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Wrestling: Canon-McMillan qualifies four for junior nationals

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Ken Wunderley profiles the quartet of Canon-McMillan wrestlers who competed in the USA Wrestling Cadet & Junior National Championships. Read his story below.

It's rare to see a high school represented by more than one wrestler at the USA Wrestling Cadet & Junior National Championships, which are held annually at North Dakota State University in Fargo.

Canon-McMillan was the exception to that unwritten rule at the Cadet National Championships, which concluded last week. The Big Macs had four entries in the freestyle tournament. Two of the four also competed in the Greco-Roman tournament.

"I can't remember the last time, if ever, Canon-McMillan had four wrestlers qualify for the trip to Fargo," Canon-McMillan coach Jason Cardillo said. "They all love to wrestle freestyle."

The foursome from Canon-McMillan are Logan Macri, Camden Fontenot, Blaze Kansco and Brendan Furman. Macri recently completed his freshman year. The other three are two-year starters who recently concluded their sophomore year.

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Girls Volleyball: Senior moment for Bishop Canevin player

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Ken Wunderley profiles Bishop Canevin volleyball player Erin Cunningham. Read his story below.

Erin Cunningham has a chance to do something most girl volleyball players can only dream of.

Cunningham, a senior at Bishop Canevin High School, has made three consecutive appearances in the WPIAL Class A title match and is hoping to make a return trip to the finals for an encore.

"Erin came to us as a freshman and started right away," Bishop Canevin coach Kevin Walters said. "She's a well-rounded player who is strong in all phases of the game. She works very hard and always does what's best for the team."

Bishop Canevin has faced Greensburg Central Catholic in the WPIAL Class A title match three years in a row, but the Crusaders had to settle for a silver medal in two of those appearances.

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Girls Basketball: Mt. Lebanon junior spreads success around

Written by Joe Bendel on .

Joe Bendel profiles Mt. Lebanon's Kate Sramac.

"Hockey player or hoop star? Hoop star or hockey player?

Young Kate Sramac of Mt. Lebanon is unable to answer such a query. Let's just call her a Kate of all trades.

"I like both equally," said Sramac, a soon-to-be junior at Mt. Lebanon High. "Sometimes, I'd rather be playing hockey when I have basketball. And sometimes, I'd rather be playing basketball ..."

A conundrum? Yes. But it has hardly derailed her ability to excel at both sports, which is somewhat of an oddity given the two seasons intersect."

 

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Basketball: Two former WPIAL stars making an impact in the Big Apple

Written by Brad Everett on .

The New York Liberty of the WNBA is off to its best start in more than a decade.

Two former WPIAL standouts have played key roles in that success.

Swin Cash and Tanisha Wright have had tremendous careers. Both at the high school, collegiate and professional levels, and Cash as a member of Team USA. Now together, they're doing big things in the Big Apple.

Cash, a 1998 McKeesport graduate, and Wright, a 2001 West Mifflin graduate, helped the Liberty go 12-5 the first half of the season, giving the team its best start since 2001. The Liberty fell to 12-6 after a loss to Indiana on Wednesday.

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Boys Volleyball: 2015 South Season Recap

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

You can't blame Bethel Park boys volleyball coach Tom Allman for looking ahead after the Black Hawks narrow 3-2 loss to Fox Chapel in the PIAA Class AAA quarterfinals, at North Allegheny High School.

"It's disappointing to get this far and have your season end in a five-set match," said Allman, who is completing his 25th year. "But we do have a bright future to look forward to."

Allman's squad gave the WPIAL champs all they could handle, despite losing the first two games.

"It was a slugfest early in the match," Allman said. "We had a 20-19 lead in the first set, but came up short in a 25-23 loss. We had too many unforced errors in the second set. We gave them approximately 16 points with our poor play [and lost 25-18]."

But just when it looked as if Fox Chapel would sweep Bethel Park, the Black Hawks began a comeback. They won the third set 25-23, then pulled out a 25-22 decision in the fourth set.

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Boys Volleyball: 2015 South Photo Recap

Written by Sports Town on .

The following photos feature boys volleyball teams from the area's South zone. These ran in the Post-Gazette during the 2015 season.

2015 0605 BethelPark BVolleyball(Photo: Bethel Park junior setter Brandon Thorsen is an All-WPIAL Class AAA second-team selection. J.J. LaBella/Tri-State Sports & News Service)

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Football: Clairton's Wade is counting stars

Written by Brad Everett on .

Brad Everett profiles Clairton football standout Lamont Wade.

"There will be a strong crop of senior football talent in the WPIAL and City League this fall, led by a few players who have a number of scholarship offers from major Division I schools.

The most dynamic talent locally, though, might not reside in the senior class.

That player is a junior and is now the most highly regarded recruit from Western Pennsylvania since Terrelle Pryor.

Lamont Wade, a running back-cornerback at Clairton, hopes to star in the NFL some day. This summer, he has been counting stars. And when you're a high school player and have five stars listed next to your name, it's a pretty big deal."

 

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Wrestling: South Park wrestler eyes a perfect finish

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Ken Wunderley profiles South Park wrestler Jake Wentzel. Read his story below.

Jake Wentzel reached the pinnacle of PIAA wrestling in March when he joined with teammate Greg Bulsak to become the first South Park wrestlers to win a state title.

The obvious goal for both is to repeat as WPIAL and PIAA champions, but Wentzel wants to take it one step further.

"My goal for the upcoming season is to go undefeated," Wentzel said. "I came close last year."

Wentzel completed his junior year with a 40-1 record. His only loss came in the finals of the Powerade Christmas Tournament, when he dropped a 5-3 decision to Central Catholic's Vincenzo Joseph, a Penn State recruit who went on to win a second PIAA Class AAA title.

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Girls Basketball: Bethel Park standout picks Canisius

Written by Keith Barnes on .

Keith Barnes profiles Bethel Park basketball player Shannon Conely.

"Shannon Conely was a bit overwhelmed when she began garnering interest from Division I colleges.

"At first I was really nervous to go and talk to the coaches, but after my first visit, the coaches and everybody was so welcoming that there wasn't any stress at all," Conely said. "Everyone's really nice and they were all nice, they gave me tours, told me everything about the schools and they were really informative."

At the end of the day, though, the rising senior at Bethel Park chose comfort and convenience as the 5-foot-10 forward opted to accept a scholarship to Canisius over, among others, Niagara, Central Connecticut and Youngstown State.

"Right off the bat, I loved the girls because they were so welcoming and then I liked the fact that the drive was only a little over three hours," Conely said. "The coaches were great and I really liked their personalities and I liked the class size and the campus and the motion offense because it's my style. It's a perfect fit and I'm really happy with it.""

 

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Boys Lacrosse: 2015 South Season Recap

Written by Joe Koch on .

No one likes unpleasant surprises. Just ask Mt. Lebanon boys lacrosse coach Mike Ermer for his take on that subject.

With the clamor still ringing in his players' ears following an emotional 9-8 victory over North Allegheny in the WPIAL Division I championship game at Highmark Stadium, Ermer's Blue Devils began what they hoped would be a long playoff run.

But that prospect promptly disappeared as the Blue Devils dropped a 12-10 decision to District 3 runner-up Cumberland Valley in a game played at Hempfield Area High School.

"Things did not go our way at the end," Ermer said. "It was back and forth the whole game, and they had too much at the end. They converted their looks at the end, and we didn't."

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Girls Lacrosse: 2015 South Season Recap

Written by Joe Koch on .

There was plenty of effort, but too few goals for the Mt. Lebanon High girls lacrosse team.

The Blue Devils swept through Division 1, Section 1 with a record of 12-0 and were 19-2 overall. Both of their losses came against Quaker Valley by scores of 11-9 and 11-8, respectively, in the WPIAL Division 1 championship game and the PIAA playoffs.

The Blue Devils began the season in a torrid fashion. They won their first 18 games with their closest victory a 12-10 triumph over area rival -- and first year Division I member -- Chartiers Valley. They didn't taste defeat until they fell to Quaker Valley by an 11-9 margin in the WPIAL Division I championship game.

Mt. Lebanon wanted a second chance against the Quakers, and the Blue Devils earned it with a heart-stopping 9-8 triple-overtime victory over District 6 champion State College at Altoona. Megan Gibbons scored the game-winner, and the victory meant a second game with Quaker Valley in nine days.

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Boys Tennis: 2015 South Season Recap

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

Upper St. Clair won five straight WPIAL titles from 2004-08, but hadn't made a WPIAL final since – until this year.

The Panthers ended Shady Side Academy's three-year run as district champs, unseating the Indians, 3-2, in the WPIAL Class AAA team championship. The Panthers went on to finish second in the state tournament, falling 3-2 to District 1 champion Lower Merion.

Upper St. Clair was led by senior Fernando Escribens, a WPIAL singles semifinalist. Escribens had his WPIAL title hopes dashed by Canon-McMillan's Chris Gladden, who finished second in the WPIAL and third in the state.

Joining Upper St. Clair at the state tournament was Mt. Lebanon, which finished third in the WPIAL tournament. The Blue Devils met the Panthers in the PIAA semifinals, with Upper St. Clair besting its rival, 3-2.

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Boys Tennis: 2015 South Photo Recap

Written by Sports Town on .

The following photos feature boys tennis players from the area's South zone. These ran in the Post-Gazette during the 2015 season.

2015 0522 CanonMcMillan BTennis(Photo: Canon-McMillan's Chris Gladden returns a ball against Latrobe's Chad Kissell in the WPIAL Class AAA singles championship at The Club in Monroeville. Peter Diana/Post-Gazette)

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Boys Track & Field: 2015 South Season Recap

Written by Justin Criado on .

The Canon-McMillan boys finished fourth in Class AAA. The Washington boys team had the highest South team finish as it placed runner-up in Class AA.

DeQuay Isbell led the Little Prexies this season as he won the 200- and 400-meter races at the WPIAL Class AA championships with times of 21.99 and 48.77, respectively.

The West Mifflin sprinters led by Kevin Garbark were one of the most consistent groups in Class AAA this year, claiming spots at the PIAA championships as a relay and individuals.

Todd Sekowski won the 100 with a time of 10.91 seconds before running the 400 relay with teammates Howie Reid, Kevin Dulak and Phil Jackson, winning with a time of 42.73.

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Girls Track & Field: 2015 South Season Recap

Written by Justin Criado on .

Home to some of the top schools in the WPIAL like Mt. Lebanon, Baldwin and Peters Township, the South may have failed to live up to its own lofty expectations this year, but that doesn't necessarily mean it was a down year.

The Mt. Lebanon girls team finished fourth in WPIAL Class AAA. Junior Kelsey Potts had the best individual performance at the state championships of any South athlete as she finished third in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 4:51.38, improving on her mark from last year.

Serra Catholic senior Hanna Pitchford's throw of 39 feet, 10.25 inches at states ended her season on a high note as she placed fifth and became the first girl to win a medal at states in school history.

West Mifflin's Chandler Killins captured her first state medal by placing fourth in the triple jump.

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Boys Track & Field: 2015 South Photo Recap

Written by Sports Town on .

The following photos feature boys track & field athletes from the area's South zone. These ran in the Post-Gazette during the 2015 season.

2015 0522 WestMifflin BTrack(Photo: West Mifflin's Todd Sekowski, left, edges Kiski Area's Kianta Britton to win the AAA 100 meter dash at the WPIAL track championships last week at Baldwin. Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)

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Girls Track & Field: 2015 South Photo Recap

Written by Sports Town on .

The following photos feature girls track & field athletes from the area's South zone. These ran in the Post-Gazette during the 2015 season.

2015 0417 BethelPark GTrack(Photo: Bethel Park's Alexandra Stevenson winds up for her discus throw at the Tri-Sate Track Coaches Association Invitational at West Mifflin High School. Pam Panchak/Post-Gazette)

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Softball: 2015 South Season Recap

Written by Nicholas Tolomeo on .

Trinity reached the PIAA Class AAA finals this season for the first time in program history. Led by Pitt recruit and shortstop Olivia Gray, and Penn State recruit and first baseman Delaney Elling, the Hillers marched all the way to Penn State for the state final. They dropped a 2-0 decision to District 11 Bethlehem Catholic. It was still a banner year for the program as it won 20 games and scored 201 runs in 25 games, averaging 8 runs per game. The state final result was not a fitting end to the season. Prior to getting blanked in the state final, the Hillers had not been shut out in 27 games since May 6, 2014 in a 10-0 loss to South Fayette.

Trinity also had its share of clutch hits in the postseason, none bigger than the two-run double Clemens came up with in the top of the seventh inning in a 3-2 win in the semifinals against District 6 champion Bellwood-Antis. The Hillers, the third-place consolation game winner from District 7, defeated three district champions — District 10 winner Warren, WPIAL champion Belle Vernon Area and Bellwood-Antis — just to reach the championship game.

There's no doubt Trinity made major improvements over the team that took the field in 2014. Last season the Hillers were 16-3, but they lost in the second round of the WPIAL playoffs to 13th-seeded Thomas Jefferson, which went on to become one of the lowest-seeded teams ever to win the Class AAA title.

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Softball: 2015 South Photo Recap

Written by Sports Town on .

The following photos feature softball teams from the area's South zone. These ran in the Post-Gazette during the 2015 season.

2015 0529 BelleVernon Softball(Photo: Belle Vernon's Emily Frederick (13) is mobbed by her teammates after hitting the game winning single to score two runs against Yough in the WPIAL Class AAA softball championship at California University Thursday. Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)