Norwin notebook: Irwin resident wins World Series ring

Saturday, November 11, 2023 | 11:01 AM

For the second year in a row, a man with ties to North Huntingdon is bringing home a World Series ring.

Last year, former Norwin star JJ Matijevic earned a ring with the Houston Astros’ taxi squad.

This fall, Jon George is getting one as a scout for the Texas Rangers.

George, who is from New Jersey but lives in Irwin, is a special assignment scout to player development for Texas, which defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks in five games to claim its first title.

Once in medical sales, George has covered the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox during his five years as a pro scout.

His father, Rowland George, also became a scout after a short stint with the Baltimore Orioles in the late 1970s. His uncle, Will George, is a pro scout for the Colorado Rockies.

Jon George was a standout pitcher who was drafted out of Camden Catholic High School (N.J.) in 2002 by the Cincinnati Reds.

After moving to the Rockies, he reached Triple-A with Colorado Spings.

State cross country

The Norwin girls brought home a fifth-place finish from the PIAA Class 3A cross country championships in Hershey.

Top finishers for the Knights included sophomore Annie Czajkowski (13th, 19:33), senior Rosemary Gaydos (37th, 6:40), senior Julia Walko (42nd, 20:51), freshman Jillian Ryba (49th, 20:55), senior Audra Fedor (50th, 20:55), freshman Addison Farrah (59th, 21:01) and freshman Anna Dansak (80th, 21:27).

Norwin is the first girls team from Westmoreland County to qualify for the state meet since the Knights did in 2009.

Soccer accolades

A number of county players made the All-WPIAL soccer lists.

Local boys players include Owen Christopher, Anthony Scalise and Daniel Maddock of Norwin, Roman Agostoni of Latrobe, Danny Christafano and Joey Bayne of Franklin Regional, Trevor Kovatch of Belle Vernon, Jordan Taylor of Jeannette and Austin Ulery and Luke Rivardo of Mt. Pleasant.

Taylor was named the 2A player of the year.

Christopher and Taylor also were named to the Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association All-State list.

Big 5/6 honors

A number of Norwin athletes were recognized by the Big 5/6 Athletic Conferences, which honors the top classifications in the WPIAL.

Lauren Palangio and Addison Matovich of Norwin made the All-Section 3-3A second team for girls volleyball.

For soccer, Owen Christopher of Norwin was named to the All-Section 2-4A first team, while George Bunovich and Anthony Scalise made the second team, and Daniel Maddock was an honorable mention.

Coaching bond

Norwin won a WPIAL 4A boys soccer championship Nov. 4 at Highmark Stadium.

While head coach Scotty Schuchert could not be there because of a two-game suspension (red card in quarterfinals), he had complete faith in his staff.

Schuchert added more expertise to his bench with the addition of Mike Powers, a former Hempfield and Seton Hill standout, along with former Norwin player Dave Kozak, who was on two semifinal teams as a player.

“Norwin is a better team because of these coaches,” Schuchert said. “The way they accent me, they are good people.”

Powers, Schuchert said, has been instrumental in film study and application of ideas. Kozak has been “hands on,” running with the players in practice like Schuchert often does.

“He replicated (Seneca Valley’s Tyler) Prex for us,” Schuchert said. “That was huge in practice.”

Powers coached a loaded 2006 Pittsburgh Assassins Futsal Club that only lost one game.

Players included Norwin’s Anthony Scalise and Daniel Maddock, Joseph Krug of Chartiers Valley, Pablo Linzoain of Fox Chapel, Davi Jansson of Moon, Xavier Mwaura of Chartiers Valley and J.J. Porter of North Allegheny.

“Maybe the best team I have ever seen,” Powers said. “They were so good, we let them play street ball.”

Powers also served as an assistant at Plum and Penn-Trafford.

Norwin’s other assistants are Carter Breen, Matt Henry, Caitlin Schuchert and Rege Schuchert.

College scene

Updates on Norwin athletes playing college sports:


Allegheny: Senior receiver Declan O’Brien tied the record for the longest touchdown reception in program history — a record set in 1990 — with a 95-yard scoring catch from quarterback Jack Johnson in a 42-14 loss to Case Western Reserve. O’Brien finished with eight receptions for 131 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.

Duquesne: Junior linebacker Gianni Rizzo had three tackles and three pass break-ups as the Dukes defeated Wagner, 34-26.

Women’s soccer

Bucknell: Senior defender Eva Frankovic won a Patriot League championship with the Bison, the team’s third in a row. Bucknell edged out Army in penalty kicks, 4-3, after the teams could not break a 0-0 tie in regulation and overtime. Frankovic has started 17 of the 20 games she’s played in and scored a goal against Colorado College.

Clarion: Junior Jordan Kutchak helped the 200-yard freestyle relay to a victory in 1 minute, 39.23 seconds and also finished second in the open 200 free as the Golden Eagles downed Shippensburg, 173-70.

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


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