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Boys Golf: 2016 North Season Recap

Written by Joe Koch on .

Throughout his high school career, Quaker Valley High's Chris Tanabe has seemingly played in the shadow of neighborhood rival Jason Li of Sewickley Academy.

That trend seemed to continue into the senior seasons of both golfers. But in the season's most crucial match -- the 2016 PIAA Class AA championship at York's Heritage Hills Resort -- it was Tanabe who not only got the better of Li, but he also bested the entire field with a two-day total of 146, one stroke ahead of Riverside freshman and WPIAL Class AA champion Skyler Fox, and four strokes ahead of Li, who placed fourth. WPIAL golfers, in fact, swept the first four positions at the state final as Laurel senior and PIAA West Regional champion Evan Long finished third with a 149.

Tanabe had to battle back to win the title after shooting an opening round score of 76, trailing Li by four strokes and Long by two. He was tied with Fox after the first round.

Both Tanabe and Fox played solid golf on the second day, while Long and Li both faded. Tanabe shot even splits of 35 for each of the nine holes for a 1-under-par round. With three years of high school remaining, Fox displayed plenty of skill with an even-par round of 71 for his second-place finish.

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Girls Golf: 2016 North Season Recap

Written by Joe Koch on .

Sometimes, a second chance is all a team needs to put forth its best effort.

That's precisely what happened to the Shady Side Academy girls golf team when the postseason for high school girls team golf began.

Competing in the same section as North Allegheny, Shady Side Academy lost two regular-season matches to the Tigers by scores of 155-178 and 170-184.

When the postseason began, it appeared the Indians had turned the corner as they won the qualifier by 14 strokes over the Tigers, 331-345. But in the WPIAL final, North Allegheny got solid efforts from WPIAL 3A individual champion Caroline Wrigley and Christina Lewis. Both sophomore had matching totals of 78 while senior Jessica Hood and freshman Esha Vaidya had rounds of 85 and 88, respectively.

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Boys Golf: 2016 North Photo Recap

Written by Sports Town on .

The following photos feature boys golfers from the area's North zone. These ran in the Post-Gazette during the 2016 season.

2016 1005 FoxChapel BGolf(Photo: Fox Chapel's Gregor Meyer hits a tee shot at the WPIAL 3A boys golf individual championship Tuesday at the Oakmont Country Club. Meyer won the tournament with a 1-under 70. Pam Panchak/Post-Gazette)

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Girls Golf: 2016 North Photo Recap

Written by Sports Town on .

The following photos feature girls golfers from the area's North zone. These ran in the Post-Gazette during the 2016 season.

2016 1006 NorthAllegheny GGolf(Photo: Caroline Wrigley of North Allegheny tees off on hole 15 at the WPIAL girls golf Class AAA championships at Treesdale Golf Course on Wednesday. Wrigley won the Class 3A girls championship. Lake Fong/Post-Gazette)

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Girls Tennis: 2016 North Season Recap

Written by Keith Barnes on .

This was supposed to be the year North Allegheny completed one of the most impressive runs in state history.

Not only were the Tigers a tree-time reigning PIAA Class 3A team champion, they had one of the most formidable lineups with Harvard recruit Anna Li at No. 1 singles, twin sister and Navy recruit Tina at No, 2 and top-rated sophomore Ashley Huang at No. 3.

Only noting went quite as planned.

During the season, Anna was forced to miss considerable time with a shoulder injury that limited her serving ability and forced her to withdraw from the section singles championships and meant she would not be able to compete for the individual state title that had eluded her. Tina and Huang finished second in the WPIAL in doubles, but withdrew from the PIAA finals because of a prior commitment.

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Girls Tennis: 2016 North Photo Recap

Written by Sports Town on .

The following photos feature girls tennis players from the area's North zone. These ran in the Post-Gazette during the 2016 season.

2016 1104 FoxChapel GTennis(Photo: Fox Chapel's Amanda Nord, front, won the WPIAL Class 3A doubles title despite the departure of partner Laurel Shymansky, rear. Rebecca Droke/Post-Gazette)

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Boys Soccer: 2016 North Season Recap

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

The four clashes between North Allegheny and Seneca Valley came to define boys soccer in the North region, Class 4A Section 1 and Class 4A as a whole. The northern heavyweights did battle twice in the regular season and twice in the postseason. Seneca Valley got the better of the regular-season series, winning 2-0 at North Allegheny after the teams tied 1-1 at Seneca Valley. The Raiders won the outright section with a 9-0-1 record, but it was North Allegheny getting the last laugh by defeating its section rival, 2-1, in the WPIAL Class 4A final at Highmark Stadium and then ending Seneca Valley's season with a 1-0 win in the PIAA quarterfinals. All in all, North Allegheny won the season series, 2-1-1, and a WPIAL title, and Seneca Valley got the section title and the teams combined for some of the best soccer the area has seen this year.

Aside from producing great soccer, the teams produced great players. Seneca Valley senior forward Matt Happ was the Post-Gazette Player of the Year. He scored 17 goals and added seven assists.

Fox Chapel won nine games and reached the Class 4A playoffs. The Foxes were led by Michael Snowball, who scored 18 goals and added 15 assists.

In Class 3A, Mars won the Section 1 title with a perfect 11-0-1 section record. The Planets finished with 17 wins and reached the WPIAL final where they lost, 1-0, to Chartiers Valley.

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Girls Soccer: 2016 North Season Recap

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

With contributions from two of the top players in the area, Fox Chapel posted a 16-win campaign that featured trips to the WPIAL Class 4A semifinals and PIAA playoffs. Deena DeBaldo and Dixon Veltri were sensational this year. The seniors capped off their careers in impressive fashion. DeBaldo, a four-year starter and forward, scored 26 goals and added 10 assists. She finished her career with 73 goals and 10 assists. Veltri, a midfielder, had 16 goals and 21 assists. She finished her career with 38 career goals and 39 assists. Both DeBaldo and Veltri were three-year starters and all-WPIAL players. DeBaldo will play at Duquesne University next season while Veltri will play at UNC-Wilmington. Pine-Richland won the hotly contested Class 4A Section 1 title with an 8-2 record just ahead of Seneca Valley (13-6-1, 7-2-1), Butler (10-7-2, 5-3-2) and North Hills (8-7-3, 5-5), all of whom made the playoffs. The Rams and Raiders each advanced to the WPIAL quarterfinals.

In Class 3A, Mars (12-3-2, 10-1-1) shared the Class 3A Section 1 title and reached the WPIAL quarterfinals.

Shady Side Academy does what Shady Side Academy does best: brush aside regular-season performances to stun Greensburg Central Catholic in the playoffs. This year the Indians did it not once, but twice. Shady Side Academy finished with 19 wins and a WPIAL Class 1A title after surprising the Centurions, 1-0, at Highmark Stadium. They upset them again in the PIAA semifinals 10 days later to reach the PIAA Class 1A final where they fell to Fairfield. Vincentian (16-4-2, 8-1-1) won the Class 1A Section 3 title in outright fashion and Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic (5-14, 3-7) returned to the playoffs and pulled off a first-round win to reach the WPIAL quarterfinals.

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Girls Soccer: 2016 North Photo Recap

Written by Sports Town on .

The following photos feature girls soccer teams from the area's North zone. These ran in the Post-Gazette during the 2016 season.

2016 0929 Freeport GSoccer(Photo: Freeport's Kimmy Mixon goes for a header against Burrell's Megan Malits Wednesday night in a WPIAL Class 2A girls soccer showdown. Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)

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Boys Basketball: Pine-Richland's Petcash headed to prep school

Written by Brad Everett on .

Andrew Petcash received a good bit of college interest, even from Division I schools, but the recent Pine-Richland graduate elected not to sign with a college.

Instead, he has chosen to reclassify and spend a year at a prep school.

Petcash, a Post-Gazette Fabulous 5 choice this past season and Pine-Richland's second all-time leading scorer, tweeted Monday that he will attend New Hampton School, a prep school in New Hampshire.

"I am extremely excited to announce that I will be pursuing a post grad year at the New Hampton school! While I am very grateful and blessed to have received opportunities as a 2017 recruit, I feel it is my best intention to take another year and improve my academics + athletics at a renowned prep school under awesome coaches and teachers. I want to thank everyone who helped get me to this point and I am happy to become a member of the 2018 class at the New Hampton School. Go Huskies!" -- @apetcash05

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2016-17 Post-Gazette Female Athlete of the Year

Written by Sarah Spencer on .

Sarah Spencer profiles the 2016-17 Post-Gazette Female Athlete of the Year, Pine-Richland's Amanda Kalin.

"The beep test.

If you're a soccer player, you just cringed.

The Post-Gazette's female athlete of the year, Amanda Kalin, might remember dominating the fitness test, in which players run about 22 yards back and forth, increasing their pace as the beeps sound closer together. It's a shuttle run of sorts, one Kalin would win by 10 or 11 paces during Pine-Richland's fitness weeks, soccer coach Jodi Chmielewski said.

"You could say she was in a league of her own," said Chmielewski, also Kalin's club soccer coach since she was 7.

It's just the way her mind works, Kalin said. Why not suffer in the moment to triumph in the long run?"

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Track: North Allegheny’s Owens attracting lots of college attention

Written by Brad Everett on .

Jordan Geist and Madison Wiltrout were two of the WPIAL's biggest track and field stars the last few years and basically had their pick of any college in the country.

North Allegheny's Ayden Owens could be in that same situation.

Like Knoch's Geist (Arizona) and Connellsville's Wiltrout (North Carolina), Owens is a big-time recruit coveted by many of the top programs from around the country. A rising senior, Owens has recently made unofficial visits to USC, UCLA and Duke, and has garnered interest from Michigan, Penn State, Stanford, Texas, California, North Carolina, South Carolina and Miami, just to name a few.

Owens, the 2017 PIAA Class 3A champion in the 110- and 300-hurdles, said he will star narrowing down his list of choices soon and then begin taking official visits.

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Track: Knoch’s Geist wins national title, then competes against the pros

Written by Brad Everett on .

What a weekend it was for recent Knoch graduate Jordan Geist.

Last Friday, Geist won his second shot put national title in as many weeks when he rallied to claim the gold medal at the USATF Junior Outdoor Championships in Sacramento.

Two days later, Geist competed against Olympians and other professionals at the USATF Outdoor Championships.

That's pretty big time.

Geist, who recently wrapped up his outstanding high school career, has seen his success continue the last few weeks. First came two gold medals -- one in the shot put and the other in the hammer throw -- at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C. Geist had never competed in the hammer throw at a meet in his career. His heave was the longest by a high school athlete this season.

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Football: North Allegheny's Devine picks Virginia

Written by Brad Everett on .

The summer is a popular time for high school football players to make their college choices, and several players from the WPIAL have made their decisions in the last week.

The latest comes from a North Allegheny offensive lineman.

Derek Devine is a rising senior and a big kid -- he's 6-foot-6, 280 pounds -- so he's literally a big get for his future school. That school will be the University of Virginia. Devine chose the Cavaliers over offers from Bowling Green, Buffalo and Eastern Kentucky.

Devine announced his decision on Twitter.

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Baseball: Pine-Richland standout chooses Penn State

Written by Brad Everett on .

Matt Wood experienced one of the biggest moments of his athletic career earlier this month when he helped Pine-Richland win a WPIAL baseball title.

Another took place Saturday, but it didn't even involve stepping foot on the diamond.

Wood, a catcher and one of the top rising juniors in the WPIAL, took to Twitter to announce he verbally committed to Penn State.

"Excited to announce that I will be continuing my academic and baseball career at Penn State University! #WeAre" -- Mattwood_59

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Boys Basketball: Mars standout commits to Notre Dame

Written by Mike White on .

Mike White reports that Mars standout Robby Carmody committed to Notre Dame on Thursday.

"Mars High School basketball star Robby Carmody was on an official visit to Notre Dame on Wednesday. When he walked into coach Mike Brey's office, he couldn't help but get a big laugh at Brey's attire.

"He had a Penguins jersey on," Carmody said. "Ian Cole."

In the future, Carmody will take a Notre Dame jersey from Brey.

Carmody, who will be a senior at Mars, made a verbal commitment Thursday to Notre Dame. Carmody is a 6-foot-4, 200-pound guard who is one of the most heavily recruited players in the WPIAL in the past decade."

 

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Boys Lacrosse: Post-Gazette Player of the Year - Pine-Richland's Thomas Hanulak

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Keith Barnes profiles Post-Gazette Player of the Year Thomas Hanulak of Pine-Richland.

Pine-Richland’s Thomas Hanulak scored 56 goals and was selected as a U.S. Lacrosse All-American.(Photo: Pine-Richland's Thomas Hanulak scored 56 goals and was selected as a U.S. Lacrosse All-American. Patrick Hanulak photo)

"Thomas Hanulak wasn't the top lacrosse player at Pine-Richland when he moved to the area from Florida before his sophomore year.

That doesn't mean, however, that there wasn't something there.

"At that time we had a really stacked senior class and we kind of describe him as our most improved player over the last three years," Pine-Richland coach Chip Young said. "A lot of people are shocked by that because he's such a dominant force."

Hanulak, who will play next season at Seton Hill, was voted by the coaches as the WPIAL Class 3A player of the year. The Rams short-stick senior midfielder scored 56 goals, had 10 assists, was selected as a U.S. Lacrosse All-American and, for his efforts, has been chosen as the 2017 Post-Gazette Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year."

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Girls Lacrosse: Post-Gazette Player of the Year - Fox Chapel's Megan McCrady

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Keith Barnes profiles Post-Gazette Player of the Year Megan McCrady of Fox Chapel.

Fox Chapel's Megan McCrady, a leader for the Foxes this season, was destined to play lacrosse, with both parents active in the sport in their younger years.(Photo: Fox Chapel's Megan McCrady, a leader for the Foxes this season, was destined to play lacrosse, with both parents active in the sport in their younger years. Pam Panchak/Post-Gazette)

"Megan McCrady was destined to play lacrosse.

"My dad played at Michigan State and my mom played in high school and both my parents have coached at the high school level for a long time," McCrady said. "It was kind of a given for us to play."

Though McCrady may have had a lacrosse stick in her hand almost from birth, it didn't guarantee success. But the end result couldn't have turned out any better for this Fox Chapel senior.

In her four years with the Foxes, she finished as the school's all-time record holder with 245 goals, 108 assists and 353 points. Despite being marked at all times, she capped off her stellar career by scoring 80 goals and chipping in 119 helpers as she led Fox Chapel to the WPIAL Class 3A title game and into the PIAA quarterfinals for the first time in school history."