Archive for January, 2008

Let’s focus more on athleticism, not sex

January 27, 2008

jennieintense.jpgI guess boys will really be boys. And girls will always be sex objects – even in sports publications. I guess that’s still the fate of women. Girls, it’s cool that you work hard developing skills, that you sacrifice your body in games, and that you build your strength. But, put on a bikini, honey, and the boys will be more impressed. I guess sports fans really are pigs.

Sure, sex sells. But do we really need it in our sports publications? and Gatorade recently focused on women’s sexuality rather than on their athleticism. To Gatorade’s credit, four of the 10 athletes in its “Every Game Needs A Hero” ad are women — but two are in bikinis and one is in a short skirt. I guess that’s a reflection of the sports themselves where flesh sells. Yet, Gatorade could just as easily have selected Candace Parker, the Vols’ talented junior forward, or world-class softball pitcher Jenny Finch (above), or someone from New Hampshire’s top-ranked women’s college hockey team. Why are beach volleyball players emblematic of sports?

But sports publications continue to slip in features that diminish women. Sports Illustrated, for example, always finds a way to include a hot girl of the week in “The Beat,” a short feature in the magazine’s scorecard section. This week, the editors found a way to sneak in a reference to Ellen Page, the protagonist of the movie Juno (an exceptional movie, by the way) who is about to star in a movie about roller hockey. ESPN’s page 2 crew, at least, focused on both the hottest female and male athletes in a feature from several years ago.

CBSsportsline has the most egregious sexist feature, where readers voted for the College Cheerleader of the Week through the football season based upon a single photo. Unlike at the national cheerleader championships, these young women were not judged on athletic skill. Instead, these cheerleaders were evaluated based upon sex appeal, which is clear when you read comments by readers. Here are a few: “The two finalist blondes are attractive but their looks are a dime a dozen.” … “One of the biggest complaints here is that you can’t see the girls’ entire body so it’s therefore harder to make a judgement.” … “Why didn’t we get another hot/future porn star from UCLA this year?”

Features like these are inappropriate in a sports publication alongside stories that are supposed to address athletic accomplishments. CBS does not have a feature asking readers to vote for the hottest male cheerleader. So what else is featured in the ‘What’s Hot in Sports’ section? The roster for the NBA Slam Dunk competition, something that makes more sense for a sports site.I’d expect features like this in Maxim, Playboy, or, perhaps, GQ. Not here.

Here’s my favorite reader response to the cheerleading tournament: “Great little contest you boys have here. Next thing you know, it’s off to dumpster-diving for discarded issues of Playboy. Ugh.” There’s no need to jump in, though, because SI’s swimsuit issue is due out next week. Sigh.


College papers do not use enough sources

January 25, 2008

Sports journalists understand their audience, as you can tell from the stories posted below by newspapers in Wisconsin and New York. Fans want to know about their own teams the most.

Something else you’ll notice if you read the stories below – – comments from players and coaches of both teams, something that also serves hometown fans. Fans learn more about their own teams by listening to new voices, which, in this case, would be the Giants coaches and players, if you are a Packers fan. Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel offers comments from Packers general manager Ted Thompson, defensive tackle Ryan Pickett, coach Mike McCarthy, quarterback Brett Favre, and offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, but he also includes a quote from Giants coach Tom Coughlin for this night game. Given more time, this reporter may also have included a comment from Corey Webster on the pivotal interception and from a Giants defensive lineman on the Packers’ struggles with the running game.

College journalists do not frequently includes sources from the opposing team. I recently read through websites for more than 30 college publications. Of the 32 stories I critiqued, only six included sources from both the home and opposing team. Instead, college sportswriters followed a similar formula: 1 coach + 2 players = 1 game story. Some stories include a third player or offer two coaches and a single player. But the coverage is all relatively one-sided.

Andrew Zuckerman of Maryland’s Diamondback says this is partly because universities frequently limit access to locker rooms. “It is nearly impossible to get quotes from both teams since the locker room is open for such a limited amount of time and you’re going to want as many quotes as possible for gamers, siders and next-day follow ups,” Zuckerman says. “In Maryland’s case, there won’t be another media availability until Friday, so it benefits the Maryland beat reporters to stay in the locker room until the team kicks us out.”

Given the time constraints, that’s a smart move to get information for additional stories. But there are several ways to overcome this. First, papers can send a second reporter to hit the opposing locker room. The great Dave Anderson says he sometimes runs quotes for his colleagues at the New York Times if he has completed his column. Journalism is a team game as well, right? (This writer can even use some of these quotes for a sidebar.) Writers can also ask the sports information director to send someone to collect quotes from the opposing locker room. Or, writers can share quotes with one another afterwards. The writer for the Daily Nebraskan , for example, can share quotes with the writer for the Iowa State Daily when the Cornhuskers face the Cyclones.

There is no excuse, though, for failing to include comments from opposing players and coaches in precedes when deadline is not looming. Beat writers should regularly call other conference coaches on a regular basis for notes, quotes and comments — thoughts that should be included in preview stories. You can get many of these numbers by calling sports information directors and by asking coaches for phone numbers when they come to town. Usually, it’s better to talk with the coach well before the game when it’s calmer. The earlier the better. You can also use this time to collect comments for profiles and features. What does this coach think about a new rule, for example, or about a top-ranked wrestler in the conference? After a few weeks, you’ll have comments from several coaches, which ought to lead to an informative, compelling story.

Late-night games are a challenge to write on deadline. No doubt. But look for ways to get additional insights that will help your story stand out.


Writers put Giants-Packers game in perspective

January 21, 2008

21giants-600.jpgDoug Mills/The New York Times

It’s clear that new media rules in sports — at least, if you checked out the news organizations covering the NFC Championship Game. Newspapers as varied as Oshkosh’s The Northwestern, the New York Times and the Green Bay Press-Gazette all had audio slideshows, picture galleries and audio or podcasts. Fans could also weigh in on the numerous blogs dedicated to these teams at Newark Star-Ledger, Long Island Newsday, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and Wisconsin State Journal . Clearly, fans love this constant flow of information. As a New York Giants fan, I checked nearly a dozen websites last night after the game – and just as many this morning. Give me more news, information, quotes, analysis.

I also love reading leads for game stories, which offer insights into communities the sportswriters serve. No fans embrace their team more than those living in Wisconsin. The Packers are as much a part of their community as city hall and the local schools. As a result, Packers fans are probably more knowledgeable than most. This was reflected in the game coverage of last night’s title game, a 23-20 overtime victory for the Giants. New York fans also appreciate the nuances of sports — and they especially love a great defense. Plus, New Yorkers love big personalities, which is clearly shown in lead published in the New York area. Regardless, the NFC championship was a game that will be remembered for many years for a variety of factors — subzero temperatures, a certain Hall of Fame quarterback facing off against a potential Hall of Famer, hard-hitting defenses, a last-second failure – and, ultimately, redemption in overtime. So many plot twists, so many angles.

It’s challenging to write a game story for an audience that already watched the game. Sportswriters do not want to repeat the obvious, nor do they want to miss the important facts. Multimedia reporting allows layers of the game to be unfolded elsewhere on a web page. Yet, solid writing and storytelling is also required in text. Check out some of the stories writers offered readers this morning.

The Associated Press focused on an individual in its lead, preferring to offer a play on words. Notice that the writer sticks to this angle for several graphs before turning to the rest of the game. Even the lead quote connects to the main angle.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Oh, brother!

Eli, the baby of the Manning quarterback clan, finally has arrived.

And he’s taking the New York Giants on yet another road trip — to Glendale, Ariz., site of the Super Bowl.

Manning repeatedly put the Giants in position to win the NFC championship Sunday, and when Lawrence Tynes came through at last with a 47-yard field goal in overtime, New York had itself an improbable 23-20 victory over the Green Bay Packers at frostbitten Lambeau Field. Now comes Mission Impossible: beating the undefeated New England Patriots in two weeks in a Super Bowl matchup hardly anyone saw coming.

“We haven’t been given a shot, but we’re here and I think we’re deserving of it,” Manning said. “Right now I’m excited as I can be.”

The New York Times waxes a little more poetically, developing scene as a significant actor in this game while also mixing in geographical references and allusions to the weather.

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Under a full moon, a black sky and a crisp and cruel blanket of cold, the Giants stood on the frozen sideline of Lambeau Field, waiting for a rush of warmth.

It came belatedly and unexpectedly.

With one errant toss from a legendary quarterback, and one kick from the right foot of Lawrence Tynes, the Giants sent themselves from the northern prairie and into the southwestern desert, all the way to the Super Bowl.

Tynes’s 47-yard field goal 2 minutes 35 seconds into overtime gave the Giants a 23-20 victory in the National Football Conference championship game. The Giants will next head to Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Ariz., where they will be two-touchdown underdogs to the undefeated New England Patriots on Feb. 3.

Newsday’s writer addresses character. He focuses on a moment in the game before tying it in to several related angles, essentially showing how one moment defines both individuals and the team in general.

GREEN BAY, Wis. – As the ball sailed through the uprights, as his and every other Giant’s dreams were fulfilled, Shaun O’Hara thought of one word.

“Redemption,” he said.

That’s for every Giant, starting with coach Tom Coughlin – who needed a winning season to keep his job – down to the players who got smoked by the Cowboys and Packers to start the season, who felt they were written off after allowing 80 points while falling to 0-2.

Last night, Lawrence Tynes joined the group of the redeemed. He missed two field-goal tries with an opportunity to snap a 20-20 tie, the last a 36-yarder as the regulation clock hit all zeroes. But with the help of two more Giants looking to right some early-season wrongs – cornerback Corey Webster and quarterback Eli Manning – Tynes got a third chance. And his 47-yard field goal 2:35 into overtime beat Brett Favre and the Packers, 23-20, to send the Giants to Super Bowl XLII and a date with the unbeaten Patriots 13 days from today. The Patriots are early 13 1/2-point favorites.

“The thing I’m most proud of is the way we hang together and the way we never say die,” said Coughlin, who will coach in a Super Bowl for the first time. “No matter what the odds are, we keep scrapping, we keep working and finding a way to win.”

Two Wisconsin beat reporters focused on ‘dreams’ – how they were dashed Sunday night. In many ways, so were the dreams of so any fans across the state. These leads reveal the relationship Wisconsin has with its team: When the Packers lose, everybody loses. Fans feel this way for many teams, sure, but few teams are as closely connected with their communities. New York fans love their Giants, but they also have the Yankees, Mets, Nets, Jets, Islanders, Rangers — and even the Knicks — to choose from. That’s not the case in Wisconsin.

The Green Bay Gazette reporter carries a single idea — of a preordained season — through to the lead quote, something that usually works well in any game story.

The Green Bay Packers’ dream season, set up so well for a return to the Super Bowl, ended with a major thud Sunday night.

They had so much going in their favor for their NFC championship battle with the New York Giants: The home-field advantage, an arctic Wisconsin winter night and nearly pristine health.

But the Packers, 7½-point favorites over the plucky underdog from out east, were done in by a poor second half, when both sides of the ball faltered at critical times. Their unexpectedly magnificent season ended with a whimper when Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes redeemed himself with a 47-yard field goal in overtime that won the game, 23-20, and choked the life out of the Lambeau Field crowd of 72,740.

So, New York (13-6) heads to the Super Bowl on the back of a 10-game road winning streak to face the New England Patriots. The Packers (14-4), on the other hand, step immediately into the offseason with time to agonize over how such a golden opportunity eluded them.

“It’s very difficult to go out like this,” middle linebacker Nick Barnett said, “especially with the season we had. We didn’t think any other way than going to Arizona. To lose with the home field, in Lambeau, to not be celebrating on that podium right now, it’s devastating.”

The Gannett reporter reveals the mindset of many Packers fans who believed everything was set up for another Super Bowl run. That they lost was inconceivable.

GREEN BAY — Two years ago, it was only a fantasy. Last summer, it was a pipe dream.But the Green Bay Packers were on the verge of a dream come true as they lined up against the New York Giants on Sunday night for a chance to pursue the National Football League grail — the Vince Lombardi trophy.

The dream was left in tatters in the frigid night air at Lambeau Field.

The Giants will go to the Super Bowl, not the Packers.

Lawrence Tynes’ 47-yard field goal less than three minutes into overtime, coming after Brett Favre threw an interception that will likely dominate the winter conversations of Packers fans, gave the Giants a 23-20 victory and the Packers one of their most painful losses in the franchise’s history.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporter addresses this point as well, listing all the historical reasons the Packers should have won the game. Even the team’s general manager seems despondent in the lead quote.

Green Bay – The Green Bay Packers, a franchise that had never lost a playoff at home in their first eight decades of existence, have now been toppled three times in the last six years.

Following in the footsteps of Atlanta in 2002 and Minnesota in 2004 at the wild-card level, the New York Giants stormed into icy Lambeau Field on Sunday night like they owned the place and whipped the Packers, 23-20, in the NFC Championship Game.

Lawrence Tynes, a kicker who did not have a single pressurized field-goal attempt in the first 18 games, drilled one from 47 yards 2 minutes 35 seconds into overtime. It sent the Giants (13-6) into Super Bowl XLII against the New England Patriots (18-0) on Feb. 3 and the Packers home.

“All the plans and the hopes we had are out the window,” general manager Ted Thompson said. “It’s a shame. I certainly didn’t think we played our best, and the Giants played very well.”

Like the Newsday reporter, the Wisconsin State Journal writer focuses on a scene, showing something that TV viewers and fans in the stadium would not have known. That’s a great approach for any game story. You can hear the sadness in the voice of the Packers GM. Always tie these scenes back to the game, though, as this writer does.

GREEN BAY — Ted Thompson stood in the middle of the equipment room, stunned. Always adept at keeping his emotions in, Thompson found himself trying to do so at the most painful possible time: Surrounded by 20 or so others — including team chairman Bob Harlan, members of coach Mike McCarthy’s family and a host of staffers and team officials —in cramped quarters.

Watching the disappointment unfold in high definition on a 42-inch Sony flat-screen just off the Green Bay Packers’ locker room, the 55-year-old general manager was dying inside.

He’d just watched quarterback Brett Favre’s pass on the second play of overtime flutter toward the Packers sideline and into the hands of New York Giants cornerback Corey Webster. Four plays later, Lawrence Tynes’ 47-yard field goal just 2 minutes 35 seconds into OT would send the Packers to a 23-20 NFC Championship Game defeat and the Giants to Super Bowl XLII.

”I’m crushed,” said Thompson, who’d been ushered down from the team’s private box on the seventh floor club level along with the others to prepare for what was supposed to be the on-field coronation and acceptance of the George Halas trophy for earning the franchise’s fifth Super Bowl berth.

”A lot of people thought we were a surprise team. We felt we were good enough to win week-in and week-out and have a chance to go play for the world championship. And we’re not going to get to do that now.”

Clearly, there’s no single best way to approach a game story. Here, several seasoned and talented sportswriters took somewhat different approaches in their leads. Yet, they all offer a nut graph early on that offers a key play and the final score. Most of these stories also offer context, telling the reader the winner goes to the Super Bowl – even though that may seem obvious to most fans. Now, go check out the leads in California and New England related to the AFC championship game — certainly, they are just as varied, creative and reflective of their audiences. Make sure you also scrutinize the multimedia reporting, something that is essential to all sports coverage as well.


Maryland edges UNC in sportswriting showdown

January 20, 2008

photo/U of Maryland Diamondback

Michigan relied on a 40-foot desperation shot to defeat Wisconsin women’s basketball this weekend. And Maryland’s men celebrated when Tyler Hansbrough’s last-second shot bounced off the rim in Chapel Hill, N.C., in arguably the biggest upset of the season.

Nothing is more exciting in college sports than a hard-fought game – especially when that game is against a regular rival. Sprinkle in last-minute heroics or a major upset and the drama increases and the bumps starting goosing up though the skin.

The college journalists covering these games were up to the task of revealing these exciting games, even if the stories lacked some perspective at times. These sportwriters grabbed readers by writing solid stories that offered context, analysis, and good writing.

Sources, though, seem to be the biggest problem in college sports reporting. Too often, college journalists fail to offer sufficient perspective, relying too heavily on comments from their own coaches and players. Always speak to athletes on both sides. (More about this later this week when I offer the results of a survey of college newspapers across the country.)

In order to more clearly illustrate how games should be covered, each week I plan to compare stories written about the same game, essentially pitting the two writers against one another. This week I have selected two games – the men’s basketball game between Maryland and North Carolina and the women’s game between Wisconsin and Michigan – since they are both exciting and accessible.

Each week, we’ll have a sports writing showdown. I want to first acknowledge that this assessment is intended for education and fun – NOT to demean the work of college journalists who work hard learning their profession. Unlike other college students, journalists have their homework graded by the public. As a newspaper adviser, I understand how challenging this can be. Still, let’s have a little fun with this exercise in the spirit of friendly competition. Please, feel free to offer your own comments below these stories as well.

Stories will be scored based upon the following criteria – leads, context/analysis, sources, language/writing style, and originality.

This week’s showdown pits the Daily Tar Heel (North Carolina) against the Diamondback (Maryland) in one match-up and the Michigan Daily against Wisconsin’s Badger Herald in the other. We’ll dig into the ACC match-up first. Tomorrow, we’ll assess the Big Ten battle.

In what may prove to be the biggest upset of the year, Maryland defeated previously undefeated North Carolina 82-80 on Saturday. The Tar Heels had won 18 in a row, but extending such a streak through a rigorous ACC schedule is a daunting task. Maryland, now 12-7 and 2-2 in the conference, has defeated UNC several times during the past several seasons. Let’s break down the coverage of this big game by category.

Andrew Zuckerman focuses on the final play of the game, observing how the players reacted when UNC’s final shot bounced off the rim. This writer did a fine job describing the final scene:

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Tyler Hansbrough’s last-second 3-pointer hadn’t even yet clanked off the rim, but the Terrapins could tell it wasn’t going in – so much that Cliff Tucker even threw his arms in the air to celebrate an improbable win.

The lead could have been offered in two shorter – punchier – sentences by replacing the dash with a period, deleting “so much that,” and starting a new sentence with “Cliff Tucker even threw…” But that’s picky. … It’s much more difficult to write a story when your home team loses in a wild upset, but Gray Caldwell does a great job finding the appropriate angle: “It couldn’t last forever.” EDGE: Maryland (slightly).

Zuckerman includes comments from the hometown team – coach Gary Williams and three Terrapin players. … Caldwell doesn’t do much better, offering only the thoughts of his hometown coach and players. A story that mixed comments from both teams would have offered great insights. The sources are limited. EDGE: Even.

Both writers did a fine job putting this game into perspective, but Zuckerman did a slightly better job. He states this game is an upset for the ages (an exaggeration, perhaps, but this is a big upset considering UNC’s record. Yet, this hardly stacks up against a real upset for the ages — N.C. State’s win in the NCAA final.) And Zuckerman also assesses that Maryland seemed to be playing for an NIT bid, that it was the seventh time a Gary Williams team had defeated a No. 1 team, and that Maryland had stifled Hansbrough for most of the game. … Caldwell puts the loss in perspective (it’s only one loss, after all) and assesses the final sequence of plays, which works well; however, it’s tough to beat writing about a major upset. EDGE: Maryland.

The ‘upset for the ages’ statement could have easily gone overboard, but this writer puts it in perspective. Caldwell also inserted borderline clichés (dominating the paint and trying to bounce back). Otherwise, these writers eschewed using clichés and jargon, instead offering fluid transitions and concise language. EDGE: Even.

Again, this is a close match-up, one that lends itself more to the one writing about the upset winner than the journalist describing the upset loser. Zuckerman relies heavily on description to lead into the story – and returns to that in the conclusion, shown below.

And when Hansbrough’s final shot harmlessly bounced to the floor to complete the upset, Williams showed the most emotion he has in a long time, much like his team did. Williams raised both arms into the air, turned around to the Terp fans and gave numerous fists pumps.

Caldwell, meanwhile, does an exemplary job of putting the game into context, keeping the focus there throughout the beginning. He also gets his sources to explain how it all happened, a key for every sportswriter. Here’s a terrific quote from Roy Williams.

Williams said that he was angry at his team’s lack of transition offense in the game and that he felt Maryland probably outran the Tar Heels.

“We had one time two guys give me the tired signal running back on defense,” he said. “That should never happen. If you’re going to be frickin’ tired, tell me on offense, don’t tell me as you’re running back and the other team’s laying it up on the other end.”

Once again, the choice is difficult here. So, again, I’ll be a fence-sitter and split the vote. These two young journalists did a fine job, though, which made the decisions close. EDGE: Even.

OVERALL: Maryland wins off the court as well, 2-0 by my score. But both writers should be commended for their stories. I would strongly recommend everybody consider one crucial part of reporting: interviewing. Speak with sources on both teams in all situations so you – and your readers – can learn more about the game. Head over to that other locker room and listen in.


IAAF denies amputee Olympics opportunity

January 14, 2008

So I guess losing one’s legs is now considered an advantage — at least in the world of track and field. The world’s governing body for the sport says Oscar Pistorius, a double-amputee from South Africa, uses technology that is unfair to other Olympians who will compete in the 2008 Games. Therefore, he won’t be eligible. The International Association of Athletics Federation says Pistorius’s carbon fiber prosthetics “give him an advantage over athletes not using them.” Instead, these other able-bodied runners are stuck with their own muscular legs.

Yes, it is easy to attack the IAAF on this issue as the big bully picking on the poor, challenged kid. And, yes, there may be a time when technology prevents paralympians from competing — but now does not seem the time. Based upon the IAAF’s study, Pistorius’s prosthetics are more efficient than a human ankle, allowing him to run with about 25 percent less expenditure than able-bodied sprinters. For all the advantages Pistorius’s prosthetic legs give him, though, he still has not matched the qualifying time for the 400 meters, which is 45.55 seconds. This ruling is sad news for all people faced with the challenge of fitting in after accidents or after birth defects. Seeing Pistorius sprinting down the track in Beijing could have inspired a whole generation to start viewing physically-handicapped people as more than victims. Here’s hoping the IAAF changes its mind.

[The New York Times put together a great multimedia package to illustrate how these prosthetic legs work during a sprint.]

Solid prep sports resource

January 5, 2008

Now that the holidays are over, prep sports seasons kick into high gear across the country. As a result, you may want to check out sports schedules, records and other information about prep sports across your state or across states in your region. There is no better resource for this than the website for the National Federation of State High School Associations, if only because it has a directory for every state high school sports association. The site also has updated rules and regulations for specific sports and information on issues related to  injuries and sports medicine. You’ll have to pay $12.95 for the national high school record book, something every prep editor and reporter ought to have in the office. You may want to bookmark this page for future reference.  

Jumping into a new sport

January 5, 2008

I stumbled across this story while catching up on the New Hampshire primary. I love that certain sports thrive in select areas of the country, like lacrosse in Maryland, field hockey in the Northeast, and eight-man football in some Plains states. That’s why — after reading about Rudy Giuliani’s thoughts regarding a vice presidential choice — I checked for sports stories on the Concord Monitor‘s website, where I found this story on prep ski jumping. Sounds like fun for both the athletes and reporters. I’d love to cover ski jumping. Getting out on the slopes alone would be worth the trip. I’d also like to learn how the sport is scored for team results. It appears points are awarded for reaching certain distances. Perhaps, scores are calculated based upon difficulty, like in diving. After reading this story, it also appears four skiiers’ efforts count toward a team’s overall score, where the higher score wins — unlike in cross-country running. I’d love to hear from anybody who has covered this intriguing sport. (Send photos as well, if you can.) In the meantime, I’ll try to determine how scores will tally up next Tuesday in that other rollicking competition in the Granite State, where we’ll learn if Hillary Clinton has an inside game, whether Mitt Romney can defend the home court, and if Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama have the endurance to win this political marathon.

Here’s the Monitor’s ski jumping story:

Joe Merrow of Hopkinton came in first overall, scoring 51 points after three jumps of 12 meters in the season-opener at Blackwater’s K18 hill.

It was Concord, however, that took home first-place team honors with 370 points. Nashua South was second at 368, followed by Plymouth (367.5), Hopkinton (365), Sunapee (258.5) and John Stark (240).

Parker Finch (fourth place) led the Tide, scoring 44.5 points with the longest jump of the night at 13 meters. Matt Bengston (sixth), Gavin Guay (ninth) and Bryan Higgins (15th) rounded out Concord’s scoring.

Also earning points for Hopkinton were Duncan Sweny (third) and Brian Scala and Brooks Wood (tied for 21st). The Hawks’ Olivia Wheat came in first overall for the girls.

Greg Franciscovich, competing for the first time, led John Stark with a 27th-place finish. Sam Harris (30th) and Sarah Ray (35th overall, fifth for girls) completed the Generals’ scoring.