Gateway sports 2023-24 year in review: Boys tennis team continues to find success

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Sunday, June 9, 2024 | 11:01 AM


The 2023-24 school year featured a number of standout moments for the Gateway School District athletic programs.

With section titles, WPIAL medals and trips to states, individuals and teams produced top results and raised the level of pride for those who support the Gators in black and gold.

Here is a look at a few of the notable moments that made this past year one to remember.

Boys tennis repeats tournament successes

Whether it was in singles, doubles or team competition, the Gators were right there with titles in their sights.

Junior Adam Memije earned his first trip to the PIAA singles tournament after placing second at the WPIAL Class 3A championships April 24.

He went on to place fourth at states at the Hershey Racquet Club.

Junior Zidaan Hassan won his second straight WPIAL doubles title, this time with sophomore Logan Memije. The duo then placed third at the PIAA doubles tournament.

The Gators captured a section title for the second year in a row after going without one since 1992.

The team was edged by North Allegheny for the WPIAL championship at Washington & Jefferson College in its attempt to win back-to-back crowns.

Gateway defeated McDowell in the PIAA first round before losing to Lower Merion in the quarterfinals.

Seniors Matthew Bandos, Zane Almoukamal and Blake Marsh concluded their Gators careers in the state team tournament.

Dino Nadarevic breaks out

Junior thrower Dino Nadarevic made the most of his spring 2024 season with WPIAL medals in the discus and shot put and trips to the PIAA championships in both.

They were personal firsts for Nadarevic who didn’t qualify for WPIALs last year.

Nadarevic placed fourth in the shot put at WPIALs (53 feet, 8½ inches), an automatic qualifying place for states, and also was fifth in the discus (154-2).

He will enter his senior season hoping to reach and surpass a pair of school records: 63-1½ in the shot and 172-3 in the discus.

Nadarevic recorded a personal best of 57-6 in the shot in winning the event at the South Fayette Invitational in April.

His best in the discus, a 168-3, came in a runner-up performance at the Baldwin Invitational on May 9.

Boys bowlers roll to states

With just one senior in the lineup, Alex Keeling-Oliver, the Gators boys bowling team qualified for the Pennsylvania state championships and advanced to the final-four bracket playoffs.

Gateway finished fourth in the qualifying round with 3,962 pins in the regular and Baker games combined.

Junior Allon Wallace Jr. led the Gators with a 614 regular series that included a 232 high game. Sophomore Chase Owens followed with a 608 series which included a 224 high game.

Gateway was the top team in the Western Regional qualifying for states (3,945 pins), and the Gators were 10th at the WPIBL championships.

Individually, junior Joey Jurczak took 10th at the Western Regional and placed 15th out of 24 at states.

JV hockey undefeated in regular season

The Gators’ JV hockey team won 15 games in the PIHL JV Tier 3 regular season.

Their only blemish in their 16-game schedule was a 2-2 tie against Carrick at Ice Caste in Castle Shannon early in the season.

Gateway defeated Carrick, 9-2, on Dec. 4 and 6-5 to wrap up the regular season.

Five players recorded at least 15 points in the 16 regular-season games. CJ Evans led the way with 51 points on 32 goals and 19 assists.

The 51 points and 19 assists were the most in JV Tier 3, and Evans’ goals total ranked second.

Gateway was moved up to the Tier 2, Division 2 season-ending tournament.

The Gators faced Bethel Park in the first round and suffered a 5-3 loss at Ice Castle. Sophomore Gavin Grant scored two goals, and junior Thomas Tuskan added a goal.

Boys basketball returns to states

In one of the more competitive sections in Class 5A, the Gators boys basketball team posted a 7-3 mark and handed section champion, WPIAL runner-up and state finalist Franklin Regional its only section loss.

Gateway won 10 in a row at one point in the regular season and four of five heading into the playoffs.

A win against Penn Hills in the WPIAL first round and a 53-51 victory at home over Kiski Area in the seventh-place consolation game put the Gators in the PIAA playoffs.

Gateway saw its season come to a close at 18-9 with a 60-52 loss to Mechanicsburg in the opening round of states.

Senior forward Alec Dunsmore earned all-section first-team recognition.

Boys, girls swimmers compete at Bucknell

The Gateway girls 400-yard freestyle relay of freshman Aliya Rassiane, junior Gianna Laurenti and seniors Mallory and McKenna Brown earned an eighth-place medal at the PIAA Class 2A championships March 16 at Bucknell.

Rassiane made her PIAA debut one day earlier and took third in the consolation final of the 100 butterfly and finished 11th overall.

The Gateway boys opened the PIAA championship in Class 3A, and junior Hunter Raymer led the way with an eighth-place finish in the 200 individual medley.

Boys volleyball makes WPIAL quarterfinals

Gateway boys volleyball played in a competitive Section 2-2A this spring and finished in a four-way tie for second place with Derry, Latrobe and Armstrong behind section champion Mars.

Gateway, positioned as high as fifth in the Western Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association Class 2A rankings during the regular season, earned the No. 8 seed for the WPIAL tournament and rolled past No. 9 Seton LaSalle, 3-0, in the first round.

Hoping to pull an upset in the quarterfinals against No. 1 Mars, the Gators won a game, but the Planets were just too strong in the 3-1 victory.

Mars went on to claim the WPIAL championship over No. 6 Armstrong.

Cisse returns to states

A strong cross country career came to a close Nov. 4 at the PIAA championships as Kefimba Cisse made his second straight appearance on the Hershey Parkview course.

He punched his ticket to states with a 19th-place finish at WPIALs at White Oak Park a week earlier.

Cisse produced several strong finishes throughout the season, including a third at the season-opening Gateway Invitational at Boyce Park, a 17th in the boys Class 3A race at the prestigious Red, White & Blue Invitational at White Oak Park, and a gold medal in the Class 3A boys division at the Bald Eagle Invitational at White Oak about a month later.

Boys soccer sets record

Despite a tough WPIAL Class 3A first-round loss to Montour, the boys soccer team set a program record in 2023 by qualifying for the postseason for a fourth straight season.

Led by all-section selections in junior midfielder Nick LoCoco, senior forward Blake Marsh, senior goalkeeper Jack Kweder and junior forward James LoCoco, the Gators finished 8-6-2 overall and 8-4-2 in Section 4 play, fourth behind Plum, Latrobe and Franklin Regional.

Football captures Big East title

The Gators football team started 0-3 with nonconference losses to Mt. Lebanon, Woodland Hills and North Hills, but not all was lost as they rebounded.

They won five of their final seven games in the regular season, including all five in the Class 5A Big East Conference.

It was the Gators’ second straight conference title.

Hoping to keep its momentum going in the playoffs, Gateway instead suffered a tough 35-31 loss to Moon in the first round at Antimarino Stadium.

Taking that next step

Several Gateway senior student-athletes made their college decisions final during signing-day events in November, December and February.

Gators linebacker Remy Bose fronted the group with his letter of intent to play football at Division I Youngstown State.

Ahmad Harris signed on to the baseball team at Division II Wheeling, Jaquon Reynolds on the football team at Division II West Liberty State and Taili Thompson on the baseball team at Division I North Carolina A&T.

Sports hall of fame inducts new class

Four years separated the opportunity for the Gateway athletics family to honor its own.

More than 150 people gathered Nov. 4 at Edgewood Country Club to again celebrate memorable sports accomplishments with the enshrinement of the Gateway Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023.

Celebrated this year were Rob Kalkstein (Class of 2010), Shayla Scott (Class of 2007), Cameron Saddler (Class of 2008), Luke Nosbisch (Class of 2011), Dan Schmitt (Class of 1986), Gateway teacher and coach Ralph Guzzo, and the 1967 state champion boys cross country team.

This year’s class is the 17th to be honored since the hall of fame began in 1999.

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.

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