P4 TUESDAY, APRIL 24. 2001 SPORTS THE SALINA JOUBNAL T TENNIS BACK ON TRACK Once seemingly lost, Capriati now living up to long-ago promise By PETE lACOBELLI Tlie Associated Press : CHARLESTON, S.C. — A sign near the top of the Tennis Centre at Daniel Island said everything about Jennifer Capriati's season so far — "Jennifer, 4 and rising." How high she goes probably _ won't ever CAPRIATI equal how far she has come. The 25-year-old Capriati, at one time the focal point of all that can go wrong in teen tennis, has gained her highest career ranking at No. 4 in the world after defeating No. 1 Martina Hingis 6-0, 4-6, 6-4 at the Family Circle Sunday This "just gives me confidence that I can keep on going," said Capriati, who defeated Hingis to win the Australian Open in January It seemed so long ago that Capriati was America's next greatest tennis star, to be in the lineage of Billie Jean King, Chris Evert and Tracy Austin. - Her first tournament as a pro was at the Family Circle, then on Hilton Head Island, in 1990. She had turned pro only a month before and was 14 years, 3 days, when she reached the final, losing to Martina Navratilova. She was a semifinalist at the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open before she was 16. She beat Steffi Graf for gold at the 1992 Olympics, and her career seemed without limits. She got as high as No. 6 in the world, the last time in April 1993. Then came Capriati's 1994 arrest on shoplifting and drug charges, the haggard mug shot that always found its way on Ty her lack of interest in tennis and her fall to 101st in the world at the end of 1998. "I didn't think about it while I was out there," Capriati said Sunday "Just maybe afterward, I started to think. It's funny tiow history repeats itself." Capriati said she found her focus two years ago. She won tournaments in Strasbourg and Quebec City that season and in Luxembourg a year later, working to strengthen and build her 5-foot-8'A, 135-pound body back to compete on the elite level. Her training includes weights, running and cycling, all to gain stamina that wears down opponents. The results are showing this year. She defeated then-No. 4 Monica Seles, No. 2 Lindsay Davenport and Hingis for the Australian title. Capriati has gone 15-3 since, losing to Seles in the final at Oklahoma City; to Davenport in the semifinals at Scottsdale, Ariz.; and to Venus Williams in the championship at the Ericsson Open. - "They're always saying if she gets all her things together, she's one of the top five players," said Hingis, who had won all five matches against Capriati before this year Capriati's fitness and attitude shone through against Hingis at the Family Circle. After Hingis recovered from her first 6-0 loss in 91 sets this year to tie the match at a set apiece, it looked like there might be a second straight collapse by Capriati, who had been unable to convert on eight match points against Venus Williams at the Ericsson. ; Instead, Capriati kept her cool to lead 5-1. After Hingis broke serve twice to close to 54, Capriati ended the match. Capriati, always a favorite during her teen star days, thanked the crowd for the support she had felt all week and all season — quite a difference from fearing the fan reaction when she returned to tennis in 1996 after two seasons away "I was a little hesitant then because I didn't know if I wasn't doing well," she said. "If I was losing, it would be like, 'OK, is everyone going to stop supporting me just because I'm losing?'" When it didn't happen, that left her free to reinvent her game without the confining expectations of her teen years. "I'm older apd wiser, and more mature to handle it," Capriati said. "I just keep everything ^t a distance." PRO FOOTBALL The Associated Press Thought most "experts" projected Georgia quarterback Quincy Carter (left) to be selected in the sixth or seventh round, the Dallas Cowboys used their second-round selection for Carter during last weekend's NFL Draft. Debatable Draft Cowboys' choices draw negative reviews By CARLTON THOMPSON Houston Chronicle Draft gurus accustomed to having such perennial laughingstocks as the Arizona Cardinals and Cincinnati Bengals to pick on can now add the Dallas Cowboys to their list of sparring partners. In keeping with their trend of questionable draft-day decisions in the post-Jimmy Johnson era, the Cowboys turned in what many believe was the worst performance of the draft. To be fair, it usually is not prudent to judge drafts for a couple of years or so, but if the so-caUed experts are right, it might take the Cowboys that long to recover from this weekend's series of head-scratchers. Already behind the eight ball because they didn't have a first-round pick — they lost it in last year's trade for Joey Galloway — the Cowboys used their second- round pick to draft Georgia quarterback Quincy Carter, who was projected to go two or three rounds later. By most accounts, they also reached on their other second- round pick, Alabama safety Tony Dixon. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones defended his team against criticism it reached with the Carter selection. "We didn't want to live with missing (Carter) if we bet wrong in the third round, a player we may not see the likes again for a couple of years, if even then," Jones said. "We had to make our minds up if we were going to wait around and catch him in the third. "We had to get that straight in our minds before the draft. I like to risk with the best of them, but I have an old adage: I always weigh how bad I would feel to take a guy too early relative to how bad it would feel knowing we waited too long and missed him." Mississippi State defensive tackle Willie Blade rounded out Saturday's selections, and it appeared things could go nowhere but up Sunday on the second and final day of the draft. But the Cowboys used their last six picks to take a player who battled injuries the past two years, an undersized offensive lineman, a reported low-motor player, another who started just one full season at his current position and a couple of developmental projects. While games aren't won on paper, it appears the Cowboys have their work cut out for them if they hope to improve on last season's 5-11 record. "They reached for Quincy Carter, who I thought would be a sixth- or seventh-round pick, but the Cowboys took him in the second round," draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said. "They took Tony Dixon (in the second round) who I projected as a fifth- or sixth- round pick. "That's what they've been doing in recent years, and they are fast becoming much like the old Arizona Cardinals with their very questionable draft choices. They have been doing it since Jimmy Johnson left. "I used to be critical of the Cardinals; now it seems like I'm critical of the Cowboys every year, and for good reason. I'd give them an 'F' grade." The Cowboys' best pick that encountered the least amount of scrutiny might have been Southern California linebacker Markus Steele, one of the highest-rated linebackers in a subpar draft class. Although he battled injuries each of the past two seasons, he earned honorable mention All- America status both years. "We had him ranked pretty high," Cowboys linebackers coach George Edwards said. "We're glad he slipped to us. He's a great player, a great athlete." Heupel / To report Thursday FROM PAGE D1 snow flurries failed to quench a quiet celebration. "I'm really excited about going back down there and trying to continue my career" Heupel was the 177th player taken in the draft, and the 11th quarterback. He joins linebacker Torrance Marshall, who was taken Saturday in the third round by Green Bay as the only OU players selected. Heupel hopes to leave doubters second-guessing. Scouts question whether he has the physical skills to succeed in the NFL. Quarterbacks selected before Heupel included: Rutgers' Mike McMahon, Iowa State's Sage Rosenfels, LSU's Josh Booty and Oregon's A.J. Feeley — who didn't start for the Ducks last season. According to Ross Levin, Heupel's agent, the quarterback got serious attention from several teams, includ ing Kansas City, Indianapolis and Denver. But Levin said Miami, which features a ball-control offense, is a "great fit." "The scheme that they have and the coaching staff, I think it's the perfect team," Levin said. "I think he should have gone higher, obviously. But I think he'll do well in that system." Miami coach Dave Wannstedt said Heupel, who visited Miami earlier this month, will compete for the third-string job along with Mike Quinn, a six-year veteran who ranked behind starter Jay Fiedler and backup Ray Lucas last season. He said Heupel's attributes were hard to overlook. "He's got all the intangibles that I think (Chris) Weinke and (Drew) Brees have — all the things that you're looking for in a quarterback as far as the work ethic, the commitment to be prepared," Wannstedt said. "The one stat that we kept talking about was the number of touchdowns he threw to interceptions. We would look at the other quarterbacks that got drafted, and it's the opposite. This kid has done a good job for only being at OU two years. To win a national championship. ... He's an interesting guy "We'll see what happens when he comes in here and competes." Heupel, who will report Thursday for a mini -camp, said he's ready for the challenge. "I'm definitely not going there with thoughts of never competing for a job and just sitting behind everybody for an entire career," ' Heupel said. "But you focus on getting yourself prepared to play at the highest level that you possibly can and wherever that takes you, it takes you. As a competitor, yeah, you want to play When that time will be, or if — I'm not sure." T WILSON AUCTION World Series ring goes for $16,250 T COLLEGE BASKETBALL Duke's Williams to return next year By The Associated Press RALEIGH, N.C. — Duke AU- American Jason Williams will be back next year but likely will leave for the NBA after the 2001-02 season, his mother said. Althea Williams says her son should be close to earning his degree by the end of his junior year and may enter the NBA draft next spring. "He will be in a position to have options," Althea Williams said. "If he wants to stay for his senior year, he can." Jason Williams said before this year's NCAA tournament that he will stay with Duke next season and plans to get his degree there. But his spectacular play, which helped Duke win the national championship, has fueled speculation he might change his mind. Althea Williams said her family has discussed the plan to stay one more year with Sale of memorabilia from former Royal generates $30,570 By The Associated Press TONGANOXIE — The World Series ring that once graced Willie Wilson's finger is now in the hands of a collector, sold at auction for more than $16,000. The 1985 ring, sold to a self- employed man from the Kansas City suburb of Mission, was one of 44 Wilson-related items sold Saturday at a bankruptcy auction. All told, the memorabilia generated $30,570. "It went as well as we expected, or better," said Steve Re- bein, a bankruptcy trustee representing Wilson's bankruptcy estate. "We thought $10,000 was the maximum we would get for the ring. Actually we were debating whether or not we should even do this. We didn't know if it would be worthwhile." The price of the ring alone allayed those fears. The auctioneer, George Warren, started the bidding at $6,000. It leaped from there at big intervals before, eventually it came down to two prospective buyers. One was John Matthews, who was in the radio business covering the Royals during the Wilson era but now works in the printing business. Just a few yards to his left stood Chuck and Ava Sandage, of Independence, Mo., who came for the sole purpose of buying the ring. Once the price hit $12,000, each side raised the stakes at $100 intervals. Finally, Matthews made what became the final bid: $16,250. Chuck Sandage, turning toward his wife, simply smiled and walked away "I was afraid if I kept going, it would get up to $20,000," the attorney said. "I'm disappointed, but now we've got some money to spend on something else." The sale, held at Warren's 7- acre homestead, took place about 30 miles from the stadium where Wilson earned his fortunes. Prospective bidders wedged their cars into a makeshift parking lot, somewhere between the ducks at the neighbor's house and the basketball goal in Warren's driveway T MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL coach Mike Krzyzewski. Williams made his third trip to the White House on Monday when President Bush honored Duke and women's national champion Notre Dame. Williams saw President Reagan at age 3, when his father's family was recognized as one of the "Great American Families." He also met President Clinton with the McDonald's All-America basketball team when he was a senior in high school. AP file photo Former Royals outfielder Willie Wilson sliares a iaugli with his teammates on his senior baseball team last June in Shawnee. The Wilson-related merchandise also included 28 bats, nine balls, four bases, a football and a heart-shaped ring with matching earrings. Wilson, 45, is now coaching in the Arizona Diamondbacks' minor league organization. A bat signed by Frank White sold for $325, a Ken Griffey bat for $430. The 83rd and final base that Wilson stole during the 1979 season garnered $1,025. The silver bat he earned in 1982 for leading the league with a .332 batting average went for $5,300. Renee Riedel, of Kansas City, Kan., bid $50 on a bat without even knowing who had signed it. She got outbid on that one but eventually spent $70 on a nondescript bat that Wilson once used in practice. "I thought if I could find something relatively cheap, I'd go ahead and buy it," she said. "It's too bad he has to seU aU this stuff. My son wiU like it, though." But the big spender was Matthews, who not only bought the Series ring but earlier spent $725 on a bat signed by the entire 1985 World Series team. "Over the years, I've saved up some money," Matthews said. "When I first heard about this, I was bound and determined to get (the ring). I wanted to make sure it didn't get out of Kansas City" His plans for the ring? "It's going into a safe-deposit box. It's not like I'm going to be wearing it to Hen House," Matthews said, referring to the grocery chain. Braves stop Astros By The Associated Press HOUSTON — Tom Glavine earned his ninth straight victory in Houston, overcoming a rare double error on Gold Glove center fielder Andruw Jones to help the Atlanta Braves beat the Astros. Down ROUNDUP 95 the Astros scored twice in the ninth inning off John Rocker. With runners on second and third. Rocker retired pinch-hitter Tony Eusebio on a fly ball to end it. Glavine (2-1) lost his first eight career decisions at Houston. He's gone 9-0 in 11 starts at the Astrodome and Enron Field since his last loss on June 25, 1991. The Braves, swept in a three- game weekend series at Philadelphia, broke loose with their bats. They had been averaging only 2.79 runs through their first 19 games, but topped that in the first inning on Chipper Jones' two-run double and Brian Jordan's sacrifice fly off Octavio Dotel (1-2). :;j D-Bacl (S 9, Marlins 0 PHOENIX — Randy Johnson threw a six-hitter in his 29th career shutout and Reggie Sanders homered for the seventh time in six games as Arizona beat the Florida Marlins 9-0 Monday night. Johnson (3-2) struck out 10 and walked none in his second complete game in a row and his first home victory of the season. Sanders, the National League player of the week, hit a three- run homer in the Diamondbacks' six-run fifth inning. Ryan Dempster (2-2), who had allowed just seven earned runs in his first four starts, gave up eight runs in 4V4 innings. He gave up five hits, struck out two, walked four and hit a batter. COUNTY SPORTS Great Bend rallies to stop Central, twice GREAT BEND — First, it was good defense and no offense for the Salina Central softball team. Now, the Mustangs are getting plenty of offense, but their gloves are letting them down. The Mustangs watched two leads evaporate Monday night in losing a high school doubleheader to Great Bend. Central lost a 7-4 lead in the first game — dropping an 8-7 decision — and watched Great Bend come back from a 6-0 deficit in the second game for a 7-6 victory The two losses dropped Central to 1-7 overall as the Mustangs committed 10 errors to offset a 20-hit performance. , "It's very heartbreaking," Central coach Jim LoVullo said. "It's very frustrating. We're saUing along, getting clutch hits and then the wheels come off We're our own worst enemy The (players) want to win so badly" Curry Brown was the hard-luck loser in the opener as Great Bend scored two nms in each of the last two innings for the win. Amanda Finan took the loss in the second game after the Mustangs had bolted to a 6-0 lead heading into the bottom of the third. The Mustangs are back in action Thursday at home against Manhattan.
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