Chartiers Valley, South Fayette celebrate all-around sports success

Sunday, August 8, 2021 | 10:01 AM

It was solid success across the board that helped a pair of local high schools finish in the top five in the Class 5A chase for the 2020-2021 HSSN Trib Cup.

Chartiers Valley finished in third place in 5A while South Fayette wasn’t far behind in fifth place in the standings.

The HSSN Trib Cup is a yearlong competition to determine the top WPIAL sports program in each classification. It awards points for section or conference championships, district and state playoff berths and district and state championships and runners-up.

Schools earn points for playoff berths, section championships, PIAA playoff berths and for winning WPIAL or PIAA championships or for a district or state runner-up.

“Extremely proud,” Chartiers Valley athletic director Mike Gavlik said of his school’s success. “We said from the beginning of the school year that playing games and finishing seasons would be success in 2020-2021, but to have so many teams compete at such a high level and make championship runs was very gratifying and a great reflection on how hard our players and coaches worked to achieve those goals.”

The Chartiers Valley football team got the ball rolling with one of its best seasons in recent history in the fall. That success was taken to the next level in the winter when both Colts basketball teams reached the WPIAL finals with the girls winning a third straight crown.

“I think it is rare to have both your boys and girls basketball teams compete at such a high level and make it to the WPIAL championship contest,” Gavlik said. “We have very good coaching staff on both sides with great players and parent support of those teams. Expectations are high, but they continually rise to that challenge. The boys team fell short, but I believe in a non-covid year, they could have made a deep run in the PIAA tournament. The girls basketball team is on a great run and is a point of pride for the school and community. This is quite possibly a once-in-a-generation type of team, and I am just glad I have been able to be a small part of it.”

Three more Chartiers Valley teams made deep runs in the postseason in the winter and spring.

“The success of the ice hockey, boys lacrosse and softball teams were outstanding this school year,” Gavlik said. “The ice hockey team had an incredible season, falling just short in the PIHL finals but really brought life to the program. The same for boys lacrosse. The coaching staff and players did an outstanding job preparing and overcoming the roster limitations and ran into an outstanding club in Mars. Then they bounced back and recorded our first PIAA victory. Softball was also under first-year leadership and a variety of unknowns without a season in 2020 but battled in a tough section and competed in every game.”

South Fayette cleared many hurdles throughout the school year to earn a top 5 finish in 5A.

“I’m very impressed with the way our student-athletes and coaches performed last year,” South Fayette athletic director Mark Keener said. “There were so many factors against them, but they found a way to overcome them and have a successful year. Our kids and coaches here at South Fayette are a special group of people. I’m so lucky to be a small part of it.”

While none of the Lions teams hoisted district gold, their point total and success was more spread out. For example, while Chartiers Valley registered points in 11 sports with title game runs in several sports, South Fayette had points in 16 sports.

SF drew its highest point totals from the playoff runs from three Lions team in particular, including girls golf.

“What an impressive group of young ladies,” Keener said. “We have some talented young ladies on our team. The best is yet to come from this group. In boys lacrosse, our success this year has been a long time coming. The seniors were great leaders. We look forward to the challenge of staying at the level of competitiveness that we reached this past year.

“In girls track, this was probably one of the most decorated seasons we’ve had at South Fayette. Multiple WPIAL champions and a PIAA champion relay team. This season will be very difficult to match, but we have the girls to do it. Losing Amy Allen will hurt immensely. She is one of the best athletes that we’ve had here. However, I think our returning girls will be up for the challenge.”

Both Gavlik and Keener are thrilled by their teams’ success throughout the unique school year and each will treasure many memories of those triumphs. But as Keener said, the win came in just being able to compete.

“I will never forget the happiness on the faces of our student-athletes because they got a chance to have a season and compete with their friends and make memories that they will remember for a lifetime,” he said.

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