Westmoreland HS notebook: Ligonier Valley graduate Haden Sierocky returning to gridiron with Washington & Jefferson

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Sunday, January 14, 2024 | 5:39 PM


The itch to return to the gridiron was too strong for one of the better two-sport athletes to come out of Ligonier Valley in recent years.

Haden Sierocky, a 2023 graduate, is shifting gears with not only the college he will attend but also the sport he will play.

Initially committed to play baseball at Division II Seton Hill, Sierocky is transferring to Washington & Jefferson and will play football for the Division III Presidents.

A terrific outfielder, pitcher and hitter — he struck out 17 in a game and hit .507 with 22 RBIs and 21 runs as a senior — Sierocky also was a headliner for the Rams in football. In his final prep season, he rushed for 1,246 yards and 16 touchdowns and also had 31 receptions for 395 yards and seven scores.

On defense, he had 81 tackles and seven interceptions.

“I missed football way more than I thought and feel that it’s the sport I do love the most,” Sierocky said. “I’m thankful for my time at Seton Hill and still have so much respect for the coaches and all my teammates.”

Sierocky, who played running back, quarterback, receiver and defensive back for the Rams, said he will line up at wide receiver for W&J.

“The reason I choose W&J was because I built a great relationship with coach (Mike) Sirianni and coach (Aaron) Krepps, and they sold me on everything out there.”

Sierocky said he did not pursue playing football at Seton Hill.

Cragette to Cal (Pa.)

Standout running back Da’sjon Craggette, who played his senior season at Southmoreland, will continue his football career at Cal (Pa.) in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.

Craggette, who attended Geibel after transferring from Greensburg Central Catholic (Geibel has a co-op with Southmoreland), rushed for 1,462 yards and 19 touchdowns for the Scotties.

He said the plan is for him to play running back for the Vulcans.

Craggette also had an offer from Seton Hill, where is brother, Ky’Ron, is a redshirt sophomore running back, but he preferred Cal.

PFN all-state

The Pennsylvania Football News announced its all-state teams, and Belle Vernon and Latrobe led the county with three selections each, all as first-teamers.

Senior Penn State commit Quinton Martin was named the 3A player of the year, and Belle Vernon coach Matt Humbert was the top coach in the state in the classification.

Martin also made it as an “offensive athlete,” senior Braden Laux as a defensive end and senior Adam LaCarte as a safety.

For Latrobe, John Wetzel was picked as an “offensive athlete,” senior Ja’Tawn Williams made it as a kick/punt returner and Alex Tatsch was chosen as an outside linebacker.

Penn-Trafford senior offensive tackle Zach Tomosovich, an Army commit, made the 5A first team, along with Norwin’s big-play senior receiver Luke Denny.

Senior Payton Molter of Jeannette was named a “defensive athlete” on the Class A first team, and sophomore Samir Crosby of Greensburg Central Catholic was picked as a second-team safety.

Mission accomplished

Remember Kendalyn Umbel, the soccer standout from Yough who opted not to play her junior season last fall because she wanted to focus on karate?

Umbel reached her goal, announcing over the weekend that she earned a third-degree black belt.

A Youngstown State commit, Umbel achieved her milestone through C.S. Kim Karate.

The question now is will Umbel play her senior season at Yough?

Out of the gates

No surprises here. Hempfield had a strong showing at the first indoor track and field meet of the season at Edinboro.

Senior Grace Iwig won the pole vault with a mark of 12 feet, and she took second in the high jump (5-1).

Sophomore Lauren Howard won the long jump (20-1) and took second in the hurdles (9.62 seconds) and triple jump (35-7), sophomore Chesnee Smith took first in the 800-meter run (2:20.91), and the distance medley relay of Tessa Miller, Alicia Weimer, Smith and Noelle Dougherty won in 13:34.92.

For the boys, Notre Dame commit Peyton Murray won the shot put with a personal-best mark of 57-63/4.

Senior Caleb Prola won the 200 (22.90) and was second in the 60 (7.11), while the 800-meter relay of Prola, Dylan Hall, Harrison Methven and Aleksis Ratenieks placed second (1:35.34).

Recruiting

Add another Power 5 scholarship offer for Latrobe’s Tatsch. Syracuse reached out over the weekend.

• Belle Vernon football players Aiden Johnson and Dane Levi picked up a scholarship offer from Division II Millersville. Virginia-Wise, another D-II program, also offered Johnson.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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