Norwin notebook: Football standout earns ‘surprise’ track gold

Saturday, May 25, 2024 | 11:01 AM

Norwin senior Luke Denny was a threat in the Knights’ football offense not only because he could catch passes, but also for what he could do after he caught them.

Coaches said Denny had “track speed,” and the standout showed it at the WPIAL Class 3A track and field championships.

After landing a scholarship to play football at Lehigh, Denny continued his impressive and, in his words, surprising, senior season with a WPIAL championship.

Denny beat everybody to the finish line in the 400-meter dash in 49.92 seconds to clinch a gold medal at Slippery Rock University.

Aaron Stebick of Butler was second at 50.30, and Penn-Trafford’s Tom Cheplick took third in 50.47.

Excuse Denny if he’s been in a dreamlike state lately.

“It’s been amazing,” Denny said. “I never thought it would turn out like this.”

Denny secured a spot at the PIAA championships and a number of his teammates followed suit.

Qualifying for the Norwin boys were the 400- and 1,600-meter relay teams, Ryan Schiller (3A 110 hurdles), Jeremiah Francis (3A 300 hurdles) and Alexander Irwin (3A pole vault).

Nick Puskar, the top pole vaulter in the WPIAL, couldn’t compete because of an injury.

For the Norwin girls, Melani Schmidt (3A 400, 200) and Casey Rose Colcombe (3A 300 hurdles) each placed third, while Annie Czajkowski was fourth in the 3A 1,600. The 3,200- and 1,600-meter relays placed fourth.

Alexis Holler also qualified in the javelin.

The Knights will need more than one tent in Shippensburg.

“We had a great showing,” Norwin coach Tim Van Horn said. “They all did a great job.”

Softball gets rematch

Norwin softball earned a rematch with perennial power Hempfield in the WPIAL Class 6A semifinals.

Addison Grimes, Diem Wardzinski, Josey Michalski and Rachel Minteer all doubled, and Brooklyn Kotch allowed five hits as the fifth-seeded Knights defeated No. 4 Pine-Richland, 3-1, in the quarterfinals.

Norwin moved to 9-10 overall and was happy to get another shot at defending champion Hempfield (18-1), which took a 14-game winning streak into the rematch.

Baseball falls

Norwin ran into a hot pitcher and was eliminated from the WPIAL 6A baseball playoffs in the quarterfinals with a 3-0 loss to North Allegheny.

David Posey tossed a one-hitter, allowing just an infield single to Nate Silberman, to pace the Tigers.

The Knights finished the season at 11-10.

Volleyball tripped up

A highlight-filled regular season spilled over to the WPIAL 3A postseason for the Norwin boys volleyball team, but the Knights only lasted two rounds.

After a first-round bye, fourth-seeded Norwin fell to No. 5 Seneca Valley, 3-1, to end the season at 15-4.

Nick Puskaric had 12 kills to lead Norwin in the loss.

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


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