Football: South Fayette grad DiDonato returns 'home' as Grove City's new coach

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Ken Wunderley profiles South Fayette graduate Andrew DiDonato, who is now the head coach at Grove City. Read his story below.

In August 2009, Andrew DiDonato appeared at the Presidents' Athletic Conference football media day as a senior quarterback representing Grove City College.

Fast forward to Aug. 3, 2016, and DiDonato made a repeat appearance at PAC media day, this time as Grove City's head coach. DiDonato is replacing his coach, Chris Smith, who retired after leading the Wolverines' program for 32 years.

"It's humbling," said DiDonato, who graduated in 2010 after starting a school-record 40 consecutive games. "It's such an honor to come back and become head coach of a program I love so much. It's a real honor."

DiDonato, a South Fayette graduate, joined Grove City's coaching staff last season as offensive coordinator and head coach in waiting. He served under Smith last season in an apprentice role.


Football: Challenge of moving up to 4A excites dominant program South Fayette

Written by Brad Everett on .

Brad Everett profiles the South Fayette football team.

2016 0819 SouthFayette Football(Photo: South Fayette quarterback Drew Saxton appears primed for a big year. Alex Caprara/Post-Gazette)

"South Fayette was a WPIAL power in Class AA for much of the past decade.

The PIAA realignment moved the Lions up to Class 4A this season, and the team hopes its outstanding success comes along for the ride.

A WPIAL finalist the past three seasons, South Fayette is one of two former AA teams now in 4A. Highlands is the other. There are two nine-team conferences in the class. South Fayette is in the Northwest Nine, which includes Mars, Montour and New Castle.

"I just think when you build a program, everyone has to have the same mindset," South Fayette coach Joe Rossi said. "We have the program where we want it to be. First and foremost, [expectations] don't change. There are some great teams. The league is tremendous with Mars and Montour. It's an awesome challenge.""


Track: South Fayette’s Helbling remains undefeated in the 400

Written by Brad Everett on .

Rachel Helbling entered last week's WPIAL track championships as the defending champion in the 400-meter dash and unbeaten against WPIAL competition.

She left with a second title and continued her perfect season.

Helbling won the 400 for the second year in a row after finishing in 56.54 seconds. Her closest competitors were Butler's Alexis Leach (57.64), Gateway's Aiyanna Crawford (57.97) and Baldwin's Alaina Stahl (58.62).

Helbling's time was the second-fastest in the WPIAL this season and topped last year's winning finish of 57.19.


Baseball: South Fayette keeps playoff hopes alive

Written by Brad Everett on .

A team in dire need of a win got just that Monday, and they did it against one of the top teams in Class AAA.

South Fayette was in desperation mode against Chartiers Valley, and the Lions answered the bell by pulling out a 1-0 win against the visiting Colts in a key Section 3 game. Tristan Tinney and Spencer Barber were the stars. Tinney fired a three-hitter and Barber smacked a double in the fifth inning that drove in the game's only run.

South Fayette's win muddled the playoff picture in the section. Montour (7-2) owns the section lead, but Chartiers Valley (6-3), West Allegheny (5-3) and South Fayette (5-4) are in hot pursuit. Montour has clinched at least a share of the section title. The Spartans play their section finale Wednesday at West Allegheny. Chartiers Valley hosts West Allegheny today. South Fayette visits McGuffey (2-7) Wednesday.


Track: South Feature Athlete - South Fayette’s Rachel Helbling

Written by Brad Everett on .

Name: Rachel Helbling
High School: South Fayette
Grade: 10
Sport: Track and field
Events: 100, 200, 400, 800, 1,600 relay, 3,200 relay

Background: Helbling won the WPIAL Class AAA 400-meter dash title as a freshman and is the favorite to repeat a year later. Helbling has only lost the event once during her high school career, that coming at the PIAA championships. Her time of 57.19 at last year's WPIALs set a school record and remains a personal best. She won the 400 at the Tri-State Track Coaches Association Championships held April 16 at West Mifflin with a time of 59.29. She'll compete at Saturday's South Fayette Invitational.