.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

National

  • Boston bombing is top sports story of year

    NEW YORK (AP) — The Boston Marathon bombing was selected the sports story of the year Friday in an annual vote conducted by The Associated Press.
    Two pressure cooker bombs exploded near the finish line of the April 15 race in an area packed with fans cheering the passing runners. Three people were killed and more than 260 injured, including at least 16 who lost limbs.
    Authorities say brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, ethnic Chechens from Russia who emigrated to the United States as children, planned and carried out the bombings in retaliation for U.S. involvement in Muslim countries.
    Ninety-six ballots were submitted from U.S. editors and news directors. Voters were asked to rank the top 10 sports stories of the year, with the first-place story receiving 10 points, the second-place story nine points and so on.
    The marathon attack received 761 points and 67 first-place votes. It was also second in AP's national/international story of the year poll.
    The No. 2 sports story, Lance Armstrong's admission of doping, had five first-place votes and 517 points.

  • Serena Williams is top female athlete

    Serena Williams likes to make one thing clear: She is never satisfied, no matter how many matches and tournaments she wins.
    Driven as ever, Williams won plenty this year. She went 78-4 with 11 titles, including at the French Open and U.S. Open, raising her Grand Slam championship total to 17. She compiled a 34-match winning streak. She earned more than $12 million in prize money, a record for women’s tennis. In February, she became the oldest No. 1 in WTA rankings history and never left that perch.
    Thanks to all of that, Williams was honored Wednesday as The Associated Press’ 2013 Female Athlete of the Year. It’s the third AP award for Williams, following 2002 and 2009. Only two women have been chosen more often as AP Athlete of the Year since the annual awards were first handed out in 1931.
    “Whenever I lose, I get more determined, and it gives me something more to work toward,” Williams told the AP in an interview shortly before the start of the U.S. Open. “I don’t get complacent, and I realize I need to work harder and I need to do better and I want to do better — or I wouldn’t keep playing this game.”

  • Manning regains TD pass record Sunday

    HOUSTON (AP) — Peyton Manning never dreamed he’d throw an NFL record 51 touchdowns just two years removed from neck surgeries that threatened to end his career.
    Manning reflected on his remarkable comeback soon after regaining the NFL record for touchdown passes in a season in Denver’s 37-13 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday that gave the Broncos their third straight AFC West title.
    “There was major unpredictability,” Manning said. “So a lot of (doctors) said: ‘Maybe you’ll come back to this level and maybe not.’ So there was definitely some wait and see ... but no, it would be hard to say you could have imagined this at that point.”
    He missed the entire 2011 season after four neck surgeries weakened his right triceps and put his future in question.
    Now 37, Manning regained his record when he threw for 400 yards and four touchdowns, including three in the fourth quarter.
    He surpassed the 50 TD passes Tom Brady threw in 2007 and led the Broncos (12-3) to the victory over the Texans (2-13) that extended Houston’s franchise-record skid to 13 games.
    Manning did it on a 25-yard pass to Julius Thomas with 4:28 remaining. Just 2½ minutes earlier, he tied the mark with a 20-yard pass to Eric Decker.

  • Mosley, Sutton, Carey repeat as AP All-Americans

    NEW YORK (AP) — Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley, Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton and Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey have been selected to The Associated Press All-America team for the second straight season.
    Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston from Florida State added All-American to his resume after a spectacular redshirt freshman season. Heisman finalists Andre Williams from Boston College and Northern Illinois' Jordan Lynch also made the first team. Williams joins Carey in the backfield and Lynch, the dual-threat quarterback, was chosen as an all-purpose player.
    Mosley, a senior, was the leading tackler for a defense that ranked fifth in the country in yards allowed per game. Sutton was named Pac-12 defensive player of the year for the season straight season. Carey is second in the nation in rushing after leading last year.
    Winston, who was a landslide Heisman winner last week, is joined on the first team by three Florida State teammates — center Bryan Stork, kicker Roberto Aguayo and cornerback Lamarcus Joyner — to give the top-ranked Seminoles more than any other school.
    Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan made the second team, along with offensive tackle Cameron Erving. The Seminoles had six players on the three teams, the most of any school.

  • Heisman: Winston, Manziel, Lynch among 6 finalists

    NEW YORK (AP) — Jameis Winston will have plenty of company at the Heisman Trophy ceremony — though he's not expected to have much competition.

    The Florida State quarterback was among a record-tying six Heisman finalists revealed Monday, along with Northern Illinois' Jordan Lynch, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, Alabama's AJ McCarron, Auburn's Tre Mason and Boston College's Andre Williams.

    Six finalists invited to New York for the presentation are the most since 1994. The winner will be announced Saturday night.

    Winston is the overwhelming favorite to win the award now that a sexual assault complaint against him in Tallahassee, Fla., has been closed without charges being filed.

    He could also become the second freshman to win the award. Manziel was the first just last year. Famous Jameis, like Johnny Football last season, is a redshirt freshman.

    While Winston was a lock to be invited, the rest of the field was muddled. Some contenders had late stumbles (Manziel and Lynch), others (Mason and Williams) made late runs.

  • Spain, Netherlands meet again in pool play

    COSTA DO SAUIPE, Brazil (AP) — Defending champion Spain will play its opening World Cup game against the Netherlands, a repeat of the ill-tempered 2010 final, while host Brazil faces a relatively easy path to the knockout stage after Friday’s draw.
    The draw was full of bad news for the United States, which has the toughest group and the worst travel schedule. The U.S. opens with African power Ghana on June 16 on the coast in Natal, then plays Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo in the Amazon rain forest city of Manaus. The Americans then go to back to the northern coast to play Germany, one of the favorites, in Recife.
    “I kind of had in my stomach that we were going to get Germany,” said U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who played for Germany’s 1990 World Cup championship team and coached his native country to third place in 2006. “Obviously it’s one of the most difficult groups in the whole draw.”
    Brazil starts its campaign for a sixth World Cup title with an opener against Croatia.
    Mexico, which struggled this year to qualify, and Cameroon are also in the group.

  • Texans fire head coach Kubiak

    HOUSTON (AP) — The scuffling Houston Texans fired Gary Kubiak on Friday, parting ways with the only coach to lead the team to the playoffs.

    The team announced the decision one day after the Texans lost their 11th straight game, 27-20 at Jacksonville, a stunning fall for a team that expected to make a Super Bowl run. Houston (2-11) played miserably and was flagged 14 times for a franchise-record 177 yards.

    The 52-year-old Kubiak was hired in 2006 and led the team to back-to-back AFC South titles in 2011-2012, the highlights of his eight-year tenure.

    The Texans said they couldn't wait any longer to start turning things around.

    "What's taken place with this organization is unacceptable," general manager Rick Smith said. "We've got three weeks of an evaluation process left and we've got to right the ship."

    Kubiak's overall record is 61-64, with a 2-2 mark in the playoffs. Owner Bob McNair said the decision to let him go was a hard one.

    "It was difficult for me because I think so much of Gary," McNair said. "We're here to have a winning culture and this year has not contributed to that."

    The Texans said defensive coordinator Wade Phillips would serve as interim coach for the rest of the season.

  • Seahawks beat up Saints in battle of top NFC teams

    SEATTLE (AP) — Russell Wilson was so impressed with the way Seattle prepared for its showdown against New Orleans that he made a point of texting coach Pete Carroll about it.

    That's just how Wilson is wired and partly why the Seahawks were the first team in the NFL to clinch a playoff spot with their 34-7 manhandling of the Saints on Monday night.

    "That preparation was big," Wilson said. "I really think it showed up tonight."

    Seattle is the first team bound for the postseason. They need to go 2-2 in their final four games to wrap up home-field advantage and make the NFC playoffs go through Seattle.

    Wilson finished with 310 yards passing and attempted only three passes in the fourth quarter for 13 yards. His first three quarters were so good he could have become a spectator in the fourth. He threw touchdown passes of 2 yards to Zach Miller and 4 yards to Doug Baldwin in the first half as Seattle built a 27-7 lead. Wilson added a pinball 8-yard TD pass to Derrick Coleman in the third quarter.

    Wilson completed 22 of 30 passes and finished with a quarterback rating of 139.6. He is 14-0 at home and has 22 regular-season wins in his first two seasons, tied for the most ever by a second-year QB.

  • Doug Fister dealt to Nats, Jim Johnson to A's

    NEW YORK (AP) — On a night usually dominated by news of players let loose, the Washington Nationals and Oakland Athletics filled pitching needs with trades.

    Washington obtained right-hander Doug Fister from Detroit for infielder Steve Lombardozzi and left-handers Robbie Ray and Ian Krol on Monday. Oakland acquired closer Jim Johnson from Baltimore for infielder Jemile Weeks and a player to be named.

    Fister was 14-9 with a 3.67 ERA last season for the AL Central champions, who last month traded slugging first baseman Prince Fielder to Texas for second baseman Ian Kinsler.

    "It gives us some flexibility for some other things we want to do," Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said, insisting the trade wasn't made to free money for a long-term deal for AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, who can leave after next season.

    Fister joins a talented Nationals rotation that already includes Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez.

    Oakland, which also closed in on a $22 million, two-year contract with left-hander Scott Kazmir, is revamping after losing to the Tigers in the AL division series.

  • AP Poll: The Top 25 in College Football

    The Top 25 teams in The Associated Press college football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Nov. 30, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote, and previous ranking: