As shocking upsets go, yesterday's New York City Marathon results in the women's race ranks near the top. Shalane Flanagan came in first in the women's division, becoming the first American woman since 1977 to break the tape first, and dethroning Mary Keitany of Kenya, who had won the women's division three years in a row and was a favorite to do so again yesterday.
The 36-year old Flanagan is a four-time Olympian but this marked her first win in the NYC Marathon, finishing almost a full minute ahead of Keitany, and it comes a week after New Yorkers were forced to absorb the news of a man driving a truck onto a bike path, a terror attack that left eight people dead. Flanagan's win yesterday was celebrated in the American running community, and she noted it will probably be her last participation in the NYC Marathon, and is so, she's definitely going out on top.
The NY Giants are in the midst of a lost season after a 51-17 drubbing at home against the Los Angeles Rams yesterday. Rams quarterback Jared Goff threw a career high four touchdowns against an all but helpless Giants defense, and the loss drops the Giants to 1-7 on the year. Given the near impossibility of making the playoffs at this point, Giants coach Ben McAdoo indicated that he may bench veteran Eli Manning in the next game to give rookie QB Davis Webb a chance. That would end a streak by Manning of starting 207 regular season games, and is one game shy of tying his older brother Peyton Manning for that record, so if McAdoo does indeed bench Eli next Sunday he'll be getting into a bit of a sibling rivalry as well as influencing the NFL record book.
Maybe what the Montreal Canadiens needed to break out of their early season funk was a heavier workload, and, perhaps most surprisingly, a change in between the pipes. Playing their third game in four nights, the Canadiens scored a 2-0 shut-out win over the Blackhawks in Chicago, getting a 38 save performance from rookie goalie Charlie Lindgren, pressed into service to spell Carey Price, who's out with an injury. Lindgren's backstopping allowed Jonathan Drouin to get one by Chicago goalie Corey Crawford, who'd been on a streak of not allowing a goal in his last 173 minutes of play, coming off consecutive shut-outs of Minnesota and Philadelphia. Former Bruins defenseman Joe Morrow added an insurance goal, his third of the season, and the Habs are inching their way back to .500, now at 6-8 on the year after a very slow start.
To the NBA and I might as well get this out of the way now: I was wrong about the Kyrie Irving trade. When the Celtics swapped all-star point guards, sending Isaiah Thomas to Cleveland for Irving in the off-season, I was more than a little critical of the trade, noting IT's outstanding career with Boston, and dubious of how Irving would handle the media spotlight in Boston. That spotlight increased in intensity just five minutes into the season when all-star forward Gordon Hayward went down with a season-ending injury, putting even more pressure on Irving to carry most of the offensive load for Boston, but that's just what Irving said he wanted to do in getting out of the shadow cast by Lebron James in Cleveland, and he's proving more than equal to the task. The Celtics have now won eight games in a row after beating the Orlando Magic 104-88 in Florida last night, and the Magic went into the game in third place in the eastern conference, an early season success story.
Irving has been averaging 21 points per game, but didn't have to be that mercurial last night as the Celtics got big contributions off the bench, especially on defense, from Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier, and youngster Jaylen Brown continues to shine, pouring in 18 points last night as the Celtics sit atop the conference with an 8-2 record, even without Hayward in the fold.
The University of Vermont women's soccer team couldn't repeat their regular season success against Stony Brook in the America East title game, falling 2-1 yesterday in New York. The win gives the Seawolves an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, dashing those same hopes for the Catamounts, who were playing in the America East final for the first time in school history.
UVM defeated Stony Brook 2-0 in a regular season match-up but allowed two goals in the first half yesterday and could only answer with one strike by Sarah Martin in the 62nd minute of the second half.
In men's college soccer, Tufts scored the only goal of the game to deny Middlebury the NESCAC championship in Medford, Massachusetts yesterday. The Jumbos scored late in the 88th minute on a strike by Brett Rojas to take the title
In college field hockey the Middlebury Panthers are winners of the NESCAC championship for only the twelfth time in a row, defeating Trinity 5-0. Annie Leonard and Molly Freeman each scored twice to lead the Panthers offense. The number two nationally ranked Panthers continue to dominate NESCAC play and finish the year at 16-2.
In division three, the Castleton Spartans gain an automatic bid to the NCAA championship after defeating Colby-Swayer 1-0 Saturday night. The Spartans scored the only goal of the game off the foot Jacob Godfrey following a corner kick, and the Spartans win the North Atlantic Conference in front of their fans at Spartan stadium, with hopes of more success to come in the NCAA tournament, along with the Spartan women, who also captured the NAC championship Saturday when Bronwen Hopwood scored the only goal of the game in double overtime to beat Husson 1-0 in a thriller that launches Castleton into the NCAA division three women's tournament.