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Prep Gameday

Stockbridge Closes the Door on Lansing Christian in OT

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Stockbridge and Lansing Christian battle in OT, Panthers win 44-39

Capital City Capitals survive scare against the Eastside Side Stars

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Capital City Capitals Seniors save the game late against the Eastside Stars  win 5-3

Capital City Capitals defeat Mid-Michigan Marauders 5-1

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Blake Parisian & Derek Hamp lead the way for the Caps

Stockbridge's Rogozinski Closes the Door on Lansing Christian in OT on Pilgrims night of celebration

Everything was in place for a storybook night. The crowd, the jubilation, the alumni - all of it laid out for a perfect evening, except somebody forgot to give the visiting freshman the script. It was a banner raising evening of celebration for the Lansing Christian Pilgrims Friday night. Not only was it homecoming, but it was also the night that the 2018 State Title winning girls soccer team was being celebrated with by raising their legacy to the rafters. Lansing Christian’s girls varsity basketball team rose to the challenge thrilling the home crowd by pushing the visiting Stockbridge Panthers into overtime. They gave it their all but the Panthers followed a budding star, freshman Gwen Rogozinski, to pull ahead in OT winning with a final score of 44-39.


“We came out and they played strong, we had four points halfway through the second quarter; they played great defense. I give them a lot of credit. Coach has that team (Lansing Christian) running really well and I’m proud of them. They’re a standup team and a standup school.” Stockbridge head coach Mike Dalton commented post game. “It was a battle, they had some girls get into foul trouble and that really helped us out later on in the game when the momentum started shifting our way.”


The game was balanced on a defensive battle between Stockbridge’s junior center Emily Breslin and Lansing Christian’s senior Jackie Moore. The two battled each other play after play in the low post often trading positions multiple times on the blocks. That battle set the tone for the rest of the players to follow. 


“Jackie’s assignment was to keep Breslin off the rebounds and for the most part she did it. Breslin is a really good player and Jackie took that challenge and boxed her out. We told her your first responsibility was to box her out then go get the board. If you box her out then it’s yours to have and she did that all night long. I’m really proud of her.”  Lansing Christian head coach Jason Salsbury commented afterwards.  “They executed the game plan really well, and towards the end we got tired and when we lost our lanes Gwen (Rogozinski) took advantage of it. The team executed our game plan and gave themselves a chance to win.”


Gwen Rogozinski is a freshman for Stockbridge but she was their workhorse. She led all scorers with 26 points and absolutely dominated in overtime where she had six key points, and cleaned up on the defensive boards. 


“She’s been one of our go-to girls, she’s a freshman but she probably has more experience than anyone else on our team.” Dalton said of his star freshman. “We know that she’s going to come through and we rely on her a lot. She’s got a great attitude and will do anything you tell her to do, we love having her on the team.”

A key sequence in overtime saw Rogozinski score, come down the floor for an defensive rebound, then sprint back up the court for the going coast to coast and securing a shot while getting fouled. That play exemplified the tenacity that she played with throughout the game. 


“I just knew that we had to work hard to get it, we had to work harder than them and want it more. We had to be patient on offense and get the best shot we could get.” Gwen said of her team’s effort. Rogozinski is part of a Stockbridge team that featured only one senior this year, but despite their inexperience, they have an outside shot at the GLAC conference title. ”It means a lot to be a part of the team, we work really well together and for being our first year together we are a young team. We get each other on the court and that means a lot.”  

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Caps Senior Max Kuhnert scores twice against Eastside. - photo credit Dave Ferguson

Kuhnert and Moon bring back the Caps against Eastside

There are times in a winning season, especially late in the season, where it would be easy for a team to kick back and play on cruise control. The routine is the same, you know your opponents, and there is a bit of monotony to it all. Those are also the most dangerous games and that was the case Saturday night for the 16-2 Capital City Capitals who were up against the 4-10 Eastside Stars. The Capitals survived the challenge though and won the game 5-3 at home at Suburban Ice East Lansing – but it certainly wasn’t easy.


The Caps came out slow against an Eastside team that was not going to rollover despite their records being so vastly different. The Caps Max Kuhnert scored a goal early in the first and it was paired with a scoring shot by teammate Drew Moon and the Capitals were comfortable heading into the second with a 2-0 lead. Eastside answered with a goal of their own from Haslett senior Sam Signs, but the Caps answered a few minutes later taking a 3-1 lead into the 3rd period, and that’s when Eastside came alive.


“They responded really well beginning in the third and they came out and punched us in the mouth. I give them full credit for that. On the flip side we came out soft and not ready to go in the third period.” Capitals coach Travis VanTighem said post game. 


Eastside came out of the break and into the third period on fire. Haslett’s Dennis Whitaker scored for them in the opening moments of the 3rd to bring the game to 3-2, and then Eastide used that momentum to hold strong against a baffled Capitals team. Williamston’s Griffin Fenech tied the score up for the Stars midway through the third and the game was on the line. Fenech’s goal put the Capitals in a place they don’t have to play in very often – with their backs up against the wall against an opponent in Eastside who simply would not quit their plays, their shots, or their will to win. The Capitals were fortunate to have some of their seniors step up in that moment. Drew Moon, a senior forward from St. Johns, got the lead back within a minute for the Caps and then a minute after that it was Kuhnert again whose second score put the game out of reach, securing the Capitals their seventeenth win of the season. 


“We just knew that as a team it was obvious that we didn’t execute in the second period and they were kind of dominating us. Then just as the period started they came out strong and we weren’t prepared for that at all. Once we scored one we were confident again.” Kuhnert said after the game. “It just took one little glimpse of hope that we could have, once bounce that could go our way, and I felt that we could just run with it. We felt that pucks just weren’t going our way and we needed just that one and we could come back.”

 

Kuhnert continued his growth this season which forced the Caps players to constantly evolve not only learning to play together as a new group but also needing to overcome the absence of some of their best players. All the seniors on the Caps have needed to grow and that growth is what is setting them up to close out the season in high fashion. 


“Max played well, we count on him offensively, especially with a couple of guys out of lineup. Ethan Bond was missing (injury) and he scored 14 goals for us and that hurts. Max stepped up with a couple of nice plays tonight. Derek Hamp and Misha Klienman had a real nice pass on Max’s goal – an elite indirect pass off the wall. We needed those guys to come up big for us – they’re seniors, we count on them and they answered the bell tonight.” 


View 255 photos free for sharing and download compliments of Dave Ferguson :  https://daveferguson.zenfolio.com/190126eastside-capcity 

Tshirt Goods Supports CAAC Hockey Coverage

Tshirt goods in Haslett is a proud supporter of youth athletics and is the main sponsor for all of the Lansing Herald's 2019 CAAC hockey coverage. Tshirt Goods in Haslett is where you can get custom apparel for all your groups, teams and events. Call them at   (517) 449-5681 

Click here for more from Tshirt Goods

Prep Highlight

Haslett 7th Grader Will King's post game interview after sinking two free throws with 3.3 seconds left in their game against St. Johns. The first tied the game, the second won it for his team. 

Hamp scores twice in Caps 5-1 victory over Marauders

  

The Capital City Capitals continue to play hockey with a bullseye on their backs. They are the dominant team in the CAAC and when you are the best, you have to expect the best is coming at you every night. Friday night at Suburban Ice the Caps faced off against one of their conference rivals the Mid-Michigan Marauders. The game was a tight contest from the onset, and though the Capitals ultimately won 5-1 to the game was a lot tighter than the score would suggest. 


“Our guys came out right from the get go with the right approach and the right mindset. We had a good week of practice, which is tough after a successful weekend, a good road weekend. The guys bonded and we took care of our responsibilities.” Capital City Capitals head coach Travis VanTighem said postgame. “Give credit to the Marauders, they fought back and were tough right through the end. We had a lucky bounce to make it 4-1, but they were battling hard and our guys dealt with it well kept our composure and good things happen when we do those things.  


There were times in the game, particularly in the second period, when the Capitals were on their heels and the Marauders came at them with both intention and momentum. It was those moments though where the best step up, and the best for the Capitals on Saturday night was DeWitt Senior Derek Hamp. Hamp had one of the Capitals early goals, but it was his second goal of the night, a power play goal that put the Caps up 3-0 that set the tone for the rest of the game. 


“Derek is a stud athlete, a three sport athlete, and a super kid. When he’s playing and he gets that competitive mindset going he is second to none.” Coach VanTighem said of Hamp’s play and meaning to the team.  “He’s a leader by example, he’s the hardest working kid and he will compete for everything. Guys will look to that and follow. He did a real nice job for us tonight.”


Hamp has been one of the Capitals best players once again this season, is a team leaders, and one of the Caps twelve seniors. The Capitals needed his leadership as they were dealing with a set back this week with an injury to Ethan Bond. That injury forced the team to adjust to new roles on the ice, and new lines including Hamp’s. 


“It was a really nice way to build around what happened earlier this week. (Ethan Bond injury), It’s been a little changing up of the lines tonight. It was really nice to get people going, even though we hadn’t played together that much.” Hamp said when he was talking about the keys to the game. “ We just had really nice chemistry tonight and put the puck in the net it was really nice. It’s feeling where each other is at, knowing where each other is at without having to look up all the time. There was a lot of talking and when we were skating around there was a lot of passes too. There’s a lot of awareness out there, we know what we each other is doing and it really nice and it feels really great when everyone is on the same page. 


The Mid-Michigan Marauders are a combined team of players from Holt, Eaton Rapids, Grand Ledge, Portland and Potterville. The Capital City Capitals are a team combined of players from DeWitt, Lansing Catholic, Mason and St. Johns.

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Local Sports Focus

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Lansing Ignite, Michigan State to Compete for Capital Cup April 16th

LANSING, Mich. – Lansing Ignite FC and Michigan State University Athletics have jointly announced today the formation of the Capital Cup. The Capital Cup will be an annual competition between the USL League One club and the Spartans, with the inaugural match set to kick off at 7 p.m. ET from Cooley Law School Stadium on April 16. The Capital Cup is included as a part of LIFC season tickets (BUY TICKETS), while single-game tickets for the match will be made available starting in March.

“We are thrilled to be playing Michigan State for the next three years and potentially beyond at Cooley Law School Stadium,” said LIFC Vice President and General Manager Jeremy Sampson. “There is no better way to celebrate soccer in this community than a match between the only professional team in Michigan and one of the best collegiate programs in the country year in and year out.”


Set to kick off its first season as a professional club in League One, LIFC will be led by Head Coach Nate Miller and assistant coaches Joel DeLass, Tim Daniels and Wail Zenga. The team’s roster will be comprised of more than 20 players, featuring numerous talented athletes, such as Xavier Gomez, Rafa Mentzingen, Kevin Coiffic and Christian Silva. Michigan State’s men’s soccer team is led by Head Coach Damon Rensing and is coming off one of its best seasons in program history, finishing the year with a 14-5-4 overall record while reaching the 2018 College Cup. The Spartans have produced numerous talented players now playing professionally in the United States and around the world, including Fatai Alashe, Jay Chapman and Ken Krolicki.


“MSU soccer is really excited to start a great relationship with Lansing Ignite, and I can’t think of a better way than the Capital Cup at Cooley Law School Stadium,” Rensing said. “The greater Lansing area has a very strong soccer community and the combination of MSU soccer and the Ignite will serve that community almost year-round. I have seen the success of the Crosstown Showdown with our baseball team and the Lugnuts and hope that the Capital Cup will have a similar atmosphere. It should be a great game.”


LIFC will begin its League One campaign against the Richmond Kickers in Richmond, Virginia, on March 30 and against Greenville Triumph SC in Greenville, South Carolina, on April 6. The club will then return home to prepare for its week-long, home-opening celebration. LIFC will hold a celebration in downtown Lansing ahead of the team’s first League One match at Cooley Law School Stadium against the Kickers on April 13, and the celebration of soccer in the Michigan capital will continue three days later with the Capital Cup. For more information on Ignite FC, visit www.lansingignite.com or follow the team on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Dallas McPherson to head 2019 Lugnuts staff

LANSING, Mich. — Former Major Leaguer Dallas McPherson will become the 15th manager in Lansing Lugnuts franchise history, the Lugnuts announced Thursday in conjunction with the Toronto Blue Jays. McPherson’s 2019 staff is filled out by two newcomers, hitting coach Logan Boneand athletic trainer Hiroki Yoshimoto, and returning pitching coach Antonio Caceres, position coach Dave Pano, dietitian Allison Tropf and strength and conditioning coach Aaron Spano.

The Lugnuts’ 24th season opens on Saturday, April 6th, vs. the Fort Wayne TinCaps, with an Opening Day Block Party leading into a 6:05 p.m. first pitch.


Meet the Lugnuts’ Staff

Manager Dallas McPherson joins the Lugnuts after skippering the Vancouver Canadians to a 40-36 record last season, his first year in the Blue Jays’ organization. A native of Greensboro, N.C., McPherson was drafted out of The Citadel by the Anaheim Angels in the 2nd round in 2001. Three years later, the Sporting News named McPherson its Minor League Player of the Year. His Major League career spanned five seasons and 139 games with the Angels, Marlins and White Sox, posting a .241 career average with 18 home runs.

Pitching coach Antonio Caceres ("CAH-ser-us") returns for a second consecutive season and a fourth overall with the Lugnuts. A native of Cotuí, Dominican Republic, Caceres was originally signed by Toronto as a 17-year-old pitcher from the Dominican Republic. He spent four seasons in the Minor Leagues, topping out in 1998 with Medicine Hat, and is now in his 20th season as a coach in the Jays’ organization, including two tours – 2009-2010, and now 2018-2019 – in Lansing.


Hitting coach Logan Bone enters his first year in the Blue Jays’ organization. Originally from Festus, Mo., Bone was a catcher on the Jefferson College and the University of Missouri baseball teams. He comes to Lansing from Lindenwood University, where he had served since 2016 as Head Assistant Baseball Coach and Facilities Manager supervisor, working as the recruiting coordinator and instructing the hitters and catchers.


Position coach Dave Pano enters his second year in Lansing. A native of Worcester, Mass., Pano attended Eckerd College before moving on to scout for the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates. St. Petersburg College hired Pano to serve as head baseball coach from 1998-2010, which he balanced while coaching the Auburn Doubledays, Pulaski Blue Jays and Gulf Coast Blue Jays from 2002-2010. Pano won four Northwest League Championships (2011-2013, 2017) with the Vancouver Canadians.


Athletic trainer Hiroki Yoshimoto moves up to the Midwest League from after two seasons with the Dominican Summer League Blue Jays. Yoshimoto earned his bachelor’s degree in both Athletic Training and Exercise Science from Wichita State University. He interned with the Cleveland Indians at their Goodyear, Ariz., complex in 2012, and then worked as an Assistant Athletic Trainer at Arkansas State University from 2013-2017.


Dietitian Allison Tropf, the most local member of the staff, rejoins the Lugnuts for a second season. Tropf is a graduate of Grand Ledge High School and Michigan State University, where she completed her Bachelor’s of Science in Dietetics and was also a member of the gymnastics and swimming and diving teams. She then earned her Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology at Eastern Michigan University. Tropf is the owner of ALT Performance Nutrition in Lansing, working with teams and individual athletes in Mid Michigan.


Strength and conditioning coach Aaron Spano enters his second season with the Lugnuts, his third season with Toronto. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Spano was a pitcher at UNC Pembroke, where he graduated in 2014 with a B.S. in Exercise Physiology. He earned an M.S. in Kinesiology from UNC Charlotte in 2017, where he served as intern strength coach, working primarily with men's tennis, women's basketball and softball. In his pro debut, Spano served as the 2017 Bluefield Blue Jays’ strength and conditioning coach.

For the latest information, call (517) 485-4500 or visit lansinglugnuts.com

NASCAR

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2019 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Honors Five NASCAR Legends

Allison, Gordon, Kulwicki, Penske and Roush Officially Enshrined 

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Five of NASCAR’s legendary competitors – three drivers and two owners – were enshrined into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, tonight during the Induction Ceremony held in the Crown Ball Room at the Charlotte Convention Center.

Davey Allison, Jeff Gordon, Alan Kulwicki, Roger Penske and Jack Roush comprise the 10th Class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame – now home to 50 inductees.


A phenom from Northern California, Gordon is credited for taking NASCAR from a southern pastime to the mainstream. He became the youngest driver in the modern era to win a premier series title as a 24-year-old in 1995. The leader of the Rainbow Warriors – named for his colorful Chevrolet – went on to win three more championships (1997, ’98, 2001). In 1998 Gordon won a modern era-record 13 races. He finished his career third on the all-time wins list with 93 victories. The youthful, flashy Gordon served as the perfect rival to the rugged Dale Earnhardt Sr. and was the first NASCAR driver to host “Saturday Night Live.” He retired from full-time NASCAR racing as the sport’s iron man, boasting a record 797 consecutive starts. “What a special evening. I’m so honored to be here surrounded by friends, family, fans and many people that have worked very hard behind the scenes for me over the years,” Gordon said. “Thank you to the fans who make racing the great sport that it is. You make being a race car driver a dream come true.”


Allison is regarded as one of the top pure talents to ever take the wheel of a race car. He won 19 races and 14 poles before his tragic death in a helicopter accident in 1993 at 33 years old. The son of 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Bobby Allison, he finished second to his father in the 1988 Daytona 500 as the pair became the only father-son duo to finish first and second in NASCAR’s biggest event. Allison would later win ‘The Great American Race’ in 1992.


An accomplished short-track racer from Wisconsin, Kulwicki moved to Charlotte in 1984 with only a pickup truck and self-built race car with the hope of competing in NASCAR’s premier series. He quickly made his dream into a reality earning Rookie of the Year with his self-owned team in 1986 and picking up his first win at Phoenix in 1988. Despite lucrative offers, Kulwicki never raced for anyone but himself. In 1992, he overcame a 278-point deficit with six races left to capture the NASCAR premier series championship on the strength of two wins, 11 top fives and 17 top 10s. Unfortunately, Kulwicki never got the chance to defend his title after dying in a plane crash on the way to Bristol Motor Speedway in 1993. He’ll forever be known for his trademark “Polish Victory Lap,” a celebratory cool-down lap with the driver’s window facing the fans.


One of America’s renowned entrepreneurs, Roger Penske has built a motorsports empire involved with racing for more than 50 years. Penske has won 114 NASCAR premier series races, two Daytona 500s (Ryan Newman, 2008; Joey Logano, 2015), four Xfinity Series owner titles, and two premier series owner championships (Brad Keselowski, 2012; Joey Logano, 2018). Outside of competition, he built Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, in 1996 and previously owned Michigan International Speedway. NASCAR Hall of Famers Rusty Wallace (36 wins) and Bobby Allison (four wins) have raced for Penske. “This Hall of Fame honor and this moment is very special to me, and I am so glad to share it with my family and friends,” Penske said. “Racing has been a part of my life almost as long as I can remember. It is a common thread that is woven throughout all of our Penske business. Racing is simply who we are.”


A graduate-level mathematician and engineering entrepreneur from Michigan, Roush was a drag racing owner and enthusiast before he decided to try his hand at NASCAR in 1988. Since entering the sport, he’s won a record 324 races across NASCAR’s three national series and boasts five owner championships, including two premier series titles (Matt Kenseth, 2003; Kurt Busch, 2004). Roush initially built his powerhouse team by pairing with 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Mark Martin, who won 83 national series races for Roush from 1988-2005. “‘When I announced my plan to start a NASCAR Cup team in January 1988, few if any knowledgeable fans and even fewer Cup team personnel would have given me favorable odds of surviving for more than three decades as I stand before you tonight,” Roush said.


In addition to the five inductees enshrined today, Jim Hunter was honored as the fifth recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. Hunter’s career in the NASCAR industry spanned more than 50 years as a NASCAR executive, track president, public relations professional and journalist. He worked for a decade as an award-winning journalist before transitioning to public relations for Dodge, then Darlington Raceway and Talladega Superspeedway. In 1983, Hunter was named NASCAR vice president of administration. Ten years later, he became president of Darlington Raceway and corporate vice president of the International Speedway Corporation. Hunter was a close confidant of Bill France Jr. who lured him back to NASCAR in 2001 to lead an expanded public relations effort aimed at responding to the needs of burgeoning media coverage. Many drivers and industry executives credit Hunter’s mentorship as the key to their NASCAR success.


Prior to tonight’s Induction Ceremony, journalist Steve Waid was presented the seventh Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence.

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NASCAR Announces Several Competition Updates to Kick Off 2019 Season

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.  – NASCAR today announced several initiatives and procedural updates for the 2019 season, which officially opens this weekend at Daytona International Speedway with an action-pack Sunday double-header -- Daytona 500 Busch Pole Award Qualifying (12:10 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona (3 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).


Among the announcements made today was NASCAR’s plan to move its thorough post-race inspection to the race track immediately following each national series race. If a vehicle fails post-race inspection, it will be disqualified, resulting in a last-place finish and the loss of all benefits from the win/finish, as well as any stage points. All other vehicles would move up in the finishing order under this scenario.


NASCAR will inspect the first- and second-place vehicles, as well as a random vehicle, after each event. Previously, full post-race inspections took place at the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, N.C. “Our industry understands the need to focus on what happens on the race track,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president of competition and racing development. “We cannot allow inspection and penalties to continue to be a prolonged storyline. Race vehicles are expected to adhere to the rule book from the opening of the garage to the checkered flag.”


The disqualification procedure will be implemented for all three NASCAR national series, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series.


NASCAR also unveiled several other competition and personnel updates for 2019:


·  O’Donnell announced that the “Generation 7” car in the Monster Energy Series is scheduled to make its debut for the 2021 season and will be designed to feature new technologies and elements that showcase future production vehicles. “There is a great deal of interest from our current and potential manufacturer partners to make the cars look even more like they do on the street,” O’Donnell said. “This will be an exciting progression in our racing technology that began with the introduction of the 2019 rules package.”


·  The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series will feature the “Triple Truck Challenge” this season, a bonus program that takes place at three consecutive races – Texas (June 7), Iowa (June 15) and Gateway (June 22). All drivers earning series points are eligible and drivers who win one of the three races receive a $50,000 bonus. Winning two races nets a driver $150,000 total ($50,000 per race plus a $50,000 bonus), while winning all three races results in a $500,000 total prize ($50,000 per race win, $50,000 bonus for winning twice, plus a $300,000 bonus for sweeping the Challenge races). Monster Energy Series and Xfinity Series drivers are not eligible to compete in the three races of the program.


·  NASCAR has implemented a model of series-specific inspectors. Each national series will have a dedicated team of officials who will specialize in inspections for their respective garages.


·  Qualifying procedures across all three national series remain the same for 2019, with the exception that the first round of ‘group qualifying’ for short track and intermediate tracks will shorten to 10 minutes in length (previously 15) and the breaks between sessions will be five minutes long (previously seven).


·  The national series driver participation guidelines remain mostly unchanged from 2018. Drivers with more than five years of full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series experience are eligible for a maximum of seven NASCAR Xfinity Series starts and five NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series starts. Drivers who elect to accumulate Monster Energy Series points are not eligible to compete in any Dash 4 Cash or Triple Truck Challenge races, or the final eight races in either the Xfinity Series or the Gander Outdoors Truck Series. In addition, drivers who earn points in the Xfinity Series are ineligible to compete in Triple Truck Challenge races and the Championship race for the Gander Outdoors Truck Series.


·  Ben Kennedy has been elevated to managing director of racing operations and international development. He previously served as general manager of the Gander Outdoors Truck Series. His new responsibilities will include initiatives aimed at growing the sport, including managing NASCAR’s growth on the international scene.


·  NASCAR introduced the assistant directors for each series – Kip Childress (Monster Energy Series), Seth Kramlich (Xfinity Series) and Jesse Dollevoet (Gander Outdoors Truck Series).

The 2019 NASCAR season kicks off with “Speedweeks” at Daytona International Speedway. The 10 days of activity in Florida culminates with the 61st running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 17 at 2:30 p.m. ET (FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

NBA Basketball

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Former MSU Player Miles Bridges to take flight in 2019 AT&T Slam Dunk Contest

NEW YORK – Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges, Atlanta Hawks forward-center John Collins, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Hamidou Diallo and New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. will showcase their aerial artistry and leaping ability in the 2019 AT&T Slam Dunk on Saturday, Feb. 16 at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.


The 34th Slam Dunk is part of State Farm® All-Star Saturday Night, which also features the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge and the MTN DEW 3-Point Contest.  All-Star Saturday Night will air live on TNT and ESPN Radio in the United States at 8 p.m. ET.  NBA All-Star 2019 will reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages on their televisions, computers, mobile phones and tablets.


AT&T has become the title partner of Slam Dunk as part of a new multiyear official marketing partnership with the NBA.  This new agreement will tip off next week at NBA All-Star 2019, where AT&T will also be the presenting partner of NBA All-Star Practice and Media Day.


Two rookies (Bridges and Diallo) and two second-year NBA players (Collins and Smith) comprise the AT&T Slam Dunk field.  Here is a closer look at the participants:


  • Miles Bridges, Hornets: Competing in his home arena, the 6-7 forward is the Hornets’ first Slam Dunk participant since 2010 (Gerald Wallace). Bridges, the 12th overall pick in NBA Draft 2018 presented by State Farm, has 12 double-digit scoring games this season. He was a consensus 2017-18 Second Team All-American in his sophomore season at Michigan State.


  • John Collins, Hawks: Collins leads Atlanta in scoring (19.6 ppg) and rebounding (10.0 rpg) and ranks ninth in the NBA in field goal percentage (58.4). He earned a spot on the U.S. Team for MTN DEW ICE Rising Stars, which will be played on Friday, Feb. 15 during NBA All-Star 2019. The 6-10 forward-center was named to the 2017-18 NBA All-Rookie Second Team after averaging 10.5 points and 7.3 rebounds last season.  A former Wake Forest star, Collins is Atlanta’s first Slam Dunk competitor since 2006 (Josh Smith).
  • Hamidou Diallo, Thunder: Diallo, a 6-5 guard, recorded a 44.5-inch maximum vertical jump at the 2017 NBA Draft Combine powered by Under Armour, the second-highest mark in event history. The 45th overall pick in NBA Draft 2018 presented by State Farm has appeared in 43 games as a rookie with Oklahoma City. In his three starts, Diallo has averaged 8.7 points and shot 76.9 percent from the field.  He is the Thunder’s first Slam Dunk participant since 2011 (Serge Ibaka).  
  • Dennis Smith Jr., Knicks: Smith returns to Slam Dunk after finishing third last season. The 6-3 guard, who was acquired by New York in a trade with the Dallas Mavericks on Jan. 31, is averaging 12.8 points and 4.4 assists per game. Last season, the Fayetteville, N.C., native averaged 15.2 points and 5.2 assists and joined Collins on the 2017-18 NBA All-Rookie Second Team.  Smith is the Knicks’ first Slam Dunk competitor since 2013 (James White).


2019 AT&T Slam Dunk Rules

In the two-round event, participants can perform any dunk they choose.  The players have a maximum of three attempts to complete each dunk in both the first round and the final round.  Five judges score every dunk on a scale of 6 to 10, resulting in a high score of 50 and a low score of 30. 


All four competitors get two dunks in the first round.  The two players with the highest combined score for their two dunks advance to the head-to-head final round.  The player with the highest combined score for his two dunks in the final round is crowned the champion.  Click here for a complete explanation of the rules.

Grand Rapids Griffins

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News & Notes

Follow the Leader(s):
Points: Chris Terry (43)
Goals: Terry (24)
Assists: Carter Camper (23)
Plus-Minus: Jake Chelios, Terry (+15)
PIM: Dylan McIlrath (48)
Wins: Harri Sateri (16)
GAA: Patrik Rybar (2.38)
Save %: Rybar (0.910)

Last Week’s Notes:
Thursday at Texas – For the second consecutive game, Grand Rapids came back from a two-goal deficit and won...The Griffins trailed 3-1 at the 5:18 mark of the second period before tallying the game’s final four goals...Rookie Michael Rasmussen, assigned by the Red Wings for conditioning on Wednesday, made his AHL debut and scored two goals...Dominik Shine (4) netted the game-winner while Dominic Turgeon (5) and Chris Terry (24) also lit the lamp...Harri Sateri made 25 saves to run his winning streak to five, matching a career high...The Griffins recorded 23 shots in the second period, equaling a club record for shots in a single frame (achieved twice previously and most recently during the third period of a 5-4 OTW on March 31, 2006 at Manitoba)...Turner Elson and Filip Hronek both skated in their 100th games as a Griffin...Grand Rapids finished 7-3-0-2 in January. Recap | Highlights

Friday at San Antonio – The Griffins are 2-2 in the season series against the Rampage…Grand Rapids was shut out at San Antonio for the second time this season…The Griffins were blanked for the second time in the last four games…Jared Coreau turned aside all 29 shots he faced in his first start against his former club…Harri Sateri stopped 25 of 27 shots but had his AHL career high-tying five-game winning streak snapped…Grand Rapids finished 0-for-3 on the power play and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill. Recap | Highlights

This Week’s Promotions: Wednesday against Manitoba is a Winning Wednesday presented by Farm Bureau Insurance. Every time the Griffins win at home on Wednesday, each fan in attendance will receive a free ticket to the next Wednesday game. All fans who were in attendance for the Griffins’ overtime win against the Moose on Jan. 23 can redeem their ticket stub for a free ticket to this game. On Saturday against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the first 2,500 fans will receive an Anthony Mantha bobblehead, courtesy of Lake Michigan Credit Union. Click here to see the full list of promos.

Friendly Confines: The Griffins have points in seven of their last eight contests at Van Andel Arena (6-1-0-1). Twice already this season Grand Rapids has tallied a home point streak of at least six (6-0-1-1 from Nov. 17-Dec. 15 and 5-0-0-1 from Dec. 29-Jan. 23). Grand Rapids has also totaled points in 15 of its last 17 (12-2-1-2) at the Van and with a 16-4-1-3 overall mark inside friendly confines, the Griffins rank among the AHL’s home leaders with a 0.750 points percentage (T3rd), 36 points (2nd) and 16 wins (T3rd). Grand Rapids is a +15 in goal differential at home while averaging 3.25 goals and operating at 18.18% on the power play, compared to -11, 2.67 and 8.65% on enemy ice.

Couch Potatoes: Wednesday’s contest against Manitoba kicks off a seven-game homestand for Grand Rapids, the team’s longest since a seven-game stretch from Nov. 29-Dec. 14, 2013. Grand Rapids will play seven home games in a 17-day period this month, and then close out the campaign with seven home contests spread across the regular season’s final 50 days. Take a look at the longest homestands in Griffins history and how the club has fared:

Griffins in General: The Griffins’ 3-0 win against Milwaukee on Jan. 19 marked the franchise’s 950th all-time regular season victory…Grand Rapids is 953-644-27-54-112 (0.586) in the regular season since 1996-97…Grand Rapids’ 293 regular season wins and 633 points since the 2012-13 campaign are both the second-most in the AHL in that time, trailing only Toronto (302 / 650) and just ahead of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (291 / 626).

All That Ras: Nineteen-year-old rookie Michael Rasmussen, assigned by Detroit for conditioning last Wednesday, made his AHL debut last Thursday at Texas and tallied two goals, one on the power play and an empty-netter. The ninth overall selection by the Red Wings in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Rasmussen’s marker on the man-advantage at 12:29 of the second period helped Grand Rapids end a 0-for-25 stretch on the power play in road games.

You’re a Wizard, Harri: Harri Sateri had his AHL career high-tying five-game winning streak come to an end following last Friday’s 2-0 loss at San Antonio. In his last six starts, Sateri is good for a 1.81 GAA and a 0.940 save percentage (173 of 184). The Finnish netminder has points in 14 of his last 17 outings (12-3-2) and in nine of his last 11 (8-2-1). Sateri’s 16 wins on the season, which is two shy of matching his AHL career best, tie for fifth in the league.

Coming Up After the Break: Since joining the AHL in the 2001-02 season, the Griffins post a 290-203-7-16-27 (0.580) record in games played after the all-star break. Grand Rapids has tallied a 0.500 mark or better in each of the last eight seasons after the hiatus, including going 20-7-1-3 last season and a combined 86-37-4-7 (0.683) since 2014-15.

Road Trippin’: After a four-game winless stretch on the road (0-3-1-0) from Dec. 7-16, theGriffins have points in seven of their last 10 on foreign ice (5-3-1-1) and are a +3 in goal differential in that span.

Wading Back In: Wade Megan paced the team with 11 points (6-5—11) in 11 January games. Since being assigned by Detroit on Jan. 3 following nearly a month’s stay in the NHL, Megan has points in seven of his 12 games back in Grand Rapids’ lineup.

Puemped Up: Matt Puempel leads the team with 13 multi-point efforts on the season. His 10 points (4-6—10) in January placed second on the club. The sixth-year pro ranks second on theGriffins in both goals (17) and points (36) and his team-leading 153 shots are second in the league.

Rybar Supports: Patrik Rybar has points in six of his last eight games (4-2-2) and shows a 2.20 GAA and a 0.919 save percentage with one shutout in that span. Rybar, who led the Czech Extraliga with seven shutouts last season, recorded his first clean sheet on North American soil after stopping 24 shots during Jan. 19’s 3-0 victory against Milwaukee. He places fifth in the AHL with a 2.38 overall GAA.

(Don’t) Put It In Reverse Terr: The AHL’s leading scorer from a season ago, Chris Terry is tied atop the league’s goal leaderboard with 24. The 10th-year pro has reached the 20-goal plateau for the sixth time in his AHL career and is on pace to become just the third Griffin ever to bank 40 or more goals in a single season. He is bidding to join Teemu Pulkkinen (34 in 2014-15) and Donald MacLean (56 in 2005-06) as the only Griffins to lead the league in goals. He ties for ninth in the league with 43 points overall. Competing for the Central Division at the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic, Terry earned his third consecutive AHL All-Star bid and fourth overall (2012).

AHL's Active Goal Leaders:
1) Chris Bourque (BRI) - 245
2) Chris Mueller (TOR) - 210
3) Chris Terry - 207

Page Turner: Turner Elson places fourth on the team with 28 points (12-16—28) and is just two shy of leveling his career high of 30, which he has attained twice previously (2014-15 with Adirondack and 2015-16 with Stockton). Sixteen assists has already equaled his career best total from 2015-16. He has also bettered his output from his first season with the Griffins in 2017-18 (9-12—21 in 57 GP). Elson has all three of the Griffins’ shorthanded goals this season, which ties for second in the AHL. Three shorties is the most by a Griffin in a single season since Landon Ferraro and Tomas Nosek both collected three in 2014-15.

Milestones Within Reach:
Turner Elson – needs one point to reach 50 as a Griffin
Carter Camper needs two goals to reach 100 in the AHL, needs one goal to reach 100 as a pro
Chris Terry – needs four games played to reach 700 as a pro
Derek Hulak – needs four points to reach 100 in the AHL
Matthew Ford – needs one point to reach 400 in the AHL

Manitoba Notes: Current record 20-20-3-2, 45 points, 8th Central Division…Grand Rapids has claimed 10 of the last 11 regular season meetings against Manitoba, outscoring the Moose 36-17 in that span…Both games at Van Andel Arena this season (Nov. 17, Jan. 23) have been decided in overtime, with Carter Camper delivering the winner each time…Wednesday marks the 100th regular season matchup between the Griffins and Moose…Since the Moose rejoined the AHL in 2015-16 following a four-year hiatus, the Griffins are 17-5 vs. Manitoba, including 8-2 at Van Andel Arena and 9-3 at Bell MTS Place…Grand Rapids and Manitoba will close out their eight-game season series on April 12 in West Michigan, the final home game of the year for the Griffins…Chris Terry has six goals among eight points through five meetings this season, both of which are the most for either team…Patrik Rybar is 2-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA and a 0.962 against Manitoba while Harri Sateri is 3-1-0 to go along with a 2.46 GAA and a 0.905 save percentage…Grand Rapids is 20-for-21 on the penalty kill against the Moose…Defenseman Dylan McIlrath hails from Winnipeg…Dominic Turgeon recorded his first career hat trick at Manitoba on Feb. 17, 2018…Axel Holmstrom made his AHL debut at Manitoba on April 4, 2017, and scored his first AHL goal (overtime) at the Moose on April 5, 2017.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Notes: Current record 23-19-4-1, 51 points, 6th Atlantic Division…In the two teams’ first meeting of the year on Jan. 4 in Pennsylvania, Turner Elson and Matthew Ford scored in regulation and Patrik Rybar made 31 saves, but Wilkes-Barre/Scranton won 3-2 in a shootout…After claiming the first four all-time meetings that occurred in the 2001-02 and 2006-07 seasons, the Griffins are winless in the last five matchups (0-3-0-2), finishing 0-1-0-1 in 2008-09, 0-2 last season and showing a 0-0-0-1 record this season…Grand Rapids and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton are facing off in consecutive seasons for the first time ever…Entering this season, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has qualified for the Calder Cup Playoffs in 16 consecutive campaigns, which is the longest active streak in the AHL…The Griffins have advanced to the postseason in six straight seasons…The lone postseason meeting between the Griffins and Penguins came in the 2003 Western Conference Quarterfinals, a series Grand Rapids won 3-1…The Penguins are celebrating their 20th season as a franchise…The Griffins hold a 39-28-1-3 all-time regular season record (0.577) against current teams in the Atlantic Division.

Chicago Notes: Current record 25-15-5-1, 56 points, 2nd Central Division…Grand Rapids is 3-2-0-0 in the season series, as a 5-2 loss at Allstate Arena on Jan. 16 snapped its three-game winning streak against the Wolves…In the most recent meeting at Van Andel Arena on Nov. 28,Turner Elson and Matt Puempel each scored two goals apiece while goaltender Harri Saterimade 33 saves for a 5-2 win that continued Grand Rapids’ five-game point streak…Elson leads the team with six points (4-2—6) and a plus-seven rating in five games in the season series…Two of Elson’s team-high three shorthanded goals have come against Chciago…Puempel also has four goals vs. the Wolves this season…The Griffins have faced the Wolves 153 times in the regular season, the second most of any Grand Rapids opponent (Milwaukee)…Sateri is 3-0-0 against Chicago with a 2.63 GAA and a 0.914 save percentage while Patrik Rybar is 0-2-0 with a 4.61 GAA and a 0.820 save percentage…David Pope (Oct. 13) and Vili Saarijarvi (Oct. 20) both netted their first AHL goals against the Wolves this season.

Chicago Connections: Chicago forward Brooks Macek was originally drafted 171st overall by the Red Wings in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft…Griffins first-year head coach Ben Simon and assistant coach Brad Tapper won the Calder Cup as players with the Wolves in 2002, their second consecutive season capturing a league championship together after hoisting the IHL’s Turner Cup with the Orlando Solar Bears in 2001…Simon logged 196 games with Chicago from 2001-03 and 2004-05, registering 87 points (37-50—87) and 192 PIM…Tapper appeared in 98 games with the Wolves from 2001-04, tallying 58 points (24-34—58) and 130 PIM…Tapper served as an assistant with the Wolves from 2014-16…First-year Griffin Jake Chelios made his AHL debut with Chicago on April 11, 2014 at Iowa and went on to skate in 45 games with the Wolves from 2013-15, picking up 16 points (1-15—16)…First-year Griffin Wade Megantotaled 99 points (44-55—99), a plus-34 rating and 109 PIM in 136 games with Chicago from 2016-18…Megan paced the AHL with 33 goals during his first season with the Wolves in 2016-17 and was named to the AHL First All-Star Team.

Win Some, Lose Some: Compare the statistics between the Griffins’ 26 wins and 22 (including OT and SO) losses:

Schedule

This Week’s Games Manitoba Moose at GRIFFINS // Wed., Feb. 6 // 7 p.m. // Van Andel Arena Listen: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 6:35 p.m. Watch: AHLTV Season Series: 2-0-0-0 Home, 5-1-0-0 Overall. Seventh of eight meetings overall, third of four at Van Andel Arena All-Time Series: 31-12-1-1-5 Home, 61-29-1-1-7 Overall NHL Affiliation: Winnipeg Jets Noteworthy: Grand Rapids has claimed 10 of the last 11 regular season meetings against Manitoba, outscoring the Moose 36-17 in that span.  


Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at GRIFFINS // Sat., Feb. 9 // 7 p.m. // Van Andel Arena Listen: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 6:35 p.m. Watch: AHLTV Season Series: 0-0-0-0 Home, 0-0-0-1 Overall. Second of two meetings overall, first and last at Van Andel Arena All-Time Series: 2-1-0-1 Home, 4-3-0-2 Overall NHL Affiliation: Pittsburgh Penguins Noteworthy: In the first meeting of the season on Jan. 4 in Pennsylvania, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton won 3-2 in a shootout.  


Chicago Wolves at GRIFFINS // Sun., Feb. 10 // 4 p.m. // Van Andel Arena Listen: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 3:35 p.m. Watch: AHLTV Season Series: 2-0-0-0 Home, 3-2-0-0 Overall. Sixth of eight meetings overall, third of four at Van Andel Arena All-Time Series: 42-25-2-4-2 Home, 84-58-2-6-3 Overall NHL Affiliation: Vegas Golden Knights Noteworthy: A 5-2 loss at Allstate Arena in the last meeting on Jan. 16 snapped Grand Rapids’ three-game winning streak against the Wolves.  


Last Week’s Results 

GRIFFINS 5 at Texas Stars 3       

GRIFFINS 0 at San Antonio Rampage 2 


Status Update: The Grand Rapids Griffins have totaled points in 14 of their last 18 outings (11-4-1-2), including wins in five of their last seven, and pace the Central Division by three points with 59 to go along with a 26-15-3-4 overall record. After splitting a pair of games in Texas last week, Grand Rapids returns to Van Andel Arena this week to begin a seven-game homestand.

Figure Skating

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Nathan Chen Wins Third Straight U.S. Title

DETROIT - Nathan Chen won his third consecutive U.S. title Sunday afternoon at Little Caesars Arena. The Yale freshman won the title by more than 50 points, earning a record-breaking 342.22 total points through two days of competition. He scored 228.80 points in Sunday’s free skate. “The score definitely took me by surprise,” Chen said after his free skate. “It was a lot bigger than I was expecting, but ultimately scores are scores. I’m happy with what I did and hopefully I can continue to do that in other competitions.” Chen is the first U.S. man to win three straight titles since Johnny Weir accomplished the feat in 2006.


Vincent Zhou improved from the short program to finish second, earning 183.76 points on Sunday for 284.01 points overall. It’s his third straight U.S. medal (bronze in 2018, silver in 2017).

“My legs were definitely a little shaky because I was so nervous, but I thought I did a really good job today of staying in my own bubble and focusing on what I needed to do,” Zhou said. “Skating last, especially with [Jason Brown and Nathan Chen] leading me after the short program, was not easy to do at all. There was a lot of pressure and I felt like I did a great job handling that. I’m very proud of myself for coming so far this season, because I had a late and rough start. I’m just so grateful and proud to be here.”


Jason Brown won the bronze medal, the fourth U.S. medal of his career, with 273.08 total points. His free skate earned 172.56 points “You know, it wasn’t the best skate,” Brown said. “I’ve been training a lot better, but it’s all part of this process of building and building…I’m working really hard to focus on all of the changes that we’re making, but every so often it gets away from me. I’m really proud of the fight out there and that’s really all I can ask. I’m happy to be back on the U.S. podium and I’m really excited about all of the strides that I’ve made this week.”