EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

July 23, 2013

Sports in a Minute

Dave Dyer
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Another title for Graff

Warren Graff, 67, of Merrimac recently won his fourth national championship in the men’s age 65-69 long hurdles (300 meters, 7 hurdles) at the USA Track & Field National Masters Championship meet in Kansas. He was timed in 54.93, nearly two seconds faster than the runner-up.

Graff has been competing in masters track for 17 years, and won the long hurdle championship event in 2002, 2005, 2011, and now 2013. He is a member of the Mass Velocity Track Club, a New England-based club primarily for masters sprinters, and trains on local high school tracks in warm weather, and indoor tracks at Boston-area colleges during cold weather.

Younger Rivers’ plight

It’s been an exciting summer for former Celtics coach Doc Rivers, but it hasn’t been as uplifting for his son Austin.

Austin struggled with New Orleans in his rookie season, averaging just 6.2 points and shooting only 37 percent from the floor and he wasn’t overly impressive playing in the recent summer league.

Moreover, New Orleans didn’t show much confidence in Rivers as they acquired Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday and already have Eric Gordon in what is a crowded backcourt.

Elllis leaving Lawrence

Anthony Ellis has stepped down as the Lawrence High cross country and track and field coach in order to start his own business.

“It’s a big loss ... he was great with the kids,” said Lawrence athletic director Tim Finn. “He’ll be a tough guy to replace.”

Finn hopes to name a new coach, at least for cross country, in the next couple of weeks.

Hillies try yoga

It may look a bit strange, but the word is that Haverhill High football players are taking yoga as part of their summer workouts and enjoying it immensely. An instructor has been helping the Hillies learn the proper techniques and improve their flexibility at volunteer player workouts.

All-star interest?

The lack of interest in the major league all-star game continues to be stunning. In 1980, 30 million people watched the game on television while only 10 million watched it last year.

Among the theories on the diminishing interest in the game, one is that interest in baseball in general is down while another is that inter-league play makes it less interesting. The biggest, however, is probably the rise of cable television.

Vets join camps

While many NFL preseason camps opened for rookies over the weekend, the reporting date for veterans for most teams isn’t until Thursday. Although a few teams, like the Patriots, hold preseason at their stadium facility, most hold workouts elsewhere, often at a college facility.

The team with the longest active training camp tenure at one site is the Green Bay Packers, who have been working out at Saint Norbert College for the last 56 years. The Vikings have gone to Minnesota State for 48 years, the same number of years the Steelers have gone to Saint Vincent College.

The first preseason game, incidentally, is the Hall of Fame Game in Canton Aug. 4 between Dallas and Miami.

NSBL winding down

With the playoffs rapidly approaching, the regular season in the semi-pro North Shore Baseball League is scheduled to end tomorrow. If the standings stay true, the North Shore Phillies will get the No. 1 seed with the Kingston Night Owls set at No. 2. The Night Owls have gotten great pitching all summer and should be a threat to win it all.