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This week in Toledo sports history: Jan. 1-7

  • Harness-racing-betters-watch-the-races-outside-of-Raceway-Park

    A dispute between Raceway Park and the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association canceled races in early 1998.

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    Michigan quarterback Brian Griese helped the Wolverines to a win in the 1998 Rose Bowl.

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This week in Blade sports 10, 20, and 30 years ago, both Michigan and Ohio State football aimed for national championships, the Toledo and Bowling Green men's basketball teams faced questions, and Raceway Park suffered a business setback. On the ice, the Storm impressed, and two high school girls sought respect from their peers.

■ Jan. 1, 1998: Raceway Park standoff disrupts schedule — A dispute between Raceway Park and the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association has grown into a full scale standoff, canceling races there tomorrow and possibly the rest of the weekend. At 12:01 a.m. today, the contract between the parties expired.

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Michigan quarterback Brian Griese helped the Wolverines to a win in the 1998 Rose Bowl.

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■ Jan. 2, 1998: Wolverines win Rose Bowl, maybe more — Michigan’s legacy of underachieving in the Rose Bowl is buried after reviving the legitimacy of Big Ten football. The top-ranked Wolverines’ power beat Washington State 21-16 to almost certainly give the school its first national championship in 49 years.

■ Jan. 3, 2008: Hockey duo seek respect — Save the special treatment, Ottawa Hills senior Lindsey Roshon just wants to make saves. Don’t pull up on a hit, Springfield sophomore Erin Miller would be offended. “It’s no different, we’re just playing hockey,” said Miller, who began playing against boys when she was 9.

■ Jan. 4, 1998: Storm brush off Blizzard — Behind an inspired offensive effort and the strong goaltending of Nick Vitucci, the Toledo Storm finally knocked off the Huntington Blizzard 7-1 before a crowd of 5,180 at the Sports Arena. The Storm (20-9-6) finished the first half of the season with a league-leading 46 points.

■ Jan. 5, 1988: Rockets wary of record — Some doubters say the Toledo men’s basketball team’s 8-1 record is formed of papier-mache. Fact: Only two of the Rockets’ eight wins are against teams with winning records. “Forget the preseason,” first-year coach Jay Eck said. “The conference is what counts. We’re still the team that was picked eighth.”

■ Jan. 6, 2008: Bowl enormity hits Sanzenbacher — Dane Sanzenbacher, a freshman wide receiver from Central Catholic, stepped onto the field at the Louisiana Superdome, and the magnitude of Ohio State playing Louisiana State in the BCS championship game hit him. He said it “got a lot more real when we just walked in here.”

■ Jan. 7, 1988: Ball State stuns Falcons — Ball State was an easy pick to finish last in the Mid-American Conference, yet Rick Majerus’ team beat Bowling Green 54-49. So is Ball State underrated? “If we play that way throughout the conference season,” Falcons coach Jim Larranaga said, “we won’t win a game.”

—Compiled by Tommy Gallagher

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