Cross Country

Scholastic Notebook
October 25, 2015
The irony of it. Deer Lakes came into Friday night’s game with the leading rusher in the entire WPIAL this season Hunter Burns. When it ended, Apollo-Ridge had the top rusher ever in a WPIAL game. Duane Brown, a junior at Apollo-Ridge, put himself in the history books when he rushed for a WPIAL record 460 yards in a 56-35 victory over Deer Lakes. Brown was certainly a workhorse in the game, carrying the ball 47 times. Brown broke a 15-year-old WPIAL record. Connellsville’s Marcus Furman ran for 455 yards in a 2000 game. What’s funny is that Apollo-Ridge coach John Skiba and his team had no idea how many yards Brown had or that he had broken the WPIAL record until an announcer from your very own MSA Sports staff came on the field and told him after the game.

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This Week on the MSA Sports Network
We conclude the Stretch Run of the 2015 high school football season while starting exclusive coverage of the 2015 WPIAL Soccer and Girls Volleyball Playoffs this week here on the MSA Sports Network. We wrap up the regular season with Week Nine of the high school football season with 29 WPIAL weekend contests starting Friday night with the MSA Sports Pregame Show and concluding later that night with the WPIAL Football Scoreboard Show.

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Scholastic Notebook
September 11, 2015
Duane Brown’s sidekick is gone, but Brown’s game apparently still has a lot of kick. Brown is a junior football player at Apollo-Ridge. A year ago, he and Tre Tipton were a one-of-a-kind one-two punch, as both played quarterback and some at receiver/running back. They were believed to be the first quarterback pair in WPIAL history to both rush for 1,000 yards in the same season. Tipton is now at Pitt, but life is anything but the pits for Brown. At least after the first week of the season. Look at the statistical leaders for the WPIAL after Week 1 and Brown is the only one you will see in the receiving, rushing and scoring leaders.

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2015 Positive Athlete Awards
May 19, 2015
2015 Positive Athlete Awards On Wednesday, May 13th,  27 Western PA High School students were recognized at the John Heinz History Center by Hines Ward as “Positive Athletes” .  These athletes were nominated by coaches, teachers, administrators, parents, and friends for their ability to meet the following criteria in their day-to day lives as athletes, students and members of their communities.

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WPIAL Hall of Fame Class of 2015
April 9, 2015
Four athletes who would later go on to professional careers, several multi-sport athletes, four coaches who won nearly 40 WPIAL championships between them, an old-school baseball player whose son continued his Major League Baseball legacy and a team that won nine WPIAL and PIAA playoff games en route to a state basketball title by an average margin of victory of 25.8. Those are some of the headliners of the WPIAL Hall of Fame class of 2015. The WPIAL held a news conference Thursday morning to announce its ninth annual class. You can watch the video stream archived here on MSA Sports. All inductees will be honored at a banquet June 12 at the Doubletree Hotel in Greentree.

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Scholastic Notebook
January 9, 2015
New Castle High School’s Malik Hooker apparently isn’t the only one who wears the athletic “genes” in the family. Hooker was one of the best two-sport athletes in the state the past two years, standing out in football and basketball. He now is a freshman football player at Ohio State, but is being redshirted this year. Two of Hooker’s younger brothers are now playing on the New Castle basketball. One of them is the team’s leading scorer in his first year as a starter. Marquel Hooker, a 5-foot-10 junior, is averaging 16.4 points a game. He never saw regular varsity time before this season.

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MSA Sports Countdown – Top 25 WPIAL Stories From 2014
January 7, 2015
It has become a tradition like no other...at least during the holidays here at MSA Sports. Here is a look back at another great high school sports year with the top stories from around the WPIAL in 2014. We conclude our countdown with all 25 stories from #25 through #1. #25 - Game, Set, Match and Gold The unique streak continued in 2014 for Sewickley Academy. 2009 was the last time a Panthers duo did not win gold the WPIAL boys doubles tennis tournament. back in April, the Sewickley Academy tandem of Ryan Gex and Luke Vith won gold in Class AA.

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MSA Sports Countdown – Top 25 WPIAL Stories From 2014
January 1, 2015
It has become a tradition like no other...at least during the holidays here at MSA Sports. It's time to look back at another high school sports year with the top stories from around the WPIAL in 2014. We conclude our countdown with the five stories that ended up #5 through #1. {Left:  Brianna Schwartz of Shaler crosses the finish line to win the WPIAL Girls Class AAA cross-county championship, her third straight title} #5 - Sister Power In 2013, the Kluska sisters made news when older sister Alyvia forfeited her WPIAL Class AA Consolation match to Michaela, thus earning the then freshman a spot in the PIAA girls individual singles tennis playoffs.

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Scholastic Notebook
November 14, 2014
It has been well-documented how Pine-Richland quarterback Ben DiNucci has turned out to be one of the most prolific passers in the history of the WPIAL. But DiNucci also has benefitted from a terrific one-two receiving punch. It looks like you could call seniors D’ondre Gastion and Mike Merhaut are a receiving duo for the ages. There are no records available for best receiving one-two punches, but you can bet you will be hard-pressed to find many duos from the same team who have been as productive as Gastion and Merhaut. How many teams have had two receivers with 100 or more career catches? But that’s what Pine-Richland has in Gastion and Merhaut, a pair of seniors.

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Shaler’s Brianna Schwart Runs Away With PIAA Cross-Country Gold
November 2, 2014
The golden career of Shaler's Brianna Schwartz had another championship chapter written Saturday in Hershey. The three time WPIAL Class AAA girls cross-country champion finally captured a PIAA championship and was joined in the winners circle by one other famle runner and a pair of boys teams from the WPIAL. Schwartz finished first in the near record setting course time of 17:39 , the second fastest time ever by a female runner on the Hershey course on a raw, rainy and windy afternoon with temps in the mid-40's. Also winning state gold was Marianne Abdalah of Vincentian Academy, who took first in the Girls Class A race with a winning time of 18:35.

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Scholastic Notebook
October 24, 2014
Has there ever been a WPIAL football regular season that was so perfect as this one? Probably not. Fourteen teams go into the final night of the regular season with undefeated records. Two of them play (West Allegheny at Central Valley). That means there could be 13 teams that finish the regular season with perfect records. That would be the most in the WPIAL in a long time. Possibly ever. Checking records going back 37 years, there has never been a WPIAL season with 13 undefeated and untied teams (there used to no overtime in WPIAL football).

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North Allegheny, Knoch & Sewickley Academy Win WPIAL Boys Team X-Country
On the boys’ side, North Allegheny once again shined, as the Tigers cruised to a team victory, led by individual winner Matt McGoey, who edged teammate Hunter Wharrey for the top spot.

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Seneca Valley, Quaker Valley & Laurel Win WPIAL Girls Team X-Country
October 23, 2014
Brianna Schwartz of Shaler captured a three-peat at the WPIAL Cross-Country Championships on Thursday, as she once again proved unbeatable at Cooper’s Lake Campground in Butler.

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Scholastic Notebook
October 18, 2014
Neshannock High School has never gotten much attention for football, and not just because the small Lawrence County school is on the outer edges of the WPIAL. Neshannock hasn’t gotten much attention because the football team had been one of the least successful in WPIAL history – until lately. What is going on the past few seasons at Neshannock is really one of the biggest turnaround stories in the WPIAL in a long time. And this year, the story might have a perfect ending.

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MSA SPORTS CUP: Sewickley Academy Back on Top After Winning Class A Cup
July 3, 2014
Eight time champion Sewickley Academy and defending champ Greensburg Central Catholic were deadlocked with 360 points each with one more sport to calculate in the chase for the 2013-2014 MSA Sports Class A Cup. That one sports was boy tennis, which was great news for Panthers fans and bad news for everybody else in Class A. A district title and state runner-up in boys tennis helped Sewickley Academy win the MSA Sports Cup for the ninth time in eleven years.

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MSA SPORTS CUP: South Fayette Roars to First Class AAA Cup Title
July 1, 2014
The first ten years of the MSA Sports Cup has shown us that while there are a couple of dominating schools in the other three classifications, the chase for the Class AAA Cup has been up for grabs with eight different schools earning The Cup in ten years. Now in the eleventh year of this competition, we have another first time winner in Triple-A making it nine different champs in eleven years. After finishing as the runner-up in 2012-2013 and being a steady member on the Top 5 in recent years, South Fayette is finally enjoying its day in the Championship Sun with a convincing victory.

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MSA SPORTS CUP: Another Year, Another Quad-A Title for North Allegheny
June 30, 2014
Another school year and another MSA Sports Cup in Class AAAA for North Allegheny High School. NA captured their 11th Cup in eleven years since the MSA Sports Network started this school year long competition to determine the top sports programs in each classification. There are 20 sports in which schools can earn points in the competition and for the second straight year and only the second time in this history of the coveted competition, the Tigers earned points in ALL of them. In the 2012-2013 school year, North Allegheny scored a mind-numbing and record 1,115 points. In 2013-2014, they had to settle for a mere 965 points. The second place school finished 530 points behind NA.

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2013-2014 MSA Sports Female Athlete of the Year
June 25, 2014
Brianna Schwartz ran her final event of the school year two weeks ago in New York. It was a prestigious invite-only event sponsored by adidas and Schwart ran a race in which 10 high school runners from around the country competed in the mile. The entire meet was part of the adidas “Grand Prix” and the event that Schwartz participated was called the “Dream Mile.” For Schwartz, it was a rather appropriate title because she had a “dream year.” Schwartz, a junior at Shaler Area High School, did some marvelous things in the 2013-14 school year. She put herself in the WPIAL spotlight, but also gained national prominence. She is the MSA Sports Female Athlete of the Year.

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WPIAL Fall Sports Realignment for 2014
January 21, 2014
The WPIAL Board of Control officially passed the new alignments for the WPIAL fall sports on Tuesday afternoon, including girls volleyball, boys and girls golf, boys and girls cross-country, girls tennis and girls field hockey. A couple of big changes occur in Girls Tennis where there are more teams in fewer sections and in Boys and Girls Cross-Country where there are only two duel-class divisions, but there will be three classifications for the championships. Here is the new make-up of the sections in all of those sports for the 2014 high school fall sports seasons. GIRLS VOLLEYBALL: WPIAL CLASS AAA SECTION 1:

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MSA Sports Countdown of Top 25 WPIAL Stories of 2013 – #25 to #1
January 3, 2014
It has become a tradition like no other...at least during the holidays here at MSA Sports. It's time to look back at another high school sports year with the top stories from around the WPIAL in 2013. Here is our entire countdown fr0m #25 through #1. #25 - Playoff Drought Ends In a year when the Pittsburgh Pirates ended a long Major League Baseball playoff drought, a long WPIAL football playoff drought also came to an end when in Week 9, the Avella Eagles clinched a WPIAL playoffs berth with a 55-14 thrashing of Bentworth to clinch fourth place in the Class A Tri-County South Conference.

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