Bethel Park sophomore earns high marks at WPIAL rifle championships

Saturday, February 18, 2023 | 11:01 AM

Bethel Park’s Freddy Mach proved to be a top marksman at the WPIAL rifle championship Feb. 9 at the Dormont-Mt. Lebanon Sportsmen’s Club in Canonsburg.

Mach, a sophomore who was born in Japan, finished as the WPIAL runner-up with a score of 200-18x and five center targets in the co-ed sport, slightly behind repeat champion Riley Dunn, a junior at McGuffey.

Dunn racked up a score of 200-19x, her same winning score as last year.

Bethel Park athletic director Dan Sloan praised the efforts of coach Jude Dressler, assistant Cody Wolfe and the performance of Mach and the entire rifle team in 2022-23.

“We are extremely proud of the season our team had this year,” Sloan, said. “Coach Dressler, coach Wolfe and the team put in a lot of work in the offseason and carried that into the season.

“As for the individual side, what a great accomplishment for Freddy, as a sophomore, to capture the silver medal with a fantastic championship round. We are excited to see what he can do at states and in the future for the Black Hawks rifle team.”

Girls have won the WPIAL rifle championship in seven of the last eight years. Bethel Park’s Travis Zeis broke a streak of five straight female titlists two years ago.

Zeis became the first Bethel Park student to win a WPIAL rifle title in almost 20 years, edging Hempfield’s Lydia Dunn and Waynesburg’s Tayler Burnfield at the individual championships. Zeis, Dunn and Burnfield finished with scores of 200-18x; Zeis had six centers to finish first.

Bethel Park senior Gianna LaMolinare will join Mach at the state finals thanks to a 200-15x score, which tied her for 10th place with West Greene’s JLin Scott, Armstrong’s Owen Hillegass and Mt. Lebanon’s J.T. Westwood.

The top 16 finishers qualified for states.

Other WPIAL finalists for the Black Hawks included junior Lindsay Saffer (199-14x), senior Owen Chaffin (199-13x) and senior A.J. (Anna) Huber (197-12x).

Bethel Park placed second to Trinity in Section II to advance to the WPIAL team championship.

The final section standings showed Trinity at 10-0 ahead of Bethel Park (8-2), Washington (2-8) and Avella (0-10). Bethel Park took an 11-3 overall record into the WPIAL finals, winning six of the final seven regular-season matchups.

The Black Hawks started out 3-1 against nonsection opponents Mt. Lebanon, Indiana, Plum and Armstrong before defeating both Avella and Washington twice, and Upper St. Clair, West Greene, McGuffey and Waynesburg in section action.

Bethel Park lost twice to Trinity, 797.53-797.50 and 799.67-793.50.

The WPIAL rifle team championship was held Feb. 7, also at Dormont-Mt. Lebanon Sportsmen’s Club. The field consisted of eight teams — five section champions or co-champs and three runners-up.

The Black Hawks finished fifth with a 797-54x score, narrowly missing out on a berth for states.

Section 4 champion Butler, last year’s WPIAL runner-up, took first place with a 799-49x score, followed by Penn-Trafford (798-57x), Trinity (798-54x) and Mt. Lebanon (798-49x).

The top eight point-producers for the Black Hawks at the team event were LaMolinare (100.08), junior Adam Calhoun (100.08), Huber (100.07), Chaffin (100.07), Saffer (100.06), Mach (100.05), senior Sydney Zuber (99.07) and junior Arabella Kennedy (98.06). Calhoun was an individual state qualifier in 2022.

Noah Wickberg (98.03) and Seth Nguyen (97.04), both juniors, also qualified for the WPIAL team event for the Black Hawks, who have 25 shooters on their roster this season.

Bethel Park has won six WPIAL rifle championships in school history with the last one in 2000. The Black Hawks also captured titles in 1976, 1977, 1979, 1990 and 1999.

The WPIAL has crowned individual champions in rifle since 1998 and team champions since 1942.

Bethel Park has had three individual titlists with the latest being Zeis in 2021. The two others were Mike Ruffing in 2001 and Nicole Cheberencheck in 2002.


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