Not rebuilding, reloading

first_imgThe Marshfield Tigers girls soccer team has to replace a lot of graduated talent but has the players to do itBy Paul LeckerSports ReporterMARSHFIELD — The Marshfield girls soccer team enters the 2015 season with both confidence and a degree of uncertainty.The Tigers, who finished last season with a 9-9-3 overall record and reached the WIAA Division 2 sectionals before losing to Rhinelander in a semifinal, must replace nearly all of their offense from that team.Gone are four-time all-Wisconsin Valley Conference performer Darian Molter, the team’s leading scorer from last season (20 goals in WVC play), and fellow first-team all-WVC selection Walker Guzowski (five goals, eight assists in WVC).That is 25 of the team’s 32 conference goals out the door due to graduation.Of course with the ever-changing rosters of high school sports, this is to be expected from time to time, and this year’s Tigers are excited to get the season rolling.Marshfield opens its year with a nonconference home game Thursday, April 9, against Tomah.Senior Molly Field, junior Julia Urban, and sophomore Maddie Haessly will lead the charge at the forward position for the Tigers.Field had two goals and two assists in conference play last season, and Urban had one goal and three assists. Haessly’s minutes increased in the latter part of her freshman season, giving the Tigers a trio of experienced players up front.“We did lose a couple of seniors, but I think this year, if we work on our conditioning and our footwork, work as a team, we’ll be able to step up to the plate and play well,” Field said. “I think we have a lot of good speed up front and a lot of good offensive players. I think moving the ball up top will be our biggest asset.”Seniors Amanda Feltz and Charlotte Urban return on the back end for Marshfield and will team with junior Patty Jo Bloczynski and sophomore Emily Critelli to provide defensive depth. Sophomore Andrea Carolfi will be the Tigers’ top goalkeeper.The midfield will be controlled by junior Olivia Haessly and sophomores Maureen Cassidy and Elizabeth Holbrook.A number of freshmen may also make the varsity roster to provide depth at all three positions.“I think we are working harder to know each other, and we’re better as a team,” Feltz said. “We didn’t necessarily lose all of our strength in just one specific area. We still have players coming back from each section of the field.“We have four solid players back on defense from last year, and we have a ton of players coming up that are freshmen too that are strong on defense. I’m pretty sure all sections of the field will be pretty well off.”Coach Steve Lindner said the Tigers will rely on their defense, especially early in the season as they search for consistent scoring.“I think that’s going to be the strength of our team because we have four defensive players that were in the rotation last year all back,” Lindner said. “We have some pretty good speed back there to go with that experience.”Marshfield will also play a tournament at River Falls on April 11 before hosting Wausau West in its Wisconsin Valley Conference opener April 14.Paul Lecker is publisher of, a contributor to Hub City Times Sports. You can reach him by email at read more

Don’t shout down Vinod Kambli

first_imgFormer India cricketer Vinod Kambli is being unfairly targeted for claiming that the India-Sri Lanka semifinal match of the 1996 World Cup may have been fixed.It is understandable for questions to be raised about why Mr Kambli has made the revelation 15 years after the event. That Ajit Wadekar – a respected cricketer of yesteryear who was the manager of that team- as also a couple of team members have rubbished the claim, is significant here.Yet, it is strange for the media to accord great importance to what Mohammed Azharuddin, the captain at that time, has to say about the allegation. As is known, Mr Azharuddin was banned for life on the charges of match-fixing later in his career, making his credibility on the issue suspect.Mr Kambli must be praised for being among the few cricketers to speak out against match-fixing though the phenomenon was rampant in the 1990s, as acknowledged the founder head of ICC’s Anti-Corruption unit Paul Condon recently.The controversy should make India consider enacting a law against betting in sport.last_img read more

WHO Total number of MERS cases rises to 1244

first_img South Koreas health ministry said on Tuesday (June 9) there were eight new cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), bringing the total in the country to 95 with seven fatalities.The new cases bring the total of MERS cases globally to 1,244, based on World Health Organization (WHO) data, with at least 446 related deaths.Since the start in September 2012, we have 1,190 confirmed cases, including at least 444 deaths, WHO specialist, Peter Ben Embarek, told a news conference in Geneva.Most of the diseases fatalities have been in the Middle East but memories are fresh in Asia of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which emerged in 2002-03 and killed about 800 people worldwide.The WHO has not recommended travel restrictions and its director-general, Margaret Chan, said on Monday she believed South Korea would be able to control the spread.But Embarek said there would be a decrease only when the link of transmission had been broken.All the cases are still linked to the same chain of transmission. We can expect to see further cases in the coming days, and that will happen until everybody that has been infected, has not had the opportunity to transmit it to other people, so as soon as everyone has been identified as cases and isolated immediately then we should see a decrease in cases, he said.Some 2,892 people who may have had contact with MERS patients have been put under quarantine, some in hospitals but most at home. Authorities have said they are using mobile phones to track people who violate quarantine.We would not be surprised if we see a few cases coming up from the community. Again with that amount of hospitals involved and with that amount of contacts being followed, that involves a lot of people and a lot of interactions. Everything is being done to trace every and all cases that have been in contact with the patient, Embarek said.The WHO began work on a joint mission with South Korean doctors and officials to review the countrys response and analyse the virus and Embarek said work was under way to develop vaccines to combat it.There are ongoing works on vaccine development in different research institutions around the world. We were presented at the recent technical meetings in Middle East on MERS development about promising trials with new vaccines mainly targeted at the camel population, because that is one of the main sources of the virus for us, and that is where we should try to thwart or control the disease at the source, Embarek said.The WHO has not recommended any curb on travel, but thousands of tourists have cancelled plans to visit South Korea. Closelast_img read more

Clashing views shade future of stalled N Korea nuclear talks

first_imgIn this 12 June, 2018, file photo, North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, left, and US president Donald Trump shake hands at the conclusion of their meetings at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island in Singapore. Photo: APTo hear a beaming Donald Trump at his June summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore, the solution to North Korea’s headlong pursuit of nuclear weapons, a foreign policy nightmare that has flummoxed US leaders since the early 1990s, was at hand.Since the remarkable claims made during the first-ever meeting of leaders from the arch-rival nations, however, there have been recriminations, simmering bad blood — and very little progress. In other words, just what skeptics in Seoul and Washington have come to expect from North Korean nuclear diplomacy.So even as Trump says he’s keen on another summit, possibly early next year, continuing sanctions and pressure from Washington are met with anger and foot-dragging from Pyongyang, which has bluntly stated that an “improvement of relations and sanctions are incompatible.”One of the problems is a matter of wording. The statement hammered out in Singapore, which called for “the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” was so vague that it seemed tailor made for a stalemate: Each side can claim to be right when they say that they’ve done more than enough and it’s the other side’s responsibility to act.So where do we go from here?A second summit seems the most likely answer.Trump’s national security adviser said such a meeting would not be a reward and that the president merely wants to give North Korea “a chance to live up to the commitments they’ve made at the Singapore summit.””He’s held the door open for them, they need to walk through it,” John Bolton said in an interview with NPR. “And this is one more chance for Kim Jong Un who is the only decision maker that matters in the North Korean system to deliver on what he said in Singapore, and that’s possible I think some time after the first of the year.”Other diplomatic channels have stalled, including talks between Trump and Kim’s main envoys, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his North Korean counterpart Kim Yong Chol.Pompeo did meet on Thursday in Washington with South Korea’s foreign minister in a new attempt to push the process forward. The State Department said only that the two officials “reaffirmed the ironclad alliance between the United States and (South) Korea and pledged to maintain close coordination to ensure the final, fully verified denuclearization of (North) Korea.”Pompeo has traveled to Pyongyang four times this year, but canceled a planned meeting with a top North Korean official in New York last month when the North balked. Tentative plans to reschedule those talks, perhaps as early as next week, remain uncertain.Meanwhile, Pompeo’s invitation for Kim to name a counterpart for his special North Korea envoy, former Ford Motor Co. executive Stephen Biegun, and send that person to Vienna for lower-level working discussions, has gone unanswered.The views from both Seoul and Washington are complicated.South Koreans are famous for ignoring North Korean threats, including repeated vows to turn Seoul into a “sea of fire,” but there were widespread fears of war last year amid threats and insults between Trump and Kim Jong Un as the North tested a string of increasingly powerful weapons. Even the most jaded would likely say that things are better now.There has also been curiosity at the warming ties between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim, who have had three summits and agreed on an unprecedented trip to Seoul by Kim, possibly in coming weeks. Among the more stunning sights this diplomacy has spawned has been Moon, who has worked doggedly behind the scenes to orchestrate the various summits, filling a water bottle at a “sacred” volcanic lake in the North, and Kim being spirited across the inter-Korean border, the world’s most heavily armed, in an armored limousine, a phalanx of burly bodyguards jogging alongside.But deep skepticism has always been the go-to mindset for many South Koreans, especially conservatives who have seen Moon’s liberal presidential predecessors’ engagement efforts with the North eventually fail to meet expectations. North Korea, it is true, has not conducted a nuclear or ICBM test since November 2017, but according to recent reports from private analysts it still is believed to be churning out nuclear bomb fuel and making headway on its missile program at more than a dozen facilities.Like the others, the latest such report, released on Thursday, is drawn from commercial satellite imagery and shows activity at a previously undisclosed site where the North is believed to be expanding a missile base. “The base is a strong candidate to receive North Korea’s newest long-range missiles, including those that can strike the United States,” wrote the report’s authors at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.Although Kim made no promises to halt such work, and US and South Korean officials played down findings they said they were already aware of, analysts say they underscore the difficulty the Trump administration will face in getting the North to provide a full accounting of its programs so that they might be inspected and verifiably dismantled in the event a denuclearization deal is reached.As Washington and Pyongyang have drifted further apart, Moon, his popularity numbers hovering around 50 percent, has scrambled to keep the diplomacy alive.Moon’s officials have pushed the narrative — and pushed aside skepticism from critics — that North Korea’s suspension of nuclear and long-range missile tests and the dismantling of its nuclear testing site are meaningful steps toward an eventual total abandonment of nuclear weapons. They also briefly floated a proposal that Washington consider softer sanctions on the North.Conservatives in Seoul, however, believe that Kim’s outreach is meant to split Seoul from Washington, its military protector, so that it will be harder for the allies to boost sanctions and pressure should diplomacy fail. Any Trump-Kim summit redux, they say, needs to be prefaced with at least a declaration from the North of the extent of its secretive missile and nuclear programs; otherwise, it would just be another concession to a country that has spent years ramping up tension only to reap rewards by seeming to turn to diplomacy.Still, in a place that has seen regular flare-ups of violence since the near-total destruction of the Korean War in the early 1950s, there’s also interest in seeing if Trump and Kim can pursue in another summit a rare opportunity to test the sincerity of Kim’s declaration that with his weapons program “complete,” he intends to pivot to lifting his country up from poverty.”With nuclear tensions on the Korean Peninsula dramatically reduced, it is time to find out if Kim’s drive to improve the economy will eventually lead to denuclearization,” Siegfried Hecker, a nuclear expert who has made regular trips to North Korea’s nuclear facilities, wrote recently on 38 North, a website devoted to North Korea studies. “He may determine that his nuclear arsenal poses a significant hindrance to economic development that outweighs the putative benefits it confers. Washington and Seoul should work together to encourage rather than inhibit this potential shift.”last_img read more