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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Radcliffe wins second straight NYC Marathon, third overall

NEW YORK -- Paula Radcliffe glanced over her shoulder to see the competition lined up in single file behind her.

The world record holder was so dominant in gusty conditions at the New York City Marathon that she served in the dual roles of leader and windbreaker and still breezed to a comfortable victory Sunday, her second straight and third overall.

Paula Radcliffe

Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

With her victory Sunday, Paula Radcliffe has won eight of 10 marathons she has started -- all but her two Olympics.

Radcliffe didn't need a dramatic finish as in her previous two wins -- that was saved for the men's race, in which Marilson Gomes dos Santos of Brazil blew past Abderrahim Goumri with about a mile to go.

A 58-year-old Brazilian runner died Sunday night, several hours after he crossed the finish line and complained to race officials he felt ill. Carlos Jose Gomes of Sao Paulo died at Lennox Hill hospital according to police. The cause of death was not immediately released. At least two other runners fell ill during the race and had to be hospitalized.

Radcliffe led nearly the entire way, as none of her rivals seemed to want to brave the elements.

"It was like, 'Come on, we've got the whole road,' " she said with a laugh.

On a cool, sunny day, 38,377 runners started the race. Radcliffe became the second woman to win the event three times, pulling away from Ludmila Petrova in the 22nd mile. The Brit finished in two hours, 23 minutes, 56 seconds.

Crossing the line behind Radcliffe were a veteran proving she can still keep up with younger runners and a marathon rookie showing she can race with the best in the world.

The 40-year-old Petrova was second in 2:25:43, eight years after she won the NYC Marathon. She became the oldest woman to finish in the top two since Priscilla Welch of Great Britain won in 1987 at the age of 42. The Russian also set a Masters world record for runners 40 and over, breaking Welch's mark set in London in 1987.

Kara Goucher took third in 2:25:53, making her the first American to reach the podium since Anne Marie Letko was third in 1994. She posted the fastest time in a marathon debut by an American woman, breaking Deena Kastor's mark set in this race in 2001.

Goucher's coach has long believed that she's a natural for the marathon. He should know -- Alberto Salazar won three straight NYC Marathons from 1980-82.

It was an emotional day for Goucher, running in the city where she was born and where her father was killed by a drunk driver just before she turned 4.

'A Race Like No Other'


Liz Robbins' book from HarperCollins highlights a history of inspiring stories from the New York City Marathon. Read an excerpt here.
Liz Robbins
"I was so excited to run here and sad that it's over," she said. "It was awesome."

Gomes has a special affection for New York, where he has won his only two major marathon titles. He was a surprise winner in 2006 before finishing eighth last year.

Goumri pulled away from Gomes in the 22nd mile and appeared headed to his elusive first major marathon title. Instead, the Moroccan was the runner-up for the second straight year, his fourth near-miss in 19 months.

Gomes won in 2:08:43. Goumri finished in 2:09:07, and Daniel Rono of Kenya was third in 2:11:22 in his NYC Marathon debut.

"I have seen many marathons that are decided at the last minute, so you never lose hope," Gomes said. "You have to keep trying, and I kept pushing even though it was six, seven seconds behind."

Goumri was left again to lament miscues along the 26.2-mile course. He said he missed the chance to hydrate several times.

Goumri had emerged as a pre-race favorite with defending champ Martin Lel of Kenya sidelined by a foot injury. When Goumri took the lead, he thought, "It's my day."

"But when it's finishing a marathon, I just turned back and I saw Marilson come back," he said. "I said, 'I think he's going to win today.' "

The NYC Marathon was again the site of a stirring comeback for Radcliffe, who's only a third of the way to Grete Waitz's remarkable record of nine titles. As in 2004, she rebounded from a disappointing Olympic performance with a victory. Last year, she won her first marathon since the birth of her daughter less than 10 months earlier.

Radcliffe has won eight of the 10 marathons she has started -- all but her two Olympics, when she was thwarted by health problems both times.

"It does make it frustrating because you think, 'Why can I get it right all the time in New York and I can't get it right there?' " Radcliffe said. "But sometimes you have to take what life deals you."

Irina Mikitenko of Germany won the $500,000 World Marathon Majors title after Gete Wami and Catherine Ndereba failed to clinch the prize Sunday. Wami, the 2007 NYC Marathon runner-up, would have won the money for the second straight year if she finished in the top two, but she was sixth.

Ndereba needed to place first to have a chance, but she was fifth.

A vote by World Marathon Majors race directors broke a tie between Mikitenko and Wami. Lel had already clinched the men's title.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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Brazilian Grand Prix

By Andrew Benson

Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the Formula One world title
Hamilton celebrates a quite incredible late turnaround at Interlagos

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton became the youngest world champion in Formula One history by the skin of his teeth after a nail-biting Brazilian Grand Prix.

The 23-year-old Englishman's title rival Felipe Massa won the race in his Ferrari but Hamilton grabbed the fifth place he needed at the last corner.

A late-race rain shower looked to have cost Hamilton the title when he dropped to sixth after a stop for wet tyres.

But he passed Toyota's Timo Glock as they entered the pit straight.

Renault's Fernando Alonso, the previous youngest champion, was second ahead of Massa's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and Toro Rosso's Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton's success buries the ghosts of last year, when after a remarkable debut season he let slip a massive lead in the final two races and Raikkonen sneaked in to win the title.

Ultimately, there were no similar mistakes this time around - but as he entered the final lap Hamilton was not going to win the title.

I thought do I have it? Do I have it? And when they told me I was ecstatic
Lewis Hamilton

He - like Massa - had stopped to change to wet tyres as the rain fell in the closing laps.

But while the Brazilian held on to his lead, Hamilton dropped to fifth place behind Glock - who stayed on dry tyres.

Report: Lewis Hamilton - the making of a champion

Hamilton then lost that position - which was the minimum he needed if Massa won - when he was passed at the start of the penultimate lap by Vettel.

Hamilton tried hard to get back past the German, but he could not get close enough to him and he would have thought he had lost the title until he came to the last two corners of the lap.

There, Glock - who had started the final lap 18 seconds ahead of Hamilton - was struggling badly on the now-slick track and the McLaren slipped passed the Toyota as it accelerated up the hill towards the finish line.

"It's pretty impossible to put into words," Hamilton said.

"I thought do I have it? Do I have it? And when they told me I was ecstastic."

We need to be proud of our race and our championship but for sure I'm very emotional
Felipe Massa

It was heartbreaking for Massa, whose family were celebrating what they thought was his success for a few seconds until they realised what had happened.

"It was an emotional day for me. You get here and you've almost done everything perfect but we saw Lewis passing Glock again and that mixed emotion.

"Unfortunately we missed [out] by one point but that's racing.

"We need to be proud of our race and our championship. It's one more day of our life when I will learn a lot but for sure I'm very emotional."

Felipe Massa at the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix
Massa could not hold back the tears as he realised he had lost out at the death

His only consolation was that his victory helped secure the constructors' title for Ferrari.

The thrilling climax was a stark contrast to the rest of the race, which Hamilton had approached with the caution he felt was required to avoid mistakes.

The 23-year-old - watched from the sidelines by his girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, singer with the Pussycat Dolls - went into the race knowing he only had to finish fifth even if Massa won his home event.

That luxury showed in the way in which he and his McLaren team approached the Grand Prix.

A shower of rain five minutes before the scheduled start introduced a random element that was exactly what Hamilton did not need.

It caused a five-minute delay and shaped the entire race.

The heavy shower doused the track in the area of the pits and some of the corners, but other areas remained dry.

Lewis Hamilton's girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, of pop group the  Pussycat Dolls, hugs his brother Nicholas after the race
Hamilton's pop-star girlfriend celebrates with his brother Nicholas

And with the sun shining as the race started, it was only a matter of time before drivers started to pit for dry tyres.

Hamilton and McLaren played it safe, leaving it as late as they could before coming in to change tyres.

Hamilton stopped a lap later than Massa on lap 11 - and two laps after Vettel and Alonso.

McLaren's decision was the right one in that it limited their risk, but it was not the best in terms of absolute pace.

Vettel and Alonso's early stops vaulted them up into second and third places behind Massa.

Hamilton, by contrast, was demoted from fourth to sixth behind Massa, Vettel, Alonso, Raikkonen and the Force India of Giancarlo Fisichella, who had changed to dry tyres as early as lap three.

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wade_ELLIOTT_11

McLaren were confident the required result was always within their grasp.

But that was reckoning without the unfolding drama ahead.

Hamilton did not pass Fisichella until lap 18, out-braking him in a brave move at the first corner on the still-slippery track.

That put Hamilton into the fifth place he needed, and he was promoted to fourth by the three-stop strategy chosen by Toro Rosso for Vettel in contrast to the two stops of the other leading teams.

David Coulthard walsk away from his wrecked car in the Brazilian Grand Prix
Coulthard's final race ended unhappily with a first-lap crash

Hamilton was only a couple of seconds ahead of Vettel by the time the Toro Rosso had made its stop and he had to up his pace to hold his rival off.

And a late shower increased the anxiety for Hamilton as he sought to close out the championship.

Hamilton stopped for wet tyres on lap 66 - a decision that could have cost him the title.

It dropped him to fifth place behind Glock, with Vettel right behind him.

Vettel pushed Hamilton hard and passed him with two laps to go, leading to the nail-biting finish.

Scot David Coulthard's final race ended at the first corner after he was knocked into a spin by Williams's Nico Rosberg, and was hit by the other Williams of Kazuki Nakajima.


Brazilian Grand Prix result:

1. Felipe Massa (Brz) Ferrari one hour 34 minutes 11.435 seconds
2. Fernando Alonso (Spa) Renault 13.298 seconds behind
3. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari +16.235
4. Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Toro Rosso-Ferrari +38.011
5. Lewis Hamilton (GB) McLaren-Mercedes +38.907
6. Timo Glock (Ger) Toyota +44.368
7. Heikki Kovalainen (Fin) McLaren-Mercedes +55.074
8. Jarno Trulli (Ita) Toyota +1:08.463
9. Mark Webber (Aus) Red Bull-Renault +1:19.666
10. Nick Heidfeld (Ger) BMW Sauber one lap behind
11. Robert Kubica (Pol) BMW Sauber one lap
12. Nico Rosberg (Ger) Williams-Toyota one lap
13. Jenson Button (GB) Honda one lap
14. Sebastien Bourdais (Fra) Toro Rosso-Ferrari one lap
15. Rubens Barrichello (Brz) Honda one lap
16. Adrian Sutil (Ger) Force India-Ferrari two laps
17. Kazuki Nakajima (Jpn) Williams-Toyota two laps
18. Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) Force India-Ferrari two laps
R Nelson Piquet (Brz) Renault 0 laps completed
R David Coulthard (GB) Red Bull-Renault 0 laps

Key: R = retired

Fastest Lap: Massa 1:13.736 on lap 36

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Culpepper agrees to deal with Lions

DETROIT, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Free-agent quarterback Daunte Culpepper has reached a deal with the winless Detroit Lions but has yet to sign a contract, Coach Rod Marinelli said Sunday.

While some news organizations reported Saturday that Culpepper had signed a two-year deal, Marinelli indicated that was premature.

"We have agreed to terms on a contract with Daunte Culpepper, pending completion of a non-orthopedic physical," Marinelli said. "We still need to work out final details. He is not signed yet."

The 31-year-old Culpepper, a nine-year NFL veteran, last played for the Oakland Raiders in 2007.

Culpepper broke into the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings, who drafted him in the first round in 1999. He has thrown 142 touchdown passes in the NFL. He spent 2006 with Miami.

© 2008 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Rockets Notes: Team appeals technical on Artest

By JONATHAN FEIGEN Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

photo
RON JENKINS MCT

Ron Artest drives past Dallas' Antoine Wright during the second half of Thursday's game. Artest scored 29 points to help the Rockets pull out a 112-102 win.

The Rockets are appealing the technical foul that forward Ron Artest received in the fourth quarter against the Mavericks on Thursday, and will also provide the NBA with video of Dallas forward Josh Howard apparently tripping Yao Ming earlier in the game, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said.

Rockets coach Rick Adelman said he was told Artest received the technical foul for “escalating the situation.” Yao had been fouled by Howard when Artest rushed toward the group of players in the lane, pushed past Howard and Jason Kidd to get to Yao and guide him away from the Mavericks.

“I think that technical foul is unfair for him,” Yao said. “He was just trying to separate us. He wasn’t trying to do something else. That technical foul is a little unfair, in my opinion.

“Ron is a very good guy, very good teammate. This happened once in the preseason. He did the same thing. He ran over to help.”

In New Hampshire, Artest got between Celtics rookie Bill Walker and Yao after a hard foul by Walker.

But Artest said the incident Thursday was just part of the game.

“I saw an elbow,” Artest said. “It happens. A technical foul. No punches thrown. ”

Battier progressing

Rockets forward Shane Battier dramatically stepped up his workload in his rehabilitation of his sore left foot Thursday, though it remains unclear when he could practice for the first time this season.

Battier on Thursday added more quick, reaction cuts, the sort that prevents him from bracing his left ankle to prepare for the stress. Battier plans to continue to add to the workouts as long as his foot responds the next day, but could not predict when he will try to join the Rockets practices.

“This is the first day I did light contact with Shawn Respert (Rockets director of player programs),” Battier said. “I did some quasi-running. I started to get fatigued in the end. That’s why I stopped. I have to build up the strength. The most dangerous thing with a weak ankle is when you start to fatigue the muscles in your ankle. It puts a lot more stress on the joint, and that puts you back to the usual problems.

“The more I do every day, the more it builds up strength to where I can get that muscle strength back. ”

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For Leyritz, Future in Balance After a Fall

By KATIE THOMAS

Broward County Sherrif via European Pressphoto Agency

Jim Leyritz failed a field sobriety test and refused a Breathalyzer.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Autumn had always been good to Jim Leyritz.

Most of the time, Leyritz was just a workaday Yankee on a team of stars, but the postseason seemed to be his stage, as he twirled his bat at the plate and hit home runs when it mattered most.

But this has been a very different fall for Leyritz. Now 44 and eight years into his retirement from baseball, he has been shunned by the Yankees. The nearly $11 million he earned as a player is gone, along with his lucrative speaking career. Leyritz is awaiting trial in Florida on charges of manslaughter and driving under the influence of alcohol after a crash last December that killed 30-year-old Fredia Ann Veitch. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

The player once known for his designer sunglasses and outsize swagger is so broke that he said he had sought aid from the Baseball Assistance Team, a charity that helps former players through tough times. “They basically have been a savior,” Leyritz said in a recent interview. “If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know what I would have done.”

The fable of the self-destructive athlete has been told before, and the Leyritz version follows a familiar outline: misspent fortune, messy divorce, fast lifestyle and a trip to the county jail. But other details of his life do not fit as easily into the typical narrative.

Leyritz is the primary caregiver to his three sons, ages 13, 12, and 7, who live with him in the spotless home he rents in Davie, a Fort Lauderdale suburb. After his divorce and custody battle, friends say, Leyritz started over and began earning a comfortable income from television appearances and corporate speaking engagements.

Then came the crash. A jury will decide whether it was the result of criminal behavior, and the trial is scheduled to begin next Monday. Leyritz’s friends and advocates say that no matter the outcome, his children need him for emotional and financial support.

A day after Veitch died, one of her children sent her a text message, writing, “I love you momma!! Rest in peace,” according to telephone records in the state attorney’s file.

Howard Pomerantz, a lawyer for Veitch’s family, said no one was helping her 14-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son. He described Leyritz as “someone who has destroyed the lives of a number of people” and questioned the propriety of giving him assistance.

“I’d be interested in learning whether the Baseball Assistance Team takes into consideration whether they’re pouring salt in the wounds in the victims in this case,” he said.

Jim Martin, the executive director of the Baseball Assistance Team, spoke about the program only in general because of privacy restrictions, and declined to say whether Leyritz was receiving help. In 2008, the charity has awarded more than 175 assistant grants to people affiliated with baseball. But he said he did not pass judgment on those in need, especially when children were involved.

“It’s not the kids’ fault when someone does something stupid,” Martin said.

Leyritz’s predicament is starkly different from his days as a Yankee. He was with the team from 1990 through 1996, then in 1999 and 2000. He is probably best known for his three-run homer in Game 4 of the 1996 World Series, which tied the score and led to a victory over Atlanta.

In the clubhouse, Leyritz had a reputation as a brash upstart, and he was overshadowed by teammates like Don Mattingly and Derek Jeter. Still, fans appreciated his clutch performances in the postseason. By the time he left baseball in 2000, Leyritz had earned at least $10.7 million in 11 major league seasons, according to the Web site baseball-reference.com.

My Children, ‘My Life’

Like many professional athletes facing retirement, Leyritz struggled with living an ordinary life. He and his wife, Karri Leyritz, consumed lavishly during his Yankees career. In court filings, Leyritz’s lawyer acknowledged that they had spent most of his baseball earnings by 2002, when he filed for divorce. By then, little was left to fight over besides their three sons.

The 12 volumes of divorce records on file at the Broward County courthouse depict a vicious battle in which the couple bickered over everything from who should get the Ford Expedition to the whereabouts of Leyritz’s 1999 World Series ring.

In 2004, a social worker concluded in a custody evaluation that neither Leyritz was an ideal parent. Karri Leyritz’s live-in boyfriend had a long criminal history, and in 2003, she tested positive for benzodiazepines, antianxiety drugs for which she did not have a prescription. Jim Leyritz, according to the report, used amphetamines and drank heavily as a player. The social worker also reported that a marriage counselor determined that he was struggling with “issues centered around learning to cope with life transitions and adjusting to life without baseball.”

He and his wife, Leyritz told the social worker, had led a “partying lifestyle.” But he also said: “My life is my children. I have had my fun, now they are more important to me.”

The social worker ultimately recommended that the Leyritzes share parenting responsibilities, but that Jim Leyritz be the primary residential parent.

Although the Leyritzes were unemployed, they frequently placed the children in after-school day care and, in Karri’s case, left them with baby sitters, according to the custody evaluation and the transcript of a hearing before the divorce judge. Teachers reported that the children were often absent when in Karri’s care, and when they did attend, they did not have lunch, were missing socks or wore disheveled, torn uniforms.

Judge Lawrence Korda admonished the Leyritzes to spend more time with their children. “To me, if two parents aren’t working and both of them are posing as incredibly involved parents, then go get your kids,” he said.

After an initial interview in September, Leyritz declined to answer further questions, including inquiries about his divorce, saying he was speaking exclusively to another publication. But Karri Leyritz said the breakup coincided with his exit from professional baseball and was a difficult period for both of them. “We were both just going through a terrible time,” she said.

Now, Karri Leyritz said, the children spend nearly equal time with each parent. She said they had begun to settle into a routine.

“He’s a great father and that’s really all,” she said. “Obviously, we didn’t get along as husband and wife, but you have to come to an understanding.”

Leyritz’s easygoing, charismatic demeanor made him popular on the speaking circuit. Last year, he received repeat requests to appear at corporate sales meetings, Little League banquets and Yankees luxury suites, engagements that his agent, Andrew Levy, said paid up to $7,500 each. Leyritz said he attended 50 events in 2007, in addition to working that season as a Yankees reporter for ESPN Radio in New York. His contract for 2008 was not extended, a decision that was made before he was arrested.

“He was starting to turn a corner,” said Todd Watson, a close friend. “He was starting to become a household name.”

Whose Fault?

Everything changed early on Dec. 28, 2007. After a night out with friends to celebrate his birthday, Leyritz ran a red light about 3:20 a.m. and crashed into a car driven by Veitch, who had been drinking after finishing her shift as a bartender, according to authorities. She was thrown from the car and later died.

An officer on the scene described Leyritz as having bloodshot, glassy eyes and a flushed face. The officer reported smelling a “slight odor of alcohol coming from his breath as he spoke.” Leyritz refused to submit to a breath test and failed a field sobriety test. His blood alcohol level, tested at 6:10 a.m., was 0.14, well above Florida’s limit of 0.08.

Leyritz is also the defendant in a civil case filed this year by Veitch’s estate. Although he declined to speak about the accident, court records show that the defense will probably argue that Leyritz cannot be entirely blamed for Veitch’s death because she was also drunk — her blood alcohol level was 0.18 — and she was not wearing a seat belt, according to the autopsy report.

“I think the evidence is so favorable on his side that ultimately he’s going to be exonerated of all charges on the criminal case, and I think we’re going to succeed in the defense of the civil case,” said Jeff Ostrow, a lawyer for Leyritz. “Not only was he not negligent, but she was the direct and proximate cause of the accident.”

Her lawyer holds the opposite view. “Whether or not she was intoxicated is not relevant, because she was driving with a green light, in her own lane of traffic, within the speed limit, not breaking any laws and she was not in any way the cause of this accident,” Pomerantz said.

In a deposition for the civil case, an eyewitness, Karen Rivera, reported that Leyritz tried to shake Veitch’s leg after the accident and asked if Veitch had been drinking. According to a police video taken on the scene, Leyritz told an officer, “She hit me pretty good,” and later did not appear to react when he was told Veitch had died.

Friends say that Leyritz was in shock after the accident and that his involvement in it — guilty or not — has been difficult.

“He came and stayed with me for the first three days,” Karri Leyritz said. “It was horrendous. I don’t wish that pain on my worst enemy. Believe me, it hit him.”

In the interview, Leyritz declined to comment on his feelings about the accident. But he did sometimes show frustration at those who have avoided him since the crash. He said he was not invited to the All-Star Game in the Bronx or to the Yankee Stadium finale this year. Leyritz said that he had a ticket to the final game but that he was ejected from the V.I.P. area by a security guard and sat in the stands with fans instead.

The Yankees did not respond to requests for comment.

“Am I disappointed that there’s not a little bit more support there?” Leyritz said. “I would say a little bit. But at the same time, I really, truly understand the reasonings.”

Watson said his friend deserved better.

“He’s not a leper and he’s innocent,” Watson said. “You’re guilty until you’re proven innocent in this country, unfortunately.”

Leyritz said the Yankees were not alone in snubbing him.

“If it was just them doing it, I would say yeah,” he said. “But you know what? It’s everything.”

Second Chances

In the year since the accident, Leyritz has made unpaid appearances at just three events. In September, he posed with fans and signed autographs at Suburban Golf Club in Union, N.J., to benefit the local chamber of commerce.

Bill Liederman, the event organizer, said his friend Leyritz was still a Yankees hero.

“This is a country of second chances,” said Liederman, the former owner of Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant in Manhattan. “There is no Yankee fan alive who doesn’t think, regardless of the outcome of the trial, that he deserves one.”

Levy, Leyritz’s agent, said that since the accident, corporate event organizers have asked to book Leyritz, only to say a few hours later that “it’s just not going to work out for us right now.”

Levy did not have to ask why they canceled. “I knew the reason,” he said.

For now, Leyritz continues to depend on payments from the Baseball Assistance Team, and he hopes that if he is exonerated, the work will return. The charity is not paying his legal bills, he said, just basic living expenses.

“Things so I am able to put a roof over my kids’ head and food on the table,” he said.

Original here

Bowler Dies After Rolling Perfect Game

A Michigan bowler achieved his lifelong dream of rolling a perfect 300 game, then collapsed and died, a local television station reported Friday.
Don Doane, 62, suffered an apparent heart attack minutes after his great triumph at the Ravenna Bowl in Ravenna, Mich., WZZM reported. His teammates said they believed the pressure of bowling 12 straight strikes was just too much for his heart.
Just moments before, he had been high-fiving teammates.
"Don just collapsed," bowling alley owner Jim Nutt told the television station. "At first we thought he had just fainted."
Doane had been a member of the Nutt Farm bowling team at Ravenna Bowl for 45 years.
"It was like a book, a final chapter," teammate Todd Place told WZZM. "He threw his 300 game with his of his friends, gave each other high-fives and it's like the story ended. He died with a smile on his face."
2008 AOL LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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300 and out


Peter Buckley
Buckley celebrates after his 300th and final fight in Birmingham

After 256 defeats, you would have thought that boxer Peter Buckley would have got the message sooner.

But after 300 fights, with only 32 wins and 12 draws, the man with the worst record of anybody still involved in the sport is finally hanging up his gloves.

The super-featherweight, 39, enjoyed an unusual winning feeling as he outpointed Matin Mohammed in Birmingham on Friday - his first win since 2003.

"Win lose or draw, this is definitely my last fight," he said beforehand.

Despite the catalogue of losses, Buckley's career has taken in fights against several world champions, including Prince Naseem Hamed, Duke McKenzie, Scott Harrison and Colin McMillan, on his CV.

"I've had my eye on the 300 mark for a while, and it's a little milestone I want to achieve, but I don't want to fight on.

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"People keep saying to me that I'll get a call in a few weeks time offering me a fight and I'll say yes, but I mean it when I say this it.

"It will be fantastic to bow out in a city where I've not fought for years. Plenty of my mates are coming along to the show to cheer me on."

And Buckley says boxing has turned his life around, regardless of the unflattering statistics of his career in the ring.

"Boxing has been good to me over the years. When I was a youngster I was in trouble with the police, a really wild kid," he said.

Report: Buckley prepares for his final fight

"But the sport has given me a focus in life and kept me on the straight and narrow.

"I don't know what I'll do when it's all over on Friday, but I'd love to stay in boxing in one capacity or another.

"I've had a few high points in the sport, but my proudest was when I went to Austria and took on Harald Geler for an intercontinental WBA title.

"He'd been knocking a few people out but he was nothing special and I had him over in the ninth round, but ended up losing on points over 12.

"There's been some lows as well, and I definitely won't miss getting punched in the face for a living!"

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Crabtree, Tech Upset No. 1 Texas With Second Left

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) -- Texas Tech can call itself No. 1 in the Lone Star state -- and maybe best in all the land. Graham Harrell fired a 28-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree with one second left and No. 6 Texas Tech stunned No. 1 Texas 39-33 Saturday night in a wild game that will shake up the national title race.

Texas (8-1, 4-1 Big 12) had stormed back from a 19-0 deficit to take a 33-32 lead when Vondrell McGee scored on a 4-yard run with 1:29 left in the fourth.

Harrell drove the Red Raiders (9-0, 5-0) to the touchdown in six plays, slinging the long pass to Crabtree, who broke the tackle of Curtis Brown near the sideline, kept his balance and scooted the last five yards for a score.

''Play 60 minutes is obviously important, you may have a second to spare,'' said Tech coach Mike Leach, the quirky offensive mastermind whose teams have made a name for themselves by piling up huge passing numbers and the occasional big win.

But never a win THIS big.

Thousands of Texas Tech fans poured onto the field and had to be sent off while the play was under review. Once the fans were chased off the field and Tech kicked the extra point, the Red Raiders were penalized and forced to kick off from their own 7.

When Texas couldn't pull of a miracle kickoff return, the fans ran back on the field to celebrate the biggest win in Texas Tech history.

The victory not only gave the Red Raiders command of the Big 12 South, it puts them smack in the chase for the national title, quite a leap for a program usually left behind by conference powers Texas and Oklahoma.

In fact, maybe Texas Tech shoots to the top of the rankings and the BCS standings? More likely, Alabama moves to No. 1. The question is whether the Red Raiders, on the strength of the program's first victory against a No. 1 team, can jump over the likes of Florida, Southern California and unbeaten Penn State on Sunday.

Harrell, who may have jumped ahead of Texas quarterback Colt McCoy in the Heisman Trophy race, finished with 474 yards passing and two touchdowns on 36-of-53 passing.

McCoy has nothing to be ashamed of, throwing for 294 yards and two touchdowns. He did have a interception returned for a touchdown in the third quarter.

Crabtree had 10 catches for 127 yards.

Texas had appeared to pull off a stunning rally behind McCoy, who threw second-half touchdown passes of 37 and 91 yards to Malcolm Williams and led Texas on a grinding drive to its final touchdown after Texas Tech's Donnie Carona kicked a field goal for a six-point lead.

McGee's burst stunned the home crowd until a big kickoff return by Jamar Wall gave the Red Raiders the ball at their own 38 and time to move. Harrell hit on four straight passes, to get the ball in Texas territory when the Red Raiders were just trying to set up for a winning field goal.

He also got a break when Texas freshman safety Blake Gideon dropped what would have been a game-ending interception on a tipped ball.

Facing third down, Harrell fired the risky pass to the All-American Crabtree. The ball reached Crabtree right before the defense could close in on it and the big receiver snagged it just inside the 5 and shrugged off Brown.

Given the chance to make a national statement, Texas Tech looked early like it would dismiss the Longhorns in a rout. The Red Raiders belted Texas on the Longhorns' on first play and kept hammering away for the entire first half.

Backed up on the Texas 2 in front of the raucous student section, McCoy handed off to Chris Ogbonnaya, who never got out of the end zone when he was dropped for a safety by defensive tackle Colby Whitlock.

The play seemed to rattle the Longhorns, who had been unflappable all season.

Harrell was just warming up, deftly dodging the Texas pass rush to find open receivers or lofting perfectly thrown balls for big yards. Texas Tech was on its own 6 and facing third down when Harrell hit Edward Britton on the sideline, tucking the ball just over Gideon for a 46-yard gain. The Red Raiders capped the drive with Baron Batch's 3-yard TD run.

Texas Tech made it 19-0 when Harrell found Eric Morris with another soft throw just beyond a defender's reach for an 18-yard TD and the Red Raiders led 22-6 at halftime.

Matt Williams, the kicker Leach plucked from the stands after watching him win a promotional kicking contest six weeks ago, made field goals of 29 and 31 yards.

Texas was out of sync the entire first half. McCoy came in completing 81 percent of his passes but had receivers drop four of his first seven throws. Even sure-handed Jordan Shipley, McCoy's roommate and best friend, dropped a likely touchdown on Texas' second possession.

Texas appeared all but done when Daniel Charbonnet returned McCoy's only interception for a touchdown and a 29-13 Texas Tech lead.

But McCoy, who has led nine come-from-behind wins in his career, had the Longhorns storming back and in position to win.

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Crabtree TD with 1 second left lifts Tech

By JIM VERTUNO, AP Sports Writer

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP)—It was as risky a pass as Graham Harrell has ever thrown. Also the most important.

With the final seconds ticking off and Texas Tech trailing by a point, the Texas Tech quarterback saw Michael Crabtree in double coverage and let it fly. The All-American wide receiver snagged it on the sideline, shook off a defender and ducked into the end zone with one second left.

With that stunning 28-yard touchdown, the No. 6 Red Raiders turned near-heartbreak into a wild victory, 39-33 over No. 1 Texas on Saturday night.

Texas Tech showed it’s tops in the Lone Star State—and maybe even the best team in the land.

“Play 60 minutes,” Texas Tech coach Mike Leach said. “You may have a second to spare.”

That’s what it came down in a West Texas-style shootout that had the Longhorns (8-1, 4-1 Big 12) rally from a 19-0 deficit in the first half and from 29-13 in the third quarter to take a 33-32 lead with Vondrell McGee’s 4-yard TD run with 1:29 to play.

The problem was, Texas left Harrell too much time.

Harrell drove the Red Raiders (9-0, 5-0) 62 yards to the touchdown in six plays, slinging the long pass to Crabtree, who broke the tackle of Curtis Brown, kept his balance, stayed in bounds and scooted the last few yards for a score.

“On the sideline, I kind of dreamed that I would catch a pass and go in the end zone for a game-winning score. I do that, like every game, but it happened. It kind of shocked me,” Crabtree said.

Tech really just needed about 10 yards to set up a field goal for Donnie Carona, who had been benched earlier this season but kicked a 42-yarder in the fourth quarter. But Harrell took a big chance with the big throw.

If Crabtree had been tackled instead of getting in, Texas Tech might have had a hard time calling its last timeout to set up a short field goal before time expired.

“All we needed was a field goal, but a touchdown’s even sweeter,” Harrell said. “If you’re a quarterback and don’t want to be in that situation, you should probably change positions.”

Thousands of Texas Tech fans poured onto the field and had to be sent off while the play was under review to make sure Crabtree didn’t step out of bounds. Once the fans were chased off the field and Tech kicked the extra point, the Red Raiders were penalized and forced to kick off from their own 7.

When Texas couldn’t pull off a miracle kickoff return, the fans ran back on the field to celebrate the biggest win in Texas Tech history. The victory not only gave the Red Raiders command of the Big 12 South, it puts them smack in the chase for the national title, quite a leap for a program usually left behind by conference powers Texas and Oklahoma.

In fact, maybe Texas Tech shoots to the top of the rankings and the BCS standings? More likely, Alabama moves to No. 1. The question is whether the Red Raiders, on the strength of their first victory against a No. 1 team, can jump over the likes of Florida, Southern California and unbeaten Penn State on Sunday.

Just like Texas over the last month, the Red Raiders also face a daunting schedule the next three weeks. Texas Tech hosts No. 9 Oklahoma State next weekend, then has a bye week before traveling to No. 4 Oklahoma. They finish the regular season at home against Baylor.

“Now the biggest game in history is Oklahoma State,” Leach said, “or the history of this year, anyway.”

Harrell, who may have jumped ahead of Texas quarterback Colt McCoy in the Heisman Trophy race, finished with 474 yards and two touchdowns on 36-of-53 passing.

“Some of you guys maybe ought to add him to your Heisman list,” Leach told reporters after the game. “I know how political it is.”

McCoy has nothing to be ashamed of, throwing for 294 yards and two touchdowns and nearly leading his 10th career comeback in game where he was sacked four times and had his face bloodied on a hard hit in the third quarter. He did have an interception returned for a touchdown in the third.

“They played harder than us,” McCoy said. “The crowd was behind them the whole game. They never quit. They kept fighting.”

Texas had just appeared to pull off a stunning rally behind McCoy, who threw second-half touchdown passes of 37 and 91 yards to Malcolm Williams and led Texas on a grinding drive to its final touchdown after Texas Tech’s Carona kicked a field goal for a six-point lead.

McGee’s burst stunned the home crowd until a big kickoff return by Jamar Wall gave the Red Raiders the ball at their own 38 and time to move. Harrell hit on four straight passes, to get the ball in Texas territory. He also got a break when Texas freshman safety Blake Gideon dropped what would have been a game-ending interception on a tipped ball.

“I was sick, I was thinking, ‘Surely, we’re not going to lose like this,” Harrell said.

Given another chance, he and Crabtree came through.

“It’s the biggest catch I ever made,” said Crabtree, who had 10 catches for 127 yards.

Given the chance to make a national statement, Texas Tech looked early like it would dismiss the Longhorns in a rout. The Red Raiders belted Texas on the Longhorns’ on first play and kept hammering away for the entire first half.

Backed up on the Texas 2 in front of the raucous student section, McCoy handed off to Chris Ogbonnaya, who never got out of the end zone when he was dropped for a safety by defensive tackle Colby Whitlock.

The Red Raiders were just getting started.

Texas Tech made it 19-0 when Harrell found Eric Morris with a soft throw just beyond a defender’s reach for an 18-yard TD and the Red Raiders led 22-6 at halftime.

Matt Williams, the kicker Leach plucked from the stands after watching him win a promotional kicking contest six weeks ago, made field goals of 29 and 31 yards. He was pulled for Carona in the second half after he had a field goal blocked.

Jordan Shipley gave Texas life with a 45-yard punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter.

Still, Texas appeared done when Daniel Charbonnet returned McCoy’s only interception for a touchdown and a 29-13 Texas Tech lead.

But McCoy, who has led nine come-from-behind wins in his career, had the Longhorns storming back and in position to win.

“Football is a tough game,” Texas coach Mack Brown said. “Tonight was their night, we need to be classy in defeat and give them credit for what they did.”

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