By J.M. HallasPAIGE, Texas (June 25) – Duane Toyne, who has raced in Kansas and Texas and on both asphalt and dirt, scored his first-ever IMCA Stock Car victory against a stout field Saturday at Cotton Bowl Speedway.Toyne started outside row two but lost ground on the start. He methodically worked his way back to the front, catching early leader Joe O’Bryan in the final laps.Toyne got inside O’Bryan, with the two side-by-side, before Toyne inched ahead. O’Bryan tried to crossover on the final lap, but it was Toyne taking the checkers.“This car was one I picked that was built in Nebraska. I don’t know much of the history on it. It’s a fairly older car, built in ’09, but it’s had all the updates on it and drove like a dream tonight,” he said. “The motor is from Kansas, also. It was built by an independent guy who puts them together now and then. He built this motor for my old Camaro when I was back there.”Keith White was the Xtreme Motor Sports IMCA Modified winner on a bittersweet night for fellow open wheel driver Billy Bachmeyer. Bachmeyer was running his last IMCA Modified race of the season in order to spend time with his family. Bachmeyer gave away T-shirts and other souvenirs and won his heat, but had to settle for a mid-pack finish in the feature.Tenth starting G.W. Egbert was the Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center Southern SportMod winner while Larry Underwood topped an IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock feature that ran non-stop for all 15 laps.
GREGORY DIXON/Herald photoWith only one game left on the schedule, the University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team has entered its final week of regular season play.At 7-8 in Big Ten play, the Badgers stand alone at fifth place in the conference. With the Big Ten tournament looming overhead and the possibility of a berth into postseason play, UW head coach Lisa Stone’s squad refuses to look too far ahead — a matchup with the Iowa Hawkeyes Sunday is the only thing on their minds.The seven-day break between games is the longest Wisconsin has had since the season began Nov. 10, but Stone assured the media Monday that this week is by no means a vacation.”We want to make sure our kids understand this is not a time of year to be complacent and lay off, and that message comes clear with us,” Stone said. “So what we’re going to do actually [Tuesday] is come in and watch film from [Sunday’s] game, in which many, many great things came from, and then use Tuesday as a position development day.Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, get the scout in on Iowa, and then we’ll practice here and then bus down on Saturday.”While there may only be one game left on their schedule, Stone knows it isn’t her team’s last with the Big Ten tournament and possibly an NCAA or NIT bid still ahead of them.”[We’re not] complacent or satisfied at this point,” Stone added. “The season’s not over. We have a lot more basketball to play yet this year.”In hindsightIn its 69-60 loss Sunday against Purdue, Wisconsin had several scoring droughts in which Purdue — led by Katie Gearlds’ 41 points — was able to make runs, and ultimately take and build on the lead.But Stone remains confident in her players and is convinced there is nothing wrong with their offensive mindset.”[We’re taking] balanced shots,” Stone explained. “They’re in rhythm. They’re within the offense. We just have to knock those down. So again, it’s repetition.”We just need to continue to work on repetition and catch to shoot, knees bent, etc., some little things that way,” Stone continued. “But you make one of those shots, it might change the pendulum swing. Unfortunately, we didn’t knock them down, at a rapid enough pace at the time we needed it.”Despite the loss, and despite their youth, there seemed to be a certain attitude, a certain swagger in those who donned the cardinal and white Sunday — a winning sort of swagger.”The swagger and the confidence, the maturity, the growth, all of it has been very positive,” Stone said enthusiastically. “The energy is still electric in the locker room. Everybody is in the same boat, and it’s been tremendous. We’re right there.”Normally, a team’s final home game of the season is dedicated to its seniors, but that’s rather hard to do with Wisconsin’s team, which lacks a single senior on its roster.Needless to say, Sunday’s game at the Kohl Center had a slightly different feel for this young team, considering they will all be returning next season.”When you’re playing your last home game and there’s not a senior on the floor and it’s more of a team-appreciation day than anything, we certainly are excited about what we’ve done this year,” Stone said. “I mean, we’ve racked up 18 wins, and we’re looking to head into the end of the season on a high note, play well on the road, take that then down to Indianapolis and the Big Ten tournament.”
UW Defenseman John Rammage was ejected from Friday night’s game due to a crushing hit that, to the referee, appeared to be a hit to the head. Head coach Mike Eaves and forward Ryan Little both said a year ago, the same hit would not have drawn a penalty.[/media-credit]Friday night’s Wisconsin men’s hockey game was a prime example of players having to walk, or in this case skate, a fine line when it comes to rules that protect their own safety.And in a sport that features as much constant contact as football and at times embraces fighting as much as boxing, calls can be controversial depending on whom the referee decides is responsible.Hosting St. Cloud State at the Kohl Center, just over 15 minutes into the first period, UW junior defenseman John Ramage put what appeared to be a shoulder-to-shoulder (legal) but devastating hit on SCSU freshman forward Nick Oliver, who had intercepted the puck a fraction of a second before the collision. Ramage’s explosive strike left Oliver, teammate Jefferson Dahl and himself spinning to the ice, Oliver unable to get to his feet.Pandemonium erupted throughout the Kohl Center as fans came to their feet and all the players to the ice. Save Oliver and the goalies, the teams erupted in a brawl. Multiple SCSU skaters were making their way toward Ramage in an attempt to defend their own, but one skater in particular was impeded by junior forward Ryan Little.“I was just looking for somebody to grab onto so they wouldn’t go after Rammer [Ramage],” Little said. The SCSU player that Little happened to grab a hold of was 6-foot-4 defenseman Kevin Gravel. Little is 5-foot-9.“I lucked out and happened to find somebody that didn’t have a lot of fight in him, so he went down pretty easy. You’re just basically trying not to look like an idiot out there,” Little said.It seemed players would just go to the penalty box for the fight, but the referee’s hand extended and Ramage was charged with a five minute major penalty for a hit to the head and was ejected from the contest for game misconduct.“I want to say it was a clean hit and a good hit, but with the rule changes now, it was kind of borderline,” Little said. “A year or two ago, that would have been completely clean. I think just the fact that he came east to west on the guy; [Oliver] was kind of unsuspecting. That is the only thing that is really wrong with it. Given the same situation I’d do the same thing.”That may be the most difficult thing surrounding the ejection of Ramage. He missed more than 45 minutes of the game for a hit deemed illegal.“In the new day and age of hockey, they are trying to protect the hockey player more and prevent head injuries,” UW head coach Mike Eaves said. “I think with John, it was a shoulder-to-shoulder check. … I understand the [WCHA] looked at [the hit] and thought about giving John an additional game, but the fact is he got DQ’d from that game, so they just left it alone. In today’s age, when it’s an east and west hit, coming from the side, when the player is in a vulnerable position, they don’t want those type of hits.”Hits that lead to fights on the ice can be one of the most exciting parts of a hockey game from the crowd’s perspective, and some players relish the opportunity to be physical, but as evidenced by the referee’s call, collegiate hockey isn’t going to tolerate it.“[Big hits and fights] are really starting to die out unfortunately, I love it,” Little said. “I am all for it as long as you’re not hitting a guy in the head or cheap-shotting someone, I think it’s great. But with the amount of concussions and the way the game is kind of evolving, you don’t see it as much anymore. It’s kind of unfortunate but at the same time, safety is a concern as well.”Ramage understands how the referees could make that crucial of a call against him. But at the same time, the defenseman says he was just trying to make a clean play to give the rest of the team and fans at the Kohl Center something to cheer about. Instead, he got an early shower and a view of the game from the stands.“I never intend to injure anyone, but if the time comes to step up and make a good hit then I am going to look for it,” Ramage said. “It’s a tough hit, I mean it could go both ways. For me I could see how it’s a clean hit, but also now with the new rules you just don’t know anymore. I think … maybe better educating the players would be a good idea.”Eaves knows a thing or two about how rough a hockey game can be; he was forced to retire from the NHL after eight seasons due to concussions. Now he must help his players adjust to a new set of rules.“There has been such an underlining of concussions, and we are trying to address those issues to protect players,” Eaves said. “I don’t want to see contact taken out of the game at all. In the college level, they have learned not to hit guys from behind [from prior rule changes]. We have to continue to educate our guys that these kind of east-west hits, blindside things … to learn that this is not going to be in the game right now.”
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique would rather the team did not have to fly off on long-distance tours before the regular season but understands they are important for the club’s marketing strategy.Luis Enrique and his squad, missing resting Copa America participants like forwards Lionel Messi and Neymar, arrived in Los Angeles on Sunday and play their opening International Champions Cup game against MLS side Los Angeles Galaxy in Pasadena on Tuesday.”Honestly I prefer not to go on tours,” Luis Enrique told a news conference at the team’s hotel. “It’s nice to come but there are aspects that are uncomfortable, for example the jet lag,” the former Barca and Spain midfielder added.”But the club has commitments and the competition is interesting. You could do the same in Europe but we have to accept it.”After taking on the LA Galaxy, the Spanish and European champions meet English Premier League sides Manchester United in Santa Clara on Saturday and Chelsea in Landover on July 28.They then return to Europe to play Serie A club Fiorentina in Florence on August 2. Luis Enrique, who led Barca to a treble of Champions League and Spanish league and Cup titles in his debut season, defended Barca’s decision to allow the likes of Messi and Neymar to miss the tour, despite pressure from sponsors. “The players need holidays and we are not going to change that for commitments like a tour,” he said. “Everyone wants to see the top players but they need to rest, which is vital.”It’s normal that they want to get close to Messi, (Javier) Mascherano, Neymar, (Dani) Alves, (Claudio) Bravo… but rest takes priority.”Barca’s first official match of the 2015-16 season is the European Super Cup against Europa League winners and La Liga rivals Sevilla on Aug. 11. They then play Athletic Bilbao over two legs for the Spanish Super Cup before they get their bid for a sixth La Liga title in eight years underway against the Basque club on the weekend of Aug. 22-23.–Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySports
APTN National NewsA grassroots campaign is underway in Winnipeg to get Indigenous people out to the polls in this fall’s municipal election.“Indigenous Rock the Vote” is a social media campaign to raise awareness ahead of the October election.Indigenous people make up more than 10 per cent of the population of Winnipeg, but many have never voted before.As APTN’s Dennis Ward reports, one of the mayoral candidates is trying to inspire Indigenous people to cast their ballot, even if it isn’t for him.