Hockey: Familiar face is helping South Park rebuild

Written by Marky Billson on .

Marky Billson profiles the South Park hockey team.

2014 1211 SouthPark Hockey(Photo: South Park's Tyler Gerhold, left, tries to skate around Montour's Anthony Hartwick. John Heller/Post-Gazette)

"A generation ago Derek Podalak was part of the South Park hockey team's glory days as first a player then an assistant coach.

From 1993-97 the Eagles' varsity hockey team was 71-3-4 in the regular season, moving from Class A to AA, and playing for the AA Penguins Cup (Western Pennsylvania championship) in 1995.

But when Podalak became head coach of the South Park varsity program this season, he inherited a program at perhaps the nadir of its existence. The Eagles were 2-19 last season and had dropped to the second tier of Class A. Talented players such as goalie Joseph Recktenwald would give the Eagles a short try before deciding to use amateur hockey as the sole path to junior hockey.

It's too early to say the Eagles are back to their powerhouse status, but what can be said is they equaled last season's victory total in their first two games, exceeded it in three, and led Class A's Tier II with a 6-3 record entering this week."


Boys Basketball: South Park wins after bizarre finish

Written by Brad Everett on .

South Park used a game-winning shot in the final seconds to win its season opener, but the Eagles won an even closer game the following night, and it was about as unconventional as they come.

Against Carrick in the Brentwood tournament Saturday, South Park led, 48-46, in the final minute before Carrick tied the game by hitting a pair of free throws with under a minute left.

A dramatic finish ensued.


Boys Basketball: South Feature Athlete - Dan Wanker, South Park

Written by Brad Everett on .

Name: Dan Wanker
School: South Park
Grade: 12
Sport: Boys Basketball
Position: Forward

Background: Wanker made the game-winning jumper with seven seconds left to give South Park a 61-59 win against Class AAA No. 4 Steel Valley in the first round of the Brentwood tournament last Friday. Wanker was named tournament MVP a night later after scoring 24 points in a 49-48 win against Carrick. Wanker, a 6-foot-6 senior forward, is one of the top returning scorers in the South Xtra area. Wanker averaged 17.4 points per game a season ago.