Newgarden sticks to Penske plan as others grab spotlight
By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer
Thursday, May 17
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Josef Newgarden brought Team Penske’s prestigious No. 1 car to Indianapolis. Since then, the defending series champion has mostly been out of the spotlight.
He watched one teammate, Will Power, dominate opening weekend to give the team its 200th series win. He’s seen another, Helio Castroneves, become a focal point this week as he pursues a record-tying fourth Indianapolis 500 victory.
Newgarden, meanwhile, is content to go back to work.
“It doesn’t feel that different,” the 27-year-old Tennessean said. “The month of May is always a pressure cooker. You just can’t allow yourself to get turned around.”
Distractions have never been a problem for Newgarden.
He’s methodically progressed at every step of his journey. Long before joining Roger Penske’s powerhouse team, the jovial Newgarden embraced throngs of adoring fans following him around the track and the pressure of being dubbed IndyCar’s next big star. He’s even willing to sell the sport wherever and whenever he’s asked.
Yet despite all those obligations, Newgarden’s performance improved each year.
“He was a strong contender in Indy Lights and we had a chance to talk with him at that point,” Penske recalled on Thursday. “But after going with Sarah Fisher and the performance he had with Ed Carpenter, he really showed us his strengths and then he really beat us like a drum at Iowa (in 2016).”
Rather than trying to beat Newgarden, Penske hired him and it’s become a perfect match.
Last year, Newgarden won a career-best four races and claimed his first series title. What Penske liked most, though, was seeing how Newgarden fit on a star-studded team.
“He’s a great team player and I think he found a way to get along with the guys,” Penske said. “The most important thing is that the four guys all get along.”
Newgarden’s consistency hasn’t followed him to Indianapolis yet.
He’s made 10 career starts at the speedway, three on the road course, and only has two top-10 finishes. His career best, third, came two years ago in the 500. And this month has been rather ordinary, too.
He qualified sixth and finished 11th in Saturday’s road race. He was third-fastest in the first full practice on Indy’s 2.5-mile oval and wound up 12th on the speed chart in Wednesday’s practice with a fast lap of 224.766 mph.
But Newgarden has been around long enough to understand how this game works.
Right now, lap times can be deceiving and it’s not all about the speed anyway.
Some teams try to simulate qualifying conditions, others prefer race conditions and some like running in traffic. Weight can be added or subtracted, impacting speeds, based on how much fuel they use.
The only known quantity this year is that these new cars will change again when series organizers give each of the 35 cars an extra boost of horsepower starting Friday.
“We’ve got to prioritize for the race,” he said. “And race trim is the most important thing.”
Newgarden has other advantages, too.
All four drivers — Newgarden, Power, Castroneves and 2016 IndyCar champ Simon Pagenaud — will share data, giving Penske’s team enough information to make adjustments before and after qualifying begins Saturday. The pole winner will be determined in Sunday’s shootout and the race is set for May 27.
But Penske hasn’t won a record 16 Indy 500s or a record 17 Indy 500 poles by showing his cards early. He expects bigger and better to come from the guy who finished last season in the top spot.
“I go into every year thinking of winning a championship and every race thinking I’m going to win the race. I have always felt that,” Newgarden said. “It’s been two or three years since we won, which a lot by Penske standards. We’ve just got to find the right combination.”
More AP Auto Racing: https://racing.ap.org
Rose Bowl, Soldier Field among 15 CONCACAF Gold Cup sites
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, and Soldier Field in Chicago are among 15 venues for next year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, the first edition of the tournament following its expansion from 12 to 16 nations.
The tournament starts in mid-June. Other large venues that will be used include: Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina; First Energy Stadium in Cleveland; Sports Authority Field in Denver; University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona; NRG Stadium in Houston; Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee; and Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
Six Major League Soccer stadiums were announced as sites Friday: Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas; Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey; BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston; Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas; Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles; and Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Additional venues in Central America and the Caribbean will be announced later.
The defending champion United States is an automatic qualifier along with the five other nations in last year’s final round of World Cup qualifying in North and Central America and the Caribbean: Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago. Ten additional nations will be determined in CONCACAF Nations League qualifiers to be played from September through March.
CONCACAF started the Gold Cup in 1991, and 11 of the 14 tournaments have been played entirely in the U.S. Two have been shared by the U.S. and Mexico (1993 and 2003), and one by the U.S. and Canada (2015).
Mexico has seven titles and the U.S. six. Canada won in 2000.
The 2019 tournament will be the first competitive matches for the next U.S. coach. Bruce Arena quit in October after the U.S. failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup and Dave Sarachan remains interim coach.
Do more people believe in God in Trump’s America?
By Ritu Prasad BBC News, Washington
16 May 2018
US Vice-President Mike Pence has said “faith in America is rising once again” – thanks to President Donald Trump. America’s religious climate has shifted in recent years, but has it been in the direction Mr Pence suggests?
What did Pence say?
“Faith in America is rising again because President Trump and our entire administration have been advancing the very principles that you learned here in the halls of Hillsdale College,” he told a crowd at a Christian conservative campus in Michigan on Saturday.
“In fact, the percentage of Americans who live out their religion on a weekly basis – praying, going to church, reading and believing in the Bible – has remained remarkably consistent over the decades, even as the population of the United States has grown by leaps and bounds.”
The vice-president also claimed that “relative to the population, four times as many Americans go to church on a regular basis than at the time of our nation’s founding”.
What do the numbers say?
According to Greg Smith, associate director for religion research at the Pew Research Center, Mr Pence’s claims do not appear follow the numbers.
“The data we do have do not suggest a recent increase in the share of Americans who are highly religious,” Mr Smith told the BBC.
“The vast majority of Americans do say they believe in God, but those numbers are ticking downward,” he added.
As for Mr Pence’s suggestion that more Americans are going to church in modern times? Aside from sheer population differences from 1776 to now, the figures do not support that claim either, according to Mr Smith.
“We’ve begun to see in recent years smaller but noticeable declines in the share of Americans who say they believe in God, who say religion is important to them in their personal lives, who say they pray every day and we’ve seen declines in the share of Americans who say they attend religious services regularly,” he said.
A 2017 study published in Sociological Science showed that those who are intensely religious are still going to church consistently and frequently, but once-a-week attendance is dropping.
Mr Smith also noted the data shows the number of Americans identifying as atheist, agnostic or nothing in particular is “growing very, very rapidly”.
“The share of Americans who identify with Christianity is declining because the share of Americans who identify with no religion is growing,” Mr Smith said.
A 2017 study by the Public Religion Research Institute also tracked a diminishing white Christian presence across the US.
In 1996, 65% of Americans identified as white Christians. Over the last decade, that number has dropped to 43%.
What has the Trump administration done for Christian conservatives?
Mr Trump has been popular among Christian conservatives, particularly after choosing Mr Pence, an evangelical Christian, as his vice-president.
He has held to some of his campaign promises, such as appointing a high number of conservative judges – most notably, Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
In January last year, Mr Trump reinstated a 1984 policy banning international groups which perform or provide information on abortions from receiving federal money.
On Monday, the Trump administration delivered on another promise made to evangelical Christians during the campaign: recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
For some evangelical Christians, the support for Israel comes from passages in the Bible they believe show that God intended Israel for the Jewish people.
How much impact has Trump had on religious communities?
Despite some wins for Christian conservatives, the Trump administration has not fulfilled promises to ban late-term abortions, defund Planned Parenthood or repeal the Johnson Amendment – a provision prohibiting non-profit charities like churches from endorsing political candidates.
For Casper ter Kuile, Ministry Innovation Fellow at the Harvard Divinity School, the impact of this administration on religion in America depends on how we define faith.
“Vice-President Pence is correct in asserting a widespread belief in God or a higher power – nine out of ten Americans agree with that,” Mr ter Kuile told the BBC.
“But Pence is one of only 56% of Americans who believe in a traditional conservative God of the Bible.
“The number of Americans with that kind of faith is plummeting.
“More than one in three millennials are now religiously unaffiliated. On average 3,500 churches close every year in America.”
Story behind viral picture of golfers playing as volcano erupted
WHEN a photographer was tasked to take photographs of an erupting volcano, he never expected this image would the one on everyone’s lips.
May 18, 2018
THE Volcano Golf and Country Club in Hawaii certainly lived up to its name this week as the nearby Kilauea volcano spewed fire and ash nearby.
But what had the world talking was the nonchalant way in which some of the club’s members reacted to the giant beast and its clouds of smoke that appeared to rise before them.
While others on the course gathered in crowds to check out the awesome sight before them, some golfers seemed completely unperturbed, carrying on with their game.
When ESPN tweeted the photo, 26,000 people retweeted it, highlighting the golfer’s dedication to their game.
In fact the photographer, Mario Tama, a Los-Angeles based Getty Images snapper, told the Boston Globehe had received a tip the golf course was one of the best spots to snap a headline-grabbing image.
“We went up there and I wasn’t really expecting to see anyone golfing. I figured it would be empty,” Mr Tama said.
“Shortly after I got there, the plume started kicking up pretty strongly.”
When he began taking photos, Mr Tama said he was shooed out of the way by the keen golfers and was asked to “step aside”.
“I was trying to get that shot, and as I was shooting, I heard these guys call out to me that I was in the way of their game and could I step aside,” Mr Tama said, laughing.
“They were very gracious about it. Obviously, it didn’t occur to me that I was impeding on someone’s game. So I walked over to the left and got some shots of them as they were teeing off.
“A lot of people here are essentially living on the volcano. For locals, it’s not that crazy.”
The photographer said there had been no noticeable seismic activity when the photos was taken.
“The ground wasn’t shaking, there was no noise,” he said.
“The way the wind was blowing, the plume was going away from (the) golf course. It wasn’t hazardous to breathe. If it was over the golf course, everyone would’ve left.”
The club’s vice president of golf course operations, Sanae Gathwright, told Golf.com the course didn’t lie in the way of the volcano’s lava flow and that if something dangerous was to happen, “we’ll be out of here in minutes”.
About half a centimetre of ash is expected to fall in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and in nearby communities.
Explosions intensified on Kilauea on Tuesday, spewing ash and triggering a red alert for aircraft for the first time since the latest eruption began 12 days ago.
The latest explosion on Thursday came about 4:17am (12:17am AEST) after two weeks of volcanic activity that included the opening of more than a dozen fissures that spewed lava into neighbourhoods.
Ash and volcanic smog, or vog, as it’s called, rose to 3.7 kilometres above Kilauea’s crater and floated southwest, showering cars with grey dust and prompting an “unhealthy air” advisory in the community of Pahala, 29 kilometres from the summit.
Mike Poland, a geophysicist with the US Geological Survey, warned “ballistic blocks” the size of microwave ovens had shot from the volcano.
Those areas were evacuated as lava destroyed at least 26 homes and 10 other structures.
The crater sits within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which has been closed since May 11.
Officials have said they didn’t expect the explosion to be deadly as long as people remained out of the park.
— Additional reporting by AP
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Excited to be playing in Death Valley next season. Ready to get to work.
(Louisiana State University)
Senior Austin Wells finished third in his final college outing, just one shot back of the national medalist.
Written by Adam Prescott
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Otterbein men’s golf team wrapped up play at the NCAA Division III Championships Friday afternoon, finishing 13th of 42 schools total schools after the four-day event at Grandover Resort.
The final round saw higher scores by most teams as the course played tough amidst some rainy conditions, with only Hope College turning in a team round under par. Otterbein shot 304 (+16) as a group, concluding the event with a four-day total of 1192 and just six strokes away from the top-10.
Senior Austin Wells ended his college career in style, shooting a final round 73 to finish the tournament at 2-under par and tied for third individually out of 217 total participants. He finished one shot back of Logan Young (Concordia, TX) and Brian Peccie (Washington & Lee), with Peccie later emerging on the third playoff hole to win a national title.
“I left it all out there on the course and don’t regret anything,” a reflective Wells said afterwards. “I’m not looking back to any shot, any round or any tournament. Playing golf and developing relationships with teammates that became best friends has easily been the best part of my college experience.”
“In my 18 years doing this profession, Austin is the best competitor I have ever coached,” head coach Brian Booher said. “It’s easy to recognize his greatness, especially after seeing him go toe-to-toe with the best in the nation. We understand there will be big shoes to fill next year because he is certainly not a replaceable player.”
The well-rounded Cardinal lineup finished very close to one another beyond Wells, with sophomore Kurt Fortman carding a final-round 74 (+2) to leap nine spots and tied for 62nd. Classmates Tyler Dunfee (T65) and Sam Marty (T68) weren’t far behind while newcomer Johnny Peck rounded out the Otterbein squad in a tie for 85th place.
“I was really impressed with the consistency of the team not just this weekend, but overall on the year,” head coach Brian Booher said. “We were the youngest team to make the cut and it definitely provides confidence and optimism for the future. Our goal is to keep getting back here and keep representing well, both as golfers and as people.”
Wells, who will most likely earn All-American honors when the teams are released in June, ends his career by recording the second- highest NCAA individual finish ever for an Otterbein player… just behind Mark Paluszak’s runner-up performance in 1995.
“This sport has matured me, humbled me and taught me a lot about life,” Wells asaid. “You are put in different situations with different conditions, and you learn to progress in the moment and grind to what you want the result to be. “I couldn’t ask for much more of an experience.”
“I hope this program continues taking steps and maintains high expectations,” Wells added. “It used to be about winning conference, and it’s then been about just making the cut. I hope Otterbein now goes to another level and make continuous runs at top-10 finishes and a national title someday. It can be done.”
Methodist University held on to its double-digit lead at the beginning of the day and secured yet another national title, finishing 11 shots ahead of runner-up Washington & Lee.
Men’s Golf Takes 13th at NCAA’s, Wells Just Misses National Title
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Otterbein takes 13th place at the NCAA Championships while senior Austin Wells just misses an individual crown, finishing third and one shot back of the winner.
Ohio Wesleyan University Athletics
Ohio Wesleyan Ties for Second in NCAC All-Sports Race
Ohio Wesleyan University tied for second place in the North Coast Athletic Conference All-Sports title chase, it was announced today by the NCAC.
Ohio Wesleyan compiled 72½ points during the spring 2018 season, recording conference championships in men’s lacrosse and men’s outdoor track & field and second-place finishes in men’s golf and women’s outdoor track & field on the way to a total of 154 points.
Denison won the all-sports crown with a total of 165 points, winning the conference championship in women’s lacrosse and posting second-place finishes in baseball, men’s lacrosse, men’s tennis, and women’s tennis, along with a second-place tie in softball.
DePauw won the conference championship in women’s golf and scored 63 points during the spring season to finish with 154 points. Kenyon finished fourth with 149½ points, followed by Wittenberg (138), Wooster (126), Oberlin (114), Allegheny (112), Wabash (72), and Hiram (38½).
The NCAC all-sports champion receives the Dennis M. Collins Award, given annually to the school that performs the best across the NCAC’s 23 sports. Ten points are awarded for a first-place finish, 9 for a second, 8 for a third, and so on. Men’s and women’s performances are combined, exemplifying the NCAC’s commitment to equity and balance among programs. Wooster won 3 of the first 4 all-sports championships, interrupted once by Denison. Ohio Wesleyan followed with a 6-year run leading to titles by Wooster (twice), Wittenberg (once), and Denison (9). The Battling Bishops won the next 2 titles and tied Denison for the crown in 2008-09. Wittenberg earned its second all-sports title in 2010, followed by Denison in 2011 and DePauw in 2012. Denison then claimed back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014, while DePauw regained the championship in 2015 before Denison won in 2016 and DePauw reclaimed it in 2016-17.
Ohio Wesleyan leads the way with 155 team championships during the NCAC’s 34 playing seasons. Denison is next with 142 titles, followed by Kenyon (117), Allegheny (116), Wittenberg (105), Wooster (82), DePauw (25), Wabash (22), Oberlin (19), and Hiram (2).
Relay Team Breaks School Record
The Ohio Wesleyan 400-meter relay team of senior Amanda Clay (Van Wert), sophomore Megan Sievers (Strongsville), senior Emily Brown (New Concord/John Glenn), and sophomore Jaliyah Atkinson (Columbus/Groveport Madison) set a school record in leading the Bishops at the Great Lakes Final Qualifying Meet, hosted by Ohio Wesleyan on Thursday at Selby Stadium and the George Gauthier Track.
The meet, the regular season’s last opportunity to qualify for or improve seeding in the NCAA Division III championships, was not scored.
The Bishop relay team finished in :47.66, breaking the school record of :47.76 set by Clay, Brown, MaryKate Caja, and Sara Johnson in 2015.
Other standouts for the Bishops included Clay, who finished second in the long jump; sophomore Cirrus Robinson (Ashland), who placed second in the high jump; sophomore Erica VanHoose (Marysville), who finished third in the 1500-meter run; Atkinson, who was fourth in the 100-meter dash; Brown, who finished fourth in the long jump; and sophomore Morgan Freyhof (North Lewisburg/West Liberty-Salem), who was fifth in the 200-meter dash.