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West Allegheny 2014 Football Preview

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

West Allegheny's Bob Palko earned a spot among the hierarchy of WPIAL football coaches last year.

That's when he became the league's first coach to win eight titles.

The Indians claimed the Parkway Conference title, then recorded four victories in the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs, including a 16-6 win against Central Valley at Heinz Field. The Indians finished with a 13-1 record after losing to Erie Cathedral Prep in the PIAA quarterfinals.

Don't be surprised to see West Allegheny at Heinz Field again this season, as the Indians have 11 starters returning, along with both specialists.

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Wrestling: West Allegheny's Hall is hard at work

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Ken Wunderley profiles West Allegheny wrestler Nathan Hall. Read his story below.

Nathan Hall began wrestling at age 5, but switched to hockey the following year.

"My dad [Don] wrestled when he attended Freedom High School, so he wanted me to try wrestling," Hall recalled. "But he also wanted me to try other sports. I played hockey for a year, but realized that I missed wrestling. So I switched back to wrestling when I was 7."

Hall has tried several other sports since his days in elementary school, but wrestling is still his favorite.

"I ran cross country in seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th grade, but decided to concentrate on wrestling last season," said Hall, who completed his junior year at West Allegheny High School. "I love wrestling and I want to do it at the collegiate level."

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Football: West Allegheny's Koester picks a college

Written by Brad Everett on .

Andrew Koester was the starting quarterback on West Allegheny's WPIAL championship teams the past two seasons.

When his senior year concludes, Koester will try to bring his winning ways to St. Francis.

Koester committed to St. Francis University in Loretto, Pa. earlier this week.

Koester (6-foot-4) is entering his third season as West Allegheny's starting quarterback. He led the Indians to a 25-3 record the past two seasons. The Indians topped West Mifflin in the 2012 WPIAL Class AAA title game and then Central Valley in last year's championship.

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Golf: West Allegheny golfer shows maturity

Written by Ryan Riordan on .

Ryan Riordan profiles West Allegheny golfer Jake Gazella.

"When Jake Gazella played on the Butler's Woodside Golf Course in 2013, he hit it into a bunker on the par-3 No. 15 hole and carded a triple bogey, destroying his round.

On June 10, Gazella again found himself in the bunker on No. 15 at a King's Junior Golf Series event. This time he scored a double bogey and followed with a bogey on No. 16.

"I thought, 'Great, here we go again,'" Gazella recalled.

But a year older and a year wiser, Gazella was able to regroup to finish out his round with two consecutive pars to not only win the event title for the 15-16-year-old age group by five strokes, but finish in a tie for first among all competitors (there is also a 17-18 age group)."

 

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Baseball: West Allegheny's title game upset one for the ages

Written by Drew Karpen on .

Drew Karpen profiles the West Allegheny baseball team.

"The Consol Energy Park grandstand was packed with spectators anticipating history with Blackhawk pitcher Brendan McKay on the mound last Thursday.

Rightfully so. McKay entered the game with a 69-inning scoreless streak and was looking to lead the Cougars to their second WPIAL Class AAA title in three years.

Not much chatter was spreading around the Cougars' opponent that night at the beginning of the game, but that wasn't the case three hours later. Who was that opponent? West Allegheny. Or as some people like to refer to them now, the 2014 WPIAL Class AAA champions.

"It truly is awesome," Indians coach Bryan Cornell said. "Just everything that went on in that game. That is the seventh time he pitched against us in his career and we never beat him.""