After WPIAL runner-up finish, Penn-Trafford turns attention to state rifle competition

Sunday, February 12, 2023 | 11:01 AM

Penn-Trafford coed rifle coach Diana Cholock said she had mixed feelings about the team’s second-place finish at the WPIAL team championships Feb. 7, at Dormont-Mt. Lebanon Sportsmen’s Club in Canonsburg.

She was happy for the high finish, falling to Butler by a point, but also disappointed that some of her young shooters didn’t compete to the best of their abilities.

“I believe some of them were nervous competing in such a big event,” Cholock said. “We also got a good performance from a couple veterans, but I felt we could have done a little better.”

Butler finished with a score of 799-49x to edge runner-up Penn-Trafford (798-57x) and Trinity (798-54x).

Butler (10-3 overall), which won the Section 4 title, was the WPIAL runner-up a year ago. The top two teams in each of the WPIAL’s four sections earned a trip to the WPIAL team championships.

Junior Carlee Valenta led Penn-Trafford (13-2) and was the only competitor with a perfect 10-10x score. She was followed by teammates Mathew Stewart (100-8x), Nessa Wright (10-7x), Brian Broadwater (100-7x), Seth Baughman (100-7x) and Ivy Thomas (100-6x).

“Carlee did a fantastic job,” Cholock said. “It was nice to see. She was the only shooter to record a perfect score.

“I expect her, Seth, Brian, Ivy and Nessa to do well in the individual competition tournament (held Feb. 9). I also feel the team will bounce back in the state tournament (Feb. 16).”

Cholock said she expects good things from Carlee and Seth, who finished 16th in 2022. She also expects Broadwater, Thomas and Dominic Nicotero to perform better.

“The target for the state meet is different,” Cholock said. “I don’t think it will affect them.”

Cholock was also pleased how the team rebounded late in the season to defeat Mt. Lebanon to earn a share of the Section 3 title.

The Warriors defeated the Blue Devils, 798.61 to 797.6, to finish with an 8-2 record in Section 3. The Warriors (10-2 overall) tied with Mt. Lebanon (12-2, 8-2) and both advanced to the WPIAL championships. Hempfield (10-4, 7-3) and Woodland Hills (4-10, 2-8) rounded out the section standings.

Against Mt. Lebanon, Carlee Valenta (100-9x), Baughman (100-9x) and Zach Burns (100-9x) led the Warriors. Thomas (100-7x) and Wright (100-7x) were next, followed by Mallory McRae (100-6x), Emily Valenta (99-8x) and Broadwater (99-6x).

“They did a fantastic job,” Cholock said. “It was a great win. I knew when we defeated Hempfield that we had a chance. They really wanted to win it.”

Now they have their eye on winning a state title.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at


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