Penn-Trafford rifle team ready to defend title

Sunday, January 7, 2024 | 11:01 AM

Penn-Trafford rifle coach Diana Cholock isn’t making any bold predictions for this season.

But if things fall right like they did last year, the Warriors have a chance at celebrating back-to-back state titles.

The Warriors return five starters from the squad that picked the right time to jell in 2023.

“I’m not putting any pressure on them,” Cholock said. “I just want them to go out and do their best and we’ll see what happens. This is a new season. We do have the capacity to do it again.”

Penn-Trafford completed its nonsection schedule with victories against Upper St. Clair, West Greene and Waynesburg. It opened the section season Jan. 4 against rival Hempfield.

Cholock said the section the Warriors compete in, which includes Hempfield, Mt. Lebanon and Woodland Hills, is the strongest in the WPIAL.

The five starters back are seniors Brian Broadwater, Ivy Thomas, Carlee Valenta and Nessa Wright and junior Emily Valenta.

Two others who also saw action last season are junior Matthew Stewart and senior Bailey Dmricko.

“Matthew and Bailey were big contributors during the regular season,” Cholock said.

The Warriors did graduate their top two scorers — Zachary Burns and Seth Baughman.

Cholock said a foreign exchange student, senior Elisa Riva, has been tremendous in her first year of competition.

“She’s having a good time and the team is helping her out,” Cholock said.

Other shooters Cholock said could help this season are sophomore Jillian Hayes, senior Saylor Kaminski, freshman Skylar Metz, freshman Nino Sunseri and sophomore Amanda Wendler.

“We have a nice group of freshmen and sophomores who came out for the squad this season,” Cholock said. “They are showing a lot of promise.”

But for how the season will finish, Cholock said you can never predict.

“Last year we had our ups and downs,” Cholock said. “We didn’t win the WPIAL title, but we did put things together.

“Winning it was tremendous last year, but if we don’t win this year I won’t be disappointed.”

Carlee Valenta said the goal is to repeat as state champions.

“We have a solid squad,” Valenta said. “We’re capable of winning again. We won as a family last year, and I see that happening again.”

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at


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