North Archives


Football: Blue Chip Chat with Butler's Jake Kradel

Written by Mike White on .

Mike White has today's Blue Chip Chat with Butler's Jake Kradel.





Year: Senior

Height: 6-4

Weight: 280


Has blossomed the past two years into a standout on both the offensive and defensive lines. His future might be on offense, but he was a first-team all-conference defensive tackle last season. And get this, he's also Butler's punter. Kradel also is an avid hunter who likes to ride ATVs and jet skis.


One of few Division I players to come out of Butler in past two decades. Kradel already has made a verbal commitment to Pitt, where he is projected to play offensive line. He only had a few scholarship offers by February, but then the avalanche of offers came. His other finalists were Ohio State, West Virginia, Maryland, Rutgers, Virginia Tech and UCLA."



Softball: Former Shaler coach Skip Palmer dies

Written by Sarah Spencer on .

Sarah Spencer reports that former Shaler softball coach Skip Palmer passed away over the weekend.

"Former Shaler softball coach Skip Palmer died Saturday, succumbing to injuries from an earlier fall, according to Shaler athletic director Clint Rauscher. He was 66.

"It was one of those really crazy, fluke-y things," Rauscher said.

Palmer had coached the softball team for 12 years, leading Shaler to a WPIAL Class 4A title in 2014, and retired at the end of last season in May. He taught math at the school for 34 years.

Rauscher said Palmer was important to Shaler and his death had hit the community hard, particularly since it came as a surprise."


Football: Blue Chip Chat with Pine-Richland's Phil Jurkovec

Written by Mike White on .

Mike White has today's Blue Chip Chat with Pine-Richland's Phil Jurkovec.


School: Pine-Richland

Year: Senior

Weight: 215

Pos: QB

Ranked the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback in the country by Started since sophomore year but missed half of last season with a thumb injury. Still threw for 1,673 yards and ran for 481. Has added 25 pounds since last season and reportedly has looked excellent in preseason practices. Has 4,233 career passing yards and 1,732 rushing. Also talented basketball player who has 1,270 career points and two WPIAL titles."



Baseball: North Allegheny's Wood picks Seton Hill

Written by Brad Everett on .

A handful of WPIAL baseball players have made verbal commitments to Seton Hill the last couple of weeks.

Count North Allegheny's Caiden Wood among them.

Wood, a senior shortstop, announced on Twitter on Wednesday that he plans to play at Seton Hill after finishing high school. Wood also pays for the Pittsburgh Spikes travel ball team.

"I'm very excited to announce that I have committed to Seton Hill University to further my academic baseball career." -- @CaidenWood08


Football: Artie Burns' brother, Thomas, will play at Pine-Richland

Written by Mike White on .

Mike White reports that Thomas Burns, the younger brother of Steelers cornerback Artie Burns, will play football and run track at Pine-Richland.

"The younger brother of Steeler defensive back Artie Burns will be playing football for Pine-Richland High School this season. But while it remains to be seen how much of an impact Thomas Burns will have in WPIAL football, he could have a gigantic impact in track next spring.

Thomas Burns is a senior who played football and ran track at Northwestern High in Miami, Fla., through his junior year. But he is now living with Artie in a home in the Pine-Richland district. Thomas was at Pine-Richland's practice today and coach Eric Kasperowicz said that Thomas was enrolling at Pine-Richland.

"He showed up today, but didn't practice," said Kasperowicz. "I literally shook his hand, said hello and he was going through the enrollment process.

"You know how you hear rumors. But apparently he's been living here for a few months and I guess he was deciding between Central Catholic and Pine-Richland. He decided to come here.""



Football: Quaker Valley coach resigns

Written by Mike White on .

Mike White reports that Quaker Valley football coach John Tortorea has resigned.

"The official start of high school football practice in Pennsylvania was a week away — and Quaker Valley suddenly was without its coach.

John Tortorea resigned Friday as the Quakers' coach after six seasons. Quaker Valley has made the WPIAL playoffs only five times since the school started playing in 1956, and one of the playoff appearances was under Tortorea in 2013. The Quakers also had a winning record the past four seasons. Tortorea's decision to step away is certainly surprising, considering the start of the season is close.

Tortorea, 42, praised the Quaker Valley district and administrators, but claimed parents were the reason for his resignation.

"I love the school and Mike Mastroianni is the best person and athletic director anyone could work for. They have the best administration," said Tortorea. "It's a phenomenal place, but there were too many philosophical differences between how I wanted to run the program and how some parents feel things need to be run."



Girls Basketball: North Allegheny's Fischer picks a college

Written by Brad Everett on .

Madelyn Fischer will be a starter for a North Allegheny team that will likely be considered the best in the WPIAL entering the 2017-18 season.

A few weeks before her senior year begins, Fischer has decided where she will attend college.

Fischer, a 5-foot-11 guard-forward, verbally committed to Seton Hill this past weekend. The Griffins compete in the PSAC and went 16-13 last season.

Seton Hill will get a player who has won a lot in high school. She's been a key player for North Allegheny the last two seasons. The Tigers amassed a 53-7 record during that span. They finished as the WPIAL runner-up and reached the PIAA semifinals in 2016, and won the WPIAL title and advanced to the PIAA championship in 2017.


Girls Basketball: Hampton's Edwards commits to Loyola

Written by Brad Everett on .

Just a few weeks ago, a Hampton senior guard made her college decision.

Wednesday, another did the same.

Laryn Edwards is Division I-bound. Edwards committed to Loyola, Md. Edwards, who plays AAU ball with the Western Pa. Bruins, joins Ali Collins (Seton Hill) as Hampton players to commit to colleges this summer.

Edwards took to Twitter to announce her intentions.


Boys Basketball: Highlands sophomore named MVP of PBC Summer League

Written by Brad Everett on .

Highlands captured the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Summer League title last month.

The play of Luke Cochran was a big reason why.

Cochran, a rising sophomore, was named MVP of the event held at Montour High School. Highlands won the championship in the league's largest division, 6A-4A.

A 6-foot guard, Cochran averaged 18 points per game while helping Highlands notch playoff wins against Seneca Valley, Seton-LaSalle, Ambridge and Allderdice. Highlands defeated Allderdice, 37-33, in the championship game to claim its first title.


Football: Vincentian drops its football program

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Keith Barnes reports that Vincentian has dropped its football program.

"Vincentian Academy has put its football program on hiatus after five years of competing in the WPIAL.

On Monday, the school informed members of the Three Rivers Conference that it would not be fielding a team in 2017 because of a lack of participation and that they would have to find replacement games to fill their schedule.

"We just didn't have enough kids to participate," Vincentian coach Bob Ravenstahl said. "We tried hard and we knew last year when we went into the season that we were thin and we put a concerted effort on the parents and the kids and we just couldn't get enough kids to participate to where we thought it was safe."

As of the 2016 PIAA biennial realignment, Vincentian was the smallest Class 2A school in the WPIAL with only 89 boys as its male enrollment. Serra Catholic, which also plays in the Three Rivers Conference, was second with 141."


Boys Volleyball: 2017 North Season Recap

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

North Allegheny set a PIAA Boys Volleyball record with its appearance in the Class AAA title match, June 10 at Penn State's Rec Hall, but the Tigers just can't beat Central York.

North Allegheny made its 15th appearance in the finals, breaking the record it shared with Peabody since 2104. Central York was making its 12th PIAA title appearance and claimed its seventh title with a 3-1 victory.

It was the fifth time North Allegheny and Central York faced off in a PIAA title match. The two teams also met in 1982, 1985, 2011, and 2014. Central York came out on top in all five matchups.


Boys Volleyball: 2017 North Photo Recap

Written by Sports Town on .

The following photos feature boys volleyball teams from the area's North zone. These ran in the Post-Gazette during the 2017 season.

2017 0609 NorthAllegheny BVolleyball(Photo: North Allegheny's Luke Visgitis is set up for a kill by M.J. Barton in Tuesday night's PIAA semifinal match against Central Dauphin. The Tigers won to advance to the PIAA championship)


Track: Knoch's Geist claims gold at Pan Am Junior Championships

Written by Brad Everett on .

Jordan Geist competed in an international meet for the first time today.

The meet ended with Geist in a familiar position ... on top of the medal stand.

Geist, a recent Knoch graduate, won the shot put at the Pan American Junior Championship in Trujillo, Peru. He set meet and American Junior records in the 6k shot with his winning throw of 22.02 meters (72 feet, 3 inches). Jamaica's Kevin Nedrick placed second (66-8 3/4) and Adrian Piperi of the United States was third (66-5 3/4).

Geist's victory continued what has been an exceptional summer for the three-time WPIAL and PIAA champion in the shot put. He also won titles at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals and the USATF Junior Championships.


Boys Lacrosse: 2017 North Season Recap

Written by Joe Koch on .

In a season where goals were achieved, the end result yielded disappointment for the North Allegheny boys lacrosse team.

The only unbeaten team in Class 3A, Section 3 with a record of 6-0, the Tigers finished the season with a 15-4 overall record. And, entering the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs, the Tigers were the top seed.

The season had begun with a disappointing 5-3 loss to Mt. Lebanon in the season opener on March 24. Following that setback, the Tigers won eight games in a row before falling to Kiski Prep, 6-5. Kiski Prep plays mostly against prep schools, but does play some WPIAL teams on a regular basis. Following the loss to Kiski Prep, the Tigers then fell to WPIAL Class 2A champion Mars, 12-10, and then ran off seven more wins before falling to Mt. Lebanon, 9-6, in the first round of the WPIAL tournament.

Mt. Lebanon had an unsettled season, and the Blue Devils entered the WPIAL 3A tournament as the No. 8 seed. But Mt. Lebanon caught fire at the right time, and the Blue Devils rode that momentum all the way to the WPIAL final. That's where they lost to Peters Township, 12-11, in double-overtime. Then, they advanced to the PIAA semifinals before falling to Conestoga, 13-3.


Girls Lacrosse: 2017 North Season Recap

Written by Joe Koch on .

There's nothing quite like winning a WPIAL championship. Especially the way the Pine-Richland Rams girls lacrosse team outlasted non-section rival Fox Chapel in a 12-11 decision in the championship game that wasn't decided until overtime.

For coach Brittany Adams and her Rams, the victory rewarded the hard work the team had exhibited in a season that started out with four successive wins and yielded several multiple-game winning streaks. The last started following a 15-12 regular-season loss to Fox Chapel and lasted seven games with the overtime victory over Fox Chapel continuing the streak.

Then came a first-round game with Manheim Township in the PIAA tournament. Manheim Townhip plays in District 3, and the Blue Streaks were that alignment's runner-up. They earned a 16-9 victory over the Rams, ending Pine-Richland's season at 17-5.

Of the 12 players starting for Pine-Richland in the WPIAL final, five were seniors. Marina Miller, who scored three goals in the WPIAL 3A championship game, returns.


Boys Tennis: 2017 North Season Recap

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Winning a WPIAL Class 2A championship has become old hat for Sewickley Academy.

That's what happens when a team does it 14 consecutive times.

It was how the Panthers did it that made this season one for the ages.

Sewickley Academy went 23-0 in team matches this season, but in their 23 wins, they only lost four individual matches, two each against Peters Township and Mt. Lebanon. That means the three singles and two doubles tandems, independent of the actual WPIAL and PIAA singles and doubles tournaments, won 111 out of 115 individual matches for a winning percentage of .965.


Boys Tennis: 2017 North Photo Recap

Written by Sports Town on .

The following photos feature boys tennis players from the area's North zone. These ran in the Post-Gazette during the 2017 season.

Luke Ross(Photo: Sewickley Academy's Luke Ross serves at the WPIAL Class 2A singles championships. Ross defeated Carlynton's Luke Phillips, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 to win the title. Marilyn Schwilm/Tri-State Sports & News Service)


Boys Track & Field: 2017 North Season Recap

Written by Brittany Goncar on .

Knoch graduated Jordan Geist, one of the best WPIAL high school athletes to date. Geist has extended his outdoor season by months as he won the shot put at the USATF Junior Outdoor Championships. His next endeavor is to represent the United States at the Pan American Junior Championships July 21-23 in Peru. Committed to Arizona, Geist was named the Gatorade Male Track and Field Athlete of the year for the second consecutive year. He earned his third PIAA shot put title and the discus title. He also won the 3A WPIAL discus title.

North Allegheny's Ayden Owens performed long after the regular season. The junior set a meet record in the boys decathlon at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C., to win the event. A few weeks prior he broke a 25-year-old record in the 110-hurdles at the PIAA meet. He set school records in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles, winning both state titles. He also took seventh in the long jump.

The Tigers also saw top WPIAL performances from freshman Daniel McGoey, who took sixth in the 3,200-meter run and junior Jono Pelusi, who took fifth in the pole vault. Despite the strong season, the Tigers lost their Class 3A WPIAL title to Seneca Valley.


Girls Track & Field: 2017 North Season Recap

Written by Brittany Goncar on .

North Allegheny's Clara Savchik finished her junior year with an extended season. Savchik finished in eighth place in the 3,200-meter run at the Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle. Weeks prior she won the PIAA Class 3A title, missing the state record by less than a second. She also took second at WPIALs. The Tigers had several athletes medal at WPIALs, including freshman Casey Burton, who took second in the 100-meter dash and ninth place in the long jump. Senior Melina Owens grabbed fourth in the 300-meter hurdles, while junior Vittoria LaRosa took fifth in the pole vault.

The switch to Class 3A didn't affect Avonworth/Northgate. The Antelopes took fourth place at the PIAA championships this year. Hunter Robinson swept the sprint events at the WPIAL Class 3A championships. The junior went on to win the 100 and 200 at PIAAs and took second in the 400.

Butler took eighth place at PIAAs. The Golden Tornadoes benefited from the performances of senior Taylor Weaver (pole vault, eighth place), senior Alexis Leech (400-meter dash, fifth place), and junior Jena Reinheimer (discus, fifth place). Weaver took second place in the pole vault at WPIALs, while Reinheimer snatched third in the shot put and won the discus title. Senior Taylor Jackson took seventh place in the discus, while Maggie Welty took seventh in the 1,600-meter run.