World Cup,” Beckenbauer, 70, said.Der Spiegel magazine had reported an alleged slush fund of 6.7 million euros was used to buy votes for Germany. The money had been provided by then Adidas CEO Robert Louis-Dreyfus, the magazine said.The German Football Association (DFB) has rejected the claims as groundless but has said it was investigating a payment of the same amount from the organising committee to FIFA in 2005.DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach, who was vice president of the 2006 World Cup organising committee, acknowledged last week there were unanswered questions surrounding that payment, saying the money was demanded by FIFA’s finance committee in order to pay out a contribution of 170 million euros towards the Germans’ organisational budget.When asked why the Germans have to pay FIFA a small sum to unlock a payment for them that was much larger, Niersbach, a vice-president of the organising committee back in 2005, said he did not know.Der Spiegel claims the 2005 payment to FIFA was repaying Louis-Dreyfus for his loan five years earlier through the soccer body. Niersbach’s predecessor Theo Zwanziger has also said there was an alleged slush fund.Niersbach has been invited to appear before Germany’s parliamentary committee on sports on Nov. 4 but has yet to say whether he will go.
Joe Root hit 83 as England sensationally beat South Africa by two wickets in their World Twenty20 Super 10 match at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Friday.Chasing South Africa’s mammoth total of 229-4, England reached their improbable target with two balls to spare to register their first win in two matches in Group One, following their defeat to West IndiesEngland’s total is the highest run chase in the history of the World T20, beating the 208 that South Africa chased down against West Indies in the very first game of the first tournament.It is the second highest run chase in the history of T20 internationals.Speaking afterwards, man of the match Root said: “It’s just nice to contribute to a winning team. When they got such a big score at half-time all we we spoke about was not getting greedy and trying for 20 an over.“We knew we had to build some partnerships to take it deep. We were calm under pressure, and this sets up nicely for the rest of the tournament.”
Challengers to Serena Williams’ throne have proved as fickle as a Paris spring and as the year’s second grand slam starts the veteran American is again seemingly in a league of her own.The 34-year-old’s charge to overhaul Margaret Court’s record 24 grand slam singles titles may have stalled since she chalked up major number 21 at last year’s Wimbledon.But after fine-tuning her claycourt game by winning last week’s Italian Open she will begin the defence of her French Open title as the strong favourite.With twice French Open champion Maria Sharapova suspended pending the findings of an anti-doping hearing after she tested positive for Meldonium in Australia this year, the list of players capable of toppling a fully firing Williams is short.She has played only three tournaments since losing to an inspired Angelique Kerber in the Australian Open final. But former champion Martina Navratilova says when the big prizes are at stake, the American can be relied upon to perform.“She hasn’t played that much this year, but she came back with a vengeance (in Rome), played great tennis, as well as she has on clay, and she is the big favourite going into the French Open,” 18-times grand slam champion Navratilova told the Tennis Podcast in the build-up to Paris.“When she loses it’s an exception… Serena is now healthy, hungry, eager and fresh. She’s match-tough after Rome, but still fresh – that’s a tough combination, and it will be hard for anyone to beat her.”The main obstacles between Williams and a 22nd singles major which would take her level with Steffi Graff in second place, appear to be Germany’s Kerber and former world number one Victoria Azarenka, although both have struggled for consistency.Kerber suffered first-round defeats in Rome and Madrid, although she did win the title on clay in Stuttgart.Azarenka, ranked five, was back to her best when winning back-to-back titles at Indian Wells and Miami, but doubts have resurfaced.She suffered a back injury in Madrid and lost in the first round in Rome.“It’s just unfortunate that I can’t play my best tennis. That’s it,” Azarenka said after losing to Irina Begu in Rome.Others contenders will be Romanian former finalists Simona Halep and Spain’s hard-hitting Garbine Muguruza.Muguruza, a semi-finalist in Rome, does not have the trademark claycourt game, relying on flat, powerful groundstrokes that could however cause damage at Roland Garros, where the showcourts tend to play fast.Three-times champion Williams though, as is usually the case, appears to have the destiny of the tournament on her racket strings.“I have tried to defend there once, twice… before. Didn’t quite work so well. But this year is different,” she said. “I feel more calm and I don’t feel stress, like I have to win. I feel like just happy to be out here.”