Girls lacrosse champs headline successful school year for Chartiers Valley sports

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Saturday, July 23, 2022 | 9:01 AM


There is change in the air on several fronts as Chartiers Valley’s athletic programs prepare for the 2022-2023 season.

However, this isn’t about looking ahead, this is about celebrating the success Colts teams enjoyed from this past school year.

“For me, success is defined differently for each program,” Chartiers Valley athletic director Mike Gavlik said. “The expectation is for teams to be better at the end of the season than they were in the beginning, play the game with respect and sportsmanship and be positive members of the school community.”

There were enough successes in 2021-2022 to allow Chartiers Valley to finish ninth out of 24 Class 5A schools in the annual Trib Cup, a yearlong competition to determine the top WPIAL sports program in each class based on points for playoffs berths as well as section, district and state championships.

The lone team championship for Chartiers Valley this past school year came in the spring, when the girls lacrosse team surprised many to win the program’s first WPIAL title.

“The girls lacrosse team winning the WPIAL championship was a great achievement,” Gavlik said. “The players and coach set the goal of winning the championship and worked to get better each game, and it all came together in the playoffs. There were some great individual achievements during the season, but their ability to play as a team was for me the key factor in their success.”

The Chartiers Valley girls basketball team did not win a championship, losing in both the WPIAL and PIAA finals, but its senior class left a legacy that may never be matched.

In the last four years, the Colts won 110 games (27.5 per season), three WPIAL championships, one PIAA title, one WPIAL and two PIAA runner-up trophies (a possible fourth state title was stopped by covid-19 in 2020) and put together a district and state record 64-game winning streak.

“In a word, remarkable,” Gavlik said. “To have six seniors contribute to the girls basketball program the way they did is something you may only see once in a career. All six seniors will play in college and all are better people than they are basketball players. It was a great run.”

Every school district deals with numerous offseason coaching changes each year, but two high profile spots were left vacant after the surprise departures of Dan Knause from the football program after five years and Tim McConnell, who left after 29 years at Chartiers Valley, 25 with the boys team and the last four with the girls program.

“It is never easy to lose quality coaches and good people,” Gavlik said. “Although both will be missed, I am looking forward to the next chapters for football and girls basketball with Coach (Aaron) Fitzpatrick and Coach (Mike) Semplice leading the way. Both programs are on solid ground, participation numbers have grown in football, and the transition with the new coaching staffs has been positive.”

Other Chartiers Valley programs that contributed to the Colts’ top 10 finish were boys basketball, baseball, boys tennis and boys track, as well as strong postseason showings by the girls cross country and softball teams.

“I think the strong senior leadership and dedicated coaching staffs of both the softball and cross country teams were essential to their success,” Gavlik said. “Both teams were very talented but also hard working, which is a great combination for success.”

Gavlik was asked if there was one moment that stood out from the successful 2021-2022 athletic season at Chartiers Valley.

“For me, the most memorable moment this past year will be our inaugural holiday toy drive that our Student Athlete Advisory Council led,” he said. “The outpouring of support by the school district, community, booster groups and other schools was truly amazing.

“One example of this was when we hosted our wrestling mega-scrimmage, Coach (Bill) Evans sent a note to all the coaches that were going to attend, and it was awesome to see how many toys were donated by all the schools. The number of families we were able to help was truly a memorable experience.”

Summer is a time for athletic directors to unwind and recharge before it all begins again with the start of the fall sports. Gavlik admits he’s already excited about what’s to come for Chartiers Valley athletics in 2022-2023.

“Every athletic school year brings a new excitement,” he said. “Our teams have been working hard in the offseason. It will be interesting to see how we fare as a lot of our teams have changed classifications or sections and that brings excitement in and of itself, with new opponents and new opportunities.”

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