West Archives


Football: Cornell football team back with alacrity after four-year layoff

Written by Brian Batko on .

Brian Batko profiles the Cornell football team.

2016 0826 Cornell Football1(Photo: Cornell's players run through some plays Monday at practice, a sight for sore eyes after the program was discontinued following the 2011 season. Lake Fong/Post-Gazette)

"As 30-some players lined up for their team picture Monday, a photographer yelled, "This is your first year back, so it has to be perfect!"

For Cornell football coach Ed Dawson and his staff, that bit of instruction couldn't be further from the truth. To Dawson, just hearing those words — "Cornell High School football" — brings a rush of excitement.

While many teams around the WPIAL rebuild and some merely reload, the Raiders football program must completely restart after a four-year hiatus. Cornell dropped the sport after the 2011 season because of low participation, but brought it back in January.

"It's been nice to stop at a convenience store and say, 'Oh my god, they're selling Cornell football hats,' " Dawson said with a grin. "Getting gas, there's T-shirts. I was at Walmart, and next to the Moon stuff, we had some Cornell things.""


Alumni Update - Kayleen Schwegler (Pitt-Greensburg)

Written by Drew Karpen on .

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Junior Camille Hickman and 2015 Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Newcomer of the Year, sophomoreSchwegler PGU Kayleen Schwegler have been named Players to Watch for the upcoming 2016 women's soccer season.

The Bobcats are picked to finish third in the AMCC, the highest expected finish for Pitt-Greensburg since being picked to finish third in 2005. The Bobcats finished 2015 with a 6-1-2 conference record, earning them third place out of the 10 team field.

Schwegler, a Hopewell graduate, earned first team All-AMCC honors as a freshman and was dubbed the conference's Newcomer of the Year in 2015.  

Schwegler finished the season ranked third in goals (14), second in conference goals (9), first in game winning-goals (5), and first in conference game-winning goals (4).


(photo courtesy of University of Pitt-Greensburg)


Girls Basketball: Blackhawk ninth-grader picks up second Division I offer

Written by Brad Everett on .

Mackenzie Amalia had her first official day of high school today.

She already has twice as many Division I basketball offers.

Amalia, a freshman at Blackhawk, is one of the top players in her class in the WPIAL. On Sunday, she picked up a scholarship offer from Niagara, her second from a Division I school. She was previously offered by Duquesne when she was only in seventh grade.

Mackenzie's older sister, Madison, is a senior at Blackhawk and has committed to play basketball at St. Thomas Aquinas. She averaged 15 points per game her junior season. Their father, Bob, is the longtime baseball coach at Blackhawk.


Football: It's not wise to bet against Beaver Area

Written by Brad Everett on .

Brad Everett profiles Beaver standout Darius Wise.

"He rushed for more than 1,500 yards last season — as a quarterback — averaged 24 points per game in basketball and is one of the premier track sprinters in the WPIAL.

Yeah, this Wise guy is pretty darn good.

Beaver Area's Darius Wise is one of the top football players and all-around athletes in Western Pennsylvania. He has been clocked at 4.4 in the 40-yard dash, is about to crack double-digit FBS offers and has set a goal of scoring at least five touchdowns in every game. He has scored 67 career touchdowns, which is believed to be a school record.

"At Beaver, he's the best athlete we've had since I've been here. This is my 17th year. He has a chance to put himself in the elite of all time," Beaver coach Jeff Beltz said. "And that's just statistics. But I think when you get on the field and watch him, I think you notice some of the attributes he has that are even more special.""


Football: Through hard times, no one wins like Aliquippa football

Written by Mike White on .

Mike White profiles the Aliquippa football program.

"A few weeks ago, Aliquippa learned talented running back DiMantae Bronaugh won't be able to play this season because of the return of leukemia. In July, senior defensive back Marcus "Deuce" Tigner committed suicide. In late spring, former quarterback Sjavante Gilliam, a Marine veteran with a Purple Heart, was shot and killed in Aliquippa.

These may be trying times for Aliquippa High School football. But in terms of wins and losses, it always seems to be the best of times at Aliquippa. In Western Pennsylvania, they are the program of the 21st century.

The Post-Gazette crunched the numbers of wins and losses for every team in the WPIAL and City League since 2000. Not surprisingly, Aliquippa has the best winning percentage at .882, which comes from a 188-25 record. Aliquippa's success is well known, but when you put tangible statistics to the Quips, it's even more impressive.

For the best since the turn of the century, the Quips edged Thomas Jefferson, which had an .873 percentage (186-27). Three other teams had percentages above .800 — Central Catholic (.859), Jeannette (.849) and Clairton (.812). Albert Gallatin had the worst at .154 (23-126 record)."


Football: Blue Chip Chat - Montour's Mason Cholewa

Written by Mike White on .

In today's Blue Chip Chat, Mike White profiles Montour's Mason Cholewa.

Name: Mason Cholewa
School: Montour
Year: Senior
Height: 6-7
Weight: 270
Pos: OT-DL

First, the name. It is pronounced Cha-LEE-wa. He moved from Buffalo in third grade, and you could call Cholewa a late bloomer. Nicknamed "Chile," he was not a starter at the beginning of last season, but eventually worked his way into a starting role and became a defensive player recruited by major colleges. He has added about 40 pounds since last season and will be a two-way starter this season.



Football: Blue Chip Chat - Beaver Falls' Donovan Jeter

Written by Mike White on .

In today's Blue Chip Chat, Mike White profiles Beaver Falls' Donovan Jeter.

Name: Donovan Jeter
School: Beaver Falls
Year: Senior
Height: 6-5
Weight: 250
Pos: TE-DE

A kid who once thought basketball was his ticket to a college future, Jeter has blossomed into a football star. Jeter is a highly regarded defensive end, earning a four-star rating from Rivals.com. He looks a lot different this season, shedding 45 pounds since last year, working hard over the summer with a personal trainer (Terry Grossetti). While he is smaller, he is talking big this year.



Football: Former Aliquippa star out for season at WVU

Written by Brad Everett on .

Big things were expected from Dravon Askew-Henry this season. A junior safety at West Virginia, Askew-Henry developed into one of the best defensive backs in the Big 12 last season and was one of the leaders of the Mountaineers defense.

The former Aliquippa star will now have to lead from the sideline.

West Virginia announced today that Askew-Henry will miss the entire season with a knee injury. He tore the ACL in his left knee at practice Wednesday.

"This is a tremendous loss for our football team," West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. "Without a doubt Dravon was one of our leaders on and off the field. We will support him through his recovery and work with him to get him 100 percent back to health."


Volleyball: Hopewell grad displays strength of character, on and off court

Written by Maya Sweedler on .

Maya Sweedler profiles Hopewell graduate Christa Harmotto Dietzen, who qualified for her second Olympics as a member of the U.S. women's volleyball team.

"The gold-medal match in women's volleyball at the 2012 Olympics lasted one hour and 40 minutes, a pretty standard length, according to the International Federation of Volleyball (FIVB).

The members of the American team are unlikely to forget those 100 minutes, which saw the U.S. — a team that had dropped just two sets in its previous seven matches — fall to Brazil in London, just as it had in Beijing four years earlier.

Christa Harmotto Dietzen, a Hopewell High School and Penn State alumna, was on the court for the final point. After a record-setting collegiate career, which included back-to-back NCAA titles and four All-American nods from the American Volleyball Coaches Association, Dietzen joined the U.S. National Team in 2009 and earned a spot on the 12-woman Olympic roster in 2012.

Dietzen, 29, is headed back to the Olympics this week, this time as the captain of the No. 1 women's volleyball team in the world."



Football: Beaver Falls standout trims his list to five

Written by Brad Everett on .

Donovan Jeter is considered one of the top high school defensive tackles in the country and has a long list of scholarship offers.

Tonight, the Beaver Falls senior cut his list of potential college destinations to five.

Jeter announced on Twitter that he will choose between Pitt, Penn State, Ohio State, Alabama and Tennessee.

Rivals ranks Jeter (6-feet-5, 275 pounds) the No. 12 defensive tackle in the nation. Jeter was selected to the Post-Gazette's Fabulous 22 team as a junior. Jeter also plays tight end at Beaver Falls. His brother, Sheldon, is a senior basketball player at Pitt.


Football: Montour senior chooses a college

Written by Brad Everett on .

At 6-foot-7, 265 pounds, Mason Cholewa is very big teenager.

On Wednesday, the Montour senior defensive lineman made a very big decision.

Cholewa announced on Twitter that he has made a verbal committment to Central Florida. He has scholarship offers from more than a dozen other schools, but ultimately chose Central Florida over his other two favorites, Toledo and Temple.

First And Foremost I Would Like To Thank My Parents, My Coaches, And My Teammates For Helping Me Go Through This Process, I Couldn't Have Done It Without You Guys. Also I Would Like To Thank All The Coaches That Offered Me a Scholarship To Play Football. With this Being Said... 

I'm Blessed And Proud To Say That I Will Be committing To Play Football At The University OF Central Florida #UCFast #ChargeOn -- @masoncholewa


Boys Volleyball: 2016 West Season Recap

Written by Ken Wunderley on .

Beaver County Christian claimed its first WPIAL title with a 3-0 upset of four-time defending champion Ambridge in the Class AA final. The title comes in the eighth year of the program.

The Class AA final was a rematch, as Ambridge beat Beaver County Christian twice in section play.

"I'm shocked," Beaver C.C. coach Christen Adels said. "I never thought this would be a 3-0 match. We lost in five and then lost in four. I thought we could win, but I never thought we would sweep Ambridge."

Beaver County Christian jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first set and increased its lead to 13-5, but the Eagles allowed Ambridge to battle back and tie the match at 21-21. The Eagles eventually pulled out a 29-27 victory and took charge from that point.


Boys Volleyball: 2016 West Photo Recap

Written by Sports Town on .

The following photos feature boys volleyball teams from the area's West zone. These ran in the Post-Gazette during the 2016 season.

2016 0422 BeaverCC BVolleyball(Photo: Quinn McCracken was one of four Beaver County Christian players voted All-WPIAL last season. J.J. LaBella/Tri-State Sports & News Service)


Boys Lacrosse: 2016 West Season Recap

Written by Joe Koch on .

The Moon boys lacrosse team is one of the younger programs in the WPIAL, but the Planets did themselves proud by advancing to the semifinals of the WPIAL Division 2 tournament this season.

The Planets ousted No. 4 seed Penn-Trafford, 11-5, in a first-round game before falling to Mars, 15-11, in the semifinals. This loss came against a Planets' team that won 15 games by double-digit margins en route to a 19-1 record and the WPIAL Division 2 championship.

If Moon is able to duplicate – or exceed – this year's achievement during the 2017 season, then a berth in the PIAA tournament is a possibility. Next year, teams will be configured according to enrollment, and Moon will be competing in Class AA.



Girls Lacrosse: 2016 West Season Recap

Written by Joe Koch on .

After coming so close last year, the Blackhawk High girls lacrosse team made plenty of history with a 7-5 victory over Mars in the final WPIAL Division 2 girls championship game on May 26 at Highmark Stadium.

Next year, the sport will be configured in Class AAA and Class AA, and that means qualifying teams in both alignments are eligible to compete in parallel PIAA tournaments. The season just completed was the final one in division play, where only Division 1 teams could compete in a statewide tournament.

Enough about next season. The season just completed offered plenty of drama for both the Cougars and the Planets as it was the third time the non-section teams had competed this season.

True to form, the championship game was the winner-take-all game for more than the obvious reasons. After losing to Mars, 9-7, in the opening game of the regular season, Blackhawk never tasted defeat again. The Cougars evened the season series with a 12-9 victory over the Planets before meeting again in the championship game.