published Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Durward Higgins' team sets RAAM 70-74 mark

When local cyclist Durward Higgins and his United 4 Health teammates got to the finish line Saturday morning in Annapolis, Md., they had set a Ride Across America record for a four-man team in the 70-74 age group. They smashed it, actually -- by about 27 hours -- by covering the 2,993.24 miles from Oceanside, Calif., in 6 days, 13 hours and 13 minutes. That broke the 60-plus age-group record by nearly four hours. Higgins, 70, said the team was created by Michael Patterson of New York, who recruited the East Brainerd resident in October 2010 and then added Dave Burnett of Norwich, Conn., and Don Metz of Lyme, N.H. "Michael knew of me from racing in national events like USACycling Masters National Championships and the Huntsman Senior World Games in the 65-plus age division. I have gold medaled in both," Higgins said. Of pedaling across the continent, he said, "What an adventure!" He praised his teammates and their 15 crew members as well as Chattanooga friends and "especially" his wife, Earline, "for her loving support and enthusiasm for the last 20 months of training and preparation."

Auto Racing

• Eric Boyd of Flintstone won the $1,500 top prize in the Super Pro class last Saturday at the Brainerd Optimist Drag Strip. Boyd, an electrical engineer, won with a 4.75-second burst on a 4.76 dial in a 632-cubic-inch Chevrolet-powered dragster. He won by inches over Cynthia Farrow, also in a Chevy dragster. Heath Littrel of Cleveland won the 6.00 heads-up class in a 1976 Monza, with Mike Parris of Chattanooga second in an '86 Mustang. Jason Young of Englewood won the 7.00 class in a '90 Mustang; Mike Falksok of Ringgold was second in an '87 Mustang GT. Strip Hall of Famer L.C. Bigham won the Foot Brake eliminations for the third week in a row, clocking 8.38 seconds on an 8.38 dial in his '72 Dodge Dart Swinger; Steven Crouse was second with a 6.85 run on a 6.85 dial in a '27 Ford Roadster. First-time racer Ryan Dennis of Cleveland won in Junior Dragster with Jason Clayton of Ooltewah second.

• Riley Hickman was the Steel-Head Late Models winner last Friday at Boyd's Speedway, with Kevin Gibson second and Johnny Cloer third, and Jeff Smith, Jason Welshan and Kenneth Kizzar were first, second and third in Crate Late Models. Booger Brooks and Arva Brooks were first and second in A-Hobby, and Dallas Brooks won in B-Hobby with Greg Humphrey the runner-up. Daniel Burnette was the Front Runner victor with E.J. Bailey second.

Track & Field

• Charlie Baker of Hixson and Kenton Holloway of Red Bank went to the West Virginia State Senior Games last week at Charleston and racked up a bunch of medals. Baker won six gold medals in ages 85-89 track and field events: high jump, long jump, discus and the 50-, 100- and 200-meter dashes. Holloway was in the men's 55-59 group and took a gold in pickleball plus two silvers and three bronzes in track and field.

Softball

• The Chattanooga State and Cleveland State softball teams were among the NJCAA's all-academic teams for 2011-12, with aggregate grade point averages of 3.16 and 3.05 respectively. Snead State's softball team in Boaz, Ala., also made the list with a 3.48

Golf

• The 31st Georgia Top 60 Women's Classic golf tournament runs Wednesday and Thursday at Governors Towne Club in Acworth with the 60 entrants divided into five flights. Mary Alice Murphy of Lookout Mountain is in the first flight, and Lisa Ann Sellers of Rocky Face is in the third. The fourth flight includes Sandra Doyle of Dalton, Sue King of Chatsworth and Rochelle Weaver of Resaca.

Baseball

• MARIETTA, Ga. -- Saturday in the World Wood Bat 15-U National Championship baseball tournament, the Chattanooga Cyclones lost 3-2 to the nationally ranked Houston Banditos, one of the pre-tourney favorites. Cory Edgemon and Cade Evans scored the Cyclones' runs in the hard-luck loss for pitcher Tyler Reed. Sunday, the Cyclones won 9-8 over the 2011 third-place 14-under nationals finishers, the North Carolina Rebels, as Kaleb Hill had two hits and an RBI, Tyler Meroney drove in two runs, Brandon Dendy smacked an RBI double and Dustin Kennedy got the pitching win in relief. The Cyclones won again Monday morning, 11-3 over the East Cobb Rangers, as Edgemon had two hits, three runs and an RBI, Meroney added two hits and two RBIs and Justin Kennedy and Nick Gaddis each had two hits and scored a run in support of pitchers Chantz Plazcek and Noah Hill.

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