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Sports briefs

By RODNEY PAGE, Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 8, 2001

Disease still wreaks havoc on sports in Britain, Ireland

Two more Six Nations rugby union games were called off and the prestigious Cheltenham Festival horse race meeting was postponed as the foot-and-mouth crisis continued to take its toll Wednesday on sports in Britain and Ireland.

Horse racing resumed in England after a seven-day shutdown because of the livestock disease. But Ireland called off its remaining Six Nations games against England and Scotland, leaving the tournament in disarray.

The British Horseracing Board announced the postponement of the Cheltenham Festival, Europe's biggest jump racing meeting. The board said attempts would be made to stage the meet, scheduled for Tuesday-March 15, in April.

Fifteen more foot-and-mouth cases were confirmed Wednesday, raising the total to 96. Foot-and-mouth disease strikes cloven-hoofed animals such as sheep, pigs and cows, and is easily spread by afflicted animals or carriers such as humans and horses.

BASKETBALL: Former NBA player LaSalle Thompson resigned as coach of the San Diego WildFire of ABA 2000, unhappy with the team's league-worst 8-23 record. He remains general manager.

COLLEGES: Kentucky board of trustees chairman Billy Joe Miles said he will seek greater board oversight of the athletic program following a settlement reached with former football coach Hal Mumme that will pay him $1-million over the next four years. ... In football, Colorado will play Fresno State in Boulder, Colo., in the inaugural Jim Thorpe Classic on Aug. 25. In baseball, Myron Leslie was 5-for-6, tying the South Florida record for hits in a game, as the visiting Bulls defeated Bethune-Cookman 20-5; freshman left-hander Trent Peterson won his first collegiate start as host FSU defeated St. Joseph's 6-0; host Miami won its seventh straight, 6-2 over Pittsburgh; and Kenny White had five singles and an RBI and scored three runs as Tampa beat visiting Shippensburg 15-2. In men's tennis, USF beat Michigan State 7-0; Florida beat Vanderbilt 5-2; and UM lost to Georgia Tech 4-3.

HORSES: Jockey Filiberto Leon was slightly injured when his mount, Silver Issue, fell during the fourth race at Aqueduct. Leon was conscious when he was taken to a hospital, where he was treated and released. ... Monarchos, an entry with Invisible Ink, emerged as the 5-2 favorite for Saturday's Florida Derby, a steppingstone to the Kentucky Derby. Outofthebox, ridden by Jerry Bailey, was the second choice at 3-1.

IDITAROD: Defending champion Doug Swingley closed in on leader Linwood Fiedler while tired dogs forced many mushers to give their teams a break at Takotna, Alaska. Fiedler rested his team for a half-hour at Ophir before pressing on toward Iditarod, 90 miles away. Iditarod is roughly the halfway point in the 1,100-mile race.

SOCCER: The Mutiny released goalkeeper Adam Throop and defender Mersim Beskovic, and picked up defender Kalin Bankov off waivers. Throop was a fourth-round pick in this year's SuperDraft. Beskovic was a fifth-round pick in this year's draft. Bankov played for the Mutiny last season in a reserve role. He was waived in February but recently received his green card work visa, which allowed the Mutiny to re-claim him without him counting as a foreign player. ... Silvia Tagliacarne scored in the 87th minute to lead the Italian women over the United States 1-0 in an exhibition game at Rieti, Italy. The United States sent mostly young players because most veterans are preparing for next month's start of the WUSA, the new U.S. league. ... Valencia and Galatasaray clinched spots in the European Champions Cup quarterfinals with wins. Deportivo de La Coruna overcame a three-goal deficit to stay in contention.

TENNIS: Tim Henman beat German Puentes 6-1, 7-5 to advance to the quarterfinals of the Franklin Templeton Tennis Classic at Scottsdale, Ariz.

WINTER SPORTS: Jan Jacob Verdenius won the World Cup cross-country sprint title with a third-place finish in an all-Norwegian men's final at Oslo, Norway. ... Magdalena Forsberg of Sweden won her fifth consecutive World Cup biathlon title by finishing 12th in a women's 7.5-kilometer sprint at Lake Placid, N.Y.

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