Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Canon-Mac baseball enjoying first place

Raise your hand if you predicted the Canon-McMillan baseball team would be in first place eight games into the Section 5-AAAA season.

Both of mine are still on the keyboard.

Yet here we are, the Big Macs have wins over Upper St. Clair and Brashear, as well as a 7-6 decision over Peters Township back on April 18. That ignited a five-game winning streak that continued Tuesday with a 7-6, walk-off win over Mt. Lebanon, one made possible with Zack Pollack's sacrifice fly with the bases loaded to score Jared Beach.

"We've been finding a way to get it done," head coach Frank Zebrasky told me Monday.

Here's what he means:

>>Starting catcher Ryan Gillaspie was lost with a torn labrum prior to the season. What happens? Buzz Boggio -- great baseball name, by the way -- steps in behind the plate and had thrown out 15 of 18 runners prior to the Mt. Lebanon game.

"The last few years we've had a tough time throwing people out," Zebrasky said. "That helps the pitching staff out a lot to be able to do that."

>>Kevin Forrester has been a workhorse as a pitcher -- he worked four against the Blue Devils, though Luke Blanock got the win -- center fielder Brandon Kildare is hitting close to .500, and Beach has solidified right field.

>>Frank Fortunato had hits in 15 of his past 22 at-bats and eight of his past 11.

The Big Macs did strand 16 runners during a 4-2 win over Trinity on April 22, so there's one thing to work on. "It's hard to leave 16 when the max you can leave is 21," Zebrasky said. But, hey, pretty impressive for Canon-Mac.

Big week, too: C-M is at Bethel Park Wednesday and home against Peters Township Friday. Both games start at 4 p.m.

Monday, April 29, 2013

More on Mid-Mon track and field meet

With a pair of defending championship Christina Wills (100/200/400) and Jessie Martin (pole vault) out with injuries, and with Kirsten McMichael hobbled with a sore calf, the Scott Frederick Mid-Mon Track Classic didn't appear to be a meet the Ringgold girls track and field team would dominate.

Yet it was.

The Rams scored 157 points to edge Elizabeth Forward (142) and Belle Vernon (100).

As I wrote for Tuesday's edition, McMichael surprised pretty much everyone in winning two individual events and running on the first-place 4x800 relay team, all three setting meet records, the relay setting a new school mark. She also placed second in the 800.

Bailey Cooper was first in the 100 hurdles in 16.15 seconds, and Geralyn Carruso won the pole vault with a mark of 8-0. Janika Hutton placed second behind McMichael in the 1,600 and ran on the 3,200 relay team. Jamie Klebanski, another member of the 4x800 team, was two spots behind her.

"It was a good day," Ringgold coach Jennifer Lejeune-McMichael said.

Here are the results I've been able to obtain thus far (read: still some missing):

Scott Frederick Mid-Mon Track Classic
Ringgold High School
Girls results
3,200 relay: Ringgold 10:15.17
100 hurdles: Cooper, Ringgold 16.15
100 dash: Backwell, Elizabeth Forward, 13.54
1,600 run: McMichael, Ringgold 5:38.52
400 dash: Moore, Bentworth 1:03.42
400 relay: Elizabeth Forward, 52.41
300 hurdles: Pell, Elizabeth Forward, 48.91
800 run: DiPerna, Belle Vernon, 2:33.47
200 dash: Backwell, Elizabeth Forward, 27.19
1,600 relay: Bentworth
Shot put: Clancy, California 35-5
Discus: Merz, Elizabeth Forward
Javelin: Slagus, Belle Vernon, 123-11
High jump: Seto, Brownsville, 4-8
Long jump: Seto, Brownsville, 15-4
Triple jump: Seto, Brownsville, 33-1
Pole vault: Carusso, Ringgold, 8-0
Team standings: 1. Ringgold 157, 2. Elizabeth Forward 142, 3. Belle Vernon 100, 4. Brownsville 55, 5. Bentworth 39, 6. California 34, 7. Beth-Center 22, 8. Monessen 2, 9. Charleroi 0

Boys results
3,200 relay: Bentworth, 8:33.10
110 hurdles: Anna, Belle Vernon 17.10
100 dash: Anderson, California 11.62
1,600 run: Godzin, Belle Vernon 4:49.94
400 dash: McCloskey, Belle Vernon, 52.05
400 relay: Monessen, 44.74
300 hurdles: Sittion, Monessen 42.42
800 run: McCloskey, Belle Vernon, 2:03.67
200 dash: Anderson, California 23.54
3,200 run: Smith, Ringgold 10:48.19
1,600 relay: Monessen, 3:37.31
Shot put: Janicki, Elizabeth Forward 42-8
Discus: Malachosky, Ringgold 128-1
Javelin: Janicki, Elizabeth Forward 154-11
High jump: Hays, Bentworth 5-6
Long jump: Summers, Ringgold 19-5
Triple jump: Summers, Ringgold 40-4
Pole vault: Billy Balsley, Ringgold 12-6
Team standings: 1. Belle Vernon 148, 2. Ringgold 137, 3. Monessen 69, 4. Bentworth 54, 5. Elizabeth Forward 46, 6. California 37, 7. Charleroi 25, 8. Brownsville 14, 9. Beth-Center 14

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Two Trinity baseball/softball players commit

Two Trinity athletes -- Don McWreath and Brianna Thomas -- committed to colleges for baseball and softball this week.

McWreath, a pitcher and shortstop, committed to Seton Hill, while Thomas, a catcher and first baseman, will play for Ohio Valley University. Both are NCAA Division II schools.

Through nine games this season, Thomas had six RBI and a home run, helping the Hillers to a perfect Section 2-AAA record.

McWreath increased his batting average from .261 in 2012 to .375 this season. On the mound, he's 1-2 with 17 strikeouts, seven walks and a 3.73 earned-run average for a team that's 3-3 in Section 3-AAA, 6-6 overall.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Hoops for a Cure details

The 18th Annual Hoops for a Cure basketball tripleheader will be Saturday at Chartiers Valley High School. And although the event features plenty of Upper St. Clair, Bethel Park and Chartiers Valley, there will be some Washington County representatives, too.

In the girls game, which starts at 4:30 p.m., Caitlin McLuckie of South Fayette and California's Courtnee McMasters will play for the WPIAL Class A-AA team.

Then in the boys game -- WPIAL all-stars vs. Class AAAA all-stars, starting at approximately 6 p.m. -- Evan Bonnaure of South Fayette will join Washington's Josh Wise on the WPIAL team. Trinity's Christian Koroly will play for the Class AAAA team.

The final game of the evening pits the Chartiers Valley and South Fayette faculty teams against each other. Tipoff for that game is at 7:30 p.m.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Nathan S. Arenson Fund for Pancreatic Cancer Research established at the University of Pittsburgh. The first 17 events have accounted for a large portion of the $1.2 million raised for the Foundation.

Tickets are on sale for $5 adults, $3 for kids over age 3. Kids under 3 are admitted free. A raffle will be held as part of the evening, with the grand prize being two tickets for the quarterfinals of this year's U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York City.

There will also be numerous autographed jerseys, as well as a one-of-a-kind football helmet, featuring the logos of Chartiers Valley and South Fayette and a Pancreatic Cancer Awareness ribbon.

Here's a link to the web site.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spossey fitting in with Char-Houston

Remember all that fuss over whether Toni Spossey will be eligible after transferring from Trinity to Chartiers-Houston?

I know I do.

And it seems like forever ago.

Especially after Spossey -- who started at catcher and went 3 for 4 with a double and three RBI during the Chartiers-Houston softball team's 10-0 victory at McGuffey in six innings Thursday afternoon -- appears to be doing pretty well with her new team.

"I coached Toni last year," McGuffey coach Bill Loar said. "I knew when Toni was eligible, she was going to be a big asset to them."

I hate covering eligibility hearings. Perhaps more than root canals, dieting or cooking. Nobody wins, first of all. And I spend my day getting no-commented by everyone, when I could be … you know, actually writing something.

I'm not going to weigh in on Spossey's case, other than to say it looks like she has, judging by results, made a pretty smooth transition.

I asked Bucs coach Tricia Alderson -- the softball of all softball questions, I know -- what she thought about having Spossey in the lineup.

"She's obviously a great player," Alderson said. "She gives us a lot of options offensively and defensively because she's very versatile. We're obviously happy to have her and happy that she's able to make some contributions."

Must be weird for Spossey.

Not only does she have to get acclimated to one of the WPIAL's best teams, but she has to learn how to catch Kayla Briggs, who's not exactly hurting when it comes to velocity.

"In the beginning it was (tough)," Spossey said. "But now I'm used to it."

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Today the day for Canon-Mac?

Personally, I have my doubts. But nevertheless, there's a meeting at 3 p.m. today, open to the public, where the hiring of a new football coach is at least on the agenda.

I'll be heading down there and tweeting/blogging any updates. If not, well, we've seen this movie before.

Remember, this all started when a group of parents/boosters "gauged interest" in the job, Tim Sohyda resigned, and five months of waiting ensued.

Different peaks and valleys marked the search -- at one point nine candidates were to be interviewed, whittled to three, also heard the starting point set at 11. Then there were three supposed candidates, which were suspected to be Montour offensive coordinator Damon Rosol; former Moon head coach and Canon-Mac assistant Jon Miller; and former West Middlesex head coach Jason McElhaney.

At one point, I was told independently by several folks that former NFL player Leo Wisniewski was close to accepting the job, though talks broke down at the last minute. I was also told recently that Canon-Mac had someone in place ... until the deal fell through again over the weekend.

One of the biggest roadblocks? No teaching job associated with the position.

Again, much of this is speculation. If there's one thing we know, it's that nobody is in a hurry to talk about this, at least not from the Canon-Mac side of things -- which, I can understand.

We'll see if today is the day we finally hear something.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Photos and links from Saturday

Here are some leftover photos from Katie Roupe that did not make the print edition. Thought you all might like 'em.

Fort Cherry's Jenna Lucas threw 143-2 to win the girls javelin yesterday (she was seventh in the shot put) at the Washington-Greene County Coaches Track and Field Championships. Lucas, as Joe Tuscano found out, had a pretty interesting mentor.

Wash High's boys team mugging for the camera. The Prexies finished with 192 points to win the overall team title.

Peters Township's girls won the team title, led by the 4x400 relay. Pictured here is Mallory Finch in the final leg of the 4x400-meter relay, which Peters Township won with a time of 4:20.97.

Results: Washington-Greene County Coaches Track and Field Meet

Girls javelin
1. Jenna Lucas, Fort Cherry 143-2; 2. Richelle Tharp, Waynesburg 119-8; 3. Yaszmin Kotar, Canon-McMillan 113-8; 4. Deja Wormsley, Chartiers-Houston 102-0; 5. Rachel Czulewicz, McGuffey 100-3; 6. Patience Frazier, Washington; 99-9; 7. Lena Bioni, McGuffey 99-4; 8. Rachel Wattick, Canon-McMillan 95-9

Boys javelin
1. Alec Rideout, Canon-McMillan 158-6; 2. Jonah Conroy, Peters Township 148-4; 3. Zak Dysert, Fort Cherry 147-0; 4. Kevin Crawford, Peters Township 142-3; 5. James Taylor, Peters Township 140-7; 6. Riley O'Connor, Fort Cherry 140-0; 7. David Sacco, Bentworth 129-4; 8. Justin Iskey, Fort Cherry 121-0

Boys 4x800 relay
1. Washington 8:33.02; 2. Canon-McMillan 8:35.01; 3. Bentworth 8:52.01; 4. Trinity 8:58.01; 5. Ringgold 8:59.00; 6. Burgettstown 9:04.05; 7. McGuffey 9:13.09; 8. Chartiers-Houston 9:17.17

Boys triple jump
1. Mijerean Witcher, Washington 41-7; 2. Christian Nossokof, Peters Township 41-5 1/2; 3. James Rivera, Trinity 39-6 1/2; 4. Justin Iskey 39-0; 5. Grant Foster, Chartiers-Houston 38-8; 6. Joe Buchanon, McGuffey 38-6; 7. Shayne Murphy, Chartiers-Houston 38-5; 8. Seth Anderson, Canon-McMillan 38-4 1/2

Girls triple jump
1. Lexi Vidonish, Canon-McMillan 32-7 1/2; 2. Kelsey Zaremba, McGuffey 31-8; 3. Skylar Braga, Waynesburg 30-11 3/4; 4. Brittany Hutchinson, Waynesburg 30-6 3/4; 5. Koryn Jozwiakowski, Fort Cherry 30-2 1/4; 6. Melanie Magiske, Peters Township 30-2; 7. Emma Lucas, Ringgold 29-5 1/2; 8. Lauren Cargill, Canon-McMillan 29-4 1/2

Friday, April 19, 2013

Preview: Washington-Greene County Coaches Track and Field Meet

When I interviewed at the Observer-Reporter, nobody warned me about the Washington-Greene County Coaches Track and Field Meet.

About spending 10 hours covering event, another few writing about it, probably all of them in the rain or cold or both. But I'm excited. It's going to be fun. The wife, Mrs. Varsity Letters, may even make an appearance, Chipotle (hopefully) in hand.

Friday's print edition includes a feature on Wash High's Shai McKenzie and a killer photo from Wash High student Andrew Gregg, but I'd like to use this space here to offer a few more storylines to watch.

Can Alyssa Wise duplicate last season's dominance?

Washington sophomore Alyssa Wise won four events at Canon-McMillan's Memorial Stadium last year: the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes, as well as running on the victorious 4x100 relay team. Heard a rumor that she even won the 50/50 -- kidding, of course. Those times: 12.52, 26.53, 1:00.43 and 52.24, respectively.

I talked to Wise tonight and asked whether she thought she could repeat such an awesome performance.

"That's the goal," Wise said. "I hope so."

We'll see. Know this: Her 100 times have been in the 11.8/11.9 range, 11.8 yesterday during a dual meet loss to Waynesburg. If we get a good day Saturday, look out.

"I had a great day yesterday," Wise said. "Hopefully I can run like that (Saturday)."

Balzer looking for better starts

Another returning winner on the girls side is Chartiers-Houston senior Amanda Balzer, an Allegheny College recruit. Balzer snagged gold in the 100 and 300 hurdles here last year with times of 16.45 and 50.00.

Count Balzer among the group excited to get things going tomorrow.

"Especially the fact that I have to defend my titles, it's making it a little more important," Balzer said.

Balzer said her primary focus so far this season has been her starts, apparently always a bit of an Achilles heel.

"Starts have always been an issue with me," Balzer said. "I've never had a strong start. Winning that first hurdle is definitely something that I've been focusing on."

Other  returning winners:

Girls 3,200: Kirsten McMichael, So., Ringgold, 12:01.58
Girls 4x100: Washington (India March, Aliyah Moye, Kiera Goolsby, Alyssa Wise, Brooke Prigg, Tiarra Campbell) 52.24
Girls 4x400: Kaitlyn Janusey, Kristen Czajowski, Cassy Seccunda, Mallory Finch, Marisa McKnight) 4:21.93
Girls 4x800: Peters Township, 10:21.02
Girls discus: Rachel Bellhy, Jr., Fort Cherry, 142-02
Girls shot-put: Kathleen Davey, So., Canon-McMillan, 34-02
Co-ed 800 relay: Washington (DeQuay Isbell, Aliyah Moye, Tiarra Campbell, Mijerean Witcher, Quorteze Levy), 1:50.58

Can Canon-Mac repeat on boys side?

Canon-McMillan won the Class AAA boys title (and overall) with 180 points. Wash High was the best in Class AA and second to the Big Macs with 172. Peters Township trailed both, and C-M in Class AAA, with 93.

Peters Township won the Class AAA girls title with 136.5, edging C-M by 12 points. Fort Cherry was the best in Class AA at 100.

But the Canon-Mac boys lost Shawn Johnson, who won the high, long and triple jumps, as well as Kenyadda Brown, who was victorious in the 100 and 200. The Big Macs do return Alec Rideout (won discus at 143-11; shot put in 48-04; and was second in the javelin at 147-02). Mark Tilley won the 1,600 last year as a junior in 4:41.02.

Other returning winners include Burgettstown Marco Bennett (1,600, 10:34.39), as well the following relay teams:

Boys 4x100: Washington (Shai McKenzie, Chivar Brown, Darius Spinks, Matt Brower, Dustin Fuller and Mijerean Witcher) 43.70
Boys 4x400: Canon-McMillan (Justin Gibson, Michael Burchesky, Ryan Davey, Brandon Mayberry, Caden Meier) 3:34.20
Boys 4x800: Canon-McMillan 8:30.10

Two weekend hoops events

Busy high school sports weekend.

Besides the Washington-Greene County Coaches Track Meet at Peters Township Saturday, there will be two basketball events.

South Fayette and Chartiers-Houston will serve as host sites for the Under Armour Hoop Group Jam Fest, which you can read more about here.

It's the 17th year for the event. Games will run tonight through Sunday at the following sites: Ambridge, Avonworth, Sewickley Academy, North Hills, Ross Elementary (across from North Hills), Northgate, Langley, Perry, Brashear, Obama Academy, Char-Houston, South Fayette, Westinghouse and the Jewish Community Center Downtown.

I tried to find out whether we had any local players/teams, but tournament director Max Saidman said that information could not be e-mailed, that I would have to drive to North Hills to pick it up. Not able to do that tonight, sorry.

Also this weekend (Saturday, to be more specific) is the Roundball Classic at Geneva College, and we have several players participating.

California's Courtnee McMasters, Monessen's Mariah Ward, Carmichaels' Morgan Berardi, Bentworth's Taylor Pompei and Avella's Olivia English will play for the West All-Stars in the 2 p.m. East-West game.

Ringgold's Josie Schmidt will play for the Class AAA All-Starts against those from Class AAAA in the 4 p.m. game.

At 6 o'clock, Washington's Josh Wise, Bentworth's Cody Levine, and California's Tanner Huffman and Brian Fisher will play for the Class AA All-Stars against the Class A/City League/District 10 All-Stars.

South Fayette's Evan Bonnaure will play for the Class AAA All-Stars against Peters Township's Gabe Pritz and the rest of the Class AAAA All-Stars at 8.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Reflections on today

Monday's softball game between Burgettstown and Sto-Rox isn't one that I'm going to forget any time soon.

For several reasons.

First and foremost, because of the Boston Marathon tragedy. Obviously that takes precedence to anything said here -- as I write this, I can't wait to get home to my wife and two dogs, hug them and tell all three that I love them -- and thoughts are prayers are with the victims and their families. So, so sad.

But softball was played today -- thankfully, if you ask me.

On my way to the game today, completely unaware of any Boston events, I was diverted from Route 50 because of a downed power line and what looked to be a whole heap of chaos up ahead. Maybe an accident, maybe construction. Couldn't really see, though the telephone pole portended the former.

I thought this was going to be the worst part of my day, the fact that I had to drive an extra 20 minutes and was nearly late to Burgettstown. Really stupid looking back on it.

Then, to the game, and Sto-Rox began to make this thing look like a laugher, scoring seven times in the second inning to take an 8-2 lead. Most teams would crumble. The Blue Devils did not.

Out of nowhere, they climbed back and tied it, with Brenna Butts eventually driving in the go-ahead run. Burgettstown would not trail again.

"It felt good," Butts said of her single.

No kidding. As I wrote for Tuesday's paper, Butts was benched Monday for the first time all season. The cause? "Mental mistakes that I kept making," Butts told me. "Little ground balls, overthrows. But I need to relax."

Good luck with that. Burgettstown celebrated like it was the program's biggest win in years -- which, come to think of it, it probably was.

And at the center of it was a kid who pinch hit in the middle of the game, then stuck around long enough to drive in a run that she won't soon forget.

"Brenna is a really good kid, but she has kind of struggled at times this year," Burgettstown coach Mark Deer said of his senior second baseman. "We didn't start her today, but we put her in as a sub. She did a tremendous job. She battled in there and got a very big hit for us."

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Some extras from Canon-Mac softball's 7-0 win

In Friday's Observer-Reporter, you will read plenty about the hot-hitting Canon-McMillan lineup, specifically catcher/right fielder Abby McCartney and third baseman Olivia Lorusso.

McCartney and Lorusso hit back-to-back home runs in the third inning of a 7-0 win for the Big Macs, turning a close game into a rout with two swings of the bat.

This was my first time watching Canon-Mac softball, and I couldn't have been more impressed with these two; smooth, powerful swings for the both of them. Yes, a very good team as a whole. Alayna Astuto threw a gem. Tara Fowler had three hits. But McCartney hit a ball as hard as anyone I've seen lately.

"Abby McCartney was a freak of nature," Canon-McMillan coach Michele Moeller said. "She’s the first freshman I’ve had who has come out and led the team in batting. She told me that last year and said, ‘I want to be the leading hitter.’ And I thought, ‘That’s nice. I want you to do it.’ But that does take some maturity, too."

McCartney led Canon-McMillan in batting (.507), slugging (.934) and doubles (12) last spring. She also earned all-state honors as a right fielder, but recently switched to catcher because of a shoulder injury to Giorgiana Zeremenko.

Here's an interesting tidbit I picked up: Though Zeremenko is injured, she's still calling pitches for Astuto.

Kudos to Moeller for allowing this. In my opinion, far too often you see coaches afraid to entrust players with calling pitches. I know I always lobbied to have that freedom when I played, and I think today's catchers should get the same right.

Not all coaches agree with that, and I understand the reasons. I just don't agree. Here's what Moeller had to say on letting Zeremenko call her own game, even if it's from the bench:

"(Zeremenko) is a smart ballplayer," Moeller said. "It's their game. We don't get to go out there and play. I want them to take ownership of it.

"Plus, her being able to do that gives her some incentive; she's still in there fighting with them every game, too."

Teachers, Steelers to hoop at McGuffey April 17

While one more Steeler (Emmanuel Sanders) may be heading out of town, a group of them will coming to McGuffey for a charity basketball game next Wednesday, April 17.

That's also when faculty from Trinity and McGuffey will play each other at 6:30 p.m.

Think about that: Your high school teachers playing hoops against one another. I'm cracking up with the thought of that ... and not about my relatively young teachers who were still athletic.

The game, like many around the area, will be followed by the main event: the Steelers against McGuffey's basketball seniors at 8 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door for $7.


Trinity Faculty

Coach Joe Dunn
Ryan Hagerman
Nick West
Jimmy Tucker
Brandon Swarrow
Amanda Burchett
Haden Watson
Heather Watson
Mark Powell
Michelle Bockstoce
Steve Polansky

McGuffey Faculty

Coach Tim Kamnikar and Tim Hamberger
Luke Baker
Justin Crothers
Ed Dalton
Mike Fatigante
Jed Hamberger
Heath Shriver
Mary Schardt
Mike Calvert
Morgan Gaetano
Kate Morgan
Jordan Baker

McGuffey Players

Sarah Kleinhans
Kelsey Zaremba
Sam Chadwick
Cassie Weiss
Abby Pattison
Caleb Reihner
Taylor Pasquariello
Jesse McKee
Brennan Crimm

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Near-hire for Canon-Mac football

Canon-McMillan's search for a head football coach nearly had an abrupt, strange ending today ... until a deal to bring in Leo Wisniewski fell through, according to one of my most reliable sources.

Wisniewski played college football at Penn State (102 tackles, 11 sacks from 1978-81) and in the NFL with the Baltimore Colts and the Chicago Bears.

Interesting, anyway, considering athletic director Guy Montecalvo's well-known Penn State ties.

Leo Wisniewski is the brother of Steve Wisniewski, who was a two-time All-American at Penn State and an eight-time Pro Bowler with the Oakland Raiders. Leo's son, Stefen, is currently the starting left guard for the Raiders.

I believe Wisniewski was an assistant with Central Catholic, though not this past season.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Lynch powers past Patel in Section 1-AA

Eighty Four's Matt Lynch made it a two-for-two day for area tennis players with his 6-2, 7-6 (2) win over Bargo Patel of Greensburg Central Catholic in the WPIAL Section 1-AA singles tournament finals yesterday at Mt. Pleasant High School.

His win comes after Peters Township's Mitch Kreider topped teammate Brendan Dollard 6-2, 6-2.

"A win is a win," Lynch said by phone Tuesday evening. "The second set got a little close there at the end. He was really consistent. I think I got caught up in his game a little bit. No player wants to admit that -- and it was only in my mind -- but I don't think I was playing as hard as I was in the first set."

The win pushes Lynch through to the WPIAL Class AA singles tournament, which starts Monday, site still to be determined. The draw for the event -- both Class AA and Class AAA -- will be released Thursday.

It's also Lynch's second consecutive section title.

"It feels good. I don't know," said Lynch, when asked to pick which one meant more. "I would have to say this one. Trying to repeat something, this time as the No. 1 seed, I would say this means more."

Lynch said that his movement -- getting to balls -- was better than he expected during the two-day event. Ditto for his forehand and serve.

Patel's play in the second set, however, rattled Lynch ... before he stormed out to a 6-0 lead in the tiebreaker to seal it.

"He started getting more balls back, and it threw me off a little bit," Lynch said. "I was in control the whole match up until that point. I don't know f the momentum changed or what. He came out 2-0, and I had to regroup a bit."

Monday, April 8, 2013

Q&A with Chartiers-Houston's Garrett Vulcano

Here's the transcript of my chat with Charters-Houston linebacker/wrestler Garrett Vulcano, who recently chose to play football at West Liberty University over pursuing a college wrestling career.

JM: What attracted you there?
GV: I like the coaches a lot. Stuff like that.

JM: Was it tough to choose football over wrestling?
GV: I was picking football going into wrestling. Maybe that's why I did so well this year; I was more laid back in wrestling.

JM: A productive season on the mat couldn't sway you?
GV: I'm not looking to do anything like the Olympics. I'm just trying to have fun. Play a sport I like.

JM: Do you see a chance to play right away at West Liberty?
GV: I have to get bigger. I wanted to redshirt. That would be nice. Get a little of that freshman 13 on me.

JM: Will you be redshirted?
GV: I don't know yet.

JM: Where do they project you playing?
GV: I might play linebacker. I might play safety. I don't know.

JM: Do you have a preference?
GV: I prefer linebacker. That would be better.

JM: What did you like football-wise?
GV: They're coached well, I think. Always hustling to the ball. Just the small things, I guess.

JM: Who else was recruiting you for football?
GV: Alderson-Broaddus offered me a little bit. Bethany a little bit, too. A lot of wrestling schools called me, but I had to say no. I don't know what they offered because I wasn't really interested.

A few notebook extras

Tuesday's notebook focuses on the Canon-McMillan hockey team and its recent hiring of Terry Virtue, a career minor leaguer and someone who played 888 games in the American Hockey League.

Because our space for Tuesday is kind of tight, I thought I would throw a few extras on here.

>>I asked Virtue, who as 12th all-time in penalty minutes, which of his traits as a player he hopes to see trickle down to his players.

"We're going to be a high-pressure team; we're going to pressure the puck," Virtue said. "We want to use a lot of speed and be physical."

>>Virtue is not taking over a team that's in serious need of a makeover. Yes, forward Blair Oldaker, forward/defenseman Anthony Tonkovich, forward Carmen Dalesandro and goalie Ryan Christian are gone, three of the top four scorers and the starter between the pipes.

But forwards Austin Tonkovich (No. 3 in scoring with 34 points during the regular season), Luc Tilley, James Oddi, Zach Mansmann, Colman Slain and defenseman Garrett Woznichak are all back.

Canon-McMillan finished 12-7-4 this season and reached the PIHL Penguins Cup Class AAA playoffs before falling to eventual champion North Allegheny, 2-1, in overtime in the quarterfinals.

The Big Macs scored 111 goals during the regular season, third-most in the classification, and gave up 55 to rank fourth in total goals against.

"From what I have been told, this team has quite a bit of talent," Virtue said. "I think that is a huge thing for me. We should win a lot of games."

>>Virtue will be working with all teams in the association and their coaches to bring a shared vision to the overall program, Canon-McMillan Hockey Associated president Bruce Ferguson said. Over the summer, he will coach the varsity team in the Mt. Lebanon Summer League and run a camp at the Southpointe Iceoplex.

Canon-McMillan to start over in search for football coach

The Canon-McMillan football program is looking for a head coach following the resignation of Tim Sohyda.

What, heard that one already?

Based on conversations I've had with a few reliable sources the past couple days -- none, it should be noted, who work at the school; those folks have been about as tight-lipped as possible on this one -- it appears as though Canon-McMillan will start over with the search for a football coach.

The reason, at least as far as I've heard: There's no teaching job associated with the position.

Haven't checked on this yet, but I'd be willing to bet that makes Canon-McMillan one of the few Class AAAA programs to (try to) fill a coaching vacancy without ensuring that guy is in the building 24/7.

My own two cents: Just a tough, tough path to go down with the amount of work that needs done to turn this program around, something Sohyda was on his way to doing before this all happened. Gotta have someone around to drum up interest, organize things, get this back on track, etc.

OK, so how'd we even get here again? Let's backtrack a little.

In late November, Tim Sohyda resigns when the story breaks that a parent/booster-led search committee "gauged interest" in Sohyda's job ... while he still had it. This, understandably, did not make Sohyda very happy, and he quit.

“Perseverance is about stopping when the job is done, not when you’re discouraged or when things get tough,” Sohyda told me at the time. “This totally goes against everything I believe in, but from my perspective, when people that you trust basically destroy your credibility with your team, how do you get the kids to trust you? How do they respect you when that happens?

“The rock’s big enough without people pushing back from the other side. Especially people you trust, people you thought understood and wanted to help you.”

In January, attention turned toward Seton-La Salle coach Greg Perry, whose job was opened; along with Niel Loebig and Andrew DiDonato. Well, Perry, as I would learn, never applied, and Loebig was hired at Chartiers Valley. Never heard much more about DiDonato. Perry was eventually retained at Seton-La Salle.

Things go quiet. I'm told this won't be happening very soon. Eventually rumors surface that nine candidates will interviewed.

In late March, the candidate list is reportedly whittled to three: Jon Miller, former C-M assistant, Moon head coach and an assistant in Florida; Damon Rosol, the offensive coordinator at Montour; and Jason McElhaney, who coached at West Middlesex as recently as this season but stepped down in early January. (McElhaney's wife teaches in the South Hills, so the job makes geographical sense, anyway.) One rumor was former Trinity QB Mike Wall, but, as I found out, that's all it was, a rumor.

As always, stay tuned on this one.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

First look at BeeGraphix rosters

We weren't able to fit this in Thursday's paper, but I thought I would post it here. We do hope to get these in Friday's edition. Just a ton of agate for baseball, softball and track.

This is for the BeeGraphix All-Star Football Game, which will be played June 15 at Southmoreland High School.

Should note, too, that these are far from final. More will be added and subtracted before we're all done. Here's my story from today.

Tri-County Coaches Association
All-Star Game 2013
South Squad:

Albert Gallatin: Tucker Tolbert
Belle Vernon: Collin Woss, Seth Manack
Beth-Center: Cody Durant, Zach Miller, C.J. Novak
Brownsville: Brandon DeCarlo, Nick Landman
California, Pat Shor
Carmichaels: Colton Henry, Michael Mitchell, Luke Moskal, Josh Mundell
Charleroi: Jim Diaz
Laurel Highlands: Xavier Daniels, George Teslovich, Joe Pegg
Mapletown: Jordan Griffin, Taylor Kennison
Monessen: Keith Davis, R.J. Small, Pete Tarka
Ringgold: Austin Young, Jeremy Saternos, Matt Devenney
Trinity: Connor Durko, Jacob Pato, Xavier Saverns, Evan McWreath

Uniontown: Jon Hager, Jacqui Taylor
Waynesburg: Ian Patterson

North Squad:

Bentworth: Tanner Severns, Dylan Morell
Bethel Park: John Mascaro, Mike Brucker, Evan Yarger
Canon-McMillan: Alex Campbell, Angelo Broglia, Torre Carr
Chartiers-Houston: Garrett Vulcano, David Kincaid, Conner Craig, Jevone Hairston
Fort Cherry: Tyreke Brown, Blake Green
Frazier: Jaime Fell, Justin Kulwicki
McGuffey: Brent Blacharczyk, Caleb Reihner, Zach Vinski, Jake Seabright
South Park: Dave Martin
Southmoreland: Dakota Datz, Jake McNeice, Tyler Ramsey
Washington: Rhamir Thomas, Rikwon Moore, Darius Spinks, Mijerean Witcher, Daron Whitaker

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

All-State teams released for girls basketball

The Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State Girls Basketball Teams were released today, and we had three kids make it: Sammie Weiss from McGuffey and Monessen's Mariah Ward were second team picks, while Carmichaels' Morgan Berardi made the third team.

We will have a story in the paper tomorrow, but here's a look at the full teams.

First team

Lauren Crisler, North Penn, 6-2, Sr., 15.3 ppg
Sarah Curran, Archbishop Carroll, 6-0, Sr., 15.1 ppg
Kaitlyn Eisenhard, Boyertown, 6-1, Sr., 15.7 ppg
Jackie Falconer, Cumberland Valley, 6-1, Sr., 15.7 ppg
Shanice Johnson, Cardinal O'Hara, 6-1, Sr., 11.9 ppg
Erin Mathias, Fox Chapel, 6-3, Jr., 17.1 ppg
Sammy Stipa, Spring-Ford, 5-5, Jr., 11.0 ppg
Isis Thorpe, Reading, 5-8, Sr., 19.4 ppg

Second team

Victoria Blackburn, Hershey, 5-7, Sr., 15.4 ppg
CaLee Gelbaugh, Central Dauphin East, 5-8, Jr., 18.8 ppg
Emily Gingrich, Gov. Mifflin, 5-8, Sr., 16.7 ppg
Alexis Hofstaedter, Council Rock South, 5-8, Sr., 15.0 ppg
Alex Louin, Mount St. Joseph, 5-11, Jr., 15.8 ppg
Megan Marecic, Bethel Park, 5-11, Jr., 15.8 ppg

Third team

Mia Farmer, Cardinal O'Hara, 5-9, Jr., 11.5 ppg
Morgan Griffith, Hollidaysburg, 6-0, Sr., 14.9 ppg
Alayah Hall, Dover, 5-7, Jr., 15.5 ppg
Darby Lee, Altoona, 6-0, Jr., 18.8 ppg
Avery Marz, Wilson, 5-7, Jr., 10.7 ppg
Shelby Mueller, Spring-Ford, 5-10, Jr., 10.7 ppg
Sarah Payonk, Spring-Ford, 5-11, Sr., 10.3 ppg

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Sarah Curran, Archbishop Carroll
COACH OF THE YEAR: Jeff Rinehimer, Spring-Ford

First team

Shelby Lindsay, South Park, 5-11, Sr., 17.8 ppg
Megan McGurk, Notre Dame de Namur, 5-7, Sr., 19.0 ppg
Chassidy Omogrosso, Blackhawk, 5-5, So., 22.4 ppg
Porscha Speller, Lancaster Catholic, 5-8, Sr., 18.6 ppg
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, Hopewell, 5-11, Sr., 28.3 ppg
Kalista Walters, Bethlehem Catholic, 6-0, So., 19.4 ppg

Second team
Gia DeAngelo, Sun Valley, 5-8, Sr., 21.5 ppg
Mia Hopkins, Pittston Area, 6-0, Sr., 18.0 ppg
Karlee McBride, Erie Villa Maria, 5-10, Sr., 13.9 ppg
Lisa Mirarchi, Malvern Villa Maria, 5-8, Sr., 15.0 ppg
Alyssa Monaghan, Bonner-Prendergast, 5-5, So., 18.3 ppg
Angelina Starr, Franklin, 5-9, Jr., 16.9 ppg

Third team
Camden Boehner, Gettysburg, 5-7, Jr., 20.8 ppg
Tricia Byrne, Scranton Prep, 5-6, Jr., 15.6 ppg
Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Notre Dame de Namur, 5-8, Sr., 17.4 ppg
Casey Gallaher, Forest Hills, 5-3, Sr., 18.9 ppg
Ciera Nimmons, Prep Charter, 5-8, Jr., 14.2 ppg
Carly Richardson, Palmyra, 5-11, Jr., 15.4 ppg
Rebecca Rutkowski, Crestwood, 6-1, Jr., 16.6 ppg
Jessica Slagus, Belle Vernon, 6-0, Sr., 19.8 ppg
Sara Tarbert, Kennard-Dale, 5-11, Sr., 24.2 ppg

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, Hopewell
COACH OF THE YEAR: Reggie Wells, South Park

First team

Becky Evans, Pine Grove, 5-4, Jr., 19.0 ppg
Naje Gibson, Seton-LaSalle, 6-0, Jr., 13.5 ppg
Ciara Gregory, Jeannette, 5-7, Sr., G, 30.4 ppg
Morgan Klunk, York Catholic, 5-11, Sr., 17.1 ppg
Megan Quinn, Episcopal, 6-2, Sr., 18.5 ppg
Erin Waskowiak, Bishop Canevin, 5-11, Sr., 15.6 ppg

Second team

Alex Artise, North East, 5-9, sr., 16.0 ppg
Carly Forse, Bishop Canevin, 5-10, Sr., 13.8 ppg
Kiernan McCloskey, Germantown Academy, 6-1, Sr., 15.1 ppg
Reighly Melochick, Minersville, 5-9, Jr., 19.7 ppg
Sammie Weiss, McGuffey, 5-10, So., 26.6 ppg

Third team

Brooke Hinderliter, Redbank Valley, 5-6, Fr., 20.4 ppg
Lori Horton, Williamson, 6-5, Jr., 16.6 ppg
Mackenzie Livingston, Blairsville, 5-7, Sr., 19.9 ppg
Stacey MacArthur, Delco Christian, 5-5, Sr., 12.5 ppg
Emily Merryman, Cranberry, 5-5, Jr., 22.3 ppg
Christina Perles, Mount Carmel, 5-10, Sr., 17.4 ppg
McKenzie Popatak, Sharpsville, 5-9, Sr., 21.8 ppg

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Megan Quinn, Episcopal
COACH OF THE YEAR: Tim Joyce, Bishop Canevin

First team

Halee Adams, Bishop Guilfoyle, 5-8, Sr., 16.1 ppg
Tara Nahodil, Tri-Valley, 6-4, Sr., 18.5 ppg
Alex Ricketts, Kennedy Catholic, 5-11, Sr., 17.5 ppg
Malia Tate-DeFreitas, Steelton-Highspire, 5-8, Sr., 34.8 ppg
Juli Weber, Tri-Valley, 5-7, Sr., 14.8 ppg
Brenna Wise, Vincentian, 6-1, So., F, 22.3 ppg

Second team

Macey Hollenshead, Southern Fulton, 5-7, Jr., 17.2 ppg
Justine Seely, Benton, 6-2, Sr., 27.9 ppg
Kayla Stockenus, Shanksville-Stonycreek, 5-6, Sr., 31.0 ppg
Meghan Trenholm, St. John Neuman,, Jr., 18.9 ppg
Mariah Ward, Monessen, 5-7., Sr., 18.4 ppg
Lauren Wolosik, North Catholic, 5-10, Sr., 26.0 ppg

Third team
Tamesha "Sox" Alexander, Shipley, 5-6, Jr., 13.5 ppg
Kayla Bates, Bishop Guilfoyle, 5-8, Sr., 10.2 ppg
Morgan Berardi, Carmichaels, 5-6, Sr., 17.3 ppg
Maria Morgan, Bucktail, 5-6, So., 28.3 ppg
Lauren Carey, Old Forge, 5-7, Jr., 13.8 ppg

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Malia Tate-DeFreitas, Steelton-Highspire
COACH OF THE YEAR: Bob Felty, Tri-Valley