Quaker Valley athletics celebrates banner year of championship success

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Saturday, July 9, 2022 | 10:01 AM


Quaker Valley athletics is synonymous with success.

Over the years, the Quakers have established a championship caliber reputation around the WPIAL with many elite performances.

But there hasn’t been a better school year for title-winning teams and individuals, perhaps, than 2021-22.

“QV athletics over the last 10 years has won a number of all-sports awards for best overall sports program in their classification, but in that period we never attained five WPIAL championships in the same school year,” said Mike Mastroianni, QV’s athletic director and boys basketball coach. “Our senior athletes across the board were strong leaders and very dedicated to their teams.

“The carryover from one sport to the next generated positive momentum and a high level of school spirit and our student-athletes supported other teams at a very high level.”

Quaker Valley’s boys soccer team started things off with a state championship in the fall. Nora Johns capped the school year with a state title at the PIAA track and field finals.

Also in the fall season, QV junior Eva Bulger became just the third player in WPIAL girls golf history to win three straight individual championships.

“It’s been a fun year to be around Quaker Valley athletics with five WPIAL team championships, a host of individual WPIAL champions, some PIAA teams and individual championships across different sports,” said Ken Johns, Nora’s dad and the girls basketball coach at QV. “Mike Mastroianni will say on occasion, ‘It’s a good day to be a Quaker.’ Well, it’s been a good year to be a Quaker.”

Quaker Valley’s boys soccer team entered the postseason as the Section 4-2A champion, outscoring the opposition 99-0 in its 12 section games. The Quakers, who finished 23-2 overall, allowed only three goals in four WPIAL playoff games, then most impressively recorded four shutouts in the PIAA tournament.

QV outscored the opposition 123-8 in the regular season, 27-3 in the WPIAL playoffs, 18-0 in PIAA action and 168-11 overall. The Quakers posted 19 shutouts in 25 games, including nine in a row at one stretch.

“I was incredibly pleased with our performance last fall,” QV’s second-year coach J.J. Veshio said, “and I am so proud of every player on the team for their contributions to the success of the season and to the history of Quaker Valley soccer. We pride ourselves on continuing the legacy of our program through diligent training and playing at the highest level we can. I think our team last fall did just that and the results showed with a second WPIAL and PIAA championship.

“There is always chatter amongst alumni about which QV team could beat which QV team, and while there have been some absolutely outstanding teams to come through here, I would venture to say the 2021 team is right up there with the best of them. Those older gentlemen won’t agree — I’m joking, of course — but it was a very special season and just a continuation of what we offer at Quaker Valley. I expect 2022 to be no different.”

Quaker Valley captured its 10th WPIAL title and third in six years, as Veshio, a former QV soccer standout, was named WPIAL 2A Coach of the Year. The Quakers also have won nine PIAA crowns in boys soccer in school history.

And as Mastroianni noted, they were one of five QV teams that won in WPIAL titles in 2021-22.

The boys basketball and wrestling teams spent the winter months focused on nailing down WPIAL championships.

QV raced through the WPIAL boys basketball season undefeated at 23-0, and ended the year as a state runner-up with a 27-1 record. After winning section and WPIAL crowns, QV finished as the PIAA Class 4A runner-up.

“It’s always difficult to call one team the best ever (at QV),” Mastroianni said, “but it is safe to say in terms of on-court accomplishments in one season that the 2022 Quaker Valley boys basketball team would have to be at the top. An undefeated WPIAL champion and state runner-up team with the all-time school-best record has never before been accomplished.”

QV senior guard Adou Thiero was named 2022 TribLive HSSN Boys Basketball Player of the Year. A Kentucky recruit, Thiero averaged 23.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. His 1,624 career points rank third in team history.

Thiero and QV senior forward Marcus Frank were selected to the TribLive HSSN Boys Basketball Terrific 10 all-star team.

Frank led the Quakers in scoring with 28.1 ppg average. His 45-point effort in the WPIAL quarterfinals is a single-game school record. He finished with 1,462 career points, fifth-most in QV history.

QV’s wrestling squad reeled in a victory in early January that was noticed around the Western Pennsylvania, as well as the state.

The Quakers, seeded third in Class 2A, edged 15-time defending champion Burrell, 30-28, to earn their first WPIAL team championship in school history.

QV’s three WPIAL finalists — Patrick Cutchember (189), Justin Richey (152) and Mason Diemert (172) — sparked the Quakers to the WPIAL title.

Cutchember earned first place at 189 pounds at the WPIAL Class 2A individual finals, as did Richey at 152.

Some might argue that Cutchember was the best grappler in school history, although the wrestling program is still in relative infancy at five years of existence.

In his career, Cutchember won back-to-back WPIAL crowns, ended up second twice, captured three section titles and one second-place finish and was a state medalist as a sophomore.

He was a three-sport standout at QV, excelling in wrestling, football and lacrosse, and is a Clarion wrestling recruit.

Richey, a Gettysburg recruit, was a WPIAL runner-up in 2020-21, won three section titles while placing second once and logged at least 20 wins in all four of his varsity seasons.

Quaker Valley wrapped up the best wrestling season in school history with four individual medalists at the PIAA finals.

“We qualified five kids to compete in arguably the toughest wrestling tournament in the country,” QV coach Mike Heinl said. “We won four state medals. I believe we had more medalists than any other team from the Southwest region. I was very happy with our performance. It is fair to say that this was our most productive season yet.”

Turning to the spring months, two QV teams landed WPIAL titles on the same date — May 11 — and did so in impressive fashion.

The girls track and field squad won its first WPIAL title since 2007, defeating Greensburg Central Catholic, Riverside and Shenango in the Class 2A championship meet.

The boys tennis team, seeded No. 1 and led by twin brothers Mike and Will Sirianni, repeated as Class 2A champion with a 3-2 win against North Catholic at the WPIAL finals. The Sirianni twins were top singles players for QV since their freshman season.

“It was a great day for Quaker Valley athletics to capture two WPIAL titles in the same few hours,” said Mastroianni, who also serves as director of student activities. “A big congrats to our student-athletes on both the girls track and boys tennis teams, and to both of our coaching staffs.”

Nora Johns, also a QV basketball and soccer athlete, won WPIAL and PIAA titles in the girls 300-meter hurdles while teammate Ellie Cain earned a WPIAL championship in the 800.

Cain, Cecilia Montagnese, Kate Hines and Anna Cohen also teamed up to win a WPIAL championship in the 3,200 relay race.

“Adding individual WPIAL and state champions in track would have to make the 2021-22 sports year (at QV) one of the best in school history,” Mastroianni said.

One other note, QV’s Jackson Bould was the PIAA and WPIAL runner-up in Class 2A in boys golf. He finished in a tie for second place at the state finals.

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