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Football: Central Catholic "Team of the Decade" in PA

Written by Brad Everett on .

Central Catholic has been the most dominant team in Pennsylvania over the past 10 seasons.

Well, that's the case according to one national website.

MaxPreps published an article Friday listing the state's 20 most dominant football programs in the 10 years the website has compiled computer rankings. Each team was assigned a point total based on where it finished in the Top 25 after each season. The rankings gave 25 points for teams finishing first, all the way down to one point for teams finishing 25th. Teams were awarded 25 points for winning a state title and 15 for being the runner-up.

Only two teams eclipsed 200 points, and each hailed from the WPIAL. Central Catholic topped the list with 218 points, while Clairton placed second with 207.

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Boys Volleyball: 2014 East Season Recap

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Norwin and Derry faced a similar fate in the WPIAL Boys Volleyball Tournament. Both lost in their title match.

Norwin couldn't have asked for a better start in the WPIAL Class AAA title match against seven-time defending champion North Allegheny, at Baldwin High School.

Unfortunately, the Knights great start didn't result in a victory.

Norwin shocked North Allegheny by jumping out to a 10-3 lead and matched the seven-point advantage four more times in the first set, including a 16-9 lead late in the game. But the Tigers didn't panic. With Brendan Brown and Mitch Higgins leading the way, the Tigers rallied to pull out a 25-23 victory.

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Boys Volleyball: 2014 East Photo Recap

Written by Sports Town on .

The following photos feature boys volleyball teams from the area's East zone. These ran in the Post-Gazette during the 2014 season.

2014 0410 Latrobe BVolleyball(Photo: Latrobe's Zane Harshell, a 5-foot-10 senior libero, serves up a shot during the Derry Area tournament. J.J. LaBella/Tri-State Sports & News Service)

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Boys Lacrosse: 2014 East Season Recap

Written by Joe Koch on .

Franklin Regional has emotional season

Some might say that not qualifying for the postseason means failure for a boys high school lacrosse team. Don't say that to Dave Alexander or his Franklin Regional High boys lacrosse team.

After the school was rocked by a multiple-stabbing tragedy in early April, the Panthers played on and just missed qualifying for the WPIAL Division 1 tournament, finishing with an overall record of 8-6 and a Division 1, Section 2 record of 4-3. What likely hurt the Panthers' postseason hopes was an Opening Day 8-7 loss to Fox Chapel. The two teams finished with identical section records, but the Foxes earned the playoff berth with the one-goal victory over the Panthers.

The Panthers played hard, though, and they earned regular-season victories over playoff teams Peters Township, 10-6, WPIAL runner-up Mt. Lebanon, 7-5 and North Allegheny, 8-7.

Alexander said a trip to Ohio in the days following the tragedy which saw one of the junior varsity lacrosse team members stabbed did his team a lot of good.

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Girls Lacrosse: 2014 East Season Recap

Written by Joe Koch on .

Latrobe, Ellis and Hempfield earned playoff berths

Both Latrobe and The Ellis School qualified for the quarterfinals of the WPIAL Division 2 Girls Lacrosse Championships, but that's where their respective playoff journeys ended.

Ellis reached the quarterfinals after edging Butler 11-7 in a play-in game on May 13 that was played at Cupples Stadium. But the journey ended for the 12-3 Tigers with an 11-7 loss to eventual WPIAL runner-up Chartiers Valley in the quarterfinals.

Latrobe had a fine season, winning Division 2, Section 1 with an 11-1 mark and an overall record of 14-3. But the Wildcats were upset 11-10 in the first round by Mars, which went on to fall to eventual champion Shaler in the semifinals.

Hempfield, which was 10-2 in Division 2, Section 1, also saw its season come to an end in the quarterfinals with a 15-7 loss to Blackhawk.

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Boys Lacrosse: 2014 East Photo Recap

Written by Sports Town on .

The following photos feature boys lacrosse teams from the area's East zone. These ran in the Post-Gazette during the 2014 season.

2014 0327 FranklinRegional BLacrosse(Photo: Franklin Regional's Connor Cummins moves the ball against Hampton's Jon Nigro during a game last season. Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)

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Football: Woodland Hills star first class of 2016 player to commit to Penn State

Written by Brad Everett on .

Brad Everett profiles Woodland Hills football standout Miles Sanders.

"Woodland Hills standout Miles Sanders is starting a job this week making pizzas for a national chain.

Saturday, Sanders served Penn State a big slice of the pie for the school's 2016 recruiting class.

Sanders, who is rated as one of the top junior running backs in the country by several recruiting websites, verbally committed to Penn State while visiting the school this past weekend. Sanders became the first recruit from the class to commit to Penn State and first-year coach James Franklin.

"I was thinking about [committing] the past month," said Sanders, who lives in Forest Hills. "I went on a couple of other visits. I didn't see anything on those visits. I know Penn State is the place for me.""

 

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Wrestling: Moving up, down still weighing on Kiski's Worthing

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Ken Wunderley profiles Kiski Area wrestler Tyler Worthing. Read his story below.

That was the scenario that Tyler Worthing faced at the end of his sophomore year at Kiski Area High School.

Worthing competed in the 195-pound weight class most of the season and was considered one of the top four wrestlers in WPIAL Class AAA. The problem is that only three of the four could qualify for the PIAA tournament.

Moving down to the 182-pound weight class was not an option for any of the four. However, moving up to the 220-pound weight class was an option. In fact, all four considered the move, since the 220-pound weight class had no clear-cut favorite.

After talking over the situation with his family and coaches, Worthing decided to move up to 220, despite the fact that he would be facing opponents who weighed 25 pounds more than he did.

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Football: Franklin Regional grad named Preseason All-ACC

Written by Brad Everett on .

No Pitt player was named to the Preseason All-ACC team, but a former WPIAL player was.

Syracuse senior offensive tackle Sean Hickey, a Franklin Regional graduate, was selected to the team announced this morning. Hickey was the only Syracuse player picked.

Hickey (6-foot-5, 300 pounds) is arguably Syracuse's best player. He has said that he seriously considered declaring for the 2014 NFL Draft, but eventually elected not to. He could be a first- or  second-round pick next year.

A starter since his sophomore season, Hickey is the anchor of the Syracuse offensive line. He has made 26 consecutive starts and earned All-ACC Honorable Mention honors last season.

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Boys Tennis: 2014 East Season Recap

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

The East had the top three singles players in the WPIAL Class AAA this spring.

Central Catholic senior Adam Blasinsky won his second consecutive WPIAL singles title in 2014. He also finished second in the state for the second consecutive season.

Another Vikings senior, Michael Santa-Lucia, won the section title over Blasinsky and finished third in WPIAL. The duo helped Central Catholic finish second behind state champion Shady Side Academy in Class AAA Section 3 and advanced to the WPIAL quarterfinals.

Latrobe junior Chad Kissell beat Santa-Lucia in the WPIAL semifinals before losing to Blasinsky. Kissell, who watched two of his sisters, Joella and Michaela, win state titles earlier this millennium, took fourth at the PIAA singles tournament.

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Boys Tennis: 2014 East Photo Recap

Written by Sports Town on .

The following photos feature boys tennis players from the area's East zone. These ran in the Post-Gazette during the 2014 season.
2014 0417 Latrobe BTennis

(Photo: Latrobe's Chad Kissell returns a shot against Central Catholic's Adam Blasinsky in the WPIAL Class AAA singles championship. Blasinsky defeated Kissell, 6-2, 7-5. Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)

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Boys Basketball: Hempfield, Marino part ways

Written by Brad Everett on .

Mark Marino is out as boys basketball coach at Hempfield.

Marino told the Post-Gazette Tuesday that he had resigned after one season.

"I am resigning to pursue other opportunities," Marino said via text. "I felt that it isn't a good fit for me. I think it's best for both parties to go their separate ways."

The news undoubtedly comes as a surprise to some. Not only was Marino at Hempfield for only one season, but that season was a very successful one. Hempfield won the Class AAAA Section 1 title and finished 21-3 after reaching the WPIAL quarterfinals.

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Boys Track & Field: 2014 East Season Recap

Written by Brittany Goncar on .

Here are some of the highlights from East performers during the 2014 track season.

*Gateway tied with State College for fourth place at the PIAA Class AAA championships. Montae Nicholson grabbed gold in the 110-meter hurdles and fourth in the long jump. The 400-meter relay team of Nicholson, Kevin Jeter, Jae'Len Means and Cameron Gray earned their second consecutive PIAA title. The relay also placed first at the WPIAL individual championships. Individually, Gray (second), Means (third) and Aaron McCoullum (eighth) all placed in the top 10 in the 100-meter dash. Means went on to finish second in the 200 behind Jeter. Nicholson took second in the 110-meter hurdles.

*Hempfield represented the WPIAL by taking third at the PIAA Class AAA championships. Max Adams was the stand out athlete. He took first in the shot put and discus. De'Lorian Day (triple jump) and Bobby Monteparte (pole vault) had top 10 finishes.

*Isaiah Brooks was a star performer for Woodland Hills this year. He finished first in the triple jump and second in the 200-meter dash and the long jump at the WPIALs. He went on to place second in the long jump at PIAA championships.

*Central Catholic had three first place finishes at the WPIAL individual championships including: Ronald George (200), David Henderson (400) and Jeff Van Kooten (1,600). Van Kooten went on to place third (1,600) at PIAA championships.

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Girls Track & Field: 2014 East Season Recap

Written by Brittany Goncar on .

Here are some of the highlights from East performers during the 2014 track season.

*Hempfield girls had another standout season. They won their second consecutive Class AAA PIAA team title and their third consecutive WPIAL team title. The 400-meter relay team of Maddie and Gabby Holmberg, Bridget Guy and Jasmine Jones won the PIAA title. Individually, Maddie Holmberg grabbed gold in both the 300-meter hurdles and the long jump. Guy was the only girl to clear 12-6 on the pole vault for gold at the PIAA meet. She also earned second in the 200-meter run. Jones grabbed third in the 200. Stephanie Laudien landed a third place in the triple jump and Morgan DeFloria took third in the javelin at PIAAs.

*Oakland Catholic's Taylor McCorkle dominated sprints in the postseason. She took gold in the 100 and 200 at the WPIAL Class AAA championships. She advanced to the PIAA championships and finished sixth in both the 100 and 200. Olivia Rowe finished sixth at WPIALs in the 100-meter hurdles.

*Greensburg Salem shone on the field. Courtney McQuaide took first pole vault at WPIALs and tied for fifth at PIAAs. Julia Howard took second in the triple jump and seventh in the long jump at WPIALs.

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Boys Track & Field: 2014 East Photo Recap

Written by Sports Town on .

The following photos feature boys track and field athletes from the area's East zone. These ran in the Post-Gazette during the 2014 season.

2014 0410 Gateway Track(Photo: Gateway's Montae Nicholson is an excellent hurdler as well as a dynamic long jumper for the Gators. John Heller/Post-Gazette)

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Girls Track & Field: 2014 East Photo Recap

Written by Sports Town on .

The following photos feature girls track and field athletes from the area's East zone. These ran in the Post-Gazette during the 2014 season.

2014 0403 Hempfield GTrack(Photo: Hempfield Area's Maddie Holmberg won the WPIAL Class AAA 100-meter hurdles championship last year as a sophomore, defeating Mt. Lebanon's Beatrice Goodyear, left, by 0.2 seconds. Pam Panchak/Post-Gazette)

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Softball: 2014 East Season Recap

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Under first-year head coach Alexa Bryson, Latrobe looked like the powerhouse it was late in the last decade when Bryson was a pitcher. The Wildcats (17-6, 9-3) shared the Section 1-AAAA title with Penn-Trafford (15-5, 9-3) and Norwin (12-4) but it was Latrobe who was the last team standing from the section. Latrobe knocked off Woodland Hills and Seneca Valley to qualify for the WPIAL semifinals. After losing to defending WPIAL champions Canon-McMillan, Latrobe defeated section rival Penn-Trafford in a third-place consolation game to advance to the PIAA playoffs where it defeated recently-crowned WPIAL champions Shaler Area to become the last WPIAL Class AAAA team standing in the state playoffs. The Wildcats' state playoff run would end in the PIAA quarterfinals.

"I felt like it was a successful year," Bryson said. "Obviously, we wish we could have continued, but I told the girls they have a lot to be proud of. I think every year we tell them there is a good reputation for Latrobe softball.

"We have built this program and every year we make it to the playoffs and do these things. It helps continue the tradition."

Another one of the most balanced sections in the WPIAL was Section 2-AAAA where Plum (16-4, 11-1) and McKeesport (13-6, 11-1) shared the section title. The big news for Plum was a first-round playoff win against Baldwin, the first in program history.

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Softball: 2014 East Photo Recap

Written by Sports Town on .

The following photos feature softball teams from the area's East zone. These ran in the Post-Gazette during the 2014 season.

2014 0417 Gateway Softball(Photo: Senior left-hander Kim Mignogna provides a veteran presence in the field for Gateway. Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)

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Baseball: 2014 East Season Recap

Written by Brad Everett on .

The biggest story in the East area during the 2014 season didn't have to do with a team, but rather an individual player. Norwin senior shortstop J.J. Matijevic had a season for the ages. Matijevic became possibly the first player ever to win the WPIAL triple crown. An Arizona recruit, Matijevic hit .607 with 10 home runs and 37 RBIs. At one point during the season, Matijevic had hits in 10 consecutive at-bats. His home run total was the best in school history.

The three playoff qualifiers from Class AAAA Section 2 – Hempfield, Norwin and Penn-Trafford – were outstanding during the regular season, combining to go 45-13. However, that success did not extend to the postseason. Each team lost in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs. Hempfield was the No. 1 seed, but was knocked off by No. 16 Seneca Valley. The Raiders went on to win the WPIAL title.