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Girls Cross Country: North Feature Athlete — Shaler’s Brianna Schwartz

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

Name: Brianna Schwartz
School: Shaler
Grade: 11
Sport: Cross Country

Background: Schwartz heads into this week’s WPIAL Class AAA cross country championships as the defending champion. She also finished second in the PIAA meet last season. In track and field, she won the state title in the 1,600 meters. She will head into the district meet in good form, having won the Central Catholic Invitational (Oct. 5) and the Tri-State Coaches Association cross country championship (Oct. 17) this month.

Shaler coach Mike Dusch: “Bri understands pressure and really responds to it. That’s one of the reasons why she’s been so successful.”

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Field Hockey: North Allegheny, Pine-Richland qualify for Class AAA playoffs

Written by Joe Koch on .

Both North Allegheny and Pine-Richland have advanced to the WPIAL Class AAA field hockey playoffs following Tuesday night's 1-1 tie at Pine-Richland Stadium. Both teams had been assured of a playoff berth going into Tuesday's game, but there was plenty on the line as a Pine-Richland victory by more than two goals would have given the Rams the section championship.

Pine-Richland took a 1-0 halftime lead on a goal by Rams' junior Sage Dowiak.

It remained a one-goal game until the Tigers' Hannah Downing rebounded a shot by Kailey Vogl less than two minutes into the second half.

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Boys Golf: Fox Chapel's Sheerer wins Class AAA Western Regional

Written by Joe Koch on .

Fox Chapel High senior Patrick Sheerer played an outstanding round of golf to win the PIAA Western Regional Tournament on Wednesday at Tom's Run Golf Course in Blairsville and lead 11 other golfers to next week's two-day individual state championship at Heritage Hills Resort in York.

Sheerer shot an even-par 36 on the front nine and played 1-under-par on the back nine to take the event with a score of 71.

One other North-area golfer, Mars junior Josh Bartley, also has advanced to the state tournament. Bartley placed ninth with a 5-over-par round of 77.

The state championship will take place next Monday and Tuesday at Heritage Hills.

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Boys Golf: Sewickley Academy's Hickton sizzles at Class AA Western Regional

Written by Joe Koch on .

Sewickley Academy's Keenan Hickton has had a stellar career for the Panthers, but he has had an up-and-down season for his team.

All of that was forgotten on Wednesday, though, as the senior ripped the golf course at Tom's Run with the best round of the day, a 3-under-par effort of 69 to take top honors at the PIAA Class AA Western Regional. He leads a field of 20 qualifiers from the regional to next week's two-day individual state championship at Heritage Hills Resort in York.

Hickton bogeyed his first hole, a par-four, and finished the front nine with a 2-over-par round of 38.

Where things went well for him, though, was on the back nine as he fired a 5-under-par 31 to forge his way to the regional title by two strokes over runner-up Cody Dobbin, a sophomore from Burgettstown.

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Girls Golf: Three North golfers qualify for Class AAA state tournament

Written by Joe Koch on .

Only six golfers were able to qualify for the Class AAA individual state championship in girls golf, and three of them are from the North region.

All of them are sophomores.

Bridget Merten, who qualified sixth at the WPIAL Classs AAA tournament, finished third in the PIAA Western Regional at Tom's Run with a 7-over-par round of 79. Right behind her was Hampton's Marissa Balish, who had a 10-over-par round of 82. Placing sixth with an 86 was Megan Leto. She got the final qualifying spot by two strokes.

The state championship will take place Monday and Tuesday at Heritage Hills Resort in York.

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Football: North Hills tops Pine-Richland

Written by Craig Meyer on .

Post-Gazette writer Craig Meyer covered Friday's football game between North Hills and Pine-Richland. Click here to read his story.

2013 1019 NorthHills Football(Photo: North Hills' Kevin Koch breaks up a pass intended for Pine-Richland's Anthony Battaglia in the second quarter Friday at North Hills. John Heller/Post-Gazette)

"Though the play lasted only a handful of seconds, Kindhal Taylor's pass seemed to hang in the air for much longer.

There wasn't much suspense, as it was only the third play of the game, but with a North Hills teammate and a Pine-Richland defender awaiting the pass near midfield, it had the makings of an important play.

The safety jumped toward the ball a split-second too early, and about 50 yards later Brandon Wagner was in the end zone with an 80-yard touchdown reception.

Unbeknownst to the players at the time, a 10-second play decided a 48-minute game not even two minutes into regulation."

 

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Girls Tennis: North Allegheny wins Class AAA team title

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

Tri-State Sports & News Service writer Ryan Riordan covered Friday's WPIAL Class AAA girls tennis team championship. Click here to read his story.

"When Michelle Weniger walked into North Allegheny's gymnasium after taking the job as Tigers girls' tennis coach a decade ago, she noticed all the banners North Allegheny's teams had won over the years.

She also noticed there were none for girls' tennis.

But in 2008, the Tigers won the PIAA Class AAA team title. And Friday, North Allegheny won its first WPIAL championship.

The Tigers swept singles and won No. 2 doubles to beat Shady Side Academy, 4-1, in the WPIAL Class AAA team championship at Sewickley Academy."

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Girls Soccer: North Playoff Preview (First Round)

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

The North Zone boasts two top seeds in the WPIAL postseason with No. 1 Mars (15-1-2) in Class AA and No. 1 Seneca Valley (15-2-1) in Class AAA. Neither team will play on Saturday as they have received first-round byes in their respective classifications but there will plenty of action elsewhere.

North Allegheny (15-2-1) finished second in the section to Seneca Valley and the Tigers received the No. 3 seed and host No. 14 Gateway (9-7-1) at 2 p.m. The Gators were a WPIAL semifinalist a year ago but they have had to replace a majority of their starting lineup including Carly Seneca. North Allegheny enters the playoffs on a high after a 2-1 win over Norwin on Tuesday in a non-section matchup.

Despite winning Section 3 outright and finishing with a 16-1-1 record, Fox Chapel was given the No. 4 seed. The Foxes will host No. 13 Mt. Lebanon (9-7-2) at 2 p.m. A potential dark horse in Class AAA could be Pine-Richland. The No. 10-seeded Rams (11-5-2) will play No. 7 Penn Trafford (12-5) at Norwin at 2 p.m. Pine-Richland coach Jodi Chmielewski is not worried about her team's low seed.

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Football: Inside the Program - North Catholic

Written by Craig Meyer on .

In this week's Inside the Program, Post-Gazette writer Craig Meyer profiles the North Catholic football team. Click here to read his story.

2013 1018 NorthCatholic Football(Photo: P.J. Fulmore, the Trojans' leading rusher last year, missed four games with an ankle injury. Andrew Rush/Post-Gazette)

"The road to relevancy has been a sometimes long one for Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, but with two games remaining in the regular season, this much has been proven -- the Trojans belong among the best in their classification. Eight years after finishing 1-9, North Catholic is 7-0, its first undefeated start through seven games since 1997, and is No. 2 in the Post-Gazette's Class A rankings. After a 41-12 victory last week against Wilkinsburg -- coached by Mike Fulmore, the father of Trojans star running back P.J. Fulmore -- a stiffer challenge awaits Friday with a non-conference game against No. 3 Neshannock, the latest obstacle in a path the team hopes ends at Heinz Field, a destination which it fell a game short of last season."

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Boys Cross Country: Quaker Valley prodigy could be a title threat

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

Tri-State Sports & News Service writer Ryan Riordan profiles Quaker Valley cross country standout Zach Skolnekovich. Click here to read his story.

"Despite having four upperclassmen among his top five runners, Quaker Valley cross country coach Dave Noyes has had freshman Zach Skolnekovich lead the defending six-time WPIAL Class AA champions in practice runs on occasion this season.

"When we do 800s, I know he's going to go hard and I want him to lead the way," Noyes said. "I don't often have freshmen leading the way."

Last week, Skolnekovich again led the way for the Quakers. But it was no practice run -- it was the Midwestern Athletic Conference cross country championships.

Skolnekovich ran a 17:12 at Brush Creek Park in Beaver County. That time not only led the Quakers, but also won the event by four seconds over second-place finisher Noah Ross of Blackhawk. It was the first invitational win of Skolnekovich's high school career."

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Athletes of the Week (Oct. 18, 2013)

Written by Post-Gazette on .

The Post-Gazette's Athletes of the Week are Seneca Valley football player T.J. Holl and Quaker Valley soccer player Greer Monahan. Click here to read the story.

Greer Monahan: Quaker Valley

Last week: Monahan helped the Quaker Valley girls soccer team finish the regular season with consecutive wins to claim a share of the Class AA Section 5 title with Moon.

Check this out: Monahan, a senior forward, is one of the top goal-scorers in the WPIAL. Her 30 goals are a team high and career high. She has led Quaker Valley to a 17-1 record overall and a 13-1 mark in Section 5-AA, tied with Moon for the title. The Quakers are ranked No. 4 in Class AA. As a junior, Monahan scored 23 goals and helped the Quakers reach the WPIAL quarterfinals.

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Cross Country: Fox Chapel poses double title threat

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

Tri-State Sports & News Service writer Ryan Riordan profiles a few of the favorites in next week's WPIAL cross country championships, including Fox Chapel's Ethan and Colin Martin, and Shaler's Brianna Schwartz. Click here to read his story.

2013 1018 FoxChapel CrossCountry(Photo: Twin brothers Ethan, left, and Colin Martin of Fox Chapel are favorites to win the WPIAL Class AAA crown. Bill Wade/Post-Gazette)

"In the spring, twin bothers Ethan and Colin Martin finished first and second, respectively, in the 1,600-meter run at the WPIAL Class AAA track and field championships.

Now these Fox Chapel seniors will attempt to take the top two spots again Thursday at the WPIAL Class AAA cross country meet at Cooper's Lake Campground near Slippery Rock.

The Martins, who committed to the University of Michigan last week, will be among the favorites, along with defending WPIAL Class AAA champion Brent Kennedy of Kiski Area.

"It's always very exciting," Ethan Martin said of the competition between the three competitors. "It's good for us. We've been competing for about six years and we hold nothing back. Before and after the race we're friendly, but we attack each other strong during the race.""