Hit the Slopes: This month ski and snowboard races are plentiful in the Blue Ridge.Grab some wax, tighten your goggles, and pin on a race bib. Whether you’re into big air or scorching downhill speed, the Southern slopes are ripe for unleashing your competitive side. From freestyle trick duals to tenths-of-a-second determined slalom runs, regional resorts have the snow comp for you.Crescent Ski Council Slalom and Giant Slalom RaceSugar Mountain • January 7-8The nationally lauded Crescent Ski Council, which comprises 22 ski clubs and nearly 5,000 members throughout the Southeast, hosts a series of two-day races throughout ski season, held at resorts in North Carolina and West Virginia. The races feature slalom runs on Saturday and giant slalom runs on Sunday with approximately 200 racers who are divided into two divisions with 10 flights each, based on a predetermined handicap. Additional races in the series take place at North Carolina’s Appalachian Ski Mountain on January 28-29, a return to Sugar on February 11-12, and Beech Mountain on February 25-26. The final event takes place in the Silver Creek area of Snowshoe Mountain on March 9-11.crescentskicouncil.orgWinterfest Weekend Beech Mountain, N.C. • January 7-8Every year Beech throws a High Country snow party that’s full of irreverent fun like the Cardboard Box Derby and a Bathing Beauty Ski Contest. The real action will take place among the free-heelers at the weekend’s Telemark Festival and the N.C. Championship Snowshoe Race, a qualifier race for the 2012 U.S. National Snowshoe Championships.skibeech.com http://basecamp.blueridgeoutdoors.com/?p=2578Ryan Lichtenberg Memorial Rail JamLiberty Mountain, Pa. • January 22Bring your best moves to Liberty Mountain for a rail jam to honor a fallen friend. The action takes place in the hardcore Lower Vertigo section of Liberty’s terrain park, where riders will land tricks on a range of killer boxes, big jumps, and rails. Ryan Lichtenberg was a former Liberty employee who died after sustaining a head injury while snowboarding in Colorado. A big part of the jam is promoting helmet safety awareness.libertymountainresort.com Freestyle Double CrossWintergreen Resort, Va. • January 29, February 12 and 25Strap into your board or click in to your skis and get ready for the fast-paced action of double cross. Four racers launch out of the starting gate at once, tightly fighting for space and aggressively rubbing elbows through a course of table tops, jumps, and whoop-de-doos. The top two then advance to the next round, until one winner is left. Racers can accumulate points for an overall series win.wintergreenresort.comCupp Run Challenge Snowshoe Mountain, W.Va. • February 6If you feel the need for speed, Cupp Run is the most satisfying run in the South. Ski racers from all over the East Coast come to Snowshoe for the gnarly downhill slalom course on Cupp—an epic slope that covers more than 1,500 vertical feet in a little over a mile. Big prize money is awarded in pro and amateur divisions.snowshoemtn.comhttp://basecamp.blueridgeoutdoors.com/?p=2543Shred for the Cup SeriesAppalachian Ski Mountain, N.C. • January 22, February 11 and 26There are three chances to show off your park prowess. It starts with Big Air, which features some of the High Country’s hard core riders getting seriously vertical, as they spin off curved rails and huck 720s off bomber jumps. The series then continues with a rail jam and finishes with the dynamic spins and flips of slopestyle. Overall series winners in three categories take home the coveted Cup.appskimtn.com
For the Clippers it begins Monday with Game 1 against the Dallas Mavericks.But they find themselves in need of more Neil Armstrongs and Buzz Aldrins and fewer imitators of Michael Collins, the ultimate wingman, who circled the moon until he got a call for pickup.On Sunday coach Doc Rivers ticked off the names that weren’t available in the eighth and final practice game: Beverley, Montrzel Harrell, Landry Shamet and Lou Williams. Harrell will at least escape quarantine for Game 1.“It’s just one of those years,” Rivers said. “I look at rotations. It would be great if you knew exactly the rotations you wanted to play, but that would be impossible with us going into the playoffs. That’s unusual, though.”The team that Rivers envisioned 13 months ago rarely stood as one in the pre-virus season. Then trouble followed the Clippers into The Bubble. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error If the Clippers ever won an NBA championship, you figured it would happen in a studio. You know, like the moon landing did.Steve Ballmer would dance at zero gravity while Doc Rivers planted the flag. Kawhi Leoanrd would launch a two-mile three-pointer, while Patrick Beverley jawed at whatever little green men he found.Such a faraway title would feel real enough. New Yorkers weren’t in Paris when Lindbergh landed. The parade was even more glorious when he returned.Four rounds of playoffs will turn the NBA’s Small World into basketball’s best self, if Portland’s stirring play-in victory over Memphis is an indication. “There were periods during the shutdown when I’d look at our team, and I’d say, man, we’ve got a shot here, and we may not have a season,” Rivers said. “And then we came to the bubble and I was thinking even greater things now. Man, not only are we going to start the season back, but we’re going to have a chance to build our chemistry for the first time all year. And that doesn’t happen.“But now the playoffs are here. Whether we’ve been together or not, this is what we’ve been waiting for. This is our opportunity.”The Clippers finished 49-23, their fourth best winning percentage ever, but this wasn’t supposed to be their fourth best team. The injuries and Leonard’s load-management requirements led to inconsistency, which led to occasional tensions. The Lakers definitely weren’t supposed to be more harmonious and defensive-minded than the Clippers, but that’s how it worked out.The Clippers lost pre-virus games to Phoenix, Atlanta and Chicago. They lost by 27 at Minnesota.Still, at least one bookmaker thinks the Clippers are the playoff favorites, and most of their problems are first-world stuff.“We’re the most overscouoted league in the world,” Rivers said. “I thought the shutdown allowed each team not to go out and scout other teams, but take an inward look at your own team. You can see there’s several teams that have been clearly better coming back. Some have made dramatic changes in how they play.”In that way, the Clippers have more tools to sharpen than anyone else. JaMychal Green upped his game during the warmup. Ivica Zubac already had, but now he is being hailed for it. He was the only Clipper to play more than 70 games, and his fouls are like gold, as the leading rim guardian.“He’s unstoppable right now,” Green said. “He’s catching everything that’s thrown his way. He’s finishing with his right and left hook. We’re going to need him to keep playing that way.”“It’s amazing the confidence the guys have in Zu,” Rivers said, “compared to this time last year.”The Mavericks are tricky because their defensive numbers are better than one might think, and they have one of the NBA’s best Armstrong/Aldrin combos in Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. They also take the second most three-pointers of any league team and they will be playing a team that gives up the fourth most. They, like the Clippers, have an NBA championship coach (Rick Carlisle).Whatever the outcome, we know who should be handling the American response to the next contagion: NBA commissioner Adam Silver.With four consecutive rounds of testing with no Covid cases, and with the resolute bubble rules that ruffled the Clippers when Harrell was given a week-long quarantine, the league has cracked an incomprehensible code. Its players have been far more businesslike than their reputation, and it has functioned without whiny, entitled college football coaches or baseball pitchers who can’t follow the guidelines.The players have taken care of business and promoted social justice simultaneously. In fact, you could even say the NBA has Stuck To Sports.
However, two simple Suarez finishes from close range either side of half-time and Paulinho’s late tap-in glossed over another under-par performance from Ernesto Valverde’s men, who were again thankful to a fine display from goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.“The important thing was to win,” Suarez told BeIN Sports Spain.“We always try to play our best in every game but sometimes it is not possible.”– Refreshed Suarez –Suarez was refreshed after sitting out international duty with Uruguay over the past fortnight and had the ball in the net after just four minutes, but Jordi Alba had already been flagged for offside as he supplied the cross for the former Liverpool striker.Leganes have enjoyed a fine start to just their second ever season in the Spanish top flight and a repeat of the 5-0 thrashing Barca dished out on their visit to Butarque last season was never likely as the hosts went onto enjoy the better of the opening half. Amrabat was the creator once more for Leganes’ best chance before the break when he released Alexander Szymanowski inside the area, but the Argentine’s curling effort was turned to safety by the in-form Ter Stegen.The German goalkeeper was called into action again early in the second period when Leganes substitute Claudio Beauvue was too quick for the Barca defence only to fire straight at Ter Stegen.In contrast, just as in the first half, Barca were ruthlessly efficient in front of goal to double their lead on the hour mark.Lionel Messi’s dinked pass released Alcacer and after Cuellar parried his first effort, Suarez drilled home the rebound for his second of the afternoon.Barca rode their luck to hold out for a 12th clean sheet in their last 17 games as Ter Stegen saved one-on-one from Amrabat and Beauvue blasted well over when unmarked 10 yards out.However, Barca piled more pressure on the chasing Atletico and Real ahead of the Madrid derby and rubbed salt into Leganes’ wounds when Paulinho rolled into an empty net when a loose ball broke off Messi in stoppage time.Share on: WhatsApp “Perhaps 0-3 is a bit excessive. They played well enough for the gap between the teams to not be so great,” said Barca boss Valverde.The busy Nordin Ambrabat fired a shot over after a positive run at the Barca defence before Gabriel Pires also dragged an effort wide when well-placed at the edge of the box.However, Leganes’ good work in the opening half hour was undone by a goalkeeping error when Ivan Cuellar limply palmed Paco Alcacer’s driven cross into the path of the grateful Suarez to smash home his first goal for a month.“I wasn’t anxious. The important thing was to feel good again and help the team,” added Suarez.Barca’s joy was tempered moments later when Gerard Pique was booked for bringing down Amrabat meaning he will be suspended for next weekend’s clash at Valencia. Madrid, Spain | AFP | Luis Suarez ended a five-game goal drought with a double as Barcelona extended their lead at the top of La Liga with a flattering 3-0 win at Leganes on Saturday.Barca now lead second-placed Valencia by seven points ahead of their trip to the Mestalla next weekend, with both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid 11 points adrift before they face off in the Madrid derby later on Saturday (1945 GMT).
SENIORS—The departing seniors with some of the coaches. (Photos by J. L. Martello) Many members of the Clairton Bears team have been playing some form of football together since they were kids. Those years of playing together mixed with the shear determination and desire to win led the team to accumulate some amazing statistics: 42 consecutive conference wins, 613 all-time wins, 335 shut outs in four years, four consecutive PIAA titles, nine WPIAL titles, and four PA state titles. All of these accolades have given the Bears the best four-year record in the state and the number one all time wins in Allegheny County.“The team chemistry is why we are so good,” said Robert Boatright, a senior defensive end/fullback that has been on the team for three years. “Other teams have to recruit and we don’t have to do that. We know everyone’s personality and we’re like brothers.”“It’s a real blessing to have such wonderful players. It’s amazing what these guys have done. This couldn’t have been done without the players,” said Clairton Bears head coach Tom Nola. “All of the 17 seniors are going to college or joining the military upon graduation.”The team was recently honored for its astonishing season through the annual PIAA/WPIAL championship banquet. There the players were honored with championships rings to commemorate it. Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown was scheduled as the keynote speaker but was a no show.“We work so hard each year and we don’t want to lose the winning streak. Ever since we were young playing together we were told we were winners. I’ll never play with these guys again and I love Clairton and will never forget where I am from,” said senior Vincent Moody who held the team’s running back position for three years. Senior and defensive back Titus Howard, who’ll be joining several of his teammates at the University of Pittsburgh next year, agrees with Moody.“I enjoy all of this It’s a great feeling to have four rings,” Howard said, sweeping his arms around the Georgetown Centre ballroom during the banquet and flashing his newest ring. “But I want to show that there’s something better coming out of Clairton than what people see. A lot of people don’t see a lot of good coming out of Clairton. People should never give up and keep fighting. We have faced adversity but we kept fighting. “Clairton was created at the turn of the 20th century when Crucible Steel Company purchased a large piece of land along the western side of the Monongahela River in the 1930’s. Not long after, U.S. Steel erected one of the world’s largest steel mill and coke production facilities there. In its heyday, Clairton had a strong and thriving business district and educational system. The City of Prayer peaked in the 1950’s with a population of almost 25,000. When the steel industry decreased in the 1980’s, so did Clairton. Currently there are about 7,000 residents there. More than half are White while only two of the 40 bears football players are Caucasian.“It’s a lot going on in the streets of Clairton,” said senior center/nose guard Damond Flowers. “People are fighting, but every Friday they came together as a big happy family. We bought everyone together through football.”The underclassmen on the team plan on continuing the Bears winning streak next season.“I don’t feel any pressure,” said first-year player junior Brandon Murphy. “I’m excited. Hard work and dedication is what’s needed. I think we can go all the way next year. We’ve stuck together and we don’t talk down to each other.”Like the team, assistant coach Remondo Williams, Sr. is ready for next year which will see three freshmen, two juniors and several sophomores returning to the Bears line up.“You can never count Clairton kids out. I can see them all doing well academically, with sports and giving back to the community,” Williams said.