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Game of life: Jack Moncrief chaired Big Eight Baseball Tournament

Moncrief recently died at age of 91, leaving behind a sports legacy across Oklahoma City.
by Scott Munn Published: December 24, 2012

*Alan Rubenstein continued to exercise and jog past his 80th birthday. The credit manager from Oklahoma City died at 86.

*Oklahoma football fan Curtis Callahan did not miss a Sooners home game in more than 57 years. The railroad worker and World War II veteran died recently at age 94.

*Harriet Pulley was a girls physical education teacher at Classen High School in the 1950s. The World War II Army veteran died at age 87.

*Frederick resident Edward Ketcham Jr. lived in Oklahoma since 1989. The Army veteran of World War II and the Korean War attended Louisiana State on a football scholarship. He won a regional Golden Gloves boxing championship and also held the No. 1 spot in singles tennis. The Great Neck, N.Y., native died a month after celebrating his 99th birthday.


*Matt Covington is the just the second driver in American Sprint Car Series history to win two regional championships in the same season. The 23-year-old Glenpool resident won his “home” Sooner Region title, and he also captured the Lone Star Region crown. The Tulsa Community College student somehow, albeit successfully, has managed schoolwork, travel and racing the car for nine consecutive months.

“It's pretty much impossible,” Covington said with a laugh.

The 2012 race season results say otherwise.

The only other driver to win two ASCS regional championships in the same season was Jason Danley of Lincoln, Neb. He won the Midwest and now-defunct Northern Plains titles in 2009.

Covington raced 60 cards this past summer, “and we had more good nights than bad. We did not tear up our cars. And we have a sponsor who has been great.”

Dennis Marshala of Shawnee has funded the Oilfield Equipment & Manufacturing-sponsored team, helping Covington become a fast force. The majority of Covington's races are Oklahoma and Texas. He does some national tour races, which might require a trip to New Mexico, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas or Arkansas.

Sometimes, Covington and lead wrench, 19-year-old brother Tyler, are away from Glenpool two or three weeks at a time.

Even a young driver, one who wrestled in high school, can get “a little sore and worn out,” Matt said. “But I think a lot of my determination and drive comes from wrestling and the discipline it takes. (Racing) has a real tough schedule, and a lot of people don't know the time it takes behind the scenes to compete. But if I had to do it all over again, I'd do it. I'm having a lot of fun.”

by Scott Munn
Sports Assistant Editor
Scott Munn joined The Oklahoman/Oklahoma City Times sports staffs in October 1982. He spent a year as a formcharter, three years on the desk and 16 as a reporter. Scott has spent the last nine years as an evening assistant sports editor. Scott's...
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*As a freshman football player at Noble High School, OU beat writer Jason Kersey filled out an online recruiting form for the University of Miami. He still has the letter from Hurricane coach Larry Coker, who responded by thanking the young special teams player for his interest in the defending national champions. Kersey never played college football.

*Writer/page designer Jacob Unruh was a drum major at Caney Valley High School.

*Assistant sports editor Scott Munn is from Portsmouth, Ohio, the original home of the Detroit Lions. The team was known as the Spartans before moving to Detroit.

*Sports editor Mike Sherman and Sports Animal radio host Jim Traber played high school football, basketball and baseball against each other in Maryland.

Three cheers

*Bryan Byars is a stud goalkeeper for the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma men's soccer team. As a sophomore, the former Putnam City North star led the NAIA this season with a 0.55 goals against average. Byars has 31 career wins, including 21 shutouts. The latter number has already tied Drovers assistant coach Alexis Vizarelis for the school record.

*The Oklahoma City Barons gave fans a Christmas present of sorts Saturday night at the Cox Center. Three of the Barons' biggest studs — Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Justin Schultz — were asked to spend 30 minutes signing autographs after the game. On-the-ball fans lined up early. All three players will be reporting to the Edmonton Oilers once the NHL lockout ends.

*Jones resident Cliff Berry has done it again. The veteran jockey won a 15th Remington Park championship behind 72 victories during the recently completed thoroughbred season. Luis Quinonez was second with 67 victories, and Lindey Wade finished third with 51 wins. Quinonez did lead the trio in mount earnings at $1,776,044.


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