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Swimming: East Feature Athlete - Norwin's Kathryn Painter

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Name: Kathryn Painter
High School: Norwin
Grade: 12
Sport: Swimming

Norwin senior Kathryn Painter is one of many in the latest crop of WPIAL swimmers destined for the University of Kentucky. In the high school offseason, Painter verbally committed to swim for the Wildcats, joining other Kentucky bound swimmers from the WPIAL including Jarod Kehl (West Allegheny) and Kayla Churman (North Allegheny) who will also be headed there next fall where some WPIAL swimmers already are including Alyssa Ruffing (Franklin Regional).

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Swimming: Burrell senior punches ticket to WPIALs

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

There was already very little drama in whether or not Burrell senior Joshua Wertkin would qualify for WPIALs in his final high school season. He had already qualified for WPIALs as a junior. But whatever drama there was, ended in an early-season meet against Highlands when Wertkin swam a 2:18.34 in the 200 IM to make the cut (2:19.70) by over a second. The time was also good enough to win the event at the dual meet. He also achieved a WPIAL qualifying time in the 100 backstroke, this time just barely. The Burrell senior swam the 100 backstroke in 1:04.34, just making the WPIAL cut of 1:04.60. Once again the time was also good enough to win the event at the dual meet. Wertkin also swam legs on Burrell's 200 and 400 freestyle relay.

A year ago at WPIALs, Wertkin chose to compete in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke. His strongest showing was in the 100 backstroke where he finished 12th and earned the Buccaneers five points in the team standings. He was also a part of a fifth-place 200 medley relay. Wertkin is the lone returning swimmer at Burrell from that relay.

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Swimming: Gateway looks to replace four WPIAL qualifiers

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

The Gateway girls swimming and diving team must replace four WPIAL qualifiers from last season but the Gators also return four WPIAL qualifiers. The cupboards are hardly bare for first-year coaches Dawn Nicolazzo and Garrett Schmidt who take over for Jason Kunkle. The Gateway girls scored 18 points at WPIALs last season to finish 21st in the team standings.

The since-graduated Gators who qualified for WPIALs are Valeria Pascoe, Kylie Hagerich, swimmer/diver Alison Perry and Abbey Kimicata. Gateway finished 5-2 in Section 3-AAA last season.

Returning Gators, senior Sarah Sheldon qualified for WPIALs individually in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke, placing 31st and 23rd respectively. Senior Sydney Mandella qualified in the 100 butterfly, placing 36th. Sheldon and Mandella swam the third and fourth legs of the Gateway 200 freestyle relay at WPIALs that placed 12th and earned a majority of the team points, scoring ten with the finish. The team picked up six more points in the 400 freestyle relay that featured Mandella and current senior Samantha Mears.

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Swimming: Distance freestyler wins two individual events for Burrell

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Burrell sophomore Natalie Opalka was the premier distance freestyler in an early-season dual meet against Highlands. Opalka won the 200 and 500 freestyle events. She swam the 200 freestyle in 2:24.47, winning by over 14 seconds. She still has some work to do to qualify for WPIALs where the cutoff time is 2:10.50. She won the 500 freestyle with a time of 6:27.40. The next-fastest swimmer in the dual meet was 21 seconds behind her. To make the WPIALs as an individual qualifier for the first time, Opalka will have to reach 5:50.00 in the 500 freestyle.

At the Highlands meet, Opalka also anchored Burrell's second-place 200 freestyle relay and swam the second leg of their third-place 400 freestyle relay. The relays had respective times of 2:04.72 and 4:43.95.

 

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Hockey: Warriors’ losing streak hits eight

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Penn-Trafford is still finding tough sledding in Class AAA this season.

 

A PIHL semifinalist a season ago, the Warriors lost their eighth consecutive game Tuesdaywhen they get rolled up, 10-4, at defending Pennsylvania Cup champion Peters Township,

 

As has become a season-long problem, Penn-Trafford allowed a whopping 55 shots in 51 minutes and the Warriors (0-10-1) have surrendered 444 shots in 11 games, an average of 40.4 per game. The plethora of shots has contributed mightily to the team giving up a classification-high 64 goals, for a team goals-against average of 5.82.

 

Penn-Trafford will have its next opportunity to post its first win when it hosts North Allegheny.

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Hockey: Knights score first victory

Written by Keith Barnes on .

 

It only took 10 games, but on Monday Norwin became the last team in Class AA to post its first victory.

 

Michael Dandrea scored two goals and added a pair of helpers on Daniel Kiester’s two third-period tallies as the Knights came back from down 2-0 in the second period to take a 5-3 victory against Baldwin.

 

Kiester now has nine goals this season to lead the team, while Dandrea has a team-beat five assists.

 

Joseph Powell stopped 33 shots to pick up the win between the pipes for Norwin (1-9-0), which moved into a tie for last the fewest points in Class AA with Chartiers Valley with two.

 

Norwin will have an opportunity to jump out to a true winning streak tonight when it hosts Moon (7-3-0) at Center Ice.

 

 

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Hockey: East Feature Athlete – Plum’s David Stonebraker

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Name: David Stonebraker

School: Plum

Grade: 12

Sport: Hockey

 

Background: Has been the main scoring threat for Plum this season as he leads the team with 19 goals and 28 points in 10 games. His 19 goals place him in the top-5 in scoring in PIHL Class AA. Is a rare breed as one of the few players at this level who can say they played under their father.

Plum coach Dave Stonebraker: “At times it’s a difficult it’s a difficult situation because you have to be as fair as possible. Every year I’ve always gone to him and I’ve asked him if he was comfortable with me being a coach for him and that’s a conversation we’ve had for the last six or seven years and he has handled that well.”

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Craig Meyer's East High School Basketball Notebook (Dec. 18, 2014)

Written by Craig Meyer on .

Here's this week's edition of Craig Meyer's East High School Basketball Notebook.

"The original plan was to stop the game.

Greensburg Salem's Claire Oberdorf had just scored her 1,000th career point, a notable mark in what's become a decorated career.

It was a feat that was supposed to result in a timeout to honor the Golden Lions senior, but in the midst of a tight, back-and-forth game against Laurel Highlands, that special moment was briefly lost.

Though Oberdorf's decisive bucket wasn't met with an immediate ceremony -- they later ended up stopping play and announcing her milestone over the gym's loud speakers -- it doesn't diminish an accomplishment that's truly remarkable."

 

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Boys Basketball: Burrell shows improvement in coach's second season

Written by Drew Karpen on .

Drew Karpen profiles the Burrell boys basketball team.

"In his first season as Burrell's boys basketball coach last year, Shawn Bennis endured the rough times, going 6-16.

Now that he has entered his second season as the Buccaneers coach, things seem to be looking up.

The Bucs began the season 4-0, including winning the Kittanning tipoff tournament title, defeating Avonworth in the championship game.

"It is more about them buying in," Bennis said. "They are trusting what we are telling them. I tell them 'We is greater than me.'"

 

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Girls Basketball: East Allegheny making strides

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Nicholas Tolomeo profiles the East Allegheny girls basketball team.

"It took all of one section game for East Allegheny to make a statement that things would be different this season.

After enduring a 27-game section losing streak dating to Feb. 2, 2012, East Allegheny made itself right at home in its new section with a 58-38 win against Freeport in the Section 2-AA opener for both teams last Thursday.

Snapping the section losing streak was important as was starting off life in the new section at 1-0 but it was also significant in that it came against Freeport.

Fourth-year coach Mike Osiecki has been taking his teams to the Freeport tipoff tournament since 2011 when the teams were not section rivals. The score lines in Freeport's favor since 2011 against East Allegheny were 60-19, 67-16 and 63-34."

 

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Hockey: Plum battles injuries, opponents

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Keith Barnes profiles the Plum hockey team.

"Before the high school hockey season began, it appeared Plum might have the talent to compete for a playoff spot in the newly restructured PIHL Class AA.

After all, the Mustangs were coming off a solid 2013-14 season in which they qualified for the playoffs and nearly pulled off a first-round upset of Hampton before losing in overtime. They also had plenty of experienced players back to help them make another postseason run.

That might have been the case heading into the season and, in the end, it still might happen. In the interim, however, Plum has had one major problem through its first nine games.

It has yet to consistently field its best lineup."

 

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Wrestling: Penn Hills senior has a plan for success

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Ken Wunderley profiles Penn Hills wrestler Te'Shan Campbell. Read his story below.

2014 1218 PennHills Wrestling(Photo: Penn Hills senior Te'Shan Campbell wins, 9-4, against Belle Vernon's Austin Bell in the 170-pound final of the Eastern Area Invitational. Ken Wunderley/Tri-State Sports & News Service)

Penn Hills wrestler Te'Shan Campbell learned the hard way that their's more to weight training than lifting, running and drilling.

"I've learned that eating the right foods and hydrating correctly are just as important," said Campbell, a senior and three-year starter for the Indians. "I didn't realize that what I ate and drank could make such a difference."

Campbell finished sixth in the WPIAL Class AAA tournament at 160 pounds last year. He advanced to the semifinals before defaulting during overtime of a semifinal match against North Hills' Jonathan Avon.

"I drank a red Powerade before the bout and it upset my stomach," said Campbell, who suffered significant stomach discomfort during the overtime and defaulted after running out of injury time.

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Alumni Update - Matt Palo (Pitt-Johnstown)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

First-year program Carlow University gave the Mountain Cats an early test, but Pitt-Johnstown pulled away and built a 23-pointPalo PJU second half lead on its way to an 84-67 non-conference victory over the Celtics, Saturday afternoon in the Sports Center.  

Matt Palo, a Norwin graduate, scored 13 points to help the Mountain Cats improve to 5-3.

 

(photo courtesy of Pitt-Johnstown University)

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Alumni Update - Nicole Hyland (Geneva)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

Beaver Falls, PA – Geneva women’s basketball coach Lori Wynn stressed defense in talks with her team since allowing 84 pointsHyland Geneva in Saturday’s loss.


The talks obviously worked as the Golden Tornadoes allowed just four points in the first half and rolled to a 57-31 win over Notre Dame (MD).


Sophomore Nicole Hyland, a Penn-Trafford graduate, coming off a career high of 23 points, had 21 points and 15 rebounds.

 

(photo courtesy of Geneva College)

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Alumni Update - Jessica Mrdjenovich (Allegheny)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

MEADVILLE, Pa. – A gritty second half performance by the Gators continued the best winning streak in eight years, as AlleghenyMrdjenovich AC finished 2014 undefeated in North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) play after a 56-45 triumph over Kenyon on Wednesday evening at the David V. Wise Center.


Junior Jessica Mrdjenovich, an Oakland Catholic graduate, led the Gators with 16 points, finishing the evening shooting 4-of-9 from outside the arc while tacking on a team-high four steals.
 

 


(photo courtesy of Allegheny College)

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Boys Basketball: East Feature Athlete - Jeannette's Julian Batts

Written by Justin Criado on .

Name: Julian Batts
School: Jeannette
Grade: 12
Sport: Boys basketball
Position: Point guard

Background: Batts had 16 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists and 9 steals in the Jayhawks' lone win of the season against Blackhawk, 51-44. The win wasn't only Jeannette's (1-3) first win of the season, but it was also coach Adrian Batts' 100th career victory. Adrian is Julian's father.

Coach Adrian Batts said: "Everyone tries to stop him, but he's ready."

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Boys Basketball: Greensburg C.C. reloads

Written by Justin Criado on .

Greensburg Central Catholic (3-0, 1-0) finished last year as the WPIAL Class AA runner-up, but only return one starter from that team in senior forward Romano Sebastiani.

This year senior captains, guard Cole Reese and forward Collin Liberatore, and juniors Tyler White and Domenic Rullo have filled in for the four starters that were lost to graduation a year ago.

The results have been the same thus far as the Centurions won the season-opening Hempfield Tournament before defeating Wilkinsburg, 75-45, in the Section 2-AA opener.

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Boys Basketball: Jeannette coach wins 100th; Jayhawks look to contend

Written by Justin Criado on .

Dropping from Class AA to Class A, Jeannette (1-3) has stumbled out of the gate, but the Jayhawks' lone victory was coach Adrian Batts' 100th as coach.

Jeannette defeated Blackhawk, 51-44, in the Peters Township Tournament.

Batts' son, Julian, had 16 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists and 9 steals in the game.

Two of the Jayhawks three losses came to Class AAAA teams Peters Township and Norwin.

Jeannette plays Class AAA Elizabeth Forward Wednesday before opening Section 4 play Friday against Winchester Thurston.

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Photo Journal: Girls Basketball - Oakland Catholic Tournament, Oakland Catholic vs. North Catholic

Written by Cara DeCarlo on .

Enjoy some photos of the 2014-15 Oakland Catholic girls' basketball team. These photos were taken alongside video clips; you can view the video clips by clicking here.) All photos and video clips in this post were taken on December 8, 2014 as the Eagles lost to Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic 58-41 at Oakland's own tipoff tournament.

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