Sports Briefs

Posted: Sunday, March 02, 2003

Swiss breeze to America's Cup sweep

AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- Landlocked Switzerland became the first European country to win the 152-year-old America's Cup on Sunday, a historic victory by a crew loaded with New Zealanders who had been branded as traitors.

Skipper Russell Coutts took the cup from the country he brought it to in 1995, steering the whimsically named sloop Alinghi to a five-race sweep against hard-luck Team New Zealand, the two-time defending champion.

On a perfect day on the Hauraki Gulf, between Rangitoto and Tiritiri Matangi islands, Coutts again outsailed his former protege, Dean Barker, and led the entire race to end the long, bitter regatta.

Several European tycoons tried unsuccessfully over 15 decades to take back the trophy that the yacht America won by beating a fleet of British schooners around the Isle of Wight in 1851. The one who finally won sailing's biggest prize was Alinghi boss Ernesto Bertarelli, a 37-year-old biotech billionaire who scooped up the best Kiwi sailors his money could buy.

''I am a New Zealander. Make no bones about that,'' Coutts said during the champagne-splashed tow back to port. ''But I am immensely proud of what we've achieved at Alinghi. It's been a lot of hard work for me, and as a professional sailor, frankly, I'm proud of what I've done.''

Redskins stay busy with signing of Noble, Upshaw

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Redskins signed two more free agents Saturday, agreeing to deals with defensive end Regan Upshaw and defensive tackle Brandon Noble.

Upshaw signed a five-year, $7.5 million contract with a $2 million signing bonus. Noble's terms were not immediately available.

The Redskins have been busy over the first two days of free agency, bringing in five new players.

''We have some more coming in -- in a few days,'' coach Steve Spurrier said. ''So don't go anywhere.''

On Friday, guard Randy Thomas agreed to a seven-year, $28 million deal. The Redskins also traded for St. Louis running back Trung Canidate and signed ex-San Francisco guard Dave Fiore to a four-year contract worth about $6.5 million, including a $1.5 million signing bonus.

Miller third behind Von Gruenigen in giant slalom

YONGPYONG, South Korea -- A big win Saturday has Michael Von Gruenigen on pace to regain the World Cup giant slalom title.

Von Gruenigen beat Frederic Covili and Bode Miller to win the giant slalom on the Yongpyong resort's Rainbow course and increase his lead in the standings.

The 31-year-old Von Gruenigen clinched the victory with a two-run combined time of 2 minutes, 26.68 seconds. Covili was 0.17 behind, while Miller was 0.32 back.

Von Gruenigen's third giant slalom win of the season increased his lead over Miller in the overall giant slalom standings from 57 to 97 points. Von Gruenigen also won two of this season's giant slalom races with victories in Val d'Isere, France, and Park City, Utah.

The Swiss star won the giant slalom world title in 1997 and 2001.

St. Cloud St. tops UAA 7-0

ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- Jake Moreland made 25 saves as St. Cloud State blanked Alaska-Anchorage 7-0 Saturday night.

Joe Motzko scored two goals for the Huskies. Jon Cullen, Joe Jensen, Mike Doyle and Dave Iannazzo each recorded a goal and an assist for St. Cloud State.

The Huskies killed five Alaska-Anchorage power plays, while converting on one of their three power play opportunities. St. Cloud State was called for six penalties worth 12 minutes off the ice, while Alaska-Anchorage (1-24-7, 0-22-6 WCHA) incurred four penalties for eight minutes.

Kevin Reiter stopped 36 shots for the Seawolves, who remain winless in the WCHA.

Mike Doyle, Matt Hendricks and Ryan LeMere also scored for St. Cloud State (16-12-4, 12-10-4). It was LeMere's first goal of the season.

St. Cloud State beat Alaska-Anchorage 2-0 on Friday.

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