MSA Sports Top 25 WPIAL Stories of 2012 Countdown – #25 through #21
Friday, December 28, 2012 | 6:08 PM
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It has become a tradition like no other…at least during the holidays here at The Network. It's time to look back at another high school sports year with the top stories from around the WPIAL in 2012. We begin our countdown with the five stories that ended up #25 through #21.
#25 – FROM WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA TO LONDON
There was a WPIAL flavor on Team USA this past summer at the London Olympics. A few former WPIAL athletes were able to take to the grandest stage with the world watching back in July. Christa Harmotto, a 2005 graduate of Hopewell High School, played a key role on the US Olympic Women’s Volleyball team that finished second overall. Others performing for Team USA were Montour graduate Cassidy Krug in the women’s 3-meter diving…two former WPIAL wrestlers, North Allegheny’s Jake Herbert and Waynesburg’s Coleman Scott…and McKeesport grad Swin Cash has been selected to the U.S. women's basketball team for the second time. The other time was 2004.
#24 – GIRL POWER ON THE RIFLE RANGE
The girls ruled the day at the 2012 WPIAL Individual Rifle Championships in February at the Dormont-Mt. Lebanon Sportsmens Club in Canonsburg. When the 'smoke' cleared, girls claimed the top ten spots, led by Hempfield's Nicole Metz.
Metz, the runner-up a year ago, finished with a final total of 200-18x, one of five shooters to register the same score. Metz won the gold because she had six center shots while the other four had five center shots.
It was the first time that girls claimed the top ten spots in WPIAL Individual Rifle history. The other nine were:
Nikki Kroll – Yough (200-18x)
Keegan Miller – Hempfield (200-18x)
Lexie McFarland – Trinity (200-18x)
Emma Uchida – Trinity (200-18x)
Jacque Zollner – Woodland Hills (200-17x)
Casey Doyle – Trinity (200-17x)
Kayla Dowling – Hempfield (200-17x)
Dena Simonelli – Avella (200-17x)
Christa Zierfel – West Greene (200-17x)
#23 – FOOTBALL COACHES WITH THE GOLDEN TOUCH
There has never been a year when the WPIAL championship coaches had won so many titles as there were this year after the November championships. The coaches of the four winners this year have a total of 22 WPIAL titles.
Clairton’s Tom Nola has six, Aliquippa’s Mike Zmijanac has five, West Allegheny’s Bob Palko has six and North Allegheny’s Art Walker has five.
With the victory against Woodland Hills, Walker won his fifth championship – three at North Allegheny and two at Pittsburgh Central Catholic. He is now only one behind his father, who won six. The elder Walker won five at Mount Lebanon and one at Shady Side Academy.
By the way, just to clarify. The younger Walker is NOT Art Jr. He has a different middle name than his father.
Before this year, the only other coaches besides the older Walker to win six championships were New Castle’s Phil Bridenbaugh, George Novak (Woodland Hills and Steel Valley) and Braddock’s Chuck Klausing.
#22 – NORTH ALLEGHENY EXTENDS BOYS VOLLEYBALL STREAK
North Allegheny won their sixth consecutive WPIAL Class AAA boys volleyball championship back in May, defeating Norwin 25-16, 25-21, 25-21.
The Tigers trailed only 4 times all night. North Allegheny and Norwin were tied 10-10 when the Tigers would score 6 straight points from kills by Zach Hayes and Zack Shaw and a couple of blocks from Shaw as well as Norwin would never recover in game one.
The crown puts NA all alone atop the boys volleyball consecutive champions list with six in a row, moving ahead of the Penn Hills teams that won five straight boys titles from 1973 through 1977. It also moves them to third in overall WPIAL consecutive championships, trailing only the Norwin girls program that won 13 in a row from 1974 through 1986 and the Farrell girls program that won seven in a row from 1982 through 1988.
#21 – NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN
The PIAA Board of Control announced back in March that Dr. Robert Lombardi would replace Bradley Cashman as executive director of the PIAA, at the end of Cashman's term this past summer.
Cashman announced his retirement last year and the board narrowed the search down to two candidates.
Lombardi has been with the PIAA since 1988 and oversees several championship events. He is also responsible for the PIAA official’s convention, held in August and works with the PIAA's registered sports officials.
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