Sports Briefs

Posted: Thursday, June 24, 2004

Goldstein nabs Gatorade honor

Gatorade has awarded the Alaska High School Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year to Ari Goldstein of Soldotna High School.

Goldstein won the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs at the state track meet. She also anchored the 1,600-meter relay to victory at state and won girls athlete of the meet honors.

"Ari is the most dedicated athlete I've ever coached," said SoHi coach Mark Devenney. "She has developed outstanding leadership skills, and is far more concerned about team success than personal success.

"She is a role model for every student at our school."

Goldstein also is the reigning Class 4A cross country champion, is a member of the National Honors Society and maintains a 4.0 grade point average.

Play washed out at Wimbledon

WIMBLEDON, England Andy Roddick managed to help entertain drenched Wimbledon spectators without hitting a shot.

Nary a point was played in the 74 matches scheduled Wednesday at the All England Club, the tournament's first complete rainout since 1999. Because sprinkles interrupted action Monday and Tuesday, too, only 83 of 160 matches have been finished, the fewest in 13 years through Day 3.

When the sun finally peeked out from behind the clouds at 2:40 p.m., Roddick thought he'd get a chance to resume his first-round match against Wang Yeu-tzuoo of Taiwan, suspended Tuesday at 4-2, 40-all.

''Automatically, the juices start flowing a little bit, so I ran down to the locker room,'' the U.S. Open champion said. ''But no. Denied.''

With live tennis coverage washed out, the British Broadcasting Corp. aired matches from past years and a rerun of its special Wimbledon edition of ''The Weakest Link,'' taped last week. Contestants included the second-seeded Roddick; his coach, Brad Gilbert; and Hall of Famer Boris Becker.

Germans eliminated, Dutch advance

LISBON, Portugal Three-time champion Germany was eliminated from the European Championship, losing its final first-round game to the Czech Republic 2-1 Wednesday night as the Netherlands advanced by beating Latvia 3-0.

Germany, which would have moved on to the quarterfinals with a victory, was eliminated in the first round for the second straight European Championship. The Czechs, who already had clinched a berth in the quarterfinals, started nine backups.

''It's a huge disappointment,'' Germany coach Rudi Voeller said. ''Two years ago, we were so happy to be World Cup runner-ups. Now we are out, that's bitter.''

At Braga, Ruud Van Nistelrooy scored twice for the Netherlands, tying England's Wayne Rooney for the tournament lead with four goals.

''We deserve this. We worked so hard for it,'' Van Nistelrooy said. ''Our supporters were fantastic. The stadiums have been filled with orange, which gives us power.''

Okafor could get final spot on U.S. team

With one roster spot remaining to be filled, the U.S. Olympic basketball team is expected to choose size over shooting ability. Among the final candidates are Emeka Okafor, Brad Miller and Theo Ratliff, a source told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Carmelo Anthony has accepted an invitation to join the team, but two members of the NBA champion Detroit Pistons Richard Hamilton and Ben Wallace have declined, two sources close to USA Basketball said on condition of anonymity.

One of those sources said the USA Basketball selection committee has decided to add a center rather than a pure shooter a decision that has knocked Michael Redd out of contention for a spot on the constantly evolving 12-man roster.

''It has always been a dream of mine to play for my country in the Olympics and I plan on coming back with gold medal,'' Anthony said in a statement issued Wednesday by the Denver Nuggets.

Only Tim Duncan and Allen Iverson remain from the star-studded U.S. team that won the Tournament of the Americas last summer to earn a berth in the Athens Olympics.

Lakers' Fisher becomes free agent

LOS ANGELES Derek Fisher, a key member of the Los Angeles Lakers the past eight seasons, opted out of his contract Wednesday to become an unrestricted free agent.

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said the team expected such a decision.

''This is an opportunity for him to see what the market is,'' Fisher's agent, Mark Bartelstein, said by telephone from Chicago. ''He's a heck of a player. You only have so many chances in your career to test the market and so many chances to be a free agent.

''By no means does this mean he doesn't want to be a Laker. He'd love to stay a Laker. We're going to go through the process and see what happens.''

Kupchak said the Lakers will be aggressive in trying to keep Fisher, who joined them as a first-round draft pick in 1996.

Wie falters, but looks forward to match play

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. A black snake slithering in her path drew a screech of surprise from Michelle Wie on Wednesday, but it took a delay because of thunder and lightning to get her off her game after a flawless start.

The 14-year-old was 3 under before a 50-minute stoppage and 2 over after it, undermined again by one miserable hole as stroke-play qualifying concluded in the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship.

Wie, the defending champion, had a three-putt triple-bogey with a penalty stroke Wednesday, following a four-putt double-bogey in the first round. Her 1-under 71 and two-day total of 141 was good enough to tie her for sixth with three others.

Disappointed, she pledged to do better in match play which starts Thursday.

''Match play tomorrow is a whole different kind of story,'' she said, ''and I feel like I'm really ready for that.''

The top 64 players advanced to the first round of match play, which continues until a 36-hole championship match on Sunday.

Brittany Lang, a teammate of Wie's on the U.S. team that won the Curtis Cup this month, bolted to the lead at 9-under 135 after a 65 that featured eight birdies on the 6,158-yard Green Course at Golden Horseshoe.

Lang missed only two greens and rolled in birdie putts of 30 and 25 feet as well as making six others from within 8 feet.

''I hit a lot of shots at the flag,'' the McKinney, Texas, native said.

Taking some time off to rest after the Curtis Cup, which pitted the U.S. team against Britain and Ireland and ended June 13, was crucial, Lang said.

''I was wearing myself out with golf and working out,'' she said.

Lang wasn't the only one who got hot on Wednesday.

Jenna Pearson of Wheaton, Ill., was two back after a 66, and Courtney Mahon of Topeka, Kan., was third at 138 after a 68. The top five also included 14-year-old Stephanie Kono (70), who attends the same school as Wie in Honolulu, at 139, and Ya-Ni Tseng (70) of Chinese Taipei at 140.

Pearson's round was set up by an unspectacular first round.

''Yesterday I had 17 pars and one birdie and I really didn't make any mistakes so I just felt really good coming into today,'' she said.

''It'll help me (Thursday) to know there are birdies out there.''

Kono, six weeks younger than Wie and a rising ninth grader, isn't a long hitter like her schoolmate and some of the others playing here. Still, she said match play can change a lot of things and give everyone an equal chance.

''If they have a good putting day, that's all it takes,'' she said.



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