Wednesday State Sports Briefs: Trek Bicycle stands behind ArmstrongWisconsin Sports
-- The Wisconsin company that made bicycles for Lance Armstrong says it stands behind the former seven-time Tour de France champion. The Trek Corporation of Waterloo says it’s had a long-standing relationship with Armstrong and his foundation – and the company hopes he can still compete, and make a positive contribution to his sport.
WATERLOO - The Wisconsin company that made bicycles for Lance Armstrong says it stands behind the former seven-time Tour de France champion. The Trek Corporation of Waterloo says it’s had a long-standing relationship with Armstrong and his foundation – and the company hopes he can still compete, and make a positive contribution to his sport.
Armstrong said he would try to have an arbitrator overturn a decision last week by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which vacated his Tour de France titles and banned him from pro cycling for the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Trek says it plans to keep supporting Armstrong’s athletic endeavors and his efforts to fight cancer. Trek said Armstrong has made quote, “remarkable contributions” to both. Armstrong has a large presence at Trek’s headquarters in Waterloo. He has used Trek bikes in competitions. Trek joins Nike in standing by Armstrong.
The Milwaukee Brewers are 19-5 against the Chicago Cubs since last year’s All-Star break. And the Crew will go for its eighth consecutive win in the series tonight. The Brewers will play the Cubs again at Wrigley Field. And the Brewers will try to improve to 5-1 on its current road trip, after winning just one-of-their-first 15 road games following this year’s All-Star break. The Brewers are within six games of .500, while Chicago languishes at 30 below the break-even point. The Cubs have only won six of their last 27 games. Rookie right-hander Mike Fiers will start for the Crew tonight against Cubs’ right-hander Jeff Samardzija. Fiers matched a season-high with 10 strikeouts in a win at Pittsburgh last Friday night – and he bunted for his first Major League hit after going 0-for-22 at the plate. Fiers is 7-and-6 overall with a 2.98 ERA. Samardzija is 8-11 with a 4.09 ERA. He gave up three runs in a no-decision against Colorado last Friday. The Cubs have won their last four home games in which Samardzija has started. He’s 1-0 in those contests, with a 2.16 ERA.
The Milwaukee Brewers have struck out 10-or-more batters in each of their last eight games. It’s the longest streak of its kind in the big leagues since 1900. And it breaks the previous modern-day record of six games with 10 K’s or more, held by the Chicago Cubs in 2006-and-’08, and the 1990 New York Mets. The Brewers will go for Game Number-Nine in this streak tonight, when they play the Cubs in Chicago. Right-hander Mike Fiers will start against Cubs’ right-hander Jeff Samardzija. The Brewers are on pace to set an all-time Major League record for total strikeouts by pitchers in a season. They’re at 11-hundred-15 right now – and they’ll need 290 more in their final 34 contests to break the mark of 14-hundred-four strikeouts set by the Cubs in their 2003 playoff season. Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke says the large number of K’s by his staff surprises him – because they don’t have the types of overpowering arms that Detroit has in Justin Verlander, or Washington has with Stephen Strasburg. Yovani Gallardo struck out more than 200 batters in each of his last three seasons – and he’s on pace to do it again. Marco Estrada has had games with 12-and-11 K’s. And rookie Fiers has had two games with 10-or-more strikeouts. The Brewers have won seven straight games over the Cubs.
Green Bay Packers’ receiver James Jones has had five good years with the team. But he has never achieved his goal of making a Pro Bowl. So Jones stepped up his training regimen during the off-season – and he said he went through camp with the mind-set of a rookie who’s clamoring to make the team. The 28-year-old Jones said he tripped across a place called Total Performance Fitness when he bought a house for himself and his mother in California. He said he heavily pushed himself during workouts at that place – and at training camp, Jones wanted to prove himself all over again. He said he has not worked so hard since the workouts before he was drafted in 2007. Jones has averaged about 600 yards in pass receptions each year, as a back-up to Donald Driver and Greg Jennings. The Packers were planning a light workout today, in advance of their exhibition finale tomorrow night at Lambeau Field against Kansas City.
It appears that Green Bay Packers’ running back James Starks won’t be ready for the regular season opener on September ninth against San Francisco. Training camp ended yesterday, and Starks missed most of that month-long camp with a turf-toe that’s healing slower than expected. Coach Mike McCarthy says Starks has not made very much progress lately – and he’ll continue to get treatment. His absence leaves the Packers with three running backs – Cedric Benson and second-year pros Alex Green and Brandon Saine. And the Packers have been careful with Green, who’s coming back from an ACL knee injury suffered last season. McCarthy says Green has been on a play count – and he expects better production from Green tomorrow night when the Packers host Kansas City in their exhibition finale. Running backs coach Alex Van Pelt says Green has been getting stronger throughout training camp, and his burst is coming back. And Van Pelt says Green is ready to handle up to 10 carries a game if needed.
Marian University of Fond du Lac has hired its first full-time assistant athletic trainer. Joshua Stuhr will also be the head strength-and-conditioning coach for all 15 of Marian’s athletic teams. His main duties as a trainer will be with the men’s soccer and women’s tennis teams each fall – men’s and women’s hockey in the winter – and baseball each spring. Stuhr is a native of Marion in northeast Wisconsin, and he’s been the assistant athletic trainer at Alabama-Huntsville for the last four years.
The Beloit Snappers will play Clinton in next week’s first round of the Midwest League playoffs. That matchup was set last night, when Clinton won the second-half Western Division title with a 6-5 home win over Quad Cities in 13 innings. It gave Clinton a seven-game lead with six to play. Beloit clinched the second playoff spot in the West in the first half. Meanwhile, the first-half champion Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are still not sure who they’ll play in Round-One of the post-season. Burlington and Kane County are possible challengers. Burlington now holds the final playoff spot in the West, with Kane County three games back. In the East, Bowling Green is closer to clinching the second half crown. They’re five games up on both Fort Wayne and Lake County with six to play. Tonight, Wisconsin will host Beloit near Appleton. The Timber Rattlers lost to Peoria 4-1 last evening, while Beloit was shut out by Cedar Rapids 5-. Also, Clinton hosts Burlington. Kane County is at Quad Cities. Peoria entertains Cedar Rapids. Bowling Green is at Lake County. Dayton hosts Great Lakes. West Michigan plays at Fort Wayne. And South Bend hosts Lansing.
Northern Iowa will get over a million dollars for putting its small football program up against Wisconsin and Iowa on the big boys’ home turf. The Panthers will face the 12th-ranked Badgers in Madison on Saturday – and then they’ll play at Iowa City two weeks later. Northern Iowa is ranked seventh in a pre-season coaches’ poll of FCS teams in the former Division One-Double-“A.” Still, Panthers’ coach Mark Farley admits his schedule is quote, “a pretty big piece to bite off.” The UW is paying Northern Iowa $450,000 to host Northern Iowa. The Badgers are also paying them $175,000, after the Panthers got out of a game against Southern Utah. Iowa is giving the school a half-million dollars. Farley said it was a “revenue-driven decision” to play those two powerhouses in their big stadiums – but he said it’s a real opportunity for his players to face a top team in a big-time college atmosphere. Farley said he’d welcome Wisconsin and Iowa to play at his domed stadium in Cedar Falls. But with a seating capacity of just 16,000, Farley knows it won’t happen any time soon.
The University of Wisconsin women’s soccer team is 14th in this week’s coaches’ poll for the NCAA’s Division I. The Badgers moved up six spots from a week ago, after blanking Loyola 4-0 last weekend. Wisconsin has opened its season with three straight shutouts for the first time in 21 years. Stanford dropped from first-place to fourth in the coaches’ poll, after suffering its first loss. Florida State moved into the top spot.
In the Midwest League…
Wisconsin 4, Peoria 1
Cedar Rapids 5, Beloit 0
Clinton 6, Quad Cities 5 in 13 innings
Burlington 3, Kane County 1
Bowling Green 6, South Bend 4
Fort Wayne 7, Lansing 6
Great Lakes 6, Lake County 5
Dayton 9, West Michigan 3