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The Beat

There were knockouts as far as the eye could see last Saturday at the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, but thankfully none were administered by Miss Washington. Allison Porter (right), 24, is also the reigning 2004 Tacoma Golden Gloves women's champion. The bantamweight (119 pounds) started boxing in 1998 at Harvard as a way to keep in shape for the next jayvee soccer season, and she's been fighting ever since. "The other girls think it's interesting, and a few of them have asked me to teach them a few jabs," says Porter, 24, whose pageant talent was the classical violin. "But the hotel we've been staying at doesn't have a punching bag in its gym. That's something I miss, to let out the stress of this week." Porter, who will attend med school at the University of Washington next year, didn't make it to the final 10 in the pageant.

After leading a heroic 16-10 overtime comeback last week against Florida State, Miami quarterback Brock Berlin embraced teammates, faced the media--and then called ex-Creed frontman Scott Stapp for a 15minute chat. Though Stapp, 31, is eight years older than Berlin, the two have been friends for years; Stapp's family went to the church in Shreveport, La., where Berlin's father was pastor, and Berlin idolized Stapp, who was a star quarterback in high school. Stapp got the call just after 2 a.m. as his tour bus was navigating traffic home from the Orange Bowl. (Stapp roamed the sidelines for the first half before heading upstairs.) "We talked about how he got to this point and how proud of him I am," says Stapp, who moved to the Miami area in 2003 to be closer to Berlin. "Our lives have taken pretty similar paths--both as quarterbacks of a sort. We've been sharing the same ups and downs for a while now, him with Miami and me with my career. This was one of the highs." After the call Stapp jetted to New York City to work on his forthcoming solo album. If he needs some backup vocals, he knows where to look. "Brock can sing, too," Stapp says. "He can do pretty much anything."

It hasn't been a great September for Tiger Woods. His father, Earl, 73, suffered a relapse of prostate cancer, he lost his No. 1 World Ranking to Vijay Singh, and he was part of the team that got spanked at the Ryder Cup (page 86). But he's not breaking up with his girlfriend. Several reports said that Woods and his fiancée, Elin Nordegren, had split, but Woods insists they're still together. "It's 100 percent false, actually," Woods said before the Ryder Cup. "Nothing's happened to us. We're still very happy."

Though New York City cabbies do a fair amount of paint swappin', the Empire State is not generally considered a NASCAR hotbed. Nonetheless, New York last week became the first state to offer a license plate honoring Dale Earnhardt. "I am proud that New York has taken the lead ... in creating a custom plate," said Governor George Pataki.... It only took 34 years, but last week Frank Layden finally reprised his role as the coach in Niagara University's production of That Championship Season. The 1984 NBA Coach of the Year reunited with the original cast, which first put on the play when Layden was a coach at the school. "Next: Phantom of the Opera," said Layden. "I love show business."


Reebok has developed a $65,000 Allen Iverson shoe that has 246 diamonds.

They Said It


Virginia safety, after returning a kickoff 100 yards against North Carolina: "That was just instinct. Kind of like running from the cops."






Johnny Damon has two questions for Drew Barrymore: What are you doing in centerfield, and what kind of conditioner do you use? The actress interrupted the proceedings at Fenway Park last Thursday to film a scene for Fever Pitch, the tale of a Red Sox fan who lets his baseball obsession destroy his relationship. Not that such a thing could ever happen in real life.