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Wright returns, to WMTX-AM

Todd Wright, a former WFNS-AM 910 host, will return to the local airwaves with an afternoon show on WMTX-AM 1040 next month.

"It was always our plan to add local programming, and we plan on adding more," WMTX vice president/general manager Kevin Malone said.

"We wanted to lock Todd up first and build other things. Not only was Todd the best available, but I think he's the best in Tampa. We feel it's a real coup for us."

Malone said Wright, along with producer Darek Sharp, will debut March 10. Since going off the air because of a format change at WFNS, Wright has worked extensively for ESPN Radio on its weekend programs and has been a guest host on The Fabulous Sports Babe.

"With the ESPN thing going great, I wanted to something with the time I have while at home," Wright said. "This gives me the chance to have some fun, get back on the air with Darek and communicate with people here. We're going to give them what we did before and have a good time."

TENNIS: Chris Evert, Tracy Austin and Martina Navratilova headline the field for the Virginia Slims Legends Tour, which opens its season March 8-9 at Saddlebrook Resort. Billie Jean King, Pam Shriver, Zina Garrison Jackson, Virginia Wade, Wendy Turnbull and Rosie Casals also are in the field. Tickets ($33 each day or $60 for a weekend pass) can be purchased by calling 538-2221. Jonathan Stark upset third-seeded Paul Haarhuis at the Advanta Championships in Philadelphia. Patrick Rafter beat Justin Gimelstob, and Sandon Stolle defeated Vincent Spadea. Andrei Chesnokov had screws implanted in his right leg, which he broke during a first-round match. He also dislocated his ankle. He is expected to recover after rehabilitation. Defending champion Goran Ivanisevic captured two tiebreakers to defeat Cedric Pioline and reach the quarterfinals of the Italian Indoors at Milan. Ivanisevic, the top seed, served 22 aces in winning 7-6 (11-9), 7-6 (7-2). Joining him in the quarterfinals of the $815,000 event at Assago Forum were Sergi Bruguera and Daniel Vacek. Top-ranked Pete Sampras of Tampa breezed past Marcelo Filippini 6-4, 6-1 at the Advanta Championships in Philadelphia after rediscovering his big serve. Dade City's Jim Courier, the second seed and defending champion, defeated Guillaume Raoux. WINTER SPORTS: Norway won the Nordic Combined team event at Trondheim for its third gold medal in the World Nordic Ski Championships. The United States was fifth, 2:47.7 behind, but that was its best result in any event in the 10-day meet. Lyubov Egorova, a six-time Olympic champion from Russia, failed a drug test at Trondheim and likely will be banned from cross-country skiing for two years. Elena Valbe of Russia will be awarded the gold medal from the Lillehammer 5K, with silver going to Stefania Belmondo of Italy and bronze to Olga Danilova of Russia. Reto Goetschi steered Switzerland I to victory in the season's final World Cup four-man bobsled race in Nagano, Japan, beating United States I, piloted by Brian Shimer, by 0.41 seconds. Marcel Rohner, another Swiss, won the overall championship.

SOCCER: Forward Mark Manganello scored four goals and defender Carlos Zavala added three as the NPSL Tampa Bay Terror defeated the Columbus Invaders 22-17. Zavala scored the first goal just 52 seconds into the game off an assist by Mariano Bollella, who finished with five. The U.S. team won't be on live television when it begins final-round play this weekend to qualify for the World Cup. The only way U.S. fans can see the games is in Spanish on the Univision network. Bristol, Conn.-based ESPN, which televised some U.S. qualifiers last year, said it couldn't reach agreement with the Jamaica Football Federation to broadcast Sunday's game. Frank Leboeuf beat Kasey Keller on a disputed penalty kick with three minutes left in overtime to give Chelsea a 1-0 victory over Leicester in London and a spot in the FA Cup quarterfinals. Keller leaves England today to join the U.S. team for Sunday's World Cup qualifier. In the other fifth-round match, Derby defeated Coventry 3-2 on a goal in the 88th minute. In Tel Aviv, European champion Germany beat Israel 1-0 in an exhibition that was more significant for its political overtones. Some spectators heckled during the German anthem, and others stood while chomping on watermelon seeds. Patrice Loko scored in the 84th minute to give the Netherlands a 2-1 exhibition win over France.

HORSES: Skip Away, last year's 3-year-old champion, was made the 6-5 favorite for Saturday's $500,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap. One-time Kentucky Derby hopeful Boston Harbor had successful surgery on his broken left front leg and is expected to recover in about four months.

ET CETERA: Tampa's Jim Johnson Jr. extended his lead _ his first of the year _ to 98 pins over Pete Weber in the PBA Oregon Open. Heavyweight Antuan Shacell of St. Petersburg knocked out Clint Douglas of Valdosta, Ga., 36 seconds into their bout Tuesday night at the Charlotte County Memorial Auditorium in Punta Gorda. Shacell trains at the St. Petersburg Boxing Club. The WNBA, the NBA-sponsored women's league, will hold an elite draft today with the spotlight on old-timers Nancy Lieberman-Cline and Lynette Woodard. The Utah Starzz will get the first pick in the two-round draft, followed by the Cleveland Rockers, Charlotte Sting, New York Liberty, Houston Comets, Sacramento Monarchs, Phoenix Mercury and Los Angeles Sparks. David Carter, an English golfer scheduled to play in the Dubai Desert Classic, was found unconscious in his hotel room and required emergency brain surgery. Former major-league outfielder Cal Abrams died of heart failure in Fort Lauderdale. Abrams, who would have turned 73 Sunday, batted .269 with 32 home runs and 138 RBI with five major-league teams from 1949 to '56.

_ ERNEST HOOPER, DARRELL FRY, ANTHONY PEREZ, TIMES WIRES

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