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Swimming: South Feature Athlete - Mt. Lebanon's Angela Gyurina

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Name: Angela Gyurina
High School: Mt. Lebanon
Grade: 11
Sport: Swimming

Background: This time last season Angela Gyurina was a sophomore basketball player at Mt. Lebanon. She was the sixth man on the basketball team, playing for one of the most successful programs in the state under coach Dori Oldaker. Swim coach Tom Donati, running a successful program in his own right, saw another kind of potential in Gyurina.

"I think you can be a Division I swimmer," Donati recalls telling Gyurina. "We got her off the basketball court, it is such a great story. She is a junior who never swam for the high school team. She just bought into it and she is really, really becoming a great swimmer."

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Swimming: Upper St. Clair boys seek 'three-peat' at PIAA meet

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

The Upper St. Clair boys swept all three relays at WPIALs two weeks ago, a remarkable feat considering the competition. The Panthers will now look for a repeat performance at states, which is an even taller order considering they must best North Allegheny and Mt. Lebanon again while also fending off counterparts from the eastern part of the state.

"We swam well, we won the relays," coach Dave Schraven said of WPIALs. ""All three of our relays, we expect they will be competing to be state champions. That doesn't necessarily mean they will, but we will be in the mix.

The Panthers were sensational in relays. Ryan Dudzinski, Kevin Liu, Braedon Wong and Jake Johnsen won the 200 medley relay. Seniors Fynn Minuth, Patrick Lersch, Liu and Wong won the 400 freestyle relay and Dudzinski, Lersch, senior Tomos Williams and Minuth won the 200 freestyle relay.

Dudzinski will not be eligible to swim the 100 backstroke at states because of his disqualification at states but his individual loss is Upper St. Clair relay's gain. Dudzinski will swim three relays along with the 100 butterfly. Last year the Panthers took first, second and third in the three relays at states, winning the 400 freestyle relay. They graduated two relay participants, Alex Hardwick who is now swimming at Emory University and Nate Novak who is now swimming at Kenyon College.

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Swimming: Upper St. Clair's Dudzinski denied 100-backstroke showdown

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

The 100 yard backstroke finals at the PIAA Class AAA championships last season was one of the best high school swim races in the country. District 1 Hatboro-Horsham junior Michael Thomas and Upper St. Clair junior Ryan Dudzinski went head-to-head in one of the fastest backstroke showdowns in state history. Thomas captured state gold with a time of 46.65, edging Dudzinski by 0.23 seconds. Thomas' time was fastest in the country, Dudzinski's was third fastest in the country. If he were in 48 other states, he would have been a state champion. If either were in another state, they would have likely broken a state record but the Bucknell University pool was home to Hershey's David Nolan in 2011 where he swam the event in 45.49, a record that still stands.

That record is in danger this year but Dudzinski will not have a shot at it and state swimming enthusiasts will not have a chance to see Dudzinski push Thomas.

At WPIALs two weeks ago, Dudzinski swam the 100 backstroke in a time that would have broken the pool record at Pitt's Trees Pool, the home of collegiate meets including conference championships. But he was disqualified on a judgment call after being submerged after the 15 meter mark, violating a new rule.

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Brad Everett's South High School Basketball Notebook (Mar. 6, 2015)

Written by Brad Everett on .

Here's this week's edition of Brad Everett's South High School Basketball Notebook.

"Monessen coach Joe Salvino didn't openly show much emotion after the buzzer sounded in last Friday's WPIAL Class A championship game victory against Jeannette. There was no jumping around. No big fist pump.

But what he was feeling inside was much different.

A year after being blown out in the final by Lincoln Park – a charter school in Midland, Beaver County – Monessen defeated a fellow public school, Jeannette, to win the WPIAL title. Salvino was proud that two public schools were meeting in the final, and perhaps even more thrilled that his team beat a pair of private schools – Vincentian and St. Joseph – on its way to the championship.

"It's one of the most satisfying things I could ever do because that means that I could put my players up against anybody," Salvino said."

 

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Boys Basketball: Chartiers Valley's latest title sweet

Written by Marky Billson on .

Marky Billson profiles the Chartiers Valley boys basketball team.

2015 0306 ChartiersValley BBasketball(Photo: Chartiers Valley's Jake Ritson, Matty McConnell and Eddie Flohr lift their trophy after defeating North Allegheny in the WPIAL Class AAAA championship Saturday at Petersen Events Center. Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)

"You'll excuse Chartiers Valley boys basketball coach Tim McConnell if he's a bit giddy.

This past season the veteran coach not only won his 500th career game at the Colts' helm but also his sixth WPIAL championship en route to a 23-3 record to date.

His son, Matty, scored his 2000th career point during Chartiers Valley's 78-67 victory against North Allegheny in the WPIAL Class AAAA championship game last Saturday at the Peterson Events Center, joining older brother T.J., now of the Arizona Wildcats, in reaching that milestone.

"What a remarkable year to win the WPIAL title with my son, just like T.J., in his senior year! I couldn't have written a better script," McConnell said proudly."

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Boys Basketball: Mt. Lebanon earns another chance

Written by Marky Billson on .

Marky Billson profiles the Mt. Lebanon boys basketball team.

"If there is a theme to the Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils 2014-15 boys basketball season, it is that they keep coming back.

Lose to North Hills, 37-33, in the WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinals on Feb. 23? Come back on Feb. 24 with a 48-32 victory in the first play-in game for the PIAA tournament.

Draw Hempfield Area in the next round, the same team that bounced the Blue Devils from the postseason in 2014? Come back and beat the Spartans, 56-53, to earn a berth in the PIAA tournament.

Tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. the Blue Devils (20-6) will tip-off against WPIAL champion and Section 4 rival Chartiers Valley (23-3) at Canon-McMillan to begin the PIAA tournament."

 

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Boys Basketball: Seton-LaSalle hopes to rebound

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Keith Barnes profiles the Seton-LaSalle boys basketball team.

"Seton-LaSalle knows all about sending a team into the PIAA basketball playoffs on the heels of a disappointing defeat in the WPIAL playoffs.

Last season the Rebels won the WPIAL Class AA title and rode that victory all the way to the state championship game before losing to Philadelphia Constitution in the finals at the Giant Center in Hershey.

This time around, though, it will be Seton-LaSalle (23-3) that heads into the state tournament on the downswing after a disappointing, 68-57, loss to top-seeded Aliquippa in the WPIAL Class AA championship game at the Petersen Events Center last Saturday.

"We've talked about just putting this one behind us and moving forward," Seton-LaSalle coach Mark Walsh said. "I said that it was different from last year when we won the WPIAL title game and had a lot more excitement to it in that first state playoff game and it's kind of like a first start again to get rolling again.""

 

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Girls Basketball: Teamwork key factor in Seton-LaSalle's conquest

Written by Joe Koch on .

Joe Koch profiles the Seton-LaSalle girls basketball team.

2015 0306 SetonLaSalle GBasketball(Photo: Seton-LaSalle's Nicolete Newman drives against Bishop Canevin's Erin Joyce in the WPIAL class AA championship Friday at Petersen Events Center. Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)

"From Spencer Stefko's perspective, the success his Seton-LaSalle High School girls basketball team has enjoyed en route to its second WPIAL Class AA girls basketball title in a row and the Rebels' third in five years comes down to a simple concept.

"We've got five kids committed to finding the open shot," he said shortly after the Rebels defeated Bishop Canevin, 51-35, last Friday in the Class AA championship game.

"The day is coming where I'm going to quit calling plays," Stefko said. "We might get a little too robotic or a little too obedient because we do look for our teammates too much. But I don't know if you are going to find a coach who has that problem. There's a whole lot of selfishness in society today and in sports today. It usually starts with adults and filters on down. I feel like somehow I've been blessed with this group and they are immune to that. I've been around long enough to know that it's a blessing, and you don't get it that often.

"All it takes is one negative element to take something and turn it from a symphony into something ugly.""

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Swimming: Upper St. Clair shows depth in pool

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Nicholas Tolomeo profiles Upper St. Clair swimmers Kevin Liu and Braedon Wong.

"An Upper St. Clair swimmer has won the WPIAL Class AAA 100yard backstroke title six of the past seven years.

And each year it was a Dudzinski, Kyle from 2008-11 and his younger brother, Ryan, from 2013-14.

This year Upper St. Clair juniors Kevin Liu and Braedon Wong proved the 100 backstroke was as an Upper St. Clair program success story as it was a Dudzinski family success story.

Ryan Dudzinski swam the 100 backstroke in a time that would have broken the pool record at Pitt's Trees Pool, the home of many collegiate meets, including conference championships. But he was disqualified on a judgment call after being submerged after the 15 meter mark, violating a new rule."

 

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Wrestling: Mt. Lebanon senior eyeing next step

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Ken Wunderley profiles Mt. Lebanon wrestler Kellan Stout, in addition to other notes from the South area. Read his story below.

2015 0306 MtLebanon Wrestling(Photo: Mt. Lebanon's Kellan Stout, left, takes control of Belle Vernon's Milton Kobaly in their 182-pound WPIAL Class AAA championship match. Stout won the title by injury default. Marc Billett/Tri-State Sports & News Service)

Kellan Stout has moved up the proverbial ladder one step each year since breaking into Mt. Lebanon's starting lineup as a freshman.

He placed fourth in the WPIAL/Southwest Region Class AAA tournament as a 160-pound freshman, third as a 170-pound sophomore, and second as a 182-pound junior.

Stout took the next step on Saturday at Penn Hills when he claimed a WPIAL title at 182 pounds.

"The experience I gained in my previous WPIAL tournament appearances played a big part," Stout said. "It's not easy wrestling in a tournament of this magnitude, especially in the finals. I knew what to expect. It was just the opposite for my opponent. It was his first time in the finals."

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Wrestling: South Fayette senior hunts first state title

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Keith Barnes profiles South Fayette's Jared Walker, in addition to other notes from the South area.

"Jared Walker claimed a piece of history and joined a pantheon of elite wrestlers when he became the 25th person since 1936 to win WPIAL individual titles all four years.

He's won a Southwest Regional championship as well, taking the 2014 Class AA title at 160 pounds.

Now, though, this South Fayette senior is headed for the Giant Center in Hershey to vie for the one title that has eluded him his entire career...a state championship.

"I just have to keep looking ahead and look at the big picture," Walker said. "I just have to wrestle good the next three days up in Hershey.""

 

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Boys Basketball: Coach inspires Monessen team

Written by Mike White on .

Mike White profiles Monessen boys basketball coach Joe Salvino.

"Coach Joe Salvino has been trying this week to get his Monessen boys basketball team "up" emotionally for the PIAA playoffs, after coming off a thrilling ride to a WPIAL championship.

"I'm hoping my competitiveness rubs off on them," Salvino said.

Salvino exudes competitiveness. It is a trait that has helped him win 583 games as coach, 18 section titles and five WPIAL championships. Few coaches in WPIAL history can flash such an impressive resume.

But Salvino's winning and competitiveness is about so much more than basketball games. He battled back from a stroke 10 years ago. And he also owns a victory against cancer."

 

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Hockey: Big Macs advance thanks to Mansmann goal

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

Zachary Mansmann scored 24 seconds into overtime to give Canon-McMillan a 4-3 win over Seneca Valley in the PIHL Class AAA Penguins Cup quarterfinals Tuesday.

It was a back-and-forth game between the fourth-seeded Big Macs and fifth-seeded Raiders, but Seneca Valley took a third-period lead on Alexander Crilley’s goal with 11:53 remaining.

However, Canon-McMillan’s leading scorer, Austin Tonkovich, answered less than three minutes later to tie the game at 3, which it stayed until Mansmann’s goal.

Tonkovich, who finished second in Class AAA in points, finished with two goals, while Shane Morgan netted the team’s other goal.

Canon-McMillan will play top-seeded North Allegheny Tuesday at 6:30 p. m. at RMU Island Sports Center. 

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Hockey: Defending champion Indians look strong in playoff opener

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

Brady Cochrane notched a hat trick to help defending Class AAA Penguins Cup and Pennsylvania Cup champion Peters Township to an 8-1 victory in the Penguins Cup quarterfinals against Upper St. Clair.

The Indians, the No. 2 seed in this year’s tournament, led 7-0 after two periods and outshot the Panthers 39-17 in the game.

Adam Alavi added two goals while Sam Barnes and Carter Ekberg each had a goal and three assists.

Tony Lejeune got the victory, stopping 16 shots.

Peters Township will play No. 6 Butler Tuesday night in the semifinals at RMU Sports Island Center. 

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Hockey: South Feature Athlete – Bishop Canevin’s Kaden Kelly

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

Name: Kaden Kelly
School: Bishop Canevin
Grade: 12
Sport: Hockey

Background: Kelly has become the Crusaders’ clutch performer recently. He scored the overtime game-winner in the regular-season finale against Chartiers Valley, then did the same in a 7-6 overtime victory against Hampton in the PIHL Class AA Penguins Cup quarterfinals Tuesday. The overtime goal against Hampton was his second of the contest and gives him five for the season. 

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Boys Basketball: Flohr's outstanding play drives Chartiers Valley to WPIAL title

Written by Brad Everett on .

As is almost always the case, WPIAL scoring leader Matty McConnell was Chartiers Valley's top point producer when the Colts beat North Allegheny to win the WPIAL Class AAAA championship last Saturday.

However, if it wasn't for Eddie Flohr, there's a good chance the Colts wouldn't have claimed the title.

Like most of his teammates – all expect McConnell, really – Flohr struggled in the first half, scoring only four points while Chartiers Valley fell behind, 43-33, at halftime. McConnell had 21 points and the four other starters totaled just 12.

The second half was a different story, and it led to the ending the Colts had hoped for. Flohr was outstanding in the final 16 minutes, scoring 20 of his 24 points. He scored nine in the third quarter and 11 in the fourth to help the Colts rally and then pull away for a 78-67 win at Petersen Events Center.

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Boys Basketball: An extra-special WPIAL title for Monessen coach

Written by Brad Everett on .

Monessen coach Joe Salvino didn't openly show much emotion after the buzzer sounded in last Friday's WPIAL Class A championship win. There was no jumping around. No big fist pump.

But what he was feeling inside was much different.

A year after being blown out in the final by Lincoln Park – a charter school in Midland, Beaver County – Monessen defeated a fellow public school, Jeannette, to win the WPIAL title. Salvino was proud that two public schools were meeting in the final, and perhaps even more thrilled that his team beat a pair of private schools – Vincentian and St. Joseph – on its way to the championship.

"It's one of the most satisfying things I could ever do because that means that I could put my players up against anybody," Salvino said.

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Boys Basketball: Poor third quarter stops Seton-LaSalle from repeating as WPIAL champs

Written by Brad Everett on .

For one half last Saturday, it looked like Seton-LaSalle was in the driver's seat to successfully defend its WPIAL Class AA title.

Then the third quarter came.

After taking a six-point halftime lead, Seton-LaSalle slipped up in the third quarter – the Rebels were outscored, 22-12 – and went on to lose to Aliquippa, 68-57, at Petersen Events Center. It was Aliquippa's 11th WPIAL title and first since 1997.

The Rebels were most severely hurt in the pivotal quarter by the play of Aliquippa's Stephon McGinnis and Kaezon Pugh. Aliquippa trailed, 34-28, when McGinnis knocked down consecutive 3-pointers to pull the Quips even with 3:59 left. Pugh, who was a force down low, then scored four straight points to complete a 10-0 run and give the Quips a lead they would never relinquish.

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Boys Basketball: South represented by six teams in PIAA playoffs

Written by Brad Everett on .

When the PIAA playoffs get underway Friday and Saturday, the South area will be well represented.

Five teams earned state playoff berths, including at least one in each class. Chartiers Valley and Mt. Lebanon qualified in Class AAAA, South Fayette in Class AAA, Seton-LaSalle in Class AA, and Monessen in Class A. Chartiers Valley and Monessen both won WPIAL championships, while Seton-LaSalle was the runner-up.

Two of those teams – Chartiers Valley (23-3) and Mt. Lebanon (20-6) – will square off Saturday at Canon-McMillan at 2:30 p.m. The teams split a pair of meetings in the regular season, with the Colts winning, 71-57, and the Blue Devils winning, 58-55.

South Fayette (19-6) will open up against WPIAL champion Indiana (24-2) Friday at Plum at 7:30 p.m. The Little Indians have not lost to a Class AAA team this season.

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Girls Basketball: Seton-LaSalle sets sights on PIAA tournament

Written by Joe Koch on .

Seton-LaSalle High girls basketball coach Spencer Stefko didn't waste much time getting his WPIAL Class AA girls basketball championship team focused on its PIAA first-round game with Westmont Hilltop, the No. 3 team from District 6. Game time is 6 p.m. Friday at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School.

Shortly after his team's 51-35 victory over Section 3-AA rival Bishop Canevin High School this past Friday at Pitt's Petersen Events Center, Stefko said his team would turn its attention toward its next opponent in rapid fashion.

"Sometimes you talk to other coaches and sometimes you think we might overdo this district thing," he said of the WPIAL tournament. "Maybe we shoot ourselves in the foot a little bit in the state tournament. Certainly, it is an accomplishment to win a district title. But it bears repeating that (11) Class AA teams are going to have this high (after winning district titles). That's nice. You can enjoy that until midnight because there's a team coming on Friday that wants to do you harm. We got to make sure we're ready for that."