Chris Rossetti covered Saturday's PIAA Class A semifinal football game between Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic and Clarion. Click here to read his story.
"Josh Churchin, Ryan Long, Nick Nyman, Dylan Grieco, Joe Sadler and Ronnie Meder aren't the names you often hear for Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic.
But those guys are the biggest reason the Trojans are playing for a PIAA championship after a 39-12 win against Clarion in the Class A semifinals Saturday at Mansell Stadium.
Churchin, Long, Nyman, Grieco, Sadler and Meder -- the Trojans' five offensive lineman and tight end -- helped North Catholic (15-0) run for 376 yards and six touchdowns while scoring more points against the District 9 champions than anyone had all season.
"I've been saying all year it's the best offensive line in Single A football," North Catholic coach Bob Ravenstahl said. "They might be the best offensive line we've had at North Catholic to be honest with you. A lot of those kids have been playing since their sophomore year. They've worked hard at it.""
The big news in the North Zone entering the 2013-14 swimming season is that for the first time in 35 years, Kirk "Corky" Semler will not be roaming the pool deck at North Allegheny. Semler retired after last season and a career that spanned 24 WPIAL and nine PIAA championships thanks 132 swimmers who attained All-American status under the legendary coach. While Semler has retired, the Tigers should still be one of the top boys teams in the state thanks to the return of senior Zachary Buerger, arguably the top returning swimmer in the area. There is plenty of depth behind Buerger with juniors Casey Melzer and Greg Arnold and sophomore Daniel Songer all back. The foursome combined to win WPIAL gold in the 200-yard medley relay last season. The Tigers also boast senior Sam Rutan, one of the top distance freestylers in the WPIAL.
The big news in the North Zone entering the 2013-14 swimming season is that for the first time in 35 years, Kirk "Corky" Semler will not be roaming the pool deck at North Allegheny. Semler retired after last season and a career that spanned 24 WPIAL and nine PIAA championships thanks 132 swimmers who attained All-American status under the legendary coach. While Semler has retired, the Tigers should still be one of the top girls teams in the state with a cast of returning swimmers headlined by juniors Jacquelyn Du and Maggie Root. Du and Root are returning WPIAL champions as are juniors Kayla Churman, Jade Song and Morgan Soulia. Other top returners from the Tigers are senior Kristen Bishop and junior diver Julia Vespoli.
They will compete with top-level talent in the North Zone including a trio of Foxes, Fox Chapel junior Franny Dean and Fox Chapel junior divers Miranda Simon and Emily Eames.
Tri-State Sports & News Service writer Brad Everett previews tonight's PIAA Class A semifinal football game between Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic and Clarion. Click here to read his story.
"The team that plays its home games at Stone Field in North Park faced some (Sto-)Rox and a (Tussey) Mountain the past two games, but even those opponents were no match for a defense that resembles a brick wall.
Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic is having its best season in school history. Two weeks ago, the Trojans won their first WPIAL championship. Last week, they won their first PIAA playoff game.
Next on the to-do list is reaching the state championship game for the first time. The Trojans (14-0) can do that with a victory against District 9 champion Clarion (14-0) in a PIAA Class A semifinal tonight at DuBois High School. The winner will face either Old Forge or Steelton-Highspire in next Friday's title game at Hersheypark Stadium.
A defense that opposing offenses find it hard to gain yards against, let alone score points on, has fueled North Catholic's semifinal trip. The group was solid in the regular season, giving up more than 14 points just twice, but it's in the postseason where it has truly shined."
This week's Post-Gazette Athlete of the Week is Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic football standout Ryan Long. Click here to read the story.
"Last week: Long, a two-way tackle, helped pave the way for a rushing attack that gained nearly 300 yards and led a stout defensive effort in North Catholic's 48-7 win against Tussey Mountain in a PIAA Class A quarterfinal last Friday. The Trojans face Clarion in a semifinal tonight at DuBois.
Check this out: Long, a 6-foot-2, 250-pound senior, was named co-lineman of the year in the Eastern Conference. Long anchors what coach Bob Ravenstahl has called the best offensive line in WPIAL Class A. Defensively, Long and his teammates have surrendered only 28 points in five postseason games, the highlight being a 14-0 win against Sto-Rox at Heinz Field, which earned North Catholic its first WPIAL championship. Long is a Shaler resident."
Pine-Richland has a 4-3 record and has scored the third-most goals (37) in Class AAA.
A large reason for the offensive success is how lethal the Rams’ power play has been this season.
The Rams have 12 power-play goals this season, with Nicholas Matelan (six) and Matthew Cole (four) currently ranked No. 1 and 2, respectively in Class AAA in power-play goals.
Due to not having enough players, Fox Chapel didn’t field a PIHL varsity team last season.
But the Foxes are back this season, and have been competitive recently.
Fox Chapel (0-6) lost its first three games by a combined score of 28-7. But it the team’s most recent three games, the Foxes lost by a combined score of 17-7. That includes a 4-3 loss to an Upper St. Clair team that handed Peters Township its only loss of the season.
Name: Chris Marziotto
School: Seneca Valley
Background: Marziotto is in his second season as the captain of the Raiders. Last season, he made the all-star team and finished with 13 goals and 24 points in 21 games. He is scoring at a much better pace this year, with six goals and 13 assists in seven games. His 19 point are tied for the Class AAA lead. He notched his first hat trick of the season Tuesday in the Raiders’ 8-1 victory against Upper St. Clair.
Seneca Valley coach Anthony Raco: “He wants to see the team be successful. He doesn't care about where on the point sheet he is. I know a lot of kids want the goals, but it’s good to see him racking up the assists.”
Player of the Year
Steve Munn Sewickley Academy M Sr. Led WPIAL, PIAA champs in assists
Others on the North Team
J.P. Bowell Sewickley Academy F Sr. Scored team-high 27 goals
Jack Dickens Fox Chapel F Sr. Class AAA Section 3 co-player of the year
Shota Furuhata Fox Chapel M Sr. Class AAA Section 3 co-player of the year
Jared Myers Seneca Valley F Sr. Class AAA Section 2 player of the year
Colton Smith Seneca Valley G Sr. Finished season with 10 shutouts
Player of the Year
Maggie Scott Shady Side Academy F/M Sr. Scored 50 of 151 career goals this year
Others on the North Team
Amber Fichter Mars Area M/F Sr. Led Mars with 34 goals
Sarah Dailey Mars Area G Sr. All-WPIAL goalkeeper for Planets
Lauren Kelly Fox Chapel Area M Sr. Scored team-high 18 goals for Foxes
Gabi Lassinger Knoch M/F Sr. All-WPIAL selection for Knights
Olivia Sharbaugh Knoch M/F Sr. Led Knoch with 16 regular-season goals
Tri-State Sports & News Service writer Joe Koch profiles the North Catholic football team. Click here to read his story.
"The relationship between a quarterback and an offensive line is a crucial one.
It's becoming quite clear as Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School prepares for this week's Class A state semifinal against Clarion that a seamless transition occurred when starting quarterback Adam Sharlow was injured in the Trojans' 21-14 non-conference victory against Neshannock in the eighth week of the season on Oct. 18.
Game time is 7 p.m. Friday at DuBois Area High School. The Trojans advanced with a 48-7 mercy-rule victory last Friday night against Tussey Mountain at Hampton's Fridley Field. Friday's winner advances to the PIAA Class A final against the winner of the other semifinal between Old Forge and Steelton-Highspire.
When Sharlow, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound junior from Brighton Heights sustained a knee injury in the victory against the Lancers, his role changed from quarterback to teacher and classmate P.J. Fulmore, a 5-8, 180-pound junior from the South Side, was willing to listen."
Tri-State Sports & News Service writer Ken Wunderley profiles the Avonworth wrestling team. Read his story below.
The Avonworth High School wrestling program is finally turning the corner.
"We have 18 kids on the roster," said Avonworth coach Tim Giel, who four years ago took over a program that was close to being dropped. "We started my first season with five kids and finished with only one."
"I had to convince the administration to give me another year to get our numbers up. It's been a struggle, but we're finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel."
Avonworth had 11 wrestlers finish the 2012-13 season. All but two are back this season.
Tri-State Sports & News Service writer Ryan Riordan profiles the North Hills hockey team. Click here to read his story.
"From taking a year's hiatus to becoming a darkhorse Class AA Penguins Cup contender, it has been quite the turnaround for the North Hills High School hockey program over the past few years.
The Indians decided to "take off" the 2010-11 season -- at least as a varsity program -- then lost their first 10 games of the 2011-12 season. But since that time, North Hills has won more regular-season games than it has lost. That includes winning four of seven games this season.
But just to show how far the Indians have come, a 4-3 record doesn't satisfy Indians coach Brandon Dudt-Mulzet.
"It's hard to see where we are right now because we've had a few too many inconsistencies," he said. "We've got Latrobe, Bishop Canevin and Chartiers Valley coming up. Those are the type of teams we want to be like. We'll see how we match up.""
Tri-State Sports & News Service writer Ryan Riordan profiles the Hampton boys basketball team. Click here to read his story.
"Ryan Luther's basketball resume is quite impressive.
A 6-foot-8 senior at Hampton High School, he is a two-time first-team all-section performer, a Post-Gazette Fab 5 selection last season and recently, a University of Pittsburgh recruit.
But there is still one thing missing from his list of accomplishments -- a WPIAL championship.
That could change this season, however, as the Talbots return four starters from last season's WPIAL Class AAAA runner-up.
"Maybe in the past we were content just to get [to the WPIAL championship game]," Luther said. "But not this year. Our goal is to win it.""
Tri-State Sports & News Service writer Nicholas Tolomeo profiles North Allegheny graduate Gary Allen, who is a standout linebacker at Slippery Rock. Click here to read his story.
"When Gary Allen arrived on the Slippery Rock University football team in 2010, he knew playing time would be minimal early on.
Allen, a middle linebacker, played the same position as Zach Sheridan, a future preseason All-American and team captain.
Allen, a North Allegheny High School graduate, did not see the presence of Sheridan as a roadblock in his ability to get playing time, but rather as a benefit.
"Coming in as a freshman, I knew we had Zach Sheridan in front of me," Allen said. "He was one of the best to come through there. I had to wait my turn to play. I think following in his footsteps and seeing what he brought to the field and to the game helped me.""
Below is a thumbnail sketch on five North wrestling teams to watch.
NORTH ALLEGHENY - The Tigers placed third in the WPIAL and qualified for the PIAA Tournament en route to an 18-5 record. Nine starters from that squad are back including PIAA place-winners Dom Forys (43-5 at 113) and Jesse Rodgers (40-7 at 138). Rodgers placed fourth, while Forys was fifth. Other returnees with 20 or more wins are: Scott Stossel (29-12 at 106), Blynn Shideler (22-15 at 126), Drew Landefeld (22-11 at 132), Clay Byerly (20-8 at 170), and Zach Smith (35-10 at 195).
SHALER - The Titans fell one win short of a WPIAL playoff berth last season and finished with an 8-9 record. Three starters from last year's squad have graduated. The Titans top returnees are: Mike Heinl (27-8 at 106), Logan Heinl (31-6 at 120), Jordan McGonigle (28-9 at 126), and Austin Heinl (18-14 at 132). Also back is Ted Mazer, who missed last season with an injury.
Fifteen returning wrestlers from North high schools finished among the top eight in their weight class at the WPIAL tournaments.
Four qualified for the PIAA championships, and all four earned place-winner status.
North Hills' Gage Curry and North Allegheny's Jesse Rodgers placed fourth in the PIAA Class AAA Tournament at 106 and 138.
Click here to see the complete list of North wrestlers who were top-eight WPIAL finishers last year.
PITTSBURGH, PA – La Roche women's basketball (5-0) cruised to an 82-42 victory over Chatham (1-5) in their home opener on Sunday evening. The win is their fourteenth straight at home.
Four Lady Redhawks reached double figures including Casie Cygan, Butler graduate, who led all scorers with 28 points.
(photo courtesy of La Roche College)
Here's a closer look at Friday's PIAA Class A semifinal game between Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic and Clarion, which will be played at DuBois High School at 7 p.m.
Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic (14-0) vs. Clarion (14-0) -- A pair of teams who last week won a PIAA playoff game for the first time in school history meet with a trip to the championship on the line. The winner will face the Old Forge/Steelton-Highspire winner in next Friday's title game at Hersheypark Stadium.
- Boys Basketball: 2013-14 North Players to Watch
- Boys Basketball: 2013-14 North Season Preview
- Girls Basketball: 2013-14 North Players to Watch
- Girls Basketball: 2013-14 North Season Preview
- Sports Town North Week in Review (Nov. 24-30)
- Football: North Catholic beats Tussey Mountain
- Hockey: North Allegheny shows off banner
- Hockey: Mars snaps Quaker Valley’s streak
- Hockey: North Feature Athete — North Hills’ Brett Berner
- Photo Journal: North Catholic wins WPIAL Class A football title
- Boys Basketball: New coach takes over at Shaler
- Wrestling: Young coach takes over at Mars; no waiting for NA football players
- Hockey: Senior out to lead North Allegheny back to top
- Football: PIAA Class A quarterfinal preview - North Catholic vs. Tussey Mountain
- Football: North Catholic savors first WPIAL title
- Alumni Update: Marina Rozick (Westminster)
- Alumni Update – Emily Rabenold (Grove City)
- Alumni Update - Gabrielle Borza (Gannon)
- Alumni Update - Nate Snodgrass (Pitt-Johnstown)
- Alumni Update - Alex Perri (Gannon University)