Sports Briefs

Posted: Monday, January 28, 2002

Kards skaters top Palmer

The Kenai Central hockey team defeated Palmer 10-3 Saturday in North Star Conference action at the Soldotna Sports Center.

Brian Gabriel Jr. had a goal and three assists for Kenai. Head coach Brian Gabriel Sr. also was happy with the freshman line of Micah Lillard, Steve McGlasson and Dustin Moore, which accounted for at least three goals. Gabriel Sr. also liked the way freshman John McGlasson stepped up in the game.

"At the beginning of the season, the freshmen stepped up because, I think, they were worried about not making the team," Gabriel Sr. said. "I want to see them continue that. I feel like they continued that during the Palmer game."

In other NSC action, Colony defeated Soldotna 4-3 Saturday at the Sports Center, while host Wasilla defeated Skyview 4-0 Friday and host Wasilla handled Homer 7-1 Saturday.

Bobsledder claims she was mischaracterized

SALT LAKE CITY -- American bobsled pilot Jean Racine wants to clear up what she called mischaracterizations of her decision to drop former partner Jen Davidson just before last month's Olympic trials.

''It was very hard. I kept thinking, 'Everyone's already decided I've done something bad,''' Racine said late Sunday, breaking a monthlong silence on the issue. ''It was so hard to hold back from saying anything after I read some of the things I saw in the press.

''I just waited and waited for the hearing to prove that I didn't do anything wrong,'' she said.

The dispute ended Friday when Davidson withdrew her request for a race-off against Gea Johnson, Racine's new partner. After hearing two days of testimony, an arbitrator concluded Davidson didn't have a case.

''Ms. Davidson now understands why the decision was made to replace her as Jean Racine's brakewoman and now appreciates and agrees that Jean Racine's decision was based on a fair and proper application of the selection criteria,'' wrote arbitrator James Kenny of Miami.

Racine and her lawyer, John A. Anderson, said the outcome vindicates Racine.

''The bottom line is the evidence, and the arbitration found the claim was without merit,'' Anderson said. ''It was all Jean's decision. Jen was not a victim and Jean was not a villain.''

DiMarco wins by default

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Despite squandering a four-stroke lead in a span of three holes, Chris DiMarco ignored a heckler and put together a gritty comeback Sunday to win the Phoenix Open.

DiMarco closed with a 2-under 69 for his third PGA Tour victory in as many seasons, but this one will be remembered as the one he tried to throw away.

He recovered just in time, hitting his tee shot within 18 inches for a birdie on the 16th that allowed him to catch Kenny Perry. He pulled ahead when Perry took bogey on the 332-yard 17th after missing the green in the worst place.

Perry, who earlier missed an 18-inch birdie putt, had a three-putt bogey on the 17th and couldn't recover. He finished with a 70.

''To be at the top, and then all of a sudden your world falls ... it makes you dig deep and learn a lot about yourself,'' DiMarco said. ''I've won by six strokes, I birdied the 18th to force a playoff. This was one you had to hold on.''

Indeed, this Phoenix Open was won by default.

John Daly was in the mix, too, tied for the lead after a birdie-par-eagle start, only to drop five strokes over his next seven holes by living up to his ''Wild Thing'' reputation off the tee. He managed a nice recovery to tie for fourth, two strokes behind.

DiMarco finished at 267 and earned $720,000, putting him atop the PGA Tour money list.

Chargers, Schottenheimer close in on contract

SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Chargers were close to hiring Marty Schottenheimer as their coach Sunday, two sources close to the negotiations told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Schottenheimer was on his way to San Diego and was expected to have a deal worked out by the end of the day, one source said.

Chargers general manager John Butler, who was in his office Sunday, refused to say how close the sides were.

''We haven't gotten anything signed, sealed and delivered, and only when something's signed do I consider there to be a deal,'' Butler said.

The Chargers and Schottenheimer's agent, Tom Condon, had hoped to have a deal done by Thursday, after two days of face-to-face meetings in Mobile, Ala., where Butler was scouting Senior Bowl workouts.

But a snag developed, apparently over how much salary the Chargers will pay Schottenheimer, who was 8-8 last year in his only season as the Washington Redskins' coach.

He is owed $7.5 million over the next three seasons by the Redskins, who fired him on Jan. 13 after he refused to surrender authority over player personnel matters. That opened the way for the Redskins to hire Steve Spurrier.

USA men's soccer tops El Salvador

PASADENA, Calif. -- Brian McBride scored three times in a 12-minute span, the first U.S. national team player with as many as three goals in a game since 1993, and the Americans beat El Salvador 4-0 Sunday in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

The victory, coming in a constant drizzle before a Rose Bowl crowd of 31,628, propelled the United States into Wednesday's semifinal against Gold Cup defending champion Canada.

McBride, who rejoined the team last month after being sidelined five months by a blood disorder, scored his first goal against El Salvador on a header in the 9th minute. Two minutes later, he made it 2-0 second on a wide-open shot after Cobi Jones got behind the goalkeeper with the ball and it rolled straight into McBride's path.

For his third goal, McBride finished a brilliant passing sequence by banging in a left-footer at close range for his fourth goal of the tournament and 18th of his seven years on the national team.

He could have scored more Sunday, but the United States was called for offsides three times when McBride put the ball in the net.

Two more short-course world records broken

BERLIN -- Zoe Baker of Britain and Thomas Rupprath of Germany broke short-course world records Sunday at a World Cup meet, raising the total to six new marks in two days.

Baker lowered the women's 50-meter breaststroke record to 30.31 seconds. The old standard of 30.43 was established last week by Emma Igelstroem in Stockholm, Sweden.

Rupprath's 50.10 in the 100 butterfly broke his own mark of 50.26, set Dec. 14 in Antwerp, Belgium.

Lenny Krayzelberg of the United States, a triple gold medalist at the Sydney Olympics, was sixth. He is coming back from a shoulder operation.

On Saturday, American Ed Moses swam to his fifth world record in eight days, winning the 200 breaststroke in 2:03.17.

Oleg Lisogor of Ukraine, Geoff Huegill of Australia, and Martina Moravcova of Slovakia also set records Saturday.

Moses and Moravcova on Sunday were selected as the best World Cup performers this season.

US women's soccer tops China

SHANGHAI, China -- Shannon MacMillan and Tiffeny Milbrett scored in the first 8 minutes Sunday to give the United States a 2-0 victory over China in the Four Nations Women's Soccer Tournament.

The U.S. team finished the four-team tourney in third place with a record of 1-1-1.

Olympic champion Norway (2-1) won the event despite losing to Germany 3-1 Sunday.

MacMillan opened the scoring for the United States in the third minute, sending a shot past Chinese goalkeeper Geng Xiaoyan. Five minutes later, Milbrett slipped through a gap in the defense and scored with a close-range shot off her left foot.

German midfielder Kerstin Garefrekes put her team ahead in the 50th minute against Norway, and Birgit Prinz scored 8 minutes later to make it 2-0. After Solveig Gulbrandsen cut Norway's deficit in the 63rd minute, Germany's Bettina Wiegmann sealed the victory with a goal 10 minutes later.

Germany (1-1-1) finished second, with China last at 1-2.

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