Thursday, July 31, 2008

UPDATE: Video of Olympic Opening Ceremonies Leaked

By Robert H. Kelly
Copyright 2008 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (July 31, 2008) The video clip that was released, then removed for numerous online sources has reappeared.

As of 6:42 PM CDT, the clip had reappeared on YouTube. I have embedded it below. It may not be up for long, so view it quickly.



Video of Olympic Opening Ceremonies Leaked

By Robert H. Kelly
Copyright 2008 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (July 31, 2008) In a major security breach, a Korean journalist gained entry into the Olympic Stadium in Beijing and videotaped a dress rehearsal for the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics.

A Korean television journalist visiting the "Bird's Nest" Olympic Stadium secretly filmed a rehearsal of the opening ceremony.

The video was banned on most sites based in China The video appeared on YouTube late Wednesday evening but was pulled early Thursday.

There were no surprises from the footage shot in the darkened stadium, however it give a glimpse of the lavishness of the 3 1/2-hour opening ceremony with an expected cast of 10,000.

A copy of the video was also posted at LiveLeak.com, however that copy was also removed.

The video clip can be see at Newsradio 1290 WJNO. The video was active as of 5:10 PM CDT today.

The clip may be viewed by clicking
here.




U.S. Boxing Team Fights for Gold

BEIJING, CHINA (July 31, 2008) The U.S. Olympic boxing team is vowing to wage a battle for medals in Beijing at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

The eight-man U.S. squad, the smallest U.S. boxing team in 60 years, features two world champions, and is considered by many boxing analysts the most talented and well-trained team heading into a Summer Olympics.

Jon Decker from Reuters reports.


USA Baseball 18U Defeat Korea

EDMONTON, AKBERTA (July 31, 2008) Nolan Fontana (INF; Winter Garden, Fla.) lined a two-out, two-run single in the seventh inning to plate the tying and go-ahead runs and Jake Barrett (RHP; Mesa, Ariz.) protected a one-run lead over the final three innings as the USA Baseball 18U National Team rallied for a 4-3 victory against defending world champ Korea in Day 6 of pool play at the International BAseball Federation’s AAA World Junior Championships. The tournament, featuring the world’s top 18-and-under players from 12 countries, concludes Aug. 3.

The victory gives Team USA (5-0) the No. 1 seed in its six-team pool entering championship quarterfinal action Aug. 1. Team USA will meet either Puerto Rico (3-1) or Chinese Taipei (2-2) in the quarterfinals at 4 p.m. (EDT) at Telus Field. Those two teams will meet July 31 in their final pool-play game with the loser to face the USA. The Puerto Rico-Chinese Taipei game was scheduled to be played today but was postponed due to rain.

The Americans’ victory against Korea (4-1) assured the USA of being the only team in the tourney to finish pool play unbeaten. The win also avenged a USA loss to Korea in the gold-medal game of the 2006 IBAF AAA World Championships in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba. Ironically, the final score of that game was also 4-3.

“I thought our team played with great energy and played extremely hard,” USA Head Coach Mark Elkins said. “Tonight was just an awesome atmosphere. It felt like a gold-medal game.”

Team USA had to come from behind on two occasions. The Americans trailed 2-1 before knotting the score 2-2 in the top of the sixth. After Korea responded with a run in its home half of the inning, the USA staged a two-run rally to take the lead for good in the seventh.

Austin Maddox (DH; Jacksonville, Fla.) led off the inning with a double down the right field line off Korea starter Young Suk Jang (0-1). Donavan Tate (OF; Cartersville, Ga.) was then hit by a pitch. After Max Stassi (C; Yuba City, Calif.) fouled out, David Nick (INF; Cypress, Calif.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Jang was then replaced by lefthander Min Kyu Park, who struck out Andrew Aplin (OF; Suisun City, Calif.) for the second out of the inning. That brought up Fontana, Team USA’s leadoff hitter. After falling behind 0-2 in the count, Fontana laced a Park offering into right center field.

“I saw that their pitcher had thrown Andrew a couple of curve balls during his at bat,” Fontana said. “He (Park) got ahead of me two strikes with two curve balls so that’s what I was sitting on. His 0-2 pitch was a curve ball.”

Maddox scored easily from third to tie the game. Korea rightfielder Sang Su Kim’s throw to the plate beat Tate who was trying to score from second base. But Tate bowled over catcher Jae Yun Kim, who dropped the ball as Tate tallied the go-ahead run. On the play, with the ball still loose, Nick attempted to score all the way from first base but was called out for not having touched home plate. Nick’s out ended the inning with the USA on top 4-3.

“That hit would have to be my biggest one (ever),” Fontana said about his game-winning at bat. “This may not have been a gold-medal game but I have never got chills up and down my spine like that before.”

“Nolan’s hit was the turning point of the game,” added Elkins.

Despite Fontana’s big hit, the game was still far from complete.

Barrett entered the game in the seventh inning in relief of starter Colton Cain (LHP; Waxahachie, Texas), who had allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits with five strikeouts in six innings.

Barrett retired Korea in order in the seventh. But a pair of two-out walks in the eighth inning brought up Korea cleanup hitter Ji Hwan Oh. Barrett escaped the jam by striking out Oh. In the bottom of the ninth, Barrett allowed a leadoff single to pinchhitter Ig Hyun Lim. After a pair of strikeouts, Kun Woo Park lofted a single to center field, and when Tate misplayed the ball, Korea had runners at second and third base. But Barrett came through with his fifth strikeout of the night to end the game and earn a save.

“Jake came in and pitched very well in relief to keep Korea’s bats at bay,” Elkins said.

The USA grabbed a 1-0 lead scoring an unearned run in its first at bat. With one out, Nick Franklin (INF; Longwood, Fla.) singled to right field. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a fielding error. He then scored on Jang’s second wild pitch of the inning.

Korea evened the game at 1-1 via three hits off Cain (1-0) in the bottom of the first. Two big defensive plays helped Korea end up with just one run. After a leadoff single, Stassi picked off Korea’s Ju Hyeon Jung at first base. After Kim singled one batter later, Tate ran down a drive to deep center field by Korea’s Chi Hong An. One batter later, Oh’s double down the right field line tied the game.

A two-out fielding error by USA first baseman Jeff Malm (INF; Las Vegas, Nev.) led to an unearned Korea run in the fifth. The USA responded in the top of the sixth on Franklin’s one-out double that drove in Aplin, who had walked. Korea took a 3-2 lead in the home half of the sixth, scoring when Cain was called for a balk with a runner on third base.

“Any time you beat a quality club, like Korea, you have to feel better about yourself as a team,” Elkins said. “While we are happy with the win, we know we have a lot of work still ahead of us.”

USA Baseball is the National Governing Body of amateur baseball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The organization selects and trains the United States Olympic Baseball Team (and all other USA Baseball professional teams), the USA Baseball National Team (collegiate); the USA Baseball 18U, 16U, and 14U National Teams; and the USA Baseball Women’s National Team, all of which participate in various international competitions each year.

Around the Rings: Olympic Village Opens

BEIJING, CHINA (July 31, 2008) The Olympic Village opened in Beijing with much ceremony and celebration. The Associated Press had this video clip on the event.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Houston Left Off IndyCar Series Schedule for 2009

HOUSTON, TEXAS (July 30, 2008) The IndyCar Series will announce its 2009 schedule today but due to previous contractual obligations, the IndyCar Series will not be able to include the Grand Prix of Houston for next year. MJ Promotions, owner of the Grand Prix of Houston, had organized a proposal for the IndyCar Series with the help of local government and community leaders, and series officials traveled to Houston in June for a presentation and site visit. Although scheduling the event for 2009 was not possible, IndyCar Series and MJ Promotions officials confirmed today that discussions are ongoing about bringing the racing series to Houston in 2010.

“We were very impressed by the presentation and we are confident that Houston could be a great market for the IndyCar Series,” said Terry Angstadt, president, commercial division, Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body for the IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights. “However, due to contractual obligations and our desire to grow the schedule in a way that will work for all involved it was impossible to add all of the races we would have liked for 2009. We are looking forward to continuing to work with Mike Lanigan and MJ Promotions on the possibly of racing at Reliant Park in the future.”

Mike Lanigan, CEO of MJ Promotions, added, “While we are disappointed that the IRL was not able to accommodate Houston in 2009, we are very optimistic about the prospects for 2010. Our company remains committed to returning the Grand Prix to the great city of Houston
.”

USA Blanks Mexico at World Junior Baseball Champs

ST. ALBERT, ALBERTA (July 30, 2008) Matthew Purke (LHP; Spring, Texas) twirled a complete-game four-hitter, retiring 21 of the final 22 batters he faced, as the USA Baseball 18U National Team blanked Mexico 2-0 today in Day 5 of pool play at the International BAseball Federation’s AAA World Junior Championships. The tournament, featuring the world’s top 18-and-under players from 12 countries, will conclude Aug. 3.

The victory for Team USA (4-0) sets up a showdown July 30 for the top spot in the final day of pool play. The Americans, the defending silver medalist, will meet defending world champion Korea (4-0) at 9:05 p.m. (EDT) at Telus Field with the winner to earn the No. 1 seed from the teams’ six-team pool for championship quarterfinal play Aug. 1. Korea remained unbeaten also after dispatching of Russia 17-1 in a seven-inning run-rule game today.

The USA-Korea affair will be a rematch of the 2006 World Championship title contest when Korea rallied from a 3-2 eighth-inning deficit with a pair of runs, including the winning run with two out in the bottom of the ninth, to defeat the USA 4-3 for the gold medal in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba.

The Mexico shutout marked the second consecutive game in which Team USA has blanked its opponent following the Americans’ 25-0 whitewash of Russia July 28. USA pitchers have not allowed a run in the last 17 innings and the Americans’ staff has allowed 21 hits and five earned runs in 32 innings pitched for a 1.41 earned run average.

Purke (1-0) permitted only one base runner to reach third base in his route-going gem. Mexico (1-3) reached him for a pair of hits to start the second inning. But a strikeout and a groundout left runners stranded on second and third to end the frame. After surrendering a leadoff single in the third inning, the lefthander set down 16 consecutive batters until allowing an infield single with one out in the eighth.

“We found out that our team doesn’t need to score 25 runs to win,” Purke said. “We showed that we can play and win close games. We made all the defensive plays we needed and scored the runs necessary to win.”

For Purke, the performance helped him atone a pool-play loss to Mexico a year ago in the COPABE Pan Am Junior Championships in Ixtapa, Mexico, as a member of the 2007 USA Baseball 18U National Team.

“That game definitely came to mind,” said Purke in reference to the USA’s 8-7 Pan Am setback to last year’s host country. “I saw this as an opportunity to avenge that loss. I was focused and wanted to take control against them. I had all my pitches today so I knew it was going to be a good day.”

Purke’s nine-inning outing matched the 18U Team’s single-game mark for innings pitched in a Worlds game. He joins Rick Ankiel (vs. Korea ,1997) and Ryan Drese (vs. Chinese Taipei, 1994) who also had nine-inning stints.

“Matthew performed as well as I have ever seen him pitch,” Team USA Head Coach Mark Elkins said. “He completely dominated the game. He threw strike after strike and kept Mexico hitters off balance all game. He certainly made the most of his opportunity to pitch against Mexico again.”

After erupting for 21 hits in its one-sided win against Russia, Team USA’s offense managed just six hits and drew seven walks in scoring two early runs— both by leadoff hitter Nolan Fontana (INF; Winter Garden, Fla.).

The Americans’ took a 1-0 lead by scoring an unearned run in their first at bat. Fontana opened the home half of the first inning by working a walk — his first of four in the game— off Mexico starter Alejandro Barraza. Fontana moved to second on an infield single by Nick Franklin (OF; Longwood, Fla.) then advanced to third on a fielder’s choice grounder by Harold Martinez (INF; Miami, Fla.). After Barraza issued a two-out base on balls to Austin Maddox (DH; Jacksonville, Fla.), Fontana scored when Mexico catcher Luis Juarez threw wildly to first base trying to pick off Maddox.

The USA’s other run came in the third inning when a one-out double to center by Jeff Malm (INF; Las Vegas, Nev.) knocked in Fontana, who reached on his second walk and then moved up a base on Franklin’s grounder.

Fontana’s four walks established an 18U National Team single-game record for Worlds competition, bettering the previous mark of three matched most recently by Victor Sanchez against Italy in 2006.

“Scoring runs were hard to come by today,” Elkins said. “But the name of the game is to have one more run than the other team after the 27th out is recorded. Despite not scoring a lot of runs, I thought our players did a good job of keeping pressure all day long on Mexico. Not everything went our way offensively but our team played with enthusiasm on every single play.”

USA Baseball is the National Governing Body of amateur baseball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The organization selects and trains the United States Olympic Baseball Team (and all other USA Baseball professional teams), the USA Baseball National Team (collegiate); the USA Baseball 18U, 16U, and 14U National Teams; and the USA Baseball Women’s National Team, all of which participate in various international competitions each year.

U.S. Olympic Swim Team Names Team Captains


By Chris Price
Copyright 2008 TexSport Publications

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO (July 30, 2008) The members of the USA Olympic Swim Team have selected six former Olympics as their team captains for the upcoming Olympic games in Beijing.

Five-time Olympian Dara Torres (Los Angeles, Calif.), four-time Olympian Amanda Beard (Irvine, Calif.) and two-time Olympian and world record-holder Natalie Coughlin (Vallejo, Calif.) were selected as the women’s team captains for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Swim Team. On the men’s side, three-time Olympians Erik Vendt (North Easton, Mass.) and Jason Lezak (Irvine, Calif.), and two-time Olympian and world record-holder Brendan Hansen (Havertown, Pa.) were selected as captains. Team captains were selected by a team vote at the team’s domestic training camp in Palo Alto, Calif., last week.

The Olympic pool competition begins Aug. 9 and runs through Aug. 17 at the Beijing National Aquatic Center. Then, on Aug. 20 and 21, the women’s and men’s 10K Olympic marathon swim will make its Olympic debut at the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park in Beijing, China.

U.S. MEN'S OLYMPIC SOCCER TEAM TIES IVORY COAST

HONG KONG, CHINA (July 30, 2008) – The U.S. Men’s Olympic Team earned a scoreless draw with Ivory Coast in the opening match of the ING Cup in Hong Kong on Wednesday. The United States will face Cameroon in their second match of the tournament and their final Olympic tune-up on Aug. 2 at 5 p.m. local / 5 a.m. ET at Hong Kong Stadium. Fans can follow the action against Cameroon live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.

Head coach Peter Nowak used all 16 field players during the game, including a complete switch of his midfielders and forwards at halftime, getting a good look at nearly his entire Olympic roster. The two groups of attackers each created dangerous chances throughout the game, despite getting only one shot on goal.

“These matches are tune-ups for the Olympics so we want to make sure the stuff we've been working on will translate into the games,” Nowak said. “We wanted to give time to the whole group to make sure that they're ready for the game on Saturday, and more importantly learn from today's mistakes before our game against Japan. Our preparations, mentally and physically, will show through these two games both offensively and defensively. We want to make sure to get the full package together by next week.”

Ivory Coast used their speed and athleticism to create counterattack opportunities throughout the game, but the U.S. defense was up to the task. Brad Guzan, who earned Man of the Match honors, made four saves throughout the night, including a kick save from point-blank range late in the second half.

Mamadou Bagayoko took the game’s first shot in just the second minute, pouncing on an errant pass and moving upfield before quickly taking a shot that went wide of Guzan’s goal. The Americans, defending in numbers when necessary, escaped two corner kicks in the first seven minutes before settling into their game.

In the 10th minute, midfielder Michael Bradley took the first shot of the game for the U.S. after an impressive buildup out of the back. Sacha Kljestan and Freddy Adu combined in the midfield to get the ball out wide to Jozy Altidore, who knocked it over to Bradley. His one-time shot with the outside of his right foot went wide.

Adu looked to have gotten in behind the Ivory Coast defense in the 29th minute, running onto an Altidore pass in the box. He was taken down, but the referee let play continue. Minutes later, defender Marvell Wynne won a tackle and played the ball forward quickly for Altidore. He and striking partner Brian McBride combined at the top of the box, and McBride touched it ahead for a streaking Kljestan. He took a touch into the box, but defender Ousmane Viera Diarrassouba did well to recover and was able to cleanly tackle the ball away from Kljestan.

The final two chances of the first half belonged to the U.S. as the ball got out wide to midfielder Stuart Holden, who made a cheeky move around his defender and whipped a ball into the box looking for a pair of targets in McBride and Altidore, but neither could get to it. Seconds later, after Adu took a hard foul, Holden chipped in the ensuing free kick, again looking for his strikers at the far post. Altidore got tangled up with his defender, and got his head to it, but only enough to make the ball bounce up and into the hands of Ivory Coast ‘keeper Vincent de Paul Angban.

With Nowak changing his entire attack with five halftime substitutions, the U.S. moved into a 4-5-1 with Charlie Davies as the lone striker. But it was Ivory Coast who came out firing, earning the first truly dangerous chance of the game for either side in the 52nd minute. Kouamatien Kone flew down his right wing and got by defender Michael Orozco before sending a cross to the far post. Teammate Sekou Cisse was at the far post, and snapped his header down and on frame, but Guzan was there to make the diving save.

Guzan’s best save of the night came in the 71st minute, after a quick counter attack from the Ivory Coast. Serge Pascal Wawa, who was one of the best players for the Ivory Coast on the night, broke up a U.S. attack and got the ball forward with speed. Cisse received the ball and powered through Maurice Edu to get into the box alone and hit a low shot to the near post. Guzan was up to the task though, making a kick save to keep the game scoreless.

The U.S. heads into the 2008 Olympic Games having been drawn into a difficult Group B and will open against Japan on August 7 before facing the Netherlands on August 10, with both games taking place at the Olympic Sports Center Stadium in Tianjin. The team will then travel to Workers’ Stadium in Beijing to conclude group play against 1996 gold medalist and 2005 Under-20 World Cup champion Nigeria on August 13.

SWAC Announces 2008 Volleyball Schedule

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA (July 30, 2008) The Southwestern Athletic Conference released its 2008 Conference Women’s Volleyball Schedule today, decorated by several tournaments hosted by member institutions and culminating with the conference championship tournament.

Play begins August 29 with eight teams in competition. The opening weekend is highlighted by the Texas Southern Season Opener Invitational featuring Texas Southern, Mississippi Valley State, The Citadel and Arkansas State. Also in action on opening weekend are defending conference champion Alabama A&M, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Prairie View A&M, Jackson State, Mississippi Valley State, Alabama State and Grambling State.

The month of September is a busy one as member institutions find themselves on the road in several non-conference tournament events. Prairie View A&M and Alabama State will each host their respective tournaments. Prairie View A&M, Texas Southern, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and South Alabama will square off in the Prairie View A&M Lady Panther Invitational.
Participating in the Alabama State Lady Hornet Invitational will be Mississippi Valley State, Alabama A&M, Southern, North Carolina A&T and Clark Atlanta. The following weekend, Mississippi Valley State will host a two-day event on the Itta Bena campus in which Alabama State, Grambling State, Southern and Paul Quinn will be entered.

In October, most teams will find themselves involved in divisional play throughout the month. October is also the host month for the Southern University Invitational. This year, Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Grambling State, Jackson State, Mississippi Valley State and Prairie View A&M will converge on Baton Rouge for two days of exciting volleyball action.


For the full schedule and other information. visit SWAC Vollayball.

Former and Current UH Divers Prepare for 2008 Olympics

HOUSTON, TEXAS (July 30, 2008) Former University of Houston divers Yulia Pakhalina and Tania Cagnotto and current Cougar Anastasia Pozdniakova are preparing to represent their home countries at the 2008 Olympics when they begin on Aug. 8 in Beijing.

Pozdniakova and Pakhalina, both natives of Russia, will compete together in the 3-meter synchronized springboard Aug. 10 and Cagnotto will compete for Italy in the 10-meter platform Aug. 20-21. All three divers will also participate in the 3-meter springboard Aug. 15-17.

All three events will take place at the National Aquatics Center on the Olympic Green, and the Olympics are scheduled to air on the NBC family of networks.
Pozdniakova was named the Conference USA Diver of the Meet after winning both the 1-meter and 3-meter championship during the 2007 C-USA Swimming and Diving Championships. She was a redshirt this past season and did not compete for the Cougars as she trained for the Olympics. In 2006-07, she was also named the C-USA Diver of the Week four times during the regular season.

Pozdniakova continued the success of her sophomore campaign, winning the 1-meter and 3-meter championships at the NCAA Zone D Meet. She finished second on the 3-meter springboard and fifth in the 1-meter competition at the
NCAA meet, earning All-America status.


Pakhalina, an Olympic medal winner, took home bronze in the 3-meter springboard and silver in synchronized diving at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. She also was a gold medalist in synchronized diving in Sydney in 2000.
As a Cougar, Pakhalina was a five-time NCAA individual national champion in the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard. She also recorded 36 consecutive wins in collegiate competition and was an 11-time C-USA Diver of the Week.


While Cagnotto only competed at Houston for one season, she set a UH and C-USA record by being named C-USA Diver of the Week nine times and swept all three diving events at the 2006 C-USA Championship. She was just the second diver in C-USA history to win all three diving events at one championship meet, joining Pakhalina who accomplished the feat in 2002.

Cougar diving coach Jane Figueiredo will be an assistant coach for the Russian team for the third time, including in 2000 and 2004. She also was an assistant coach for Great Britain in 1996 and competed as a diver in the 1984 Olympics in Portugal.

Around the Rings: Rush for Olympic Tickets

BEIJING, CHINA (July 30, 2008) Thousands queue up for 24 hours for the last chance to buy the remaining Olympic tickets.

Unwashed, unfed and lacking sleep, thousands of Chinese queued for their last chance at Olympic tickets on Friday as police strained to hold back the crowds who threatened to break barricades.

Kitty Bu of Reuters reports.



Rice Women's Hoops Unveils 2008-09 Non-Conference Schedule

HOUSTON, TEXAS (July 30, 2008) The Rice women's basketball program announced its non-conference schedule Tuesday for the 2008-09 season. Home games will be played at the Tudor Fieldhouse on the Rice campus.

"We are excited to open our season with seven non-conference games in the newly-renovated Tudor Fieldhouse," head coach Greg Williams said. "We had a rough non-conference travel schedule last season and it will be nice for our program to return on-campus."

After an exhibition contest at Houston Baptist (Nov. 7), the Owls christen Tudor Fieldhouse with a four-game homestand against Cal State Northridge (Nov. 14), defending SWAC regular season champion Prairie View A&M (Nov. 19), NCAA Tournament participant Baylor (Nov. 23) and Furman (Nov. 25).

The Owls also play host to Pac-10 foe UCLA (Dec. 17) and NCAA Sweet 16 team George Washington (Jan. 5).

Rice has road games slated for Arkansas-Little Rock (Nov. 29), Hofstra (Dec. 19), Lafayette (Dec. 21) and Texas-San Antonio (Jan. 3) along with a pair of games at a tournament hosted by Ole Miss (Dec. 29-30).

?We?re thrilled that our fans get to see our program match-up with some of the nation?s best basketball programs at Tudor Field House,? Williams said. ?I know that our players are also looking forward to taking on teams from the Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC in addition to our trip to the New York City/Philadelphia areas during our non-conference schedule.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Dynamo down Pachuca to reach SuperLiga Final

By Robert H. Kelly
Copyright 2008 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (July 29, 2008) The Houston Dynamo, with goals from Bobby Boswell and Corey Ashe in the second half, defeated Pachuca 2-0 to advance to the finals of SuperLiga 2008.

The Dynamo found the goal for the first time in the 77th minute when defender Bobby Boswell took the ball from forward Dwayne De Rosario, with help from defender Craig Waibel, and drove it past Pachuca goalkeeper Miguel Calero.

The Dynamo offensive effort continued 10 minutes later when Corey Ashe took a pass from Brian Mullan to find the goal.

After the four-minute stoppage time, a mealy ensued as several Pachuca players rushed the Dynamo bench, causing players, coaches, from both teams to get into the mix. Police quickly entered the field and broke up the “discussion” before any physicality occurred.

The Dynamo will have to wait until late Wednesday to find out their opponent in the finals. The New England Revolution face Atlante in the other semi-final game. A Revolution win would have the Dynamo on the road for the final. An Alante win would put the Dynamo at home in Robertson Stadium for the final
.

IOC Brokers Agreement with Iraqi Government Concerning Olympic Competition

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND (July 29, 2008) An agreement between the Iraqi government and the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday clears the way for Iraqi participation in the Olympic Games in Beijing.

In a productive meeting at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, the IOC and the Government of Iraq agreed on a series of steps that will lead to a fully functioning, independent National Olympic Committee in Iraq. The agreement re-establishes the independent NOC of Iraq which will be allowed to take part in the Beijing Games.

Iraqi athletes will compete in Beijing under the Iraqi flag, led by coaches and team leaders selected by the independent Iraqi National Olympic Committee. Five government representatives will be invited by the IOC as observers to the Games in Beijing. The agreement also calls for the transparent and fair election of a new, independent Iraqi National Olympic Committee, no later than the end of November 2008. This process will be overseen by the IOC and the Olympic Council of Asia and will be held in cooperation with the Government of Iraq, and in accordance with the Olympic Charter.

“I commend the government of Iraq for reaching an agreement that serves the long-term interest of Iraqi athletes,” IOC President Jacques Rogge said. “We have said all along that we want to see Iraqi athletes in Beijing.”

The IOC helped establish an independent Iraqi National Olympic Committee in February 2004, and has provided substantial financial support and other assistance to Iraqi athletes. In May this year, the Iraqi government sought to disband the independent NOC and replace it with one headed by a government official — a clear violation of the Olympic Charter regarding government interference.

The IOC responded on 4 June by suspending the government-imposed committee. The IOC urged Iraqi officials to resolve the matter and issued an open invitation for a meeting in Lausanne.

The deadline for competitors entering the Beijing Olympic Games for all events except athletics passed on 23 July. As a result, the slots for five Iraqi athletes have been redistributed, but two Iraqi athletics competitors will have the opportunity to compete in Beijing.

“We look forward to seeing the Iraqi flag in Beijing,” Rogge said.

Rice Basketball Announces Non-conference Slate

HOUSTON, TEXAS (July 29, 2008) Three home games against teams which advanced to the NCAA Tournament, including Oklahoma and Texas A&M, as well as an appearance in the BYU-hosted Basketball Travelers Invitational highlight Rice University’s non-conference men’s basketball schedule announced Tuesday.

“We are very excited about our non-conference schedule,” said first-year coach Ben Braun. “It is very competitive and will prepare us for league play.”

The Conference USA schedule is expected to be announced sometime in August.

Rice returns to campus and renovated Tudor Fieldhouse to open the 2007-08 season against Portland State Nov. 15th. Portland State is coming off a 23-10 season in which the Vikings won the Big Sky Conference championship. The opener against Portland State is one of seven home dates.

The non-conference home slate also includes Oklahoma on Dec. 22 and Texas A&M on Dec. 31. OU was 23-12 last year and many early, 2008-09 polls have the Sooners in the Top 10. Texas A&M was 25-11 last season. Both teams advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year.

Rice will also play host to Lamar (Nov. 25), Texas-San Antonio (Dec. 4), Texas State (Dec. 6) and Harvard (Dec. 17).

After opening at home against Portland State, the Owls travel to Provo, Utah, for the Basketball Travelers Invitational Nov. 20-22. Rice will take on host BYU, another 2008 NCAA Tournament team, as well as Cal Poly and North Florida during the Multi Team Event tournament. The order of games has yet to be determined for the round-robin tournament.

The Owls’ non-conference road schedule includes a Nov. 30 date at Texas. Rice also travels to Duquesne (Dec. 20), UALR (Dec. 28) and Richmond (Jan. 3). While Texas advanced to the NCAA Houston Regional finals, Richmond played in the College Basketball Invitational in 2008. UALR was a 20-game winner last year while Duquesne is coming off its first winning season in 14 years.
With the addition of Conference USA opponents, Rice will play 11 teams which advanced to post-season play last year.

Season tickets for the return of basketball to the Rice campus can be reserved with a $57 deposit per ticket. For more information on season tickets, fans may go to the ticket link at RiceOwls.com or by calling the Rice Owls Ticket Office at (713) 522-6957.

2008-2009 Rice Nonconference Schedule

Nov. 15 Portland State
Nov. 20-22 at Basketball Travelers Invitational: BYU, Cal Poly, North Florida, Rice
Nov. 25 Lamar
Nov. 30 at Texas
Dec. 4 Texas-San Antonio
Dec. 6 Texas State
Dec. 17 Harvard
Dec. 20 at Duquesne
Dec. 22 Oklahoma
Dec. 28 at Arkansas-Little Rock
Dec. 31 Texas A&M
Jan. 3 at Richmond

Massie, Drabek Honored by Continental Baseball League

By Robert H. Kelly
Copyright 2008 TexSport Publications

DALLAS, TEXAS (July 29, 2008) Bay Area Toros' outfielder Grant Massie and McKinney Blue Tunder pitcher Justin Drabek were selected as the Continental Baseball League's (CBL) Player and Pitcher of the Week ending July 28.


Massey had paced CBL batters with a .429 average, going 6-for-14 with one home run, driving in 4 runs and scoring 5. For the year, Massie is fifth in the league with a .295 average, and ranks second in runs scored with 35.

Drabek threw a complete-game three-hitter on Thursday against Bay Area in McKinney's 3-1 victory, his second time going the distance for the Blue Thunder. Drabek has posted a stingy 1.26 ERA in 43 innings for the season, striking out 27 while allowing just over one base runner per inning.

The honor is the first for Massie, while Drabek was also honored with the award on the week ending July 6.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bhavsar Added to U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA (July 28, 2008) Raj Bhavsar of Houston will replace Paul Hamm, who withdrew from the team earlier today, on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team for men’s gymnastics, pending approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee. The Men’s Selection Committee reached the decision today.

“All of our alternates have been working hard and are ready to support the men’s team, if called upon. The Men’s Selection Committee has named Raj to the team based on the evaluation of various team scenarios,” said Dennis McIntyre, senior director for men’s program at USA Gymnastics. “Given the current team make-up, we believe Raj is best suited to help the U.S. men’s team in its pursuit of a team medal.”

“This is a tremendous honor and the first feeling that comes to mind is that dreams can come true,” said Bhavsar, 27, who was an alternate on the 2004 Olympic Team. “You never know when it will happen, but with enough positive intention and belief, it can. I am ready, willing and able to take on this great opportunity. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of a great athlete, Paul Hamm. My heart goes out to him. He did an admirable thing, and he will always be a hero in my eyes. I also want to recognize the other two alternates, who are an important part of the soul and spirit of this team.”

Bhavsar finished second on parallel bars and third in the all-around, still rings and vault in the weighted, combined rankings from the 2008 Visa Championships and the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Gymnastics. At the 2008 Visa Championships, he tied for third on vault and still rings, as well as placed fifth in the all-around. Bhavsar finished second in the all-around at the 2008 Winter Cup Challenge. He was a member of the 2001 U.S. World Championships Team that earned an unprecedented silver medal, and he helped United States defend that medal at the 2003 World Championships.

“Raj will be a strong asset to this team,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “Not only will he contribute through his gymnastics ability, but also his leadership and emotional energy will be important to our team effort. Along with all of his teammates, including David Durante and Alex Artemev, we are confident that the U.S. team will be a medal contender in Beijing.”

In addition to Bhavsar, the U.S. Olympic Team for men’s gymnastics includes: Joseph Hagerty of Rio Rancho, N.M./Team Chevron; Morgan Hamm of Waukesha, Wis./Team Chevron; Jonathan Horton of Houston/Team Chevron; Justin Spring of Burke, Va./Team Chevron; and Kevin Tan of Fremont, Calif./Team Chevron. The replacement athletes are Alexander Artemev of Morrison, Colo./Team Chevron; and David Durante of Garwood, N.J./Team Chevron. Hamm resigned from the team earlier today because he did not believe he would be able to contribute to the team’s efforts due to physical limitations.

Watson Wins Club Swan 42 U.S. National Championship

By Robert H. Kelly
Copyright 2008 TexSport Publications

NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND (July 28, 2008) Mark Watson of San Antonio, Texas and Newport, Rhode Island was crowned the Club Swan 42 U.S. National Champion at the NYYC (New York Yacht Club) Race Week weekend at Newport Presented by Rolex.

Watson finished in fourth place in Tiburon on Sunday to sew up the overall championship. He totaled 22 total points in the national championships race series.

"We sailed against a bunch of great sailors and friends and managed to win," said Watson, noting that consistency was the key to success in this, one of the largest classes at the regatta with 20 entrants.

20 boast competed in the seven races with Preben Ostberg & Bud Dailey of Rockville, Maryland in Tsunami finishing in second place with 31 points.

Kenneth, Colburn of Dover, Maine finished in third place with 36 points.

Hamm Withdraws from U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA (July 28, 2008) Paul Hamm of Waukesha, Wis., today officially notified USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee that he was resigning from the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team for men’s gymnastics.

“I have put my heart and soul into my comeback and done everything I could to get ready in time to compete in Beijing,” said Hamm, who won the all-around title at the 2004 Olympic Games and is recovering from a broken hand. “After returning home from the preparation camp, I had a few physical setbacks, and it became clear to me that my physical preparations would not be sufficient to properly represent the United States and contribute to the team’s efforts to win a medal. I recently strained my rotator cuff and have been unable to perform all of my skills. I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to make a comeback. At this point in time, the success of the team and fairness to the team, and the alternates, is most important. While I am very disappointed, I feel I can wait no longer to make this decision.”

Hamm began his return to competitive gymnastics in August 2007 after a nearly three-year layoff after the 2004 Games to complete his education. In 2008, he won the all-around title at the Winter Cup Challenge, Tyson American Cup and Pacific Rim Championships presented by Gillette Venus. Hamm broke his fourth metacarpal on May 22 during the Visa Championships and successfully petitioned to the Olympic Team in June. He demonstrated his competitive readiness on July 19 to the men’s selection committee, and the men’s preparation camp concluded on July 22.

“We admire Paul for making this difficult decision,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “Paul’s comeback this year has been phenomenal, made even more impressive following the injury to his hand. He has raised the level of determination among the entire team to put forth a medal winning effort in China. We respect his decision at this time, which is being made to serve the best interests of all of the athletes involved.

ANOTHER ‘CLASSIC’ YEAR ON THE HORIZON FOR SWAC FOOTBALL IN 2008

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA (July 28, 2008) The upcoming 2008 Southwestern Athletic Conference football season promises to be one of the most exciting campaigns in conference history. Adding to that mix is a season-long list of ‘Classic’ football matchups across the nation.

A total of 16 games will be played in a Classic-style format: primarily neutral site locations from Orlando, FL to Los Angeles, CA and many stops in between. The opening weekend of the SWAC football season will feature a pair of Classics.

The Labor Day Classic featuring the SWAC Texas showdown between Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern will kickoff at Houston’s Reliant Stadium on Sat., Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. The weekend will conclude the MEAC/SWAC Challenge matchup of Jackson State and Hampton at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, FL and shown live on ESPN2 at 1 p.m.The regular season will conclude with a trio of Classics on Thanksgiving Weekend. The annual showdown between Alabama State and Tuskegee in the Turkey Day Classic will kickoff in Montgomery, AL at the Crampton Bowl at 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Thu. Nov. 27.

A pair of Classics will be played on Sat. Nov. 29. The Bayou Classic showdown between Southern and Grambling State will kickoff in the Louisiana Superdome at 1 p.m. in New Orleans (televised live on NBC). Also that day is the Dallas Lone Star Classic matchup between Texas Southern and the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff. That game is scheduled for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

QUOTES FROM BAYLOR'S KENDAL VOLZ ON WINNING FISU GOLD MEDAL WITH TEAM USA

By Robert H. Kelly
Copyright 2008 TexSport Publications

WACO, TEXAS (July 27, 2008) One of the highlight of any athlete's career is to win a championship and a gold medal for their country. Baylor University's Kendal Volz was a part of both highlights while p-laying for USA Baseball National Team in the FISU World Championships in Brno, Czech Republic.

The USA sewed up the gold medal and the championships with a 1-0 defeat over Japan on Sunday evening.

The championship game against the Japanese lasted 12 innings that saw tremendous play from the USA. Volz echoed his and the teams' sentiment concerning their victory.

"What a great game; 12 innings, 1-0 ... it doesn't get much better than that.
This game had so many ups and downs for both teams. There were some
frustrating moments and some great defensive plays. This team played so
great all summer long. We got 10 hits tonight and just couldn't get a run across
until the very end. Finally we got a ball to bounce our way, and that's really
the way it was for this team all summer. This was a great opportunity, and I'm
so thankful to (National Team general manager) Eric Campbell and (Team USA head coach) Rob Walton for allowing me to be on this team. They needed me in the closer's role. It was a new role for me, but there are a lot of things I learned
as a closer that will benefit me when I return to a starter's role next spring."
Volz will return to the starting lineup at Baylor next spring.

USA BASEBALL NATIONAL TEAM BLANKS JAPAN 1-0 IN 12 INNINGS

(photo courtesy of USA Baseball and Baylor Baseball Sports Information Department)

BRNO, CZECH REPUBLIC (July 27, 2008) Hunter Morris (Auburn; Huntsville, Ala.) snapped a scoreless tie in the top of the 12th inning, and Kendal Volz (Baylor; Bulverde, Texas) got a game-ending ground out with the potential tying run at third base as the USA Baseball National Team defeated Japan 1-0 in Sunday's gold medal game of the FISU World Championships at Mestsky Stadium. It was Team USA's third
consecutive FISU title.

The U.S. squad completed its 2008 tour 24-0 and established a National Team record for lowest staff ERA at 0.88 (the previous mark of 1.29 was set in 2003). Team USA did not allow more than two earned runs in any game and tossed its sixth shutout of the summer in the FISU title game.

"I don't think you ever think that far down the road," head coach Rob Walton (Oral Roberts) said when asked if a perfect season was imaginable at the beginning of the tour. "We just tried to build chemistry and get guys in the right spots to be successful. Our assistant coaches deserve a lot of credit for this, as does (National Team general manager) Eric Campbell for helping us put together this team."

Morris, who made the team following his true-freshman season, had the game-winning hit in two of Team USA's final three victories. He also had a walk-off home run against Chinese-Taipei in the final pool-play game Thursday.

"Look at what Morris did these last few games," Campbell said. "He hasn't gotten
too many at bats since (Jared) Clark joined this team; he had mostly been shaking hands in the dugout. But he got the game-winning RBI in two of our last three games. I'm so happy that Hunter was the guy. It means even more when you consider the circumstances that allowed him to be on this team."

Tommy Mendonca (Fresno State; Turlock, Calif.) led off the 12th with a single down the left-field line, and Ryan Jackson (Miami-FL; Miami Springs, Fla.) pushed him to second with a sacrifice bunt. After Micah Gibbs (LSU; Pflugerville, Texas) was intentionally walked, Matt den Dekker singled through the right side. However, Japan right fielder Keijiro Matsumoto threw a strike to catcher Shota Ono, who held onto the ball after a collision with Mendonca.

Morris followed with a pinch-hit, broken-bat single to shallow center. Gibbs scored easily from second on the play, giving Team USA a 1-0 lead.

"It was such a great feeling when I saw that ball drop because I knew Gibbs was going to score," Morris said. "With Kendal coming into the game and the way our pitching has been all summer, I knew it would be enough."

The game was far from over, though. Pinch hitter Kyohei Iwasaki led off the bottom of the inning with a seeing-eye single to the hole at shortstop; he advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and then stole third. However, Volz was too much for Japan as he struck out the next batter and got a ground out to end the game.

Shortstop Christian Colon (Cal State Fullerton; Corona, Calif.) scooped the grounder and threw to first baseman Jared Clark (Cal State Fullerton; Castaic, Calif.) for the game's final out.

That made a winner of Kyle Gibson (Missouri; Greenfield, Ind.) who pitched a perfect 11th with one strikeout. Starter Mike Minor (Vanderbilt; Chapel Hill, Tenn.) lasted 9.2 innings and held Japan scoreless on four hits with no walks and nine strikeouts. Volz finished the tour with eight saves in eight opportunities.

Both teams had chances to score before 12th. Team USA had 10 hits on the night but grounded into three double plays, had one player picked off at first base and had two runners thrown out at home. Japan managed only four hits on the night, and the first two were erased when caught stealing.

Minor faced the minimum through the first nine innings and retired the first two
batters he faced in the 10th. However, consecutive singles and a U.S. fielding error put runners on the corners. Tyler Lyons (Oklahoma State; Lubbock, Texas) spelled Minor and got a ground-ball fielder's choice to escape the jam.

"The key to this team was the pitching, and even more so the bullpen," Walton said. "Guys like Lyons and Gibson and Volz, who are all starters in their own programs, accepting roles in the bullpen was big. Their doing that probably was the biggest key of the summer."

Team USA's bullpen posted a 0.87 ERA for the tour, allowing only 13 runs (eight earned) in 84.0 innings with a .165 opponents' batting average.

Mendonca was 4-for-4 at the plate and was hit by a pitch, while Gibbs was 3-for-4.

"This team's record speaks for itself," Campbell said. "Every year is special, but I don't know how we'll be able to top what this team did. They finished 24-0, they beat Cuba's best team twice, they beat Japan three times, and they won two gold medals. It speaks volumes for college baseball, not just in the U.S. but around the world. This team beat a lot of good teams this summer, and four or five of the teams here at FISU easily could have won this event."

PVAMU ATHLETICS RECOGNIZED FOR DIVERSITY EFFORTS BY NCAA

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA (July 27, 2008) The Prairie View A&M University Athletics Department has been named a NCAA 2007-08 Diversity in Athletics Award winner in the category of Value and Attitudinal Diversity.

"We’re excited to be recognized by the NCAA in the area of Diversity. Prairie View A&M University in general has worked hard to create an enviornment that is inclusive and diverse and our athletics program is no different," said PVAMU’s Fred Washington. "We’re always delighted to be recognized for our efforts but it is even more rewarding when we receive one that reflects our efforts to support our student-athletes. This accolade is just one more indicator that we have our priorities in the right place."

Overall Prairie View A&M was one of two member institutions of Southwestern Athletic Conference selected to receive such honors. An Official Certificate of Recognition was sent to the department by Chris Ruckdaschel who currently serves as the NCAA’s Assistant Director of Diversity and Inclusion.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

All Sports in Action at Games of Texas on Saturday

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS (July 26, 2008) Thousands of athletes are expected to compete in 18 events as part of the 2008 Tesoro TAAF Games of Texas. This is the largest multi-sport event in the state. The Games of Texas are patterned after the Olympic Games and are hosted by the San Antonio Sports Foundation and San Antonio Parks and Recreation. Track & field (3,500), swimming (2000) and boxing (300) will host the largest number of athletes to ever compete in their sports in the Games of Texas.

The 2008 Tesoro TAAF Games of Texas continue Saturday with 18 events, including boxing, track and field, swimming, baseball, and softball.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dynamo Trade for Forward Kamara

HOUSTON, TEXAS (July 25, 2008) The Houston Dynamo announced today they have acquired 23-year-old forward Kei Kamara in a trade with the San Jose Earthquakes.

Kamara, a Generation Adidas player, has scored seven goals in three MLS seasons, two with the Columbus Crew and one with San Jose. He scored against the Dynamo earlier this year. A product of Cal State-Dominguez Hills, Kamara was capped four times for Sierra Leone in World Cup qualifying matches in June. The 6-foot-3 Kamara adds size and pace to the Dynamo attack.

“Our goal has been to add depth at forward, and this move accomplishes just that,” Dynamo Chief Operating Officer Chris Canetti said. “We are pleased to bring Kei into our club and expect that he will play a positive role as we head into the second half of the season.”

In exchange for Kamara, the Dynamo sent San Jose a first-round draft pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft and allocation money.

The Houston Dynamo, two-time defending MLS Cup champions, will host a SuperLiga semifinal July 29 against Pachuca and remain at home August 2 against the Columbus Crew.

THREE PANTHERS SELECTED FOR PRESEASON ALL-SWAC HONORS

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA (July 25, 2008) The Southwestern Athletic Conference announced it’s 2008 Preseason teams at SWAC Media Day and a total of three Prairie View A&M Panther football players were selected for honors.

PVAMU’s Zach East was selected as a linebacker to the Preseason All-SWAC First Team and was also named the 2008 SWAC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. Last season East led the conference in tackles with 127 stops. He also tallied double-digit tackles in nine of the Panthers ten outings.

Offensive lineman Cleveland Collie was named to the SWAC’s Preseason All-Conference Second Team along with fellow teammate Dalvin Neetles who was one of the Panthers key contributors on the defensive line.

Overall the Panthers were picked to finish in third place in the SWAC’s Western Division.

“We don’t put a lot of stock into what place we’re picked to finish in the conference,” said Panthers head coach Henry Frazier III. “When the season concludes people don’t remember how you were picked to finish during the preseason, they only remember how you finished in December.”

Panthers quarterback Mark Spivey and Zach East accompanied Frazier to the SWAC Media Day which was held at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. Following the Media Day Interview sessions was the 2008 SWAC Football kickoff luncheon which was headlined by a keynote address from former Southern University football player and NFL standout defensive back Aeneas Williams. The 14-year NFL veteran played with the Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals (1991-2000) and St. Louis Rams (2001-04), amassing 55 interceptions in more than 200 NFL games.

The SWAC also announced its 2008 football television line-up which features the Annual State Farm Labor Day Classic between Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern on August 30th, at Reliant Stadium. The game will be broadcast tape delayed on ESPNU at 9:30 p.m.

Games of Texas Opening Ceremonies Friday Night

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS (July 25, 2008) Thousands of athletes are expected to compete in 18 events as part of the 2008 Tesoro TAAF Games of Texas. This is the largest multi-sport event in the state. The Games of Texas are patterned after the Olympic Games and are hosted by the San Antonio Sports Foundation and San Antonio Parks and Recreation. Track & field (3,500), swimming (2000) and boxing (300) will host the largest number of athletes to ever compete in their sports in the Games of Texas.

The 2008 Tesoro TAAF Games of Texas continue Friday with an Olympic-style opening ceremony and seven events. Opencermonies will be at Nelson Wolf Stadium beginning at 7:30pm.

A parade of athletes led by Grand Marshals Olympian Josh Davis and Tesoro executive vice president Bill Finnerty will be followed by entertainment from Radio Disney Dancers. TAFF athletes of the year will light the official 2008 Tesoro TAAF Games of Texas cauldron and the evening will be capped off with a fireworks display. Tickets for the opening ceremony will be $6 for adults and $4 for youth under the age of 6.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

SOUTHWESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE ANNOUNCES PRESEASON FOOTBALL HONORS

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA (July 24, 2008) The Southwestern Athletic Conference announces its 2008 Preseason All-Conference Football Team with Southern quarterback Bryant Lee and Prairie View A&M linebacker Zach East taking top honors. The team was selected by nominations and votes from the member schools’ coaches and sports information contacts along with selected members of the media.

Named the preseason offensive player of the year, Lee (6-2, 195, Jr.) spearheaded an offensive unit that finished first in passing offense, second in total offense and fourth in scoring offense last season. The Boutte, La., native tallied 2,326 passing yards in ten games in 2007. He threw for 23 touchdowns (leading the SWAC) while finishing with a pass efficiency rating of 152.6 (11th in the FCS). He ended the season garnering second-team All-Conference honors.

Tabbed the preseason defensive player of the year, East (6-1, 240, Sr.) came on strong during the end of the 2006 season and continued his strong play in 2007. He finished the 2007 campaign with 127 total tackles (67 solo) while being named SWAC Defensive Player of the Year. He also tallied 14.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, four forced fumbles and a blocked kick. He had double-digit stops in nine games last season including an 18-tackle performance versus Grambling State and a 19-tackle performance against Jackson State. In two years with the Panthers, he has totaled 187 total tackles.

In the predicted order of finish, voters decided that the 2007 division winners will repeat in 2008. In the Eastern Division, SWAC champion Jackson State received 17 first-place votes en route to 105 total points. Alabama A&M, the 2006 SWAC champion, received five first-place tallies as they received 92 points. Mississippi Valley State (51 pts), Alabama State (49 pts) and Alcorn State (33 pts) rounded out the divisional voting. In the Western Division, 2005 champion Grambling State claimed 11 first-place votes as they earned 96 points. Southern – the 1999 and 2003 champion – received seven first-place votes as en route to 89 total points. Prairie View A&M earned four first-place tallies as they finished with 75 points. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (38 pts) and Texas Southern (32 pts) rounded out the Western Division.

In all, there were 12 seniors selected to the first team and 13 for the second team. Ten juniors were chosen for the first team while 11 were selected second team. Three sophomores were first-team selections while one was chosen for the second team.

Alabama A&M and Southern led the count with nine preseason selections each. The Bulldogs received six first-team selections while Southern had five. Jackson State ended with seven preseason choices – three on first team and four on second team. Grambling State had three on each team for a total of six selections. Arkansas-Pine Bluff received four first-team honors and one second-team selection for a total of five. Mississippi Valley State and Alabama State each garnered four selections while Prairie View A&M had three. Alcorn State and Texas Southern carried two and one selections, respectively.

Click
here to view the SWAC Coaches' Predicted Order for Finish and 2008 SWAC Preseason All-Conference Selections.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

MARSHALL NAMED TCU MEN’S TENNIS ASSISTANT COACH

FORT WORTH, TEXAS (July 24, 20087) Jason Marshall, a two-time Big Ten champion and former member of the ATP tennis tour, has joined the TCU men’s tennis program as assistant coach, Head Coach Dave Borelli announced Wednesday.

“I am excited to have Jason join our staff,” Borelli said. “He is one of the top
young assistant coaches out there and will be a tremendous addition to our
program with both his knowledge of the game and his experience on the ATP Tour.”

“Having the opportunity to work for TCU is like a dream come true for me,” Marshall said. “It’s a program that is close to my family and one that I grew up watching as a kid. Very few coaches in the game of tennis are as experienced and successful as Coach Borelli, and I’m proud to have been selected to help carry on this program’s rich tradition.”

A native of Dallas, Marshall spent the last year as an assistant coach at Wright State, where he helped coach 2007-08 first-team All-Horizon League honorees Nick Camilleri Tony Teufel. Prior to his stint with the Raiders, Marshall served as a coach for the Tahitian Olympic team in 2007 and helped lead the squad to a Bronze-medal finish at the South Pacific Games. In addition to his coaching duties, he also managed the team’s budget, organized team travel and implemented
strength and training programs.

Also a seven-year member of the ATP Tour from 2001 through 2007, Marshall reached a career-high world ranking of 101st in doubles. His top moment as a professional came in Sept. 2005, when he upset top-10 ranked Marcos Baghbatis in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2, during an ATP event in Vietnam. He traveled to more than 35 U.S. states and 40 countries for events as a member of both the ATP and International Tennis Federation.

Marshall graduated from Purdue, where he was a four-year letterman and still holds career records for winning percentage at the No. 1 singles and doubles positions. He won Big Ten singles titles in both 1999 and 2001 and was a three-time All-Big Ten selection overall. As a Boilermaker he reached a high national ranking of No. 17 in singles and No. 19 in doubles during his senior campaign.

Marshall received his bachelor’s degree in business from Purdue in 2001 after graduating from J.J. Pearce High School in Dallas. He is a member of the United States Racket Stringers Association and volunteers time with funds and Pro-Am events.

Rice's Watts and Riverin Gain Valuable Experience in China

(photos courtesy of Rice University Media Relations Department)
Tara Watts (right) and Kadie Riverin (left)

HOUSTON TEXAS (July 23, 2008) Rice University's Tara Watts and Kadie Riverin completed a three-game tour as members of the Canadian Development Team from July 18-22 against the Chinese National Team in preparation for the upcoming Olympic games.

The Canadians lost all three decisions in Jiangyin, Zhanghjiagan and Jiyuan. After a pair of double digit defeats to start the tour, the Canadians finished strong dropping a hard-fought 75-69 decision.

Watts tallied 2.6 points, two rebounds and one assist over 17 minutes per game earning one start, while Riverin started all three games en route to a pair of double figure efforts. Riverin shot 47.6 percent from the floor and grabbed 4.6 rebounds along with dishing out 2.6 assists per game.



Fun Facts on the Beijing Olympics

By Marian Ma

As the world waits in anticipation for the greatest sports spectacle on earth, here are some fun facts to wet your appetite for the upcoming 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Beijing China was awarded the Games of the XXIX Olympiad on July 13, 2001 beating out stiff competition from Toronto Canada, Paris France, Istanbul Turkey and Osaka Japan. Even though the Olympics are viewed as a sporting event, it is tinged with political overtones. It has been proposed that the awarding of the Olympic Games to Beijing was an acknowledgment by the International Olympic Committee of China's new superpower status on the world stage. This is despite the fact there have been numerous criticisms opposing the appointment due to concerns of human rights issues, a chaotic transportation system, and a serious air pollution problem.

With the eyes of the world on Beijing, the host city has tried to answer the pollution and transportation issues with a reduction of vehicles going into the city and limiting drivers the use of their cars to alternating days. As for the human rights violations, it is hoped that with worldwide scrutiny and inviting China to host the Games, better relations and dialogue will follow.

The Beijing Olympics will officially start on August 8, 2008 at 8:08:08 pm China Standard Time. The number eight holds special significance for the Chinese as a number of good fortune. The Chinese superstitious theme is also carried in its Olympic mascots. The Beijing Olympic mascots are known collectively as the FUWA, or good luck dolls in Chinese. However, not only do the FUWA dolls serve as heralds of good wishes from China, they also each represent a color in the Olympic rings. These Olympic mascots are stylized versions of popular animals in China and have the names of Beibei, Jingjing Huanhuan, Yingying, Nini. If you take the first syllables of their names, it spells Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni, or "Welcome to Beijing" in Chinese.

Another creative marketing idea to come out of the Beijing Olympic Games is the artistic representation of its official logo. Brush calligraphy is an ancient art form for the Chinese. Using a stamp seal and writing the Jing character in stylized calligraphy, the Beijing logo is known as the "Dancing Beijing" for its appearance of grace and fluidity.

Given the controversies and the fact that China is an emerging power with a very rich culture and history, the Beijing Olympic Games will surely be an interesting event to watch!


About the Author: Mariam Ma is a writer for Olympic Blvd, a site that celebrates all things related to the Olympic Games. To celebrate the 29th Olympiad, check out the personalities of the Beijing Olympics FUWA mascots and buy Beijing Olympic FUWA mascot dolls.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/sports-and-fitness-articles/fun-facts-on-the-beijing-olympics-479281.html

Astros Aquire Randy Wolf

By Chris Price
Copyright 2008 TexSport Publications

In a follow-up story from last night, the Houston Astros announced yesterday afternoon that they had acquired left-handed pitcher Randy Wolf from the San Diego Padres in exchange for right-handed pitcher Chad Reineke. The announcement was made by General Manager Ed Wade.

"Randy is an experienced starter and a great competitor," said Wade. Wolf is 6-10 with a 4.74 ERA in 21 starts for the Padres in 2008. His 21 starts are tied for the Major League lead this season. He will start for the Astros on Sunday at Miller Park against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Local Swimmers Win at Regionals; Qualify for Games of Texas

By Chris Price
Copyright 2008 TexSport Publications

TEXAS CITY, TEXAS (July 23, 2008) The South Belt Area “All Stars” Swimming Team (SBAS) finished in seventh place in the team standings at the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation (TAAF) Region 1 Swimming Championships held at Texas City Natatorium.

Despite being the second smallest team of the seventeen teams competing, the “All Stars” scored well and qualified ten age group and masters swimmers for the TAAF Games of Texas in San Antonio July 25-27 in addition to establishing 17 new TAAF Region 1 swimming records.

Leading the way for SBAS was former Sam Rayburn High School teammates Rick Price and Derrick Mauk (both class of 1995) , along with former Texan swimmer Max Newlin (class of 2004), who each won two gold medals along with establishing six of the new records.

Mauk and Price were competing in the 25-39 year old age group with Mauk taking top honors in the 50-yard backstroke and the 50-yard butterfly while Price won gold in the 50-yard breaststroke and the 50-yard freestyle.

Newlin, who recently got back into the pool after a four year layoff won gold medals in the 18-24 year old age group in the 50-yard backstroke and the 50-yard freestyle.

Landon Howard, who was also competing in the 18-24 year old age group, took the gold medal in the 50-yard butterfly and a silver medal in the 50-yard backstroke. His gold medal performance in the butterfly event was also a Region 1 record.

Not to let their achievements rest with individual medals, the four men combined to take the gold medal in both the 18 and over 200-yard medley relay and the 200-yard freestyle relay. Both performances were also good enough to establish new Region 1 records.

The women also got into the fray of winning medals with former Deer Park High School swimmer Kasey Mauk (class of 2005) wining the gold medal in the 100-yard freestyle , (which was a new Region 1 record) and the silver medal in the 50-yard freestyle. Mauk was joined in the 18-24 year old age group by Jessica Taylor (Sam Rayburn class of 2004), who took silver medals in the 50-yard breaststroke and the 100-yard individual medley.

Lisa Hernandez, competing in the 25-29 year old age group, won the gold medal in the
50-yard butterfly gold and a silver medal in the 100-yard individual medley. Hernandez’ performance in the 50-yard butterfly established another Region 1 record for SBAS.

Not to be outdone by her swimmers, SBAS masters coach and Pasadena High school head swimming coach Darla S. Kelly also got into the act in the women’s 40 and over division. Kelly won the gold medal in the 50-yard backstroke, also establishing a new Region 1 record.

In the relay events, Mauk, Taylor, Hernandez, and Kelly teamed up to take gold medals in both the 18 and over 200-yard medley relay and the 200-yard freestyle relay, also establishing new Region 1 records in the process.

The success in the pool was not limited to just one Kelly. SBAS senior coach and Sam Rayburn High School head swimming coach Robert H. Kelly contributed to the gold medal count, by winning the men’s 40 and over 50-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard freestyle. He also established two new Region1 records with his performances. He also placed fourth in the 100-yard freestyle.

Pasadena and Sam Rayburn High School swimmers saw action in the pool, in preparation for the upcoming high school season.

Pasadena High School’s Jonathan Abner won the bronze medal in the 50-yard backstroke and took 5th place in the 50-yard freestyle.

Adrian Hernandez finished in 7th place in the 50-yard butterfly and 10th place in the 50-yard backstroke. Eduardo Sanchez placed 6th in the 200-yard freestyle and 12th in the 50-yard breaststroke, while Colin O’Donnell placed 12th in the 100-yard individual medley.

All for young men (Abner, Hernandez, Sanchez, and O’Donnell) combined to finish in fourth place in the 15-17 year old 200-yard medley relay and the 200-yard freestyle relay. All four will return to PHS for their senior year of swimming this fall.

Sam Rayburn High Schools swimmer Lauren Rossett also competed in the meet finishing in 7th place in the 200-yard freestyle, 12th place in the 100-yard individual medley, and 21st place in the 50-yard butterfly. Rossett competed in the 15-17 year old age group

Also placing in the meet in the boys 11-12 year old age group was Harrison Matherne who competed in the 50-yard butterfly-4th place, 50-yard freestyle-5th place and the 50-yard backstroke-7th place.

Competing in the girls 11-12 year old age group were Jamie Taylor, 12th place in the 50-yard butterfly, 27th place in the 50-yard breaststroke, and 30th place in the 50-yard backstroke.

Tarah Friddell finished in 11th place in the 50-yard butterfly, 14th place in the 50-yard freestyle, and 21st place in the 50-yard breaststroke, while Haley Chapman placed 27th place in the 50 yard backstroke, 26th place in the 50-yard breaststroke, and 37th place in the50-yard freestyle. Both Friddell and Chapman competed in the 11-12 year old age group.

All competitors who placed in the top three in their events qualified for the Games of Texas State Championships. The state swimming meets will be held at Palo Alto College in San Antonio on July 25-27, 2008.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Astros Activate Quintero

By Olivia Dodson
Copyright 2008 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (July 22, 2008) The Houston Astros made some roster changes after their Monday night 9-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Astros activated catcher Humberto Quintero from the disabled list and optioned catcher J.R. Towles to Triple-A Round Rock

Quintero was placed on the disabled list after he was hit in the head with a bat and sustained a concussion against Los Angeles on July 1. He finished a three-day rehabilitation assignment with the Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros AA affiliate) on Monday night.

Towles is hitting .143 in 60 games with the Astros this season. He was 3-for-23 since being recalled from the minors to replace Quintero.

The Astros also recalled right-hander Jack Cassel from Triple-A Round Rock to start Tuesday's game against the Pirates. In the corresponding move, the Astros designated RHP Dave Borkowski for assignment. Borkowski was 0-2 with a 7.45 ERA and hadn't pitched since July 11.

Astros May Acquire Wolf from Padres

By Chris Price
Copyright 2008 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (July 22, 2008) An unnamed source has reveled the Houston Astros are in discussions to acquire left-handed pitcher Randy Wolf from the San Diego Padres.

This season, Wolf is 6-10 with a 4.74. Wolf has a no-trade clause that includes 14 teams to which he cannot be dealt without his permission, but the Astros are not among those.

Earlier this week, the Astros were forced to place pitcher Roy Oswalt on the disabled list with back and hip ailments

Dynamo-Pachuca Tickets Go on Sale Tuesday

HOUSTON, TEXAS (July 22, 2008) Tickets for the SuperLiga semifinal between two-time defending MLS Cup champion Houston Dynamo and defending SuperLiga winner Pachuca will go on sale Tuesday (July 22) to season ticket holders and those buying group packages, the Dynamo announced today. Individual tickets will be made available starting on Wednesday (July 23) at 10 a.m.

The match will be held at Robertson Stadium on Tuesday, July 29, at 9:00 p.m. The winner will advance to the August 6 championship match of the second SuperLiga tournament featuring the top clubs from the United States and Mexico. The other semifinal, to be held July 30, pits the New England Revolution against Atlante.

Beginning Tuesday, Dynamo season ticket holders will have a chance to buy discounted tickets priced at $20 for seats in the lower bowl and $10 for seats in the upper bowl. The Dynamo are also offering a special four-pack of tickets for $59.95, which fans can purchase by calling (713) 276-7500 beginning Tuesday. Individual tickets will go on sale Wednesday at 10 a.m. and may be purchased by going to the schedule page on www.HoustonDynamo.com.

Houston, twice the MLS Cup champion, and Pachuca, the two-time defending North American champion, have already played three times in the last 18 months. The teams first met early in the 2007 season in the CONCACAF Champions Cup semifinals, with Pachuca winning the two-legged tie 5-4 after extra time.

The rematch came in last year’s SuperLiga semifinals, with Pachuca advancing in a dramatic shootout after a 2-2 tie in front of more than 21,000 fans. Pachuca then won the title in a shootout against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

The Dynamo advanced to the semifinals by winning Group A with a 2-1 record and +5 goal differential, including a 4-0 trouncing of second-place Atlante. Pachuca placed second in Group B with a 1-1-1 record, advancing on a head-to-head tiebreaker over Chivas USA.

The Houston Dynamo, two-time defending MLS Cup champions, will play a rescheduled MLS game Tuesday night at D.C. United. The Dynamo return home for the SuperLiga semifinal July 29 and remain at home August 2 against the Columbus Crew. For more information or for tickets, call (713) 276-7500 or log on to http://www.houstondynamo.com/.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Wells, Tilghman, Cooper Receive Weekly Honors from CBL

(right: photo of Kevin Wells, courtesy of Bay Area Toros)


By Olivia Dodson
Copyright 2008 TexSport Publications

Bay Area Toros catcher Kyle Wells and pitchers Jack Tilghman (Texarkana Gunslingers) and Kevin Cooper (Bay Area Toros) were named the Continental Baseball League’s Player and Pitchers of the Week for the week ending July 20.

Wells led all CBL batters with a .417 average, going 15-for-36 while driving in a league-best 11 runs since the All-Star break. For the season, Wells is among the leaders in batting average (second, .328), on-base percentage (third, .407), and slugging percentage (.406).

Tilghman, the Texarkana relief ace, has appeared in seven games for the Gunslingers since the All-Star break, picking up two victories and two saves. In eight innings of work, he has allowed no earned runs and only 5 hits, striking out 13. Tilghman is far and away the CBL leader in games pitched (31) and saves (11), and has struck out 48 batters in 36.1 innings, posting a 1.49 ERA.

Cooper threw 8 innings of shutout ball against Texarkana on Saturday, July 11, striking out 11 Gunslingers while garnering his third win of the season. For the week, Cooper posted a 0.60 ERA in 15 innings with 14 strikeouts. Cooper is the CBL ERA leader at 1.42, and also leads the league in strikeouts (60) and fewest hits (5.54) and runners (9.81) per nine innings.

Both Cooper and Tilghman are second-time winners of the Pitcher of the Week award (Cooper previously shared the award on June 1, and Tilghman on June 22).

Rhode and McGrath Take Home National Championship Titles in Skeet

(photo at left is of Jon Michael McGarth from http://jonmichaelmcgrath.com)


COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO (July 21, 2008) The Men’s and Women’s Skeet finals concluded the final day of competition at the 2008 USA Shooting National Championships for Shotgun with Jon Michael McGrath and Kim Rhode capturing national titles.

McGrath (Tulsa, Okla), Frank Thompson (Alliance, Neb.) and Scott Schroeder (Niceville, Fla.) all finished the Men’s Open final tied at 310 targets. In an exciting shoot-off, McGrath shot 18 targets to Thompson’s 17 and Schroeder’s five to take home the title. Thompson claimed second place, while Schroeder took third. Allen Treadwell (Seligman, Mo.) and BJ Blanchard (Vidor, Texas) each ended the final with a score of 305 targets. Treadwell took fourth place after shooting 14 targets in the shoot-off, while Blanchard shot 13. U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) member and 2004 Olympian Shawn Dulohery (Lee’s Summit, Mo.) finished in sixth place with 302 targets.

In the Junior Men’s Skeet event, Thompson captured the national title with a total score of 310 targets. Blanchard took second with 304, while Thomas Bayer (College Station, Texas) finished in third place after shooting a perfect score of 25 in the final and a total score of 300 targets. Chris Haver (Clinton, Mich.) took fourth place with 288 targets. Having already won the Men’s Open title, McGrath chose not to shoot the junior final, which placed him fifth in the junior category with a score of 287 targets. Nick Kimbrough (Atlanta, Ga.) finished in sixth place with 286 targets.

Last year’s national champion in Women’s Skeet, Rhode (El Monte, Calif.), a three-time Olympic medalist (1996 and 2004 gold medalist, 2000 bronze medalist) in Women’s Double Trap won her second consecutive national title in Women’s Skeet, finishing the event with 306 targets. Rhode will be representing the U.S. on her fourth Olympic team in Beijing next month.

Brandie Neal (Spencer, Ind.) claimed second place for the Skeet women with a final score of 25 targets and an overall score of 302 targets. Ali Chiang (Redwood Shores, Calif.) took third place with 293 targets. Amber English (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, La.) and Shari LeGate (Peyton, Colo.) finished in fourth, fifth and sixth places with overall scores of 292, 288 and 285 targets respectively.

Chiang earned the national title for the Junior Skeet Women with a score of 294 targets. English took second with 292 and Connor finished third with 291. Jaiden Grinnell (Port Angeles, Wash.) finished in fourth place with 281 targets, while Sally Coggins (Bogart, Ga.) and Brandy Drozd (Bryan, Texas) took fifth and sixth places with 274 and 256 targets respectively.

Complete Shotgun National Championship results can be found by visiting www.usashooting.org