Franklin Regional enjoys ‘the year of firsts’

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Tuesday, June 8, 2021 | 6:27 PM


Even with a pandemic shadowing their every move, Franklin Regional sports teams have found a way to flourish this school year.

While 2020-21 has left many schools feeling glum, Franklin Regional has had plenty of fun.

The baseball team won its first WPIAL championship since 2001 with a thrilling, 2-1 win over Bethel Park on June 1 at Wild Things Park in Washington.

Senior second baseman Andrew Muraco ripped a walk-off single to center to score senior Luke Treloar, and senior Brian Pirone pitched a three-hit gem as the Panthers celebrated a Class 5A title.

The title followed a trend. It fell in line with a number of other athletic accomplishments that have made this a rewarding year in Murrysville.

“There are always common themes among successful teams,” Franklin Regional athletic director Zach Kessler said. “Talented players, good coaching, hard work, breaks going your way … but what pulls it all together is the chemistry on those teams. You can have the most talented team in the world, but if they aren’t willing to play for each other then it falls apart.”

Consider: Baseball was the sixth Panthers team to play for a title this year, joining girls volleyball and boys golf, who also won WPIAL titles, and district runners-up in boys soccer, boys tennis and hockey (PIHL).

“We’ve had a really good school year for all of our programs, and it feels amazing that we brought it home,” Muraco said. “This has been the goal since my freshman year, and we would always say before the year started this year that we definitely have the talent to do it this year. It just feels amazing that we can actually say we are WPIAL champs.”

Muraco said Franklin Regional has created a winning environment. The Panthers began the PIAA playoffs Monday and fell to West Allegheny, 6-4, to finish the season at 19-2.

Kessler said the school is calling this “the year of firsts.”

The volleyball and golf titles were firsts for the programs. The school also produced WPIAL tennis doubles champions for the first time in seniors Anup Nadesan and Advait Kulkarni and a first-time WPIAL triple jump champion in senior Rayna Todero.

“Yes our teams are talented, well-coached, and hard-working, but they have found success this year because of their ability to work together toward a common goal,” Kessler said. “To think of all that student-athletes and coaches everywhere had to overcome just to be able to play this year, makes all these accomplishments that much more meaningful.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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